Convex pan with channels

We found this odd pan at the family's summer cottage. The cottage is in Central Finland, and used to be a croft before my grandfather bought it. This thing has been on the edge of the stove for a while, and nobody seems to know what it is.

By the way the handle is pointing, the pan is supposed to be used convex side up. The convexity is about ten centimeters high, and has chevron-shaped ridges forming channels down the mound. It looks a bit like a lemon-squeezer from the side, but with a shallower slope. There's also a channel around the base of the mound, and a beak for pouring. The pan is about the size of my outstretched fingers, or a small frying pan. Here's a side view:

Side view

I tried a reverse image search and came up empty. The one guess anyone made is that it's a pan for melting fat, but I couldn't find an image of one of those on Google.

2 Answers 2


What you have appears to be a vintage or possibly antique cast iron grill pan.

The pan would be used on the stovetop and could be used for steaks, chops, burgers, bacon, certain vegetables, etc. The ridges can provide grill marks, and the channels allow grease to drain away. The shape allows the grease to drain to the outside channel where the pour spout will allow the grease to be poured out of the pan.

As with the grill pans of today, the pan would be pre-heated and the meats or veggies would be cooked at a medium high or high heat, much like outdoor grilling in the US. Also, it would be good for camp-type cooking over an open flame.

Re rendering fat, I suppose it could work but with a low or slow heat.

Update: As per @Sneftel's comment, these grills can have many different uses. @Falken's answer addresses one of these, but certainly not all. In addition to the uses mentioned previously, see this snippet from WebstaurantStore:

An all-around convenient stovetop grilling solution, this 10 1/4" round heavy-duty cast iron barbecue plate is perfect for making a variety of delicious items including Korean barbecue, pita bread, naan, grilled tortillas, and roasted vegetables.

Similar pans can easily be found online by searching for Mongolian bbq grills.

  • 1
    I just noticed that I had said "concave" where I meant to say convex in the question body. That photo wasn't from a very good angle, but the pan is shaped like an upside-down bowl, almost like a lemon squeezer.
    – HAEM
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 16:14
  • 5
    George Foreman is the first think I thought of when seeing the picture... :)
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 22:28
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    @RaphaelSchmitz In the US, grilling refers to a high heat cooking method with the food over an open flame or charcoal/wood embers. However, in other countries such as the UK and Australia, grilling refers to what we call broiling, which is cooking food under the top heating element of an oven.
    – Cindy
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 12:57
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    @Cindy That's a good intention, but I believe it's almost the other way around; it's "grilling" everywhere, and only the US calls it broiling when the heat comes from a certain direction. Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 13:15
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    @AaronF To clarify, in the US, grilling is direct heat with the food over an open flame or coals/ embers. Broiling is direct heat also, but under the top element or flame in an oven. Barbecuing is indirect heat, usually done on a grill or in a smoker at low, slow temperatures for a long cooking time.
    – Cindy
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 18:29

For what it's worth, this particular grill pan is commonly used to cook "Genghis Khan" (lamb barbeque), a soul food popular in Hokkaido, Japan.

Genghis Khan consists of slices of lamb with an assortment of vegetables, typically bean sprouts, green peppers, and onions. The thickness of the lamb can vary wildly, with some restaurants or supermarkets providing cuts as thin as only a millimeter thick. The vegetables are placed either around or underneath the meat, allowing the juices from the lamb to flow into the vegetables to give them added flavor, while the shape of the grill allows any excess fat to accumulate in the rim at the edge.

Hokkaido’s Soul Food 1 Preview Image Hokkaido’s Soul Food 1: Jingisukan (the Lamb Barbecue)

  • 1
    I'd like to know how did that travel all the way to Finland...
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 9:42
  • 6
    @Luciano By boat, probably, unless it was made in Finland. :-) You shouldn't take this answer to mean that people were using it to cook Japanese food. Often, a piece of cookware will be used all over the world, for different dishes. Compare an "aebelskiver pan", a "takoyaki pan", and a "paniyaram pan".
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 9:59
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    @Sneftel I know, it was a joke. Without any context my first guess would have been the same as the accepted answer, simply an antique grill pan.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 11:06
  • 1
    "soul food" is a Southern African-American cuisine, how did it get to Hokkaido?
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 13:12

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