What's A Pie Iron?
What's A Pie Iron?
In its most basic function, a Pie Iron is a way to cook a toasted sweet or savory sandwich or hand pie over an open fire. This is done by placing the food (in the above cases, two pieces of buttered bread with cheese or fruit filling) inside a cooking compartment formed by two metal casting that hook together using a hinge. Metal rods with wood handles extend from the castings so the user can easily maneuver the pie iron over a campfire. A few minutes over the heat and a perfectly toasted sandwich or pie emerges from the cooker. We first designed our Pie Irons back in 1964 to be used over an open campfire, but these days people are just as likely to use them over the backyard firepit or on a bbq grill.
What can be cooked in a Pie Iron is really up to the user's imagination. There is limitless variety of sweet and savory cooking ideas using a variety of breads from basic sandwich bread to puff pastry, lefse, nan, tortillas.
Pie Iron cooking is part of a unique cultural legacy that spans the globe. In many countries you can find hinged cooking devices similar to a pie iron being used to create stuffed, grilled, pressed or toasted food. Unlike in North America though, most of these devices are used by street vendors, take-away stands or in cafes, where the demand for easily portable, finger foods and snacks are high.
Some of the international pie iron relatives include:
Jaffle Iron - This Australian design was developed around the same time as pie irons in the United States. Originally a brand name, the jaffle iron is now the common name for hinged cavity cooking in Australia, South Africa, and Indonesia. In these countires, any pressed or grilled sandwich may be referred to as a "jaffle."
Panini Grill - Although Panini literally means sandwich in Italian, what it generally refers to is a sandwich that is placed between a two-part grill and pressed to make a tight, flavor packed sandwich about ¾" to 1" thick. Popular in Italian bars and cafes for ages, grilled panini sandwiches are now common street food throughout Europe.
Toasties - The name for pie iron style sandwiches in the U.K.
Sandwich Cubano - Grilled and pressed flat, the sandwich cubano is popular not only in Cuba but throughout Florida as well. Although there are many sandwich variations, the classic consists of swiss cheese, ham, roast pork, salami, sweet pickles & mustard.
North American names - Here at Rome we refer to all of our irons as Pie Irons and use it as our trademarked product name. It seems, however that everyone seems to have their favorite name for them. The most common ones being Pudgie Pies, Mountain Pies, Hobo Pies, Sandwich Cookers, and Pie Shams. In the end, it makes no difference what you call them, as it's the final result that counts - a smile on the face and a full stomach