CorningWare is a brand of ceramic cookware introduced in the mid-20th century. Its claim to fame is that, unlike typical ceramic or glass cookware, it can withstand sudden and extreme changes in temperature. In the 1990s, CorningWare introduced a new line that is lighter in weight but lacks the properties of the original formula. Whether you can cook with CorningWare on a grill depends on which type you use.
Besides its adaptability to temperature fluctuations, original CorningWare was recommended for use on gas and electric cooktops. The manufacturer's guidelines suggested using the cookware on electric, gas or ceramic burners to slowly heat or cook foods that contained a significant amount of moisture or liquid in order to prevent sticking or scorching. The containers were safe to use under broiler units as long as the lids were removed.
When the new CorningWare line was introduced, many consumers neglected to familiarize themselves with the new usage instructions, and their CorningWare started cracking and exploding from extreme temperature changes. Not only did the directions state not to expose the cookware to extreme temperature changes, they also instructed users not to place the dishes on or under a flame or any direct heat source and not to use them on stovetop burners, in a toaster oven, under a broiler unit or on a grill.
The new ceramic formula was hailed for its lightweight design, but cooks demanded the temperature fluctuation endurance of the original CorningWare. When the company changed hands in the early 2000s, both types of CorningWare began to be manufactured, and the public outcry subsided.
Only CorningWare made from the original formula, Pyroceram, can be used on grills. To know if your CorningWare is the old formula, just look on the bottom. If there are any rough, unglazed areas that are not shiny, smooth and white, it's the new stuff. Most of the newer stoneware pieces have a warning stamp not to put them on the stovetop as well.
The same guidelines should be used on the grill as for stovetop cooking. The grill on which the dishes are placed should be only moderately hot, with no direct flames touching the bottom of the dish. Set the dish on the outer perimeters of the grill to keep it from overheating and prevent soot from accumulating on the exterior. Keep the food inside moist, and stir it often to prevent sticking.
Cleaning and Utensil Suggestions
To remove smoke or soot stains from CorningWare used on the grill, use only non-abrasive cleaners and soft cotton cloths. Harsh cleansers and rough-surfaced scrubbers can scratch the finish and damage the embossed decorative patterns on the dishes. If the stains persist, soak the dish in warm, soapy water. Use only plastic, nylon or wood utensils with all types of CorningWare to protect its finish.