Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Cast iron frying pan/skillet


Eyesa Horg

Recommended Posts

Been thinking about getting a cast iron pan, not being much of cook, do any you experienced cooks recommend a particular brand or style? I prefer a 12" or so. Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

What you can’t do is put it in the sink and let it soak.

That's been my impression too. Just wipe, stick it back on the stove top till tomorrow morning! What do you do to clean it when something burns and needs scrubbing? I presume you just need to re oil. ?!!?

I'm tired of buying expensive nice "non stick" pans only to have them become "stick" in a year or less. Payed 60 bucks for a ceramic one and it only took a couple months before you couldn't fry an egg without a spritz of PAM. Arrrgh.

Edited by Eyesa Horg
Friggin Otto again!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Undoubtedly, Lodge is good.  Very good, in fact, and I'm a big Lodge fan - although there is some question about the value of their "pre-seasoning."

 

That said, comparing Lodge cast iron with other brands is not like comparing a Mercedes to a Yugo.  Others are also quite servicable.  For example, I have three cast iron Dutch ovens; a Lodge, a Texsport (from Sports Authority), and a Ridgeway (Costco sold brand).  All with lots of miles on 'em.  And of the three, the Lodge is my least favorite.  It's good and I like it, but I just happen to like the other two more.  

 

Now, with THAT said, what @Subdeacon Joe sez above is worth heeding.  I have a few very good rescued pieces of indeterminate origins, including a really nice Belgian made Descoware enameled saucepan (with lid!)  that my old friend Zelda Gurch found in an alleyway.  Totally disgusting when found, but it cleaned up like new!  ^_^ 

 

Lodge - How it's Made:

 

 

 

 

  • Thanks 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Eyesa Horg said:

That's been my impression too. Just wipe, stick it back on the stove top till tomorrow morning! What do you do to clean it when something burns and needs scrubbing? I presume you just need to re oil. ?!!?

I'm tired of buying expensive nice "non stick" pans only to have them become "stick" in a year or less. Payed 60 bucks for a ceramic one and it only took a couple months before you couldn't fry an egg without a spritz of PAM. Arrrgh.

Eyesa, 

I have owned a few different brands of cast iron. From Chinese so-so cast iron to Lodge. Much of the cheaper stuff has hot spots caused by voids or improper casting. If you can find used cast iron pans in thrift stores quite often it’s good stuff unless you cannot find any markings on it then it may be Chinese stuff.

Personally, I would buy Lodge and here’s why:

1. It’s quality cast iron cookware. 
2. They have a guarantee. 
3. They have support if you have questions and they have a lot of good info on line. 
4. They make gold…I mean, lids for all their pans and pots. Trying to find a lid that will fit an old cast skillet can be a real pain and may take years. Unless you want to pay someone on eBay an arm or a leg. 
 

Cleaning;

https://www.lodgecastiron.com/discover/cleaning-and-care/cast-iron/how-clean-cast-iron
 

Seasoning:

https://www.lodgecastiron.com/discover/cleaning-and-care/cast-iron/all-about-seasoning
 

I re-season their seasoned cast iron. @Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 is right. Their seasoned stuff is done with vegetable oil or olive oil. If you want to season cast iron right, get some Crisco Shortening. Not Crisco oil, get the shortening. They sell it in small sticks that come in a plastic tub. One bar lasts a long time and you can store it in a cupboard. 
 

For cleaning I use stiff nylon brushes, stiff plastic scraper found in the cookery section of Walmart or a department store. I use paper towels for a lot of my cleaning. You can use rough cloth like burlap, clean burlap. 
Lodge sells a pad of stainless chain-mail for clean really hard cooked on stuff.  I have tried that yet. 
If you soak your pan in soapy water for a few minutes that is okay for heavy grease and cooked on remnants, but only for a short time. 
If you screw up the seasoned coating it’s a simple fix. Re-season it. 
 

Hope this helps. 

  • Thanks 2
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a chain mail scrubber you can find on Amazon and other places (maybe MidwayUSA) which you can use to scrub any burned on stuff from cast iron. Using a copper scrubber is not recommended because copper bits can get into the pores and is nasty to the taste and probably not healthy either.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer Grandma's hand me downs.  If she owned them they are not Chinese and they are smooth from years of use.  While a Lodge may be great quality they are 'new rough'.

 

I don't soap mine and if I do I re-oil them.  Hot water, scrub what little stuck if any, wipe dry with paper towel.  May not be pretty but they cook better than most anything else, are better for you than any coated pan, and I cook better on them than my expensive stainless.  Lots of sticking problems with SS or CI is due to not having the pan hot before putting the stuff in.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Muleshoe Bill SASS #67022 said:

There is a chain mail scrubber you can find on Amazon and other places (maybe MidwayUSA) which you can use to scrub any burned on stuff from cast iron. Using a copper scrubber is not recommended because copper bits can get into the pores and is nasty to the taste and probably not healthy either.

Thanks for bringing that up. I had forgotten about that. 

Edited by Pat Riot
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Gungadin said:

I prefer Grandma's hand me downs.  If she owned them they are not Chinese and they are smooth from years of use.  While a Lodge may be great quality they are 'new rough'.

 

I don't soap mine and if I do I re-oil them.  Hot water, scrub what little stuck if any, wipe dry with paper towel.  May not be pretty but they cook better than most anything else, are better for you than any coated pan, and I cook better on them than my expensive stainless.  Lots of sticking problems with SS or CI is due to not having the pan hot before putting the stuff in.

I received my grandmothers via my mother and it was great. I used it a lot on my hunting and camping trips. One day I couldn't find it and found out my wife had sold it in a garage sale for $1.00. She never used it so didn't think it got used and we didn't need it. I almost had a heartattack. I have bought a few since then and they are Lodge but they don't hold a candle to that well worn used one.

 

TM

  • Like 2
  • Sad 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Texas Maverick said:

I received my grandmothers via my mother and it was great. I used it a lot on my hunting and camping trips. One day I couldn't find it and found out my wife had sold it in a garage sale for $1.00. She never used it so didn't think it got used and we didn't need it. I almost had a heartattack. I have bought a few since then and they are Lodge but they don't hold a candle to that well worn used one.

 

TM

Isn't that always the way! Nothing today is as good as the good old days.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Eyesa Horg said:

That's been my impression too. Just wipe, stick it back on the stove top till tomorrow morning! What do you do to clean it when something burns and needs scrubbing?

 

Boil some water in it and gently scrub with the mail scrubber or a spatula.  Other thing is to heat it with coarse salt and use a wadded up dish towel or a bunch of paper towels to scrub it.  In either case, oil it again afterwards

 

 

1 hour ago, Eyesa Horg said:

tired of buying expensive nice "non stick" pans only to have them become "stick" in a year or less. Payed 60 bucks for a ceramic one and it only took a couple months before you couldn't fry an egg without a spritz of PAM

 

If you're burning them out that fast you're doing something wrong.  Too high a heat wit nothing in the pan, or wrong utensils, or using an abrasive scrubber when you clean it, or a combination of the above.

 

I buy inexpensive ones at "Chef's Store," a restaurant supply outfit that also sells to the public.  14 inch skillet for about $30.   Takes me 4 or 5 years to burn them out.  I don't really pamper them, but I pretty much follow what I wrote above.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The earlier (pre-1950s +/-) cast iron skillets have a machined inside bottom.  They are smooth and properly seasoned they are better than the nonstick pans being sold today.  Finding one means haunting garage sales and antique stores.  Lodge is OK, my wife has several but I prefer her older Wagners or a modern, high end, Finex.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The really old ones are Griswold.  Wagner isn't bad, neither is Lodge.  Can't recall the name just now but there is a new, ultra finished and very expensive cast iron manufacturer.  They will last several lifetimes even if only reasonably well cared for.  The original non stick pans and very hard to beat.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lodge is a quality maker but buying a new one will a good cleaning and seasoning.  Many ways to "speed up" the smoothing/seasoning process.  I personally like some wet/dry sandpaper on an orbital sander.  Knock all the rough "factory seasoning" off and then bake in the oven a couple times with the cooking oil of your choice.

 

How much time do you have to watch some videos?

Cowboy Kent Rollins

New To Cast Iron? Start Here!

Cast Iron Care Tips - Cleaning, Seasoning and More

 

If you'd rather buy a high-quality already seasoned cast iron product, check out these videos for comparisons.

What is the Best Cast Iron - Our Cast Iron Reviews

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

If you're burning them out that fast you're doing something wrong.  Too high a heat wit nothing in the pan, or wrong utensils, or using an abrasive scrubber when you clean it, or a combination of the above.

I don't know! The T-Fal ones start to flake especially in the center. Only use plastic utensils, low to medium heat. One thing we're bad about I guess, is don't typically preheat it. The ceramic one, a Red Kettle IIRC, still looks like new after a few years, but it gradually stopped being non stick within a couple months. Bacon or sausage do ok, but eggs aren't possible without a little pam. We hand wash them as well. But I tend to just wipe em out with a paper towel and put it back on the stove for tomorrow morning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Son put dibs on my skillet and steel spatula. My skillet is well

 seasoned and the spatula works very well. You can cut stuff up while in the skillet. The handle is such it will park on side of skillet.

 

Get done cooking, scrape out any loose food and use paper towel to wipe clean. Leave a coat of oil. Don't try to get it "clean". Put lid on. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Eyesa Horg said:

Been thinking about getting a cast iron pan, not being much of cook, do any you experienced cooks recommend a particular brand or style? I prefer a 12" or so. Thanks

You might find a twelve inch pan is very heavy and I seldom use mine 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a lot harder to find the old Griswolds and others then it used to be. Some of the newer ones are heavier then they need to be. There are more expensive premium cast iron that is very good.  The OXO brand modern non sticks are a good value.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

this is the one thing i regret not telling my mother i wanted , she was not a good cook , but she did inherit a great set of iron wear that was high quality and well seasoned , she did treat them correctly over my lifetime but by the time i got around to telling her i wanted them when she was ready to part with them she had 'thrown them out' , one of the adder days of that era 

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if it's Mary's early northern upbringing or what. But she treats cast iron with malice.  She mostly wants to use a cast iron skillet when she wants to fry something up chrispy. Leaves it unattended afterwards. Then feels like she has to soak it clean. Ends up rusty and dry. I bought a skillet and lid. Forbid her to use it.  Clean it after use and put lid on. Ready for next use.   Caught up to her in Wally-World one day and she had a new skillet in her basket.   I asked why?  She wanted one of her own.

 

P.S. I thend to use real lard as cooking oil.  None of that fake oil.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pretty women of today don't like CI.  As best I can tell there are a few reasons:

 

  1. Heavy
  2. Not pretty
  3. Dirty (wipe one with a white rag and the magic shows)
  4. Marketing

I could say results don't matter but I expect a lot would switch if they actually knew.

 

The big one makes nice cornbread :-)

 

https://www.castironcollector.com/unmarked.php

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your best bet is junk / antique shops, garage sales, etc.   Griswold is my favorite, but I have a couple of really old unbranded ones.  The old ones are really smooth both from manufacture and decades of use.

More than you ever wanted to know.  https://www.seriouseats.com/best-cast-iron-skillet

A friend was gifted with a Butter Pat and loves it.  I have plenty of old iron so haven't bought one.

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

Scrounge junk yards and yard sales.  You might have to strip an reseason one, but it's a fairly simple, if time consuming, process.

 

Other than that, I would go with Lodge.

Be real careful in your scrounging!  Many people, including me, have used cast iron cookware in the past for lead melting/casting.  The hot molten lead and lead oxides penetrate pores in the cast iron.   I got curious once and filled a cast iron pot used for lead melting with water for a couple days, then tested the water for lead.  The lead content was very high.  So I torch cut the bottom out of the twp pots I had used with lead to prevent them someday being used again for food preparation. .  

During the Gold Rush, cast iron was also used for Mercury handling.  So as above, be careful.  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of good recipes books out there.  Very little beats a cast iron cooked outdoor meal.  I have about ten of different sizes that cook everything from sourdough bread to rib roast, to chile, to pineapple upside-down cakes.  Great eating and a lot of it!

 

Boy Scouts do a lot of cast iron cookery and there are a number of their very good cookbooks available online.  Take a look at Troop 204 Cookbook. 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Be real careful in your scrounging!  Many people, including me, have used cast iron cookware in the past for lead melting/casting.  The hot molten lead and lead oxides penetrate pores in the cast iron.   I got curious once and filled a cast iron pot used for lead melting with water for a couple days, then tested the water for lead.  The lead content was very high.  So I torch cut the bottom out of the twp pots I had used with lead to prevent them someday being used again for food preparation. .  

During the Gold Rush, cast iron was also used for Mercury handling.  So as above, be careful.  

5aa7fe6457038_Lead3March2018.jpg.92e64191920711dc10961e2b74647087.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a seven generation Idaho ranch

 We do a.lot of horse packing for elk

I have cooked in cast iron since.childhood

 I also compete in Dutch oven  contests.

I enjoy Wagner and Griswold but

mostly use Lodge. Lodge has outstanding service, multiples of parts. Lids and stuff

 

I.use hot water, scrubbies and Crisco

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't use several of my stacking pots for some time, and rust got into them, stored in the garage.  In one big 18" pot, it had corroded pretty deeply.  My wife suggested scrubbing it out with a coarse grade copper scrub pad.  Wow!  It came right back to a shiny iron surface very quickly with only water as cleaning agent.  I re-seasoned by rubbing the inside down with cheap olive oil, then baking it to recreate the patina.  Then I boiled water for a few minutes to pull off excess oil.  That was all I had to do to get back to cooking.

  I've been trying to get up some interest in a Dutch oven pot-luck at our club.  Seems like it would be fun.    

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.