Author Topic: Cast iron skillet  (Read 4331 times)

beekeeper

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Cast iron skillet
« on: May 10, 2019, 08:16:28 AM »
Just a small win.

I have wanted a cast iron skillet for about a year. I couldn't find one in second hand stores. Could have bought one new for a lot of money, or could have bought a steel pan that wouldn't have been as good for years to come, or could have bought yet another crappy disposable teflon pan. But instead I waited and then today I finally found a second-hand fancypants one in great condition for 15% of the new price.

galliver

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 08:40:47 AM »
Nice! We did buy our first one, but since then we've rescued two: a big one (12") from rusting in my parents garage, and a grill pan from the top of the apt  dumpster (it was used/unwashed but otherwise perfect!)

Btw our stainless is in pretty good shape after 4.5 years, except where the cladding warped where bf overheated it...but it still works fine! I even set oil on fire in one yesterday (oops), but I'm sure it will come off with scrubbing...

Ricksun

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2019, 05:45:40 PM »
Aren't the standard lodge brand ones like $10-$15?  Brand doesn't seem to make a difference when it comes to cast iron imo...

Telecaster

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2019, 05:59:57 PM »
Aren't the standard lodge brand ones like $10-$15?  Brand doesn't seem to make a difference when it comes to cast iron imo...

Give me a cheapo Lodge cast iron and I'm a happy camper.  I love cooking in cast iron.  I love everything about it, especially the durability.   That said...

...the old school Lodge and other brands had a perfectly smooth cooking surface.  They stopped making them like that decades ago, and the old ones go for decent bucks on eBay.  The new ones are fine, they just aren't as good.

There are some new manufactures who make the old school pans with the flat surface:

https://finexusa.com/

Quite expensive, but will last several lifetimes. 

galliver

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2019, 08:10:24 PM »
Aren't the standard lodge brand ones like $10-$15?  Brand doesn't seem to make a difference when it comes to cast iron imo...
Small ones. 12" is $30. Grill pan looks like $30-40+

Fishindude

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 06:39:18 AM »
Antique shops are a great source for cast iron cookware and it can be purchased pretty reasonably.   It's also well broken in, as opposed to the new Lodge brand stuff or similar which takes quite a bit of use before it's good.

accolay

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 01:48:11 PM »
Brand doesn't seem to make a difference when it comes to cast iron imo...

Not so much, but vintage cast iron pans (before 1980s methinks) have a smoother cooking surfaces.

Le Poisson

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 02:02:54 PM »
WE have 4 CI pans. One we got from a friend who thought it was crap (she hadn't seasoned it or gotten a smooth surface). 2 we bought at an auction in a box of kitchen stuff for $5. We threw out everything else and kept the pan. The last one is a griddle - we got it at a yard sale. We also have a CI dutch oven. I forget where it came from, but its been used for everything from deep-frying to stews and even baking cakes.

I am amazed at how expensive CI can be, but as noted here, even if it is rusted beyond recognition, it can be brought back to life with a good seasoning and the application of a little steel wool and elbow grease. I love those pans.

Teachstache

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2019, 06:53:17 PM »
I bought my first cast iron pan from Aldi on clearance for $10. It's a 14 inch pan, I believe. I had wanted cast iron for a long time. I love it. I then found a 6 qt cast iron covered casserole dish (a Dutch oven without the feet) for $5 at an estate sale. I love both the pan & covered casserole. We use them for pizza & braising.

moof

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2019, 12:03:46 PM »
+1 for Lodge.  Not the best, but quite decent for the price.

Look into using flaxseed oil for your base seasoning if you ever need to start from scratch.

dougstash

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2019, 03:55:06 PM »
Huge cast iron fan here. I own two skillets. Both are cast iron... one 12” lodge picked up at Walmart for about 20 bucks and one 8” ozark trail also picked up from Walmart for about 4 bucks. Without a doubt the lodge is higher quality. I use them for everything. Sautéing, baking, searing, frying.  I personally wouldn’ buy the ozark trail again. Partly because it’s just not as good of a product (but still a bargain at 4 freedom bucks) and partly because it’s chineseium. Not that everything that comes from China is bad but I prefer to buy American made goods as I live here in the US.

Anyway... Welcome to the Iron family! A family that will debate for generations about weather or not it’s okay to use soap to clean our cookware

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2019, 03:39:05 PM »
Yes, the older pans had a much smoother surface.  You can get that on new pans, though, too!  A few minutes with an orbital sander (or a fair amount of elbow grease) will net you a similar finish.

seemsright

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2019, 08:23:03 AM »
After high school while I was setting up my apartment I decided that I was only ever buying one set of pans. I had no idea what I truly needed so I bought Cast Iron skillets I got a very large one, a deeper one, a medium one and a small one, a grill pan one, and a dutch oven. This was in 1998 it was a massive learning curve to learn how to cook in them.

I now know I bought way two many. But I am glad I have them. I baby them and it took a long time to get enough seasoning on the small skillet to cook eggs...and man I have that skillet so seasoned it is like cooking on glass.

ice1717

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2019, 11:48:25 AM »
Fellow cast iron lover.  Changed my world when I started making deep dish pizza in my cast iron 12" pan. 

FreedomSeeker

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2019, 12:05:56 PM »
We are currently switching to cast iron and ridding ourselves of Teflon coated pans.

We have ordered the 10 and 12 pans by stargazer. Cannot wait until they arrive!!!


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thd7t

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2019, 12:54:55 PM »
I bought lodge ones on sale about 10 years ago and ground/sanded one of them to a very smooth finish.  Reseasoning it was a bear, but it's a really nice pan!

Telecaster

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2019, 01:22:19 PM »
Yes, the older pans had a much smoother surface.  You can get that on new pans, though, too!  A few minutes with an orbital sander (or a fair amount of elbow grease) will net you a similar finish.

This idea was rattling around in my head, so I took a 3M paint and rust stripper brush to my wife's trusty old Lodge skillet.*  That knocked the patina off the surface of the pan pretty quickly, then I polished it up with some 60 grit sand paper on my orbital sander.  40 grit probably would have worked better, but 60 is what I had.   I did two rounds of seasoning in the oven (Pre-heat, wipe with Crisco, two hours at 400 degrees).   

Then it was time for the egg test.  I cooked two eggs over easy.   The eggs turned out perfectly.  There is something about the connection of the eggs to the pan that makes cast-iron cooked eggs superior to eggs cooked in a non-stick pan.  Now, there was a little bit of sticking.   Not enough to create issues flipping the eggs, but it was there.   Clean-up was easy, but did require some scraping with the spatula.   There are a couple other little potential niggles.   The surface is not perfectly smooth.  There are still some pits from the sand casting that I couldn't sand out (hence why 40 grit might have been better, at least initially).  But it is pretty darn smooth.   Much improved over the original surface, but not as smooth as the factory finish on the Finex.     Another is the patina on the cooking surface is a different color than the rest of the pan.   I think this actually makes the pan look cooler, but not everyone might  agree.  Anyway, since we got the Finex the Lodge has been relegated to the camping equipment, and the functionality is much improved.  So I'm call this an unqualified success.   

To summarize, I love the Finex, but after sanding the Lodge, I wouldn't buy another Fixex.   It really didn't take very much time to sand and re-season the Lodge.   The sanding was 10-15 minutes, something like that, and other than the waiting around time, it took about the same amount of time for the seasoning.   

*I thought it was my Lodge skillet, and she was not entirely pleased to see me sanding off the well-seasoned surface layer.   I'll cook her an egg and see if that changes her mind. 

BlueHouse

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2019, 10:51:07 AM »
Brand doesn't seem to make a difference when it comes to cast iron imo...

Not so much, but vintage cast iron pans (before 1980s methinks) have a smoother cooking surfaces.

I thought the whole reason for the smooth cooking surface was the seasoning?  Including years worth of food molecules getting jammed into every nook and cranny?  Isn't that what "seasoning" means?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2019, 07:04:50 AM »
Brand doesn't seem to make a difference when it comes to cast iron imo...

Not so much, but vintage cast iron pans (before 1980s methinks) have a smoother cooking surfaces.

I thought the whole reason for the smooth cooking surface was the seasoning?  Including years worth of food molecules getting jammed into every nook and cranny?  Isn't that what "seasoning" means?
The way I understand it, it's the porosity, not the surface smoothness, to which the seasoning adheres.  The seasoning itself won't smooth out a rough surface very well.  In my experience, smoother pans take seasoning better, and a smoother seasoned pan is slipperier than a more textured pan that is seasoned.

Telecaster

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2019, 09:34:35 PM »
I thought the whole reason for the smooth cooking surface was the seasoning?  Including years worth of food molecules getting jammed into every nook and cranny?  Isn't that what "seasoning" means?

What zolotiyeruki said.   The seasoning is primarily a surface effect; fat molecules polymerizing and bonding to the iron.   Over time the cooking surface will become smoother, especially if you scrape and push with a steel spatula, but ultimately if you start off with a bumpy surface you'll never get to smooth.   

Smoothing the surface of my Lodge pan noticeably improved the quality of the pan. 


soccerluvof4

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Re: Cast iron skillet
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2019, 04:12:14 AM »
Since we have gone cast Iron 2 maybe 3 years ago I just don't like using other pans anymore. Seems like the keep trying to reinvent the pan with all the commercials i see but Cast Iron is just so simple.