If you have access to any of that really old ironware for a reasonable price it is by far the best. It is thinner, lighter weight and doesn't require as much heat as Lodge but......because those brands are collectors items they tend to be pricey. If you want new stuff that is the best quality then look to Franch made ironware or Lodge. If you want light weight cookware that isn't ironware but has the same qualities then de Buyer is a good choice but it too is very expensive. Those pans are made from low carbon steel and have similar qualities to ironware but are very lightweight. I have Griswold pans (my favorite) Wagner, and a collection of de Buyer steel. I love the de Buyer too but as an example I have a very nice authentic low carbon steel wok but I prefer my monstrously heavy Lodge 14" cast iron wok.
great topic. i have a griswold 8. i want more cast iron. i know griswold and wagner are the two best. what about others like sperry & favorite piqua ware?
Dave Bennett wrote:
I love the de Buyer too but as an example I have a very nice authentic low carbon steel wok but I prefer my monstrously heavy Lodge 14" cast iron wok.
Great idea. Let us all know how it works out.
Gives me an idea. I can get (we have one) steel woks with a flat bottom .... authentic in the steel but not shape. They are relatively cheap at less than $20.... I think I will cut one down to a frypan to see how it works. The handle(s) are riveted on and could be moved down. I would use low carbon steel carriage bolts. I don't really need another pan, but I am interested to know how it would work.... Just decided to use both handles to keep it from tipping over when empty.
I agree with heating the pan sufficiently especially with the older pans that were made with better quality iron so they are somewhat thinner and machined well too. I do have a couple of exceptions. My 14' Lodge wok has a pretty long handle and is a different cooking method so that much heat isn't needed and also my 8" Wagner "egg pan" never gets heated that hot for eggs. I don't like crusty eggs. I cook them over much lower heat so they don't become tough and chewy.
Paul, saw your article in Countryside. We've been cooking on CI all our lives and inherited several nice 90+ year old pieces that still cook anything we throw at them. The only thing I haven't seen mentioned in this forum or in your article is something my grandmother used to insist on; the pan isn't hot enough until you can't hold on to the handle! It takes a while for all that iron to really heat up.
Why is it that sometimes my cast iron leaves black bits on my food? Is this burnt food caked on? How can I remedy it?
Jami McBride wrote:
What type of cooking oil/fat do you use?
I would say it is bits of old oil/fat flaking off - unless you use animal fat lard/butter and wipe the pan good while it's still hot, then I'd say your burning bits of your food.
I cook with tallow pretty much exclusively. So you think its food?
Should I use a metal scrubber?
You could use Palm Oil. It has a very high smoke point (425 degrees F) so it is possible to heat the iron pan very hot without "smoking" the oil. If you are aware of the source of the oil. I would recommend that if you chose to use Palm Oil make sure that it comes from Africa and not Southeast Asia. The producers in Africa essentially harvest the Palm Fruit from wild trees and it is not an issue of deforestation or endangering species. I buy mine from Tropical Traditions and it is the Virgin Oil so it is red in color and does have a distinct flavor but you could buy the Palm Oil Shortening which looks like hydrogenated oil but is not. The reason that it is solid is because the liquid component of Palm Oil has been removed by mechanical means. That would give you both a cooking oil that has a very high smoke point plus extremely healthy shortening for making your biscuits.
Pedro VanGogh wrote:
My only concern with cast iron is the recently published studies on the carcinogenic properties of heating oil past the smoking point, and also re-using oil. It seems to me that the "seasoning" of cast iron might hold carcinogens that are being released into the food. Any thoughts on this?
Yes Lodge is the only ironware manufacturer left in the US as sad as that sounds it is true. Some of my Lodge skillets are beginning to get as smooth as my older Wagner skillets but I doubt if I will live long enough to see them become as smooth and glass like as my Griswold. The iron ore that was used was just better in those old pots and pans. Wagner was located in Ohio and had access to that fine grained iron ore too. Lodge has been in business since the 1890's but that fine grained iron ore is long gone.
sunshine ax wrote:
I was happy to find my lodge logic at my favorite local hardware store and bought it when I saw it was made in AMERICA! Massive plus.
I never realized that it was rough until I read this article. I loved it so much that I went back and bought the one that is a Dutch oven with a frying pan lid.
They are fantastic! I use any oil or fat that is a naturally occurring oil. Olive oil, animal fats, etc. (not corn or other GMO crops regardless of their being labelled organic. Even organic farmers can't be sure that GMO pollen hasn't blown in - personal boycott). Most things will cook well on low enough heat that won't cause the oils to smoke. Eggs work best on very low heat. Steaks should be grilled or baked anyway. Ground beef is best cooked at it's rarest anyway and the outside always browns nicely without cranking it up to HI.
I cook tika massala and spaghetti sauce in my pans all the time, but I don't leave them in the pan long enough to start reacting with it. I know it's reacting the second they touch, but it doesn't seem to affect the flavor until it's been in there for over an hour or more. For me I refuse to cook in anything else.
I clean my skillets when they get really nasty with glucose soap (just a touch of Bronners) and a stainless scrubber. I rub it lightly enough to get real crud out and no harder. For regular cleanings, I just use water and my home grown loofas. These loofas will last FOREVER! They are hard and scrubby when they are dry and soft and absorbent-ish when they are wet. I highly recommend growing them, or at least buying them instead of synthetic scrubby sponges. I've been going strong with only loofas and stainless scrubbers for about a year now and don't remember any issues.
Anything that lasts forever and / or can be grown is alright with me!
I haven't ever tried to master seasoning since my cleaning, light scrubbing and immediate heating and oiling has worked like a charm.
Hey, I've found cast iron in the trash before. Look through the trash when people move!
Lynn CS wrote:Heat up the pan then add the fat or not and then the item to be cooked. Hot pan, cold oil, then add food. Nothing will stick. Never heat up the fat/oil with the pan.
paul wheaton wrote:Jocelyn shows us how to put a new seasoning layer on a funky old