Recommendation? Cast Iron Skillet, not Lodge please?

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Yes, I have a good collection of Lodge cast iron skillets and particularly like the Blacklock series which are lighter weight (than traditional Lodge skillets) with gently sloped sides.

I am thinking of giving a Stargazer or the Field version a test run in my kitchen in either a 10" or 12" size. Among the more premium cast iron skillets, which ones do you find to be better or worth the money? Which brands and sizes do you prefer and why? Which ones have you tried and found to be over-hyped?

I'm looking for something more finished and smoother without excessive weight. I like the iron options such as DeBuyer Mineral B and similar Mafter pans but, I also find value in a heavier skillet with more thermal capacity for some of my cooking. I'm not interested in enameled cast iron skillets right now.

TIA,
Sid

p.s. Happy Easter weekend!
 
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They are harder to find, but if you can get a good Griswold, you'll love it. I inherited a couple pieces from my grandmother, cleaned them up and they are my main cooking skillets. In this case it is true, they just don't make them like they used to.

That said I have considered both Stargazer and Field but am also considering trying out carbon steel, but for I cannot foresee ever giving up my Griswold skillets. Please let us know your experience when/if you upgrade.

Grizz
 

skyhorse

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A good cast iron skillet is going to be heavy . Happy Easter. :)
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Joined
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They are harder to find, but if you can get a good Griswold, you'll love it. I inherited a couple pieces from my grandmother, cleaned them up and they are my main cooking skillets. In this case it is true, they just don't make them like they used to.

That said I have considered both Stargazer and Field but am also considering trying out carbon steel, but for I cannot foresee ever giving up my Griswold skillets. Please let us know your experience when/if you upgrade.

Grizz

I would love to find a Griswold skillet that wasn't unreasonable priced thanks to collectors, especially if it wasn't warped. The ones I've seen in the ~$50~$75 range all had issues that made them unusable for actual cooking (badly warped or cracked typically)

If you want a carbon steel crepe pan (highly recommended from me for more than just crepes!) or as the French call them fry pans, Mafter and DeBuyer Mineral are the two brands to watch for. I got my last one from the Amazon Warehouse for a great price!
 
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A good cast iron skillet is going to be heavy . Happy Easter. :)

Heavy is relative. The Lodge Blacklock are heavier than a cheap aluminum Teflon skillet but, are not what I would call heavy in general conversions. The classic Walmart cheap Lodge skillets are definitely heavier and their short handle makes them seem even heavier.

Regarding the new premium cast iron skillets, weights vary a good bit from light to medium to heavy. Pick the right tool for the right job! ;)

A good steak pan-seared in a heavy cast-iron skillet is a thing of BEAUTY if you ask me, especially when you lack a good grill or smoker! :) Mmm, pan-seared and basted in butter ....
 

drj211

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I have both the 10” and 12” Stargazer skillets, as well as the corresponding Lodge skillets. IMHO, the Stargazers are very expensive, but they do offer a significant discount around Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day. They also offer an extra discount to veterans, and are a veteran owned company. If it wasn’t for the discounts, I probably wouldn’t have purchased them. But they have now become my most used pans.

The Stargazer pans are a little lighter than the Lodges. The interior factory finish is far smoother than my Lodges have after many years of use. The handles are longer and give me better control over the shorter Lodge handles. They also have larger grab handles on the opposite side of the pan which gives me extra stability when lugging them around. After the initial sticker shock, I’m very pleased with the Stargazers. I’m a big fan of burgers seared and cooked in these pans! Here’s a photo from the cast iron and knives thread.

718A2131-C1D7-408B-B2EC-DB3E211B1F13.jpeg
 
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I forgot to add, I hand finish my lodge skillets. Sandpaper and a couple evenings work while watching TV will adequately finish a new lodge pan. I've always had good luck seasoning with pure sesame oil. I hardly ever use the oven anymore. Just heat the pan with a little sesame oil, maybe 1/2 tsp or so, on the burner. Wipe it around to coat the entire inside of the pan when it heats up with a paper towel. Keep on the heat until it just starts to smoke. Wipe again and this time wipe down the outside with the paper towel that is now partially coated with oil. let cool.

Grizz
 
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I like to use peanut oil myself with its high smoke point but, most any oil will work with a little adjustment to the overall heat profile.

DeBuyer recommends potato skins, coarse salt, and a small amount of oil. I did that in my first Mineral pan and it worked but, overall I wasn't impressed either favorably or not as that method being better or worse than any other.

A quick seasoning with the oil of choice and some bacon or ground hamburger for a couple of meals and I end up with a skillet that is generally ready for whatever I care to throw at it!
 

Arathol

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I would love to find a Griswold skillet that wasn't unreasonable priced thanks to collectors, especially if it wasn't warped. The ones I've seen in the ~$50~$75 range all had issues that made them unusable for actual cooking (badly warped or cracked typically)
Eh, they aren't all that hard to find.....
CuFCyojh.jpg


Flea markets, antiques shops, even places like a Salvation Army thrift shop can have some decent pans cheap....
 
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Maybe but, where I've gone collectors have driven prices way up. When I lived in Alabama, a rust old skillet generally started at $100 and went up from there. Around where I live now, it is all cheap imported junk unless you want to pay >$200 at some fancy boutique. eBay has been a bust for me as well as Salvation Army too.
 

skyhorse

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Heavy is relative. The Lodge Blacklock are heavier than a cheap aluminum Teflon skillet but, are not what I would call heavy in general conversions. The classic Walmart cheap Lodge skillets are definitely heavier and their short handle makes them seem even heavier.

Regarding the new premium cast iron skillets, weights vary a good bit from light to medium to heavy. Pick the right tool for the right job! ;)

A good steak pan-seared in a heavy cast-iron skillet is a thing of BEAUTY if you ask me, especially when you lack a good grill or smoker! :) Mmm, pan-seared and basted in butter ....
All my cast iron pans and griddle are old like me. How do they make cast iron lighter nowadays ? I've even have iron , irons. :)
KSGTG6g.jpg
 
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I think the thinner casting is more problematic in larger quantities these days with everything being mass-produced. The classic Lodge skillets are good examples of this with their coarser surface finish and thickness.

Thin cast iron is more difficult to cast and the casting process that leaves a smooth finish is more difficult as well. This is why I think this type of cast iron now is really only available from smaller foundries and is significantly more expensive.
 
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They look nice and rustic! There is a similar forge I don't remember the name of in the Pacific NorthWest (Oregon?) that hand makes some nice options as well. I vaguely recall one in Brooklyn as well but, I haven't seen it referenced in a very long time which I think also made copperware.
 

other memory

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I found a Borough Furnace skillet a few years ago at a local reseller. Exceptional quality. Long handle. Different enough from my Lodge that it warranted the purchase at $11 if memory serves.

As long as you’re willing to expend time and show up early in the morning on shelf restocking days, cast iron is common at resellers, at least in my area. Though, heads know what they’re looking for and pick the good stuff quickly. I got lucky with the BF.
 
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Recently out here in rural East Texas, I have seen WalMart Lodge cast iron sell for twice what it costs new at the store! I don't know if it just people from Dallas and Houston paying crazy prices for everyday common easily sourced cast iron but, $20 at Walmart gets you $40 at a Farmer's Market if it is greasy! :eek:

I guess Facebook crazies have them convinced "old used" cast iron has some mystical non-stick properties that won't kill their parrots!

I look at used cast iron everywhere from Goodwill to Farmer's Markets but, generally, the old stuff is warped and expensive. Someday I might be the "blind squirrel that finds the acorn" but, so far I have come up empty.
 

Phil Indablanc

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I would give a carbon steel pan a try. I use my Mafter much more than my cast iron now. It seems to do most tasks as well or better than cast iron.
 
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I have one Mafter myself and several De Buyer Mineral B's. On a good heat source, they work well IMHO. However, on a sputtering weak cooktop or stove, Cast Iron hands down is a winner for me.

I get a better sear on Cast Iron too but, I never really used carbon steel on a really high output BTU burner.

The curved sides on the Lodge Cooks skillet are really nice for a lot of things and the more I use it the more I like it. Omelets, Bacon, etc. are really easy in this skillet. I need to try pancakes but, my Crepe pans usually get the call of duty here. I bet it would do awesome on cornbread as well.

I recently took advantage of the Lodge Blacklock sale so, I'll have to follow up with those Only time will tell if I regret getting these instead of taking the plunge for a Field, Butterpat or, Stargazer.
 

drj211

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I have one Mafter myself and several De Buyer Mineral B's. On a good heat source, they work well IMHO. However, on a sputtering weak cooktop or stove, Cast Iron hands down is a winner for me.

I get a better sear on Cast Iron too but, I never really used carbon steel on a really high output BTU burner.

The curved sides on the Lodge Cooks skillet are really nice for a lot of things and the more I use it the more I like it. Omelets, Bacon, etc. are really easy in this skillet. I need to try pancakes but, my Crepe pans usually get the call of duty here. I bet it would do awesome on cornbread as well.

I recently took advantage of the Lodge Blacklock sale so, I'll have to follow up with those Only time will tell if I regret getting these instead of taking the plunge for a Field, Butterpat or, Stargazer.
Don’t have any regrets! The Lodge will serve you well.
 
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