Originally Posted by kitchengoddess8
What is the difference between the Griswold and the Lodge pans?
All cast iron is made using a process called sand casting. Lodge CI is much heavier, due to thicker metal in the pans. It also has a grainy, almost coarse surface, whereas the Griswold pans are very smooth to the touch. In my experience, they both serve their purpose very well. They heat up and hold their heat well due to the thermal mass of the cast iron. Obviously, as there is more metal to retain the heat, the Lodge pans will actually be less affected by adding foods or liquids to the hot pan than will the Griswold. However, the Griswold is lighter in weight, which makes it easier to move around, is just as durable, and due to the smoother cooking surface, easier to season properly. Once seasoned, both pans are substantially stick free.
Another thing to remember, cast iron is a poor conductor of heat, as metals go. So the pans will have hot spots where the metal touches the flame, or heating element. The thicker pans, if allowed to heat up sufficiently, are less prone to the hot spots than are the thinner pans.
This is why I have Griswold, Wagner, and Lodge pans. I use my Griswold to fry steaks, eggs, and other foods that really don't care about hot spots. The pan surface is hot enough all over to do the job. But if I'm making a sauce, I use the heavier pan, and at a lower temperature to minimize the hot spots, as the sauce will scorch at the hot metal sites on the pan surface. Use of an aluminum heat diffuser eliminates this problem.
All CI is great for oven use, and under the broiler. It is also great for use on a campfire, where any smoke or soot deposited on the outside of the pan can be scoured off. I use my largest CI pans over charcoal, in my Webber Kettle Barbecue to make pizza that tastes like it was cooked in a wood-fired brick oven.
Griswold went out of business in the 1950's I believe. Wagner (the 2nd best CI pans IMHO) went out in the 1990's. Lodge is the only U.S. company still making cast iron cookware. There are other cast iron pan makers showing up on the market as consumers learn again the advantages of the cooking material. Like lodge, they are substantial pans, that weight a lot. There are also some very cheap pans out there that are poorly made, and can crack easily if transferred hot to a cold water environment (it's never a good idea to immerse any kind of hot pan into cold water. It can craze ceramic coatings, warp stainless steel, shatter cast iron, glass, stoneware, and ceramic cooking vessels), such as when pouring cold liquid into a hot pan.
If I've made any mistakes in this post, feel free to set me straight. I'm working from memory on this one.
Personally, I look for three names in cast iron, and in this order - Griswold, Wagner, and Lodge.
Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North