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Old 09-04-2012, 04:33 PM   #41
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What is the difference between the Griswold and the Lodge pans?
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:56 PM   #42
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Griswold made great CI but is long out of business. Lodge makes the best CI today.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:06 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by kitchengoddess8 View Post
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
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:17 PM   #44
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I use blue can Crisco to season mine. Oil left my CI tacky.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:54 PM   #45
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I know of a mechanic who tried using engine oil to season cast iron.

His wife was furious.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:06 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by taxlady
I know of a mechanic who tried using engine oil to season cast iron.

His wife was furious.
Ewwww!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:48 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Griswold made great CI but is long out of business. Lodge makes the best CI today.
Griswold was bought by Wagner. Some CI pans from that period bear both company names, such as the Chef Skillet. Later incarnations of that excellent 9" pan bear only the Wagner name or no name at all.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:45 PM   #48
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I've always read to season CI with shortening vs. oil, though I can't remember the specifics as to why anymore.

+1 on the Griswold recommendation. A Griswold #8 or #9 is my next cooking purchase. Hoping to snag a good one from eBay for cheap.
The one I bought over the weekend was a Wagner, not a Griswold. IMO there is very little difference in cooking ability, This one looks like a mirror in the photos, and cost me $25 + $13 in shipping. They will often go for less if they need cleaning and seasoning. I doubt I will have to reseason this one.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:15 PM   #49
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I pan fried a 6 ounce sirloin medallion in a 12" stainless steel Farberware sauté pan and it was impossible to clean even after soaking it in warm water overnight and scrubbing it with Barkeeper's Friend powder. I made sure that I heated some sunflower oil in the pan before adding the meat, so I don't understand why the pan was so hard to clean. I cooked the meat on medium-high heat for three minutes on each side.

Should I have used a nonstick pan? Does anyone have a suggestion for a reasonably priced pan that can be used to pan fry a small piece of steak and is easy to clean?
You can deglaze it while it's hot just with some water, or make a simple pan sauce with some wine or stock or balsamic vinegar (and maybe a little heavy cream or cornstarch to thicken it) to both deglaze and get the benefit of all of that tasty goodness left behind. I use my stainless Kitchen Aid pan for steak all the time, and it does a wonderful job.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:05 AM   #50
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Griswold was bought by Wagner. Some CI pans from that period bear both company names, such as the Chef Skillet. Later incarnations of that excellent 9" pan bear only the Wagner name or no name at all.
Then Wagner was bought by Textron. I've been following the escapades of Textron for decades and it aint pretty.
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