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Old 01-01-2008, 02:24 PM   #1
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Cast iron skillet

I have decided that I MUST have a cast iron pan but I have no idea what to look for when purchasing one. I saw a few this past weekend, some considerably more expensive than others. Is there a brand that is best? After I do buy one, then what? I know I must season it somehow. Just not sure how to go about it. I also looked in a store that had used ones. They seemed "dirty" looking, on the bottom at least.

Okay, eagerly awaiting your replies!


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Old 01-01-2008, 02:31 PM   #2
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Lodge is probably the best on the market for new right now. It is pretty inexpensive too. You can also get it pre-seasoned, so you don't need to do anything to it before use other than a quick wash. It will also come with instructions on how to take care of it.

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Old 01-01-2008, 02:36 PM   #3
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Yes, Lodge is pretty easy to find. I've seen it at two of our area restaurant supply stores and at Wal-Mart. I think I've also seen Lodge pieces at Linens 'n Things.

My cast-iron skillets area all very old ones I purchased at yard/garage, etc. sales. I bought one from an 84-year-old friend who'd had it for a very long time. The skillet is over 100-years-old and is seasoned so beautifully it's practically nonstick.
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Old 01-01-2008, 02:51 PM   #4
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Lodge Manufacturing

You can "window shop" here! Shop around locally for the best price on what you like!
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Old 01-01-2008, 03:22 PM   #5
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Ok. You are serious about cast iron. There are three brands available to you, but only one comercially available as the other two are out of business. They are, in order of quality:
1. Griswold - went out of business in the 1950's
2. Wagner - went out of business in the 1990's
3. Lodge - still makes fine cast iron pans and pots.

The first two can only be had at garage sales, yard sales, or as inherited from deceased relatives (if they are still living, they won't give you their pans). Lodge is still produced and is of high quality. What makes it slightly less desirable is the grainy cooking surface cause by the sand casting techniques they use to cast their cookwear. Teh pits eventually even out into a smooth cooking surface through normal use, but it takes a year or two.

Both the Griswold and Wagner used sand-casting techniques as well, but somehow got a nice, smooth finish on the cooking surface that made seasoning easier. Also, Griswold used thinner cast iron in their pans which made them easier to manage as they are much lighter in physical weight than are either the Lodge or Wagner C.I.

All of these pans will outperform most any other frying pans on the market, except for specialty pans like a sautuse, or saucier. For browning and searing meats, they are unequaled and are a in class of their own. When used properly, they will last several lifetimes, which makes them as cherished for sentimental reasons as for their exceptional cooking performance.

Griswold can often be found at garage sales because few people understand the superiority of this cookwear over the cheap, readily available non-stick cookwear they see covering the displays at department stores. Most people by junk that has to be thrown away every two years or so.

There are those around here that will argue with my belief that cast-iron is the perfect cookwear for most things. This my advise to you, and I will stick to it.

Let it be said though, that good stainless steel comes in a close second.

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Old 01-01-2008, 03:35 PM   #6
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I totally agree with Goodweed. I never even looked at Lodge when purchasing my cast iron. I was patient and found a number of Griswold and Wagner pans at thrift stores and on eBay. If you wait and find used ones you will not be sorry. You may also want to join the forum at the Wagner and Griswold Society (WAGS for short). Those people are the most knowledgeable on the interenet and will help you select the best iron for your needs.
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Old 01-01-2008, 03:59 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone.

Griswold was the brand of the used ones I saw. They were priced around $70 which I thought to be too high. I was in a consignment shop in a tourist area which may account for the price. I have a friend that actually grab hers at her local dump. I don't think I will be that lucky.
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:04 PM   #8
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The Lodge cast iron now comes seasoned from the factory if you buy a new product. All you have to do is rinse it with hot water and get started cooking. I would suggest that you put it in the oven once and slowly raised the temp on it and let it warm at 350 or so for a little while.

Fortunately, I have a Lodge outlet about 30 minutes from my home. I recently bought a bunch of items there, and they have a lot of nice factory seconds for about %50 off that cook just as good as the firsts.

There are a few other manufacturers of cast iron, but Lodge is the domestic choice. The other stuff is made in China.
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:12 PM   #9
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I have three cast-iron skillets and a Dutch oven; I've had them for so long, I don't remember where I got them, but I don't think they cost very much - maybe $30-40 for the whole set. They don't have a brand name on them. Sometime last year, I bought a Lodge grill pan at the local feed-n-seed store for about $30.
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Old 01-02-2008, 06:31 AM   #10
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I'll pile on a recommendation for Lodge as well if you're going to buy new. There are some junky China-manufactured skillets out there. I've got a cheapo 12-inch from Meijer (Lake and Trail-brand, I believe) that is terribly cast. I used to think it was impossible to screw up a cast iron skillet, but that manufacturer managed to do it. I also just got an exterior enameled 12-inch Tramontina skillet (labeled "saute pan", but this thing weighs over 9 pounds!) that seems very well made in China.

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