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Old 10-04-2006, 08:06 PM   #1
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More cast iron questions...

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Goodweed said: And if they say Griswold, or Wagner on the back (especially Griswold), do a little happy jig. But whatever the brand, enjoy them like a good friend.
This was my question. I haven't had any luck finding cast iron pans at thrift shops/flea markets so I'm ready to buy. I am not going to pay for the shipping of the pan so I need to find one close to home.

My question was "Is cast iron, cast iron?" Is there a special brand? Are there different grades....?

Just what should I be looking for?

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Old 10-04-2006, 08:09 PM   #2
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What kind of 'cooks' store/shoppe do you have nearby?
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:10 PM   #3
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I would like to know this as well. Lodge is the best know, most available right now, but I have often heard people saying what Goodweed said about Griswold and Wagner. What makes those better? It it just that they are rare or are the better somehow?

HB, check out your local hardware store or camping store. Most of them carry Lodge which is the company that is most well known right now.
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:13 PM   #4
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Geez, I hadn't even thought of the camping areas in stores. We have plenty of cooking stores. I just wanted to know what I should check out.

Is cast iron like stainless steel and have different grades?
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:16 PM   #5
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As far as I know, you will not find many different brands. I would be surprised if you found more than just Lodge (although I could be quite wrong on that).

I would think the only difference would be how thick the metal is. The thicker (heavier) the better. My guess though is that any differences you find will be very small.
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:22 PM   #6
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Griswold was the most famous raw cast iron made in the US (Erie PA) their pans were smooth as glass once seasoned. Wagner was close. Lodge seems to be coarser, but once well seasoned I haven't had a problem. Other brands do not seem to be as carefully made...some have a coating that must be removed etc. The Lodge preseasoned is an advantage to start with. Emerilware (Allclad) makes a few pieces as well.

I would certainly go with Lodge today rather than a brand with no history.

If you are looking for enamelled cast iron, much more expensive, Lodge makes some pieces, as do many other companies. Lamont and Le Creuset are both top quality. Many of the Chinese imports have a thinner coating of enamel which can chip. buyer beware
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:23 PM   #7
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Thank you all very much. I'll be off to find a thick cast iron skillet or 2.

Now, what sizes do you suggest, if you were only buying 2?
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:47 PM   #8
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Lodge and Camp Chef make very good cast iron. . Most camping stores carry these brands, MACA also casts some fine iron, but I don't think I've seen them do skillets, just ovens.

Lodge and Camp Chef are hard to find anymore that aren't pre-seasoned. If you want to season your own, your search will be harder.

You can get good cast iron from other cheaper brands (Tek Sport, Stansport, Ridgeway by Kelty) too but you have to do some checking to make sure you get a good casting. You want smooth on the cooking surface and even thickness all around. The surface won't be as smooth as stainless steel pans, but choose the smoothest one you can find. If you're getting one with a lid, check how well the lid fits. You want an even tight seal. No rocking, no gapping.

Sizes, 12 and 10 inches. Skip anything smaller.

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Old 10-04-2006, 08:49 PM   #9
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Oh one more source. Harbor Freight carries their own brand in store usually. You can find good ones there too. Check the casting though as there are some stinkers.
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:33 PM   #10
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I was thinking 12" and 14". The 10 seems small, like for cooking a grilled cheese.

I'm going to print this out tomorrow so I have my reference sheet.
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