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Newbie question about cast iron frying pans.

aman inavan


Joined: Nov 20, 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Cornwall UK
Hi Folks

I am in need of a new frying pan and I am quite interested getting a cast iron one however all the new ones on the market are lodge pans and have a texture on the cooking surface and there is a shortage of vintage ones about here in the UK although I am now going to keep my eyes open for vintage stuff and car boot sales etc.

The other ones that seem to be available are enamelled. Are these any good and will the lodge ones become more smooth the more they are used and seasoned. Will the texture get filled in with fat etc

Thanks

aman


Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT
I don't care about spots on my apples,
Leave me the birds and the bees - please
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5857
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  88
I have several Lodge pots/pans, and "Yes", they (like all other good cast iron pans) do improve with age/use.

You can often find good ones on eBay, but most people often buy them as collector items, which drives up the final bid. I don't know how often they would show up on the UK eBay, but they are very common on the US site. I would hate to pay the shipping from US to UK...they are quite heavy.

If you can find "Griswolds" or "Wagners" at decent prices, grab them quickly.

A great article about cast iron pans is Paul's, found here:

http://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsphttp://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    5
I have two Lodge ones that I got on Amazon.co.uk The first few times they were a bit 'sticky' (having that slightly gariny surface) but I delighted in using metal implements when cooking with them and kept them well oiled and now,one year on, they are lovely and I cook with them almost every day. I did have to strip them back in July as we went away for a few days and left the farm with a friend who obviously knew nothing about cast iron so I got back to super-scrubbed-with-detergent pans that were all rusty - sigh, grrrr. Makes me reluctant to go again - how sad am I
aman inavan


Joined: Nov 20, 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Cornwall UK
Thanks Alison
I will get me a lodge from amazon and keep an eye out at car boot sales for an old one
Thanks
aman
Ivan Weiss


Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Posts: 152
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
I have both Wagner and Lodge cast iron utensils. If you care for a Lodge pan properly (rub in oil or lard or beef tallow or lecithin spray after every use, use metal spatulas, etc.), Lodge is as good as any other brand, and I find the reports of its purported inferiority to be overblown and a little bit silly. They all take time, constant use, and proper care to "break in." None of it is esoteric knowledge or rocket science.

I have two cast iron skillets, three Dutch ovens, two loaf pans, and two muffin tins. I use cast iron every day, for 50 years or more. I have never found it necessary to seek out Griswold or any other particular brand, just whatever's available.

Pastured poultry, pork, and beef on Vashon Island, WA.
aman inavan


Joined: Nov 20, 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Cornwall UK
Thanks Ivan

That is what I wanted to know

aman
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2057
Location: FL
    
  43
I have 2 Lodge 10' skillets. One is fairly new. The old one was working so well for me I went out and picked up the second one.


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Lolly Knowles


Joined: Aug 22, 2011
Posts: 159
Cast iron skillets are so versatile. I have two 10" here at home and two more at the camp site. How can you make both fried potatoes and cornbread without two iron skillets?
John Sizemore


Joined: Mar 27, 2011
Posts: 94
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
If you season you lodge pole correctly and cook in it about a week it will get smooth just like the old ones. If you throw an old one in the fire it will get the surface just like a new one. I found several rusty ones and showed a friend how to fix them by just burning them and then reasoning them.


I am the first generation of my family to grow up on the grid eating out of the super market. I hope to be the last.
aman inavan


Joined: Nov 20, 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Cornwall UK
Thank you.

I am going to go into town i a day or two to see if our local hardware store has anything. I seem to remember they had enamelled cast iron pans but not the raw ones

aman
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    5
The enamelled is not so good long term IMO. If it gets a chip in the enamel then that's it mucked up for good. It was always the downside that I saw for that oh-so-popular-over-here Le Creuset.
aman inavan


Joined: Nov 20, 2011
Posts: 79
Location: Cornwall UK
I'm never gonna be able to afford Le Creuset that's for sure. They seem very over priced
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 3960
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
130
Aman - I bought a small Lodge cast iron fry pan from Amazon.uk a few months back. I also bought the closest thing I could find to Paul's recommended scrapey utensil thing from ebay. The first time I used it I did manage to get something stuck to it, but my son promptly took it over, having read Paul's article, and turned out perfect eggs from the first time he tried. To say I'm impressed would be an understatement...

They seem to be unobtainable in central Portugal though, so buy one before you come over!


What is a Mother Tree ?
David Bates


Joined: Dec 05, 2011
Posts: 78
Location: Mountain Grove, Ontario, Canada
I have several nice cast iron frying pans and prefer them to anything else for cooking. Sometimes well meaning people will clean them too well and they may get a bit of rust and pitting on them. It's not a problem as I sand them with a bit of sand paper, wipe them with a vegetable oiled rag and temper them again (i.e. put them in a hot oven or on a stove until they smoke a bit). I have never come across a better no stick surface and know that my family and I have all the iron in our diet we need.

One of my pans (that used to be my grandfather's so it is probably a century old) has a wooden handle that I have to remove but all of them are excellent to bake in. Cornbread! The only trouble I have baking in cast iron is that I *usually* forget about the handle and burn myself... once... each time I bake. Use a mit


much of what my neighbours consider to be good I consider to be bad
John Sizemore


Joined: Mar 27, 2011
Posts: 94
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
We fight over who inherits cast iron in West Virginia. It is that good. The great thing is it is universal. Electric stove, gas stove or open fire.
Erik Lee


Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 87
Location: Zone 6 - Missouri
I'm lucky enough to have stumbled across a big collection of griswold and wagner at a local flea market, but I've been eyeballing those lodge pans too (mostly the big ones). I've been thinking about trying sand paper on them to see if I can speed up the wearing process to get a smooth finish -- has anyone done this before? If it works, it might be a way to "upgrade" the pan pretty quickly.
John Sizemore


Joined: Mar 27, 2011
Posts: 94
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
Every lodge pole pan I have ever had only took about three times of cooking in to get smooth. The fastest way would be to use lard to season them according to my mother but I have always had good luck with vegetable oil. Coat well with oil and bake it in the oven. At high about 150 Celsius or 375 F.
Then fry something that will leave a carbon coating. Or better make brown gravy from scratch in in and let the flour and oil fill the pores in the metal. When you clean it just uses a scratch pad with no soap and immediately coat with oil and dries off in the oven. The slickness in an iron skillet is built up carbon. If you put a well-seasoned iron skillet in a fire and burn everything off it will need to be redone again.
John Sizemore


Joined: Mar 27, 2011
Posts: 94
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
Cool video on cast iron pans.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfvHUahZYgM
 
 
subject: Newbie question about cast iron frying pans.
 
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