Cast iron skillet recommendations

Ryan Foote

TVWBB Member
Using on my performer, what size, brand, price range, etc.? What size do I need to cook what? Sorry if dumb questions, but I have never cooked on cast iron and dont know much about it. Just been checking out some recipes that look insanely awesome! wheres the best place to buy??? Do you ever use these on the wsm?
 

Richard Hinton

TVWBB Fan
Lodge is the only USA company making CI cookwear, and USA-made is the only CI I will buy.
Around here, it's my wife and I and I use an eight-inch Lodge skillet on my Performer. I also have a two-quart Lodge dutch oven that gets a pretty good workout. There are times, however, that I wish it were bigger.
Going through this site to Amazon is a good as way as any to buy CI, and if you have Amazon prime, shipping can be free.
Since cast iron can last forever, there are lots of old pieces available on Ebay and the Goodwill store and possibly your local thrift stores, but shipping gets expensive. Wagner and Griswold are two popular brands of early cast iron. But they can get pricey since collectors are buying those pieces, too.
 

Doug Wade

TVWBB Super Fan
Pretty much what Richard said. Lodge is the only real option in current production (there have been problems with the Chinese-made ones containing hazardous materials). It's cheap so I'd get a few pieces and see what you like. I use the 10" skillet a TON indoors. Good size for a lot of things including cornbread. Just be aware that it gets better the more you use it, and the pre-seasoning it comes with is more like a base coat - you may get some sticking the first few times. You might want to cook some bacon on there just in case. Several times, ideally.

You kind of need to know what you're doing to get Wagner and Griswold since the brands got bought and in particular there are later Wagner skillets that are just miserable. You want stuff that was made before the 1950s, so you need to memorize the marks on the bottom. It's a whole involved thing. They were a little better made back then but the Lodge stuff is perfectly decent so I wouldn't worry about it too much.
 

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I have 10" and 12" round skillets, a square 10" grill pan and press (great from panini), a 10" round griddle, a bean pot and a 12" Camp Dutch Oven. I use them in the WSM and on the Kettle.

Best place to buy: if you don't live near South Pittsburg TN, have a Gander Mountain, Cabela's, or Cracker Barrel nearby, then online from Lodge or other source I guess.
 

Ryan Foote

TVWBB Member
Thanks guys, I am glad you mentioned the fact that newer Gris and Wags can be miserable Doug. I have seen many on Craigslist that sounded like good deals, but will avoid. I will probably go through this site and buy a couple Lodge's from Amazon. Happy Holidays, Ryan
 

Timothy Hoffman

TVWBB All-Star
I prefer vintage cast iron. I can usually pick it up cheaper than a new Lodge pan and if it isnt damaged they have a nicer finish.

This is my Griswold #7 from the 1920's before I cleaned it and reseasoned it.


My Wagner #3 after I cleaned and seasoned it. (1930's)
 

Tim K

TVWBB All-Star
Tim, how do you clean your cast iron? I would love for my Griswold to look that good!
Thanks, Tim
 

Doug Wade

TVWBB Super Fan
Cool skillets. If you can find vintage cast iron in your area for a reasonable price, definitely pick it up and give it a new home. Doesn't seem to be much of it in California - so much of the population came after the war and apparently they didn't bring their cast iron with them. We're reduced to haunting eBay or etsy...
 

Doug Wade

TVWBB Super Fan
Just to give you some idea of what they go for online - http://www.etsy.com/shop/tarapup?ref=seller_info# - this guy has a cottage industry of fixing these up and selling them online. With shipping you're talking $70 for a mid-sized skillet. Which is not unreasonable versus what a modern quality nonstick skillet costs but a lodge 10" skillet on Amazon is $16, no joke, and there are various ways to get free shipping.
 

John Boehm

TVWBB Fan
A few days ago I made the 40 min drive (lucky me) to South Pittsburg, TN to the lodge store. They have an excellent selection of scratch and dent CI that is perfectly good and cheap! I bough a 10 and 12in skillet, and a 4 qt pot. Unfortunately, 2 weeks ago I bought a 6 qt lodge dutch oven from a local cooking store for like $130, they sell the same one (discontinued brown color) in S Pitt for $69, oh well.
 

M Morrill

TVWBB Member
Unless you need an actual dutch oven, I would begin by checking thrift shops and garage sales. Buy whatever you find and try cleaning and seasoning. Then use it to cook. This way you can learn how CI cooks and what you need. I got a 2 qt Lodge for Christmas last year that works great but is way too small. Didn't know that till I used it. It does work well for small batches though.

Do not sweat it if you get something that isn't right, just learn to use it and if it is not right just give it away. Quick tip - making popcorn is an easy way to season a pan.

At this point I have about $6 invested in 2 pans, a #8 Wagner that was a beater and a little 8" that looks nice. I use them a few times a week and they work great. They do require your attention and you have to be careful with cleaning but it is a cool labor of love.
 

Mike Leiter

TVWBB Pro
I have a Griswold I got from my grandmothers when she passed .I had to clean it up some but its a pretty nice skillet. Use it all the time to sear and cook steaks and the like. I also have picked up a few other brands at sales and the like that are older but usually in well used shape needing cleaning. Found two nice 9" Wagners at the flea market for 15.00 :). Cleaned them and then oiled and baked them for awhile and then cooked a bunch of bacon on them for a few weeks and they are the best non-stick pans I own...BUT make sure if anyone ever comes over and helps with the dishes they don't wash them clean. My mother -in-law scrubbed my brother-in-laws pan and then threw it in the dishwasher while he was gone..He was sick......

I have noticed that although the new Lodge pans are nice they are not as heavy as the old ones are. Being so heavy is the one thing my wife hates about them so she sticks with the Analons...


I did see a Griswold at an antique store yrs back in Ohio and it was priced at over 600.00. The rare ones can get some hefty dollars nowadays....
 
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Clint

TVWBB Olympian
I prefer vintage cast iron. I can usually pick it up cheaper than a new Lodge pan and if it isnt damaged they have a nicer finish.

My Wagner #3 after I cleaned and seasoned it. (1930's)
I wonder if it'd be a bad idea to take some scotch brite and smooth out the metal...... I've been leaning towards my plastic spatulas instead of metal, thinking that it'd disturb the finish less.
 

R. Hutchins

TVWBB Fan
I noticed that no one spoke about enamel covered cast iron cooking utensils. The Le Creuset brand is high dollar but very good stuff, but I cannot afford it.

Within the last year, our local supermarket (HEB - Texas Chain) has begun to carry several enamel CI pots. I bought a 4 qt dutch oven for about $35 and a 10" saute pan for $20 and a 2 qt. pot for $20. Their line is called Cocina Ware. I don't know if it is an HEB brand or if it's sold under that name elsewhere. I've used it very often and have not been disappointed.

We use CI because we have one of those electric powered solid surface ranges. It doesn't heat most pots and pans very well. The 2 exceptions I've found are the Wolfgang Puck stuff sold at Sam's and this inexpensive enameled CI.

I'd like to hear from others who use enameled CI.
 

Jon Alex

TVWBB Member
I noticed that no one spoke about enamel covered cast iron cooking utensils. The Le Creuset brand is high dollar but very good stuff, but I cannot afford it.

Within the last year, our local supermarket (HEB - Texas Chain) has begun to carry several enamel CI pots. I bought a 4 qt dutch oven for about $35 and a 10" saute pan for $20 and a 2 qt. pot for $20. Their line is called Cocina Ware. I don't know if it is an HEB brand or if it's sold under that name elsewhere. I've used it very often and have not been disappointed.

We use CI because we have one of those electric powered solid surface ranges. It doesn't heat most pots and pans very well. The 2 exceptions I've found are the Wolfgang Puck stuff sold at Sam's and this inexpensive enameled CI.

I'd like to hear from others who use enameled CI.
Enameled cast iron cookware is great for recipes that have a lot of liquid such as tomato sauces, stews, etc. Normally these dishes can strip away the seasoning in a plain cast iron pot. I also find that enameled pots need to be cleaned regularly with a powdered bar cleaner so they don't build up debris and stain.
 

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
The nice thing about Lodge CI is, you can get it at Walmart:

10" < $16
12" < $20

7 Qt CI Dutch Oven < $50

Someday I hope to get the Sportsman's Grill < $112
 

Doug Selman

TVWBB Super Fan
Got a nice little collection started by chance now. I just got a new 12" Lodge skillet last month for my B-day. Used it to cook our Thanksgiving dressing in on the Genni and it came out great! My Wife and I, and her Sister and Brother are going in together to replace their Moms 25 yr. old range for Christmas. So today we went over to my MIL's and moved out the old one for delivery Monday. When I was helping her clean out the bottom storage drawer she had a couple of old CI pans that she hadn't used for years and were covered with dust, lol. I told her not to get rid of them before talking to me and she said "take 'em". When I got them home and looked at them, one is a Griswold #8 10 1/2" and the other one is a Wagner #6 9". I asked her when and how she got them and she said she got them from her Mother, and remembered her using them when she was a kid. So I scored a couple of vintage ones that I will clean up and reseason! Anyone know how I might find out the manufacture circa?
 

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