Cast iron skillet recommendations

Webster

TVWBB Member
As with most things, choosing what cast iron cookware to buy depends on what you plan to do with it. For example, if you are unfortunate like me and have an electric glass top stove (no natural gas where I live), then you want something that is light weight with a flat bottom (no "heat-ring").

Vintage Griswold and Wagner pieces are typically more desirable for their smooth cooking surface and relatively light weight. However, these are not the best choices for use on a charcoal grill because they are susceptible to cracking and warping.

For the grill or gas stove, modern Lodge is a good but vintage Lodge is better. I see very nice "3 Notch" #8 skillets all the time at thrift stores and antique malls at reasonable prices (< $30). These have the smooth as glass cooking surface that distinguishes "the good stuff" and they are tough. BSR is also a great manufacturer to look for.

I have found that size matters on the grill, as in it's much easier to flip whatever I'm cooking (on the grill) in a larger skillet than a smaller one. I have a #10 Wagner that I use just on the grill. The size is right but it's already warped to the point that it spins & rocks on the stove top.

Flat-bottomed cast iron kettles make fantastic bean pots on the grill or in the smoker. Dutch ovens, griddles and various cast iron pots make great grilling accessories. Once you start looking for the stuff, it's amazing what you can find.

Here are some useful links:

 

Garth C

TVWBB Super Fan
Very nice Finex. Just got my Stargazer and it's so weird in color. after 3 coats of seasoning it's not even close to being black. not gonna let it cook eggs until 2 more coats. Will see if it gets darker. All my other cast iron stuff is newer cheap lodge. Can't find anything wrong with lodge stuff, just wanted something different and bigger and lighter for eggs.



 
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Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
Those stargazers look awesome. It's just a little weird that something you think of as old fashioned like a cast iron skillet is named "Stargazer". I bet it darkens up over time, although that inner surface is really smooth!
 

Clint

TVWBB Olympian
Those stargazers look awesome. It's just a little weird that something you think of as old fashioned like a cast iron skillet is named "Stargazer". <snip>
I dunno, Dustin, I bet there's been a lot of stargazing done while cooking in cast iron over the last 2000 years :)

I remember watching the stars around a campfire with my friends at the lake, we were waiting for my DO chicken & potatoes to finish in my first dutch oven, trying to imitate meals I'd been served by family/family friends.

The more I think of it, the more fitting the name Stargazer becomes!








 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
I dunno, Dustin, I bet there's been a lot of stargazing done while cooking in cast iron over the last 2000 years :)

I remember watching the stars around a campfire with my friends at the lake, we were waiting for my DO chicken & potatoes to finish in my first dutch oven, trying to imitate meals I'd been served by family/family friends.

The more I think of it, the more fitting the name Stargazer becomes!
You've sold me on it!
 

Kim H.

TVWBB Member
My daily CI is a Wagner skillet and a Wagner Dutch Oven from the 1950s. I find it is much smoother and lighter than the heavy and rough texture finish on the current Lodge products.
 

Corey Elks

TVWBB All-Star
Kinda off subject but...... i’ve been a avid cast iron user for many many years. I’ve recently just discovered carbon steel pans and I have fallen in love all over again !!!!!!
 

Corey Elks

TVWBB All-Star
Kinda off subject but...... i’ve been a avid cast iron user for many many years. I’ve recently just discovered carbon steel pans and I have fallen in love all over again !!!!!!
Ditto. I still love my cast iron but ive been loving the carbon steel lately!! Heats up quicker is lighter and really cooks the same. Ive been using the lodge 12 inch carbon steel pan the most.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
Corey, I'm easily confused and you're not helping, lol. But on a serious note, someday I need to try some carbon steel. Over the past year I've added a couple enamel-coated CI items and I'm digging them since I seem to struggle with a good season and the cleanup is also much simpler.
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Platinum Member
I've got 4 cast iron skillets. 2 are modern lodge, one a 10.5 and one a 12 inch. I've got another "8" that collectors call a "hammered ugly" that was my grandmothers. I also have a vintage lodge 8. The vintage lodge and the hammered ugly both have smooth surfaces. My modern lodges are both over 10 years old and maybe I've smoothed them out just by using them, but in all honestly I can't tell the difference in the way they cook from the smooth ones. They all get very regular use. I've been tempted to buy one of new fancy expensive ones like Stargazer, Finex, Smithey, Field, Butterpat, etc. or nice vintage Griswold. My bet is it'll cook the same.

My favorite is probably that "hammered ugly" that was my grandmothers.
 

MikeCantell

TVWBB Super Fan
I love cast iron and want a carbon steel skillet, keeping my eyes open as some I have seen have really short sides for some reason. anybody have 1 with deep sides with a 12" bottom ?
 

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