Iron Skillets

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Evan Burck, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,434
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,614 / 2
    Cooking as much as I do, it seems downright silly that I haven't yet used a cast iron skillet. I'm looking to get one, and a dutch oven here soon.

    I've done some preliminary shopping, and see there's obviously a wide range of choices and prices. Not knowing the first thing about them, I don't even know what to narrow down to. Obviously, the most expensive options like the Le Creuset skillets aren't going to be what I'm after. But what separates the $20 skillet from the $100 skillet?
  2. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,428
    Montana
    Ratings: +213 / 1
    Evan, if I were in the market for a cast iron skillet I would be buying an old Griswold off of ebay. There is a reason that they refer to those old skillets as coming from "The golden age of cast iron". The casting and machining on them is superb.

    Of the modern day cast iron, you're paying for the name with Le Creuset. Lodge makes a damned nice, enameled, cast iron skillet (and dutch ovens).
  3. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,709
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +656 / 5
    I could comment on this, but I know nothing of cast iron skillets. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once. :)
  4. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,434
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,614 / 2
  5. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,428
    Montana
    Ratings: +213 / 1
  6. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,434
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,614 / 2
    Sweeeeeeeet. Looks like I'll be grabbing one soon then. Any tips on care and such? Last thing I want to do is pull some rookie mistake that would cause warping or something.
  7. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,709
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +656 / 5
    Ok, I'll put my .02 in. Lonnie is right (and yes, I'm a Camp Chef guy), those older pans are well made, purer (if that's a word) iron, thinner walled (may be the iron used) and machined down so it's nice and smooth inside. Griswold is the creme dela creme in the cast iron world, but I've always been partial to Wagners (since it's what my family always used). But my daily user is actually my parents old pan they got for a wedding gift back circa 1964. Is made by a company called BS&R (Birmingham Stove and Range). Made bacon from our pig this morning in it.

    [IMG]

    What size skillet are you looking for? I am in process of sorting out and liquidating some of my Wagners (I picked up a ton at yard sales, don't need all the ones I have except all my grandparents/great grandparents stuff).

    One word of advice on cast iron. LOW HEAT! I rarely go over a 4/5 on a 10 setting on my dial (so a medium/medium-low heat). Eggs, bacon, etc. Can give you some insight on seasoning too from some of the guys in the society I belonged to at one time (I'm more of a user then a collector, so I opted not to renew membership, but learned ALOT about cast iron while I was a member). But you will find pans made by tons of makers. Key is if you want a well made "truly old" pan, DO NOT buy one that says "Made in the USA" on it. People may ask "Well why not, isn't that what you're looking for?". Well, a truly old pan made by Griswold, Wagner, Lodge, Vollrath, BS&R, etc weren't marked "Made in the USA" that were thinly built and milled down. I had (and key word is had) a Wagner #8 marked "Made in USA" and a Wagner #8 that was an older stylized logo model, and the weight difference and production quality was completely different. Plus, the thinner walled isn't a bad thing with the older cast iron, still heats up the same, just takes a little less heat to get you there but still holds it in.

    Let me know what you're looking for. Have a few skillets and griddles I will be getting rid of. May even have a waffle iron or two (yes, cast iron over the heat waffle iron) I may get rid of too. :)
  8. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,428
    Montana
    Ratings: +213 / 1
    Get Jerry to divulge his seasoning method, it's a good one. As far as warping/cracking...let them cool down before washing. I never use soap, just hot water and a plastic scrubber pad. Clean it out, wipe it dry with a paper towel and wipe on a very light coat of oil (I use Crisco shortening).
  9. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,709
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +656 / 5
    Here's a question, do you plan to cook over gas/flame or on an electric top? Heat rings were originally made for the old stoves that you opened up the #8 slot and dropped that heat ring into it. Works good on flattop heating elements too. The rounded bottoms work good for direct heat like a flame source.

    Yeah, like I mentioned above, don't go over medium heat. I'd also suggest when you're done cooking clean it immediately and just let it sit (don't add oil to it, will go rancid). I always store my irons dry, then oil before I use it. If you don't have a good patina base, I can give you a few seasoning methods. But if you do get food stuck in it, put some water in the pan, heat up on the stove, and use a pan scraper (can get you one) to take the food out. Don't use a hard scrub brush, you'll take patina with it.
  10. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,428
    Montana
    Ratings: +213 / 1
  11. jeff bandy Make my day

    Posts: 2,229
    Edmonds, Wa.
    Ratings: +274 / 1
    Jerry, Who do I have to kill to get one of those griddles?
  12. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,709
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +656 / 5
    Hmmmmmmm. Let me think about that one. I think I have 2 or 3 I will get rid of. Keeping 2 of my regular users. Others will go bye bye. I think you could simply pay or trade for one. No killing needed. :)
  13. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,428
    Montana
    Ratings: +213 / 1
    Ah c'mon Jerry! Make him kill something!
  14. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,709
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +656 / 5
    Hmmmmmmm. Maybe we can kill off a bottle of Jameson. :)
  15. jumbo215 Jasper hickman

    Posts: 331
    lake forest park, wa
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    Ive had really good luck with the lodge cast iron stuff. I also got some great DO cases from cabelas also. I also echo the low heat also, and slow warm up.
  16. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,709
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +656 / 5
    Well what do ya think about this cast iron griddle?

    [IMG] ;)

    Here's a pic of my daily users, my parents old BS&R skillet and our old Wagner griddle. :) Still works like a charm.

    [IMG]
  17. Loren Jensen Active Member

    Posts: 1,013
    Sedro-Woolley, Washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    You can roll up to Woolley and eat some food at thee "Iron Skillet"

    Doubt you'll leave hungry or leave with a solid turd. Totally worth it, though.
  18. professori self-important blowhard!!

    Posts: 35
    Coquitlam BC
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I have an old 12" Grinnell (Canadian brand) from the '40s. It gets the best of treatment from me and provides the best, stick-free cooking you can find. Never sees soap, just an occasional soak in heated water for stubborn spots and a light spray with Pam after each use. (I use it often enough that rancid oil isn't a problem). I also have 3 Lodge dutch ovens, 2 w/tripod legs for use with briquets (12" & 10") and one flat bottom (12") for use in the home oven. I wouldn't ever consider an enamelled one.
  19. Stewart Skunk Happens

    Posts: 949
    Spokane
    Ratings: +48 / 0
    I've picked up a couple of pieces at Value Village for ridiculously cheap. The only negative to cast iron is weight. Other than that, it seems to be ideal. You can use metal utensils and not worry about scratching it. You'll never need to buy another skillet.
  20. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,394
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,354 / 9
    I've got one DO and one IS. Jerry, that griddle is massive. Too big to fit through the door!