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Thread: Good Cooking Skillet?

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    Default Good Cooking Skillet?

    Howdy Folks,

    For all of the other cooking aficionados out there what would you recommend for a good cooking skillet?

    I've had some decent ones in the past but they're all a bit on the thin side and over time they tend to rock on my flat electric range.

    What's a quality brand that cooks evenly and that enables you to make a good reduction sauce without burning?

    As always, thanks for the suggestions? You folks are the best for such questions !

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    A well seasoned cast iron of course.


    Marty
    Ookla... Ariel.....RIDE!!!!

    "Noble Knight of the Veg Table"

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    For me two brands stood out, All Clad and Calphalon One. I ended up with the Infused Anodized line of Calphalon and love it. Just stay away from anything with teflon
    Jim

    In Valor There Is Hope - Tacitus

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    Ditto on the teflon.

    The steel ones (all-clad, if you like spending money, etc.) are all very well, but honestly, I find cast Iron a heck of a lot easier to use. And pretty competitive on price, especially if you know where to look.

    Where to look = antique markets. Some brands are favored (Griswold) and command a premium, but frankly anything nice and solid should be equally good. Some mighty nasty ones can be cleaned up to be just great, but if you aren't inclined to do that, clean ones are not that hard to find. Just scrub them out really well. Make SURE you get rid of any accumulated burnt on grease. Wire brushes and steel wool are fair game. Then season. Plenty of instructions out there on that.

    Some people get real fanatic about cleaning/maintenance. The only real rule is clean as soon as you can. After dinner is fine. And don't soak in soap. Doing that with force you to re-season. In fact, minimize soap. Some people don't agree, but the truth is, a quick scrub with mildly soapy warm water is fine. And makes keeping them nice and clean a lot easier. Then just rub on a couple of drops of olive oil before putting away.

    -Mo

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    All Clad makes some nice stuff and they consistantly perform very well, however the prices can be tough to swallow. I have some Calphalon pieces that work well too, however their non stick is very heat sensitive and you can ruin a pan pretty easily if you're not careful. I also have some of the stainless steel Salad Master pans, they conduct heat amazingly well but the prices are insane. Recieved as gifts, I would have never paid what they ask.

    A well seasoned cast iron definately has a place in any kitchen. You can get them blazing hot and sear meats with no problem. Perfect for doing steaks, sear and transfer to the oven at 500 to finish. My cast iron is about the most versitile cookware I own.

    Check out places like Tuesday Morning and close out stores (Marshall's, TJ Maxx), their kitchen section usually has some pretty nice pans at a good discount.

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    All Clad and Lodge Cast Iron. I definitely would not do without the Lodge pan in my kitchen - you can do damn near anything it. I have used All Clad for over 12 years now and it is quality, quality cookware that nearly always is named the best in Cooks Illustrated testings.

    Dennis

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    As far as cleaning cast iron. I usually use a small amount of dish soap to break up any food left in, then dump some Kosher salt into the pan and scrub it down with that. The salt is abrasive and will scrub the pan as well as absorb any grease left on the surface. Rinse thoroughly and put the pan back on the stove top at high heat. Heating it back up evaporates all the water back out of it and keeps it from building any rust from left over moisture. Let it cool and store away as usual.

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    French black steel pans can't be beat for price and longevity.

    http://www.bridgekitchenware.com/cat...fm?Category=15

    If, you're considering cast iron (meaning you're willing to properly care for them) these are a better idea. Get to play Andre Soltner for a song!
    Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

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    For conventional pans (not non-stick), there is nothing like All-Clad, but they are dear. For nonstick pans you are better off going cheaper since they tend to wear out over time. Based on Cook's Illustrated suggestion, I recently picked up some Cuisinart Chef's Classic Hard Anodized nonstick pans (from Amazon.com), and have been very pleased with their performance and nonstick qualities.
    -Scotto


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    +1 on the All-Clad. I have some Ltd pots and a nice saute pan, and their stuff is top notch.

    Still, nine times out of ten, when I need a skillet/fry pan, I reach for the trusty old aluminum Wearevers. Can't kill 'em, and you'll find them in just about every kitchen on Earth.
    Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

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    Another brand which seems to be along the same lines as All Clad is Analon (at least in price). We've had a set of these for quite a while and they perform nicely. I've been enjoying the Calphalon Commercial Hard Anodized pans that go on sale frequently on amazon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ouch View Post
    Still, nine times out of ten, when I need a skillet/fry pan, I reach for the trusty old aluminum Wearevers. Can't kill 'em, and you'll find them in just about every kitchen on Earth.
    I assume these are not non-stick? (If they were, you could kill them, after all).

    -Mo

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    I cook as a hobby, teach cooking, etc., and can only reiterate what has been said here: nothing cooks like cast iron, the original non-stick. And now you don't even have to season it yourself--Lodge makes pre-seasoned cast iron cookware. It's cheap, and it's the best. (here's the sad part--the heavier the pan, the better it is. My wife can't lift cast iron.)
    some caveats with cast iron: don't cook with tomatoes, wine, or other acidic foods as the acid will destroy the seasoning and impart a metallic taste to the food. If this happens, just reseason the pan. In fact, if the pan should ever rust, become somehow "unusable," etc., just reseason it. How do you reseason it: some olive oil, duck fat, crisco rubbed all over, invert in the oven and bake at 350 for one hour, and the pan will be good as new. By the way--I never use soap in my cast iron pan--just wipe them out with a paper towel, rub lightly with olive oil, and put away for next time. Sometimes I use water, and sometimes some kosher salt if it needs scrubbing, but that's really very seldom. as I said, this stuff is the original non-stick. You can also use a dobie pad or a 3M scrubbing pad--just don't use soap, and always coat with olive oil when done cleaning.
    Now--to get the benefits of cast iron without the mess, go for Le Creuset. It's cast iron with an enamel coating. You can even put it in the dishwasher. We love ours. Problem: whereas Lodge is really inexpensive, Le Creuset is really expensive. If you're not willing to pay $200 and up for a good dutch oven, for example, the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated says that Target's house brand tests equally good and runs about $40. That's quite a price difference.
    To make a good fond for later deglazing, use all clad stainless. You'll get a perfect sear, and you don't have to be afraid to deglaze with wine afterwards. Again, a bit pricey, but you'll have it for a lifetime, and if you try a cheap imitation, you'll be unhappy anyway because it won't work.
    Now--everybody should have some nonstick pans--great for omelettes, eggs, etc., and again all clad makes excellent non-stick, and the new Calphalon One will actually take metal utensils and develops a great fond. Our favorite, however, in the non-stick category is Berndes. Heavy weight with a very solid and effective non-stick coating.
    hope this helps,
    Eric
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    I also have some of the stainless steel Salad Master pans, they conduct heat amazingly well but the prices are insane. Recieved as gifts, I would have never paid what they ask.
    You're correct about the performance of these pans. My wife and I inherited two pots and they are amazing. However, the current prices of Salad Master's new cookware put them out of our reach .

    I also heard good things about All Clad and Calphalon. I'll check these out after Christmas.

    Regarding the cast iron, I've never doubted its quality but I'm unsure if all those in my household would take the necessary steps to care for it .

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    Le Creuset is great for dutch ovens, but I'll pass on their skillets.
    Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

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    Quote Originally Posted by msandoval858 View Post
    As far as cleaning cast iron. I usually use a small amount of dish soap to break up any food left in, then dump some Kosher salt into the pan and scrub it down with that. The salt is abrasive and will scrub the pan as well as absorb any grease left on the surface. Rinse thoroughly and put the pan back on the stove top at high heat. Heating it back up evaporates all the water back out of it and keeps it from building any rust from left over moisture. Let it cool and store away as usual.
    As someone who is in this field professionally, I wanted to pass along a few tips. I always hate to refute people on the boards so I apologize Mike but you should NOT use soap on a cast iron pan to clean it out EVER. Cast iron is very porous and the soap can seep into the pan so there is the chance of ruining the taste of your food. Scrubbing out like that will also ruin the season that you put on it as well.

    In fact, I have had my cast iron pan for years and it has never even seen water. What you want to do is get a good season on it. And I know Lodge says their pans are pre-seasoned, but you should do it yourself anyway as it will make a difference. What you want to do is rub oil (I use olive, but any neutral oil will do, no nut oils) all over the outsides and handle of the pan. Then fill the pan about halfway with the oil and rub the oil into the other top half. Put it in the oven for one hour at 350 degrees. Let cool, dump the oil and dry it with a soft cloth. After a few uses, it will only take a soft cloth to clean it out while the pan is still kind of warm. For best results, after cleaning out, put some more oil on a towel and rub it into the interior of the pan. This should give you great results in using a cast iron pan for many years to come, and I swear by Lodge (great pans, great price and made in USA).

    Now cast iron is good for cooking steaks and such, but if you are looking to make and reduce sauces I highly recommend picking up an All Clad saute pan. Nothing beats All Clad for this task. It is much easier to control the temp on the All Clads because they don't hold their heat as well as cast iron. I would say pick up a nice big cast iron skillet and then a few pieces of All Clad. Are they expensive yes? However, All Clads will be good for a lifetime and if anything ever goes wrong with the pan, All Clad replaces it no questions asked. How many lesser quality pans have you thrown away over the years and then replaced with similar lesser quality pans. Over time, you actually save money buying the All Clads because really it is a one time investment rather than dealing with the planned obsolescence of the other pans and having to replace every five years of so.

    Le Creuset. Great for slow cooking, braising, soups, stews. However, for skillet cooking, frying, my advice would be to pass.

    Hope that helps.
    -Mike-


    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning it's as good as they are going to feel all day" -Frank Sinatra

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacArthur Mike View Post
    As someone who is in this field professionally, I wanted to pass along a few tips. I always hate to refute people on the boards so I apologize Mike but you should NOT use soap on a cast iron pan to clean it out EVER. Cast iron is very porous and the soap can seep into the pan so there is the chance of ruining the taste of your food. Scrubbing out like that will also ruin the season that you put on it as well.
    I know people who have been doing this for years with no trouble. They use only a very little soap in hot water, but it works fine.

    Oh, and btw., speaking of absorbing flavors, though, don't cook fish in your cast iron.... Unless it is a dedicated fish pan, of course.

    -Mo

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    If you have a flat electric range with a glass or ceramic top, use any cast iron vessel with an enameled cast iron trivet over the burner. Otherwise, you will scratch the surface of your rangetop.

    Shane
    Last edited by Shane; 12-14-2006 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moses View Post
    I know people who have been doing this for years with no trouble. They use only a very little soap in hot water, but it works fine.

    Oh, and btw., speaking of absorbing flavors, though, don't cook fish in your cast iron.... Unless it is a dedicated fish pan, of course.

    -Mo
    That is true Mo. There are also some people on here who boil their brushes to no harmful results even though most people around here recommend they don't. I think its more of a YMMV kind of thing and that it might or might not ruin the taste of food. With that being said, it is not recommended that you use soap when cleaning cast iron, and by no means am I proclaiming to be the expert I am just going based on what I have been taught and discussed with vendors of cast iron.
    -Mike-


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    Mike, I agree with you on the no soap. My wife has taken the seasoning off my skillets a couple of times, even with a little soap. She also cracked my grandma's old cast iron griddle. I got it after she passed on because I had fond memories associated with it of her. My wife went to rinse it with hot water right after making something with it and CRACK! Needless to say but I was not very happy. That is why I keep her out of MY kitchen!
    Erik

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