A cast iron skillet is an investment. It is a commitment to quality, often made by the frustrated chef, sick of the cleaning, scraping and burning. They are tough as nails. Whose mum doesn’t have a cast iron skillet older than the universe itself, in the bottom draw? These skillets are easy to store, last for ever and cook great. They are seasoned by a thin layer of polymerized oil, which gives them their non-stick qualities. The best cast iron skillet will have an even thin layer of this oil. But how do you we tell the best from the rest? What do you look for?
The Best Cast Iron Skillet List:
The Lodge 12-inch skillet
Lodge has been making cookware since 1896. They did not survive two world wars and the great depression by making bad pans. What I like about this pan and cast iron, in general, is the heat which the metal radiates. This cooks meat thoroughly, and it is the easiest metal to cook a, sunny side up, egg on. Because these skillets radiate so much heat, safety is a concern in the cast iron kitchen, but this can be overcome by a good pair of mitts and disciplined children. Every kitchen needs a 12 inch skillet and Lodge makes a one of the best cast iron skillets at an affordable price. On the downside, it is quite a heavy pan and the handle is small. Remove it from the heat source cautiously, using oven mitts or pot holders. Approximately ($50)
Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Skillet
Le Creuset are the Rolls Royce of skillets they began making cookware in 1925 out of a foundry in Fresnoy le Grand, France. They use hand crafted techniques and are a little bit fanatical about quality. This pot is exceptional. I found it heats up evenly for a cast iron skillet. If you prefer imperial measurements 26cm is 10.24 inches, so this pan, shy of 12 inches is a bit smaller than the Lodge skillet. It is light for its size weighing only 5.4 pounds, and with a big handle I find it easy to manoeuvre. This is one of the best cast iron skillets, its downfall would be the price. If you’re not afraid to pay top dollar for quality by all means go for it, but some may have trouble justifying the price tag that comes with this pan. It is about three times the cost of the Lodge skillet. Approximately ($150)
Staub Fry Pan, Grenadine, 10″
Staub is the Bentley to Le Creusets Rolls Royce; Or It would be, if those car manufacturers were both French. Staub originates from Alsace, a French region famous worldwide for its culinary tradition and good food. The first thing you will notice about the skillet, is it looks great. In grenadine red they have the aesthetics down. If all that matters to you, is how the pan will look hanging in the kitchen this is the one to buy. If you are also concerned with things like great craftsmanship, durability and an incredible cooking experience, it is still the pan to buy. This is in my opinion is the best cast iron skillet of the lot, it turns cooking into a spiritual experience. It even feels good to hold, balanced like a samurai sword, this pan only weighs 6.5 pounds. Like the Le Creuset you pay for this quality, but if you are going to spend $200 dollars on a pan this would be the one to spend it on. Approximately ($200)
It all comes down to what you are looking for in a skillet. The Lodge pan, while not as aesthetically pleasing is substantially cheaper than the other two. Cast iron skillets are built to last and you will probably only need to buy one, in your life time. If you want an aesthetically pleasing status symbol, fork out the dollars and buy a, hand crafted French masterpiece. The most important thing to take away from this is, all three of these skillets will cook a great meal. They are definitely in my top 3 Cast Iron Skillets list.