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Thread: De Buyer steel frypans

  1. #21
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    Default Re: De Buyer steel frypans

    Every time I turn around I find another foundry that's making high-end cast iron pans. Most of them simply do a basic milling job on the interior surface to make it nice and flat. A few mill the outside so it sits truly flat on an induction cooktop. A few like Finex have big handles or distinctive design elements, others just make a great pan in a traditional style.

    My problem with them is that for $240-300, they aren't necessarily any different than a Lodge pan I can get at Target for $13. After a few layers of seasoning, they are indistinguishable in terms of performance. If they had better handles (which is one of the big points in steel pans) I'd say they offered something new. Unfortunately, they typically don't. If you're considering buying cast iron pans like these, Id suggest you join me in the clamor to grab some BluSkillet pans. The ones I have are indeed marvelous, though the lower profile of the De Buyer's means they can slide into an oven more easily; the tall handles like on BluSkillets work best for taller people.
    Lane DeCamp

  2. #22
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    Default Re: De Buyer steel frypans

    Good comment about Lodge. I've got a very old Lodge deep fry pan that I'd never ever give up for nuttin' and three small no name cast iron pans I've had since college...same deal. Something to be said for using your cast iron alot and it does not have to be fancy.

    LOL but I dig your link Will and it is great to see things we use still being made.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: De Buyer steel frypans

    One of the many problems with cast iron is that it warps if overheated. Then the bottom isn't flat and it rocks (at best) or doesn't heat properly (on an induction cooktop). eBay is ridiculously priced, but Goodwill and other local thrift stores usually have a pile of cast iron around. Sometimes they don't even keep it because they get so much that they can't sell. Buy cheap, and just be sure it isn't cracked, warped, or has bad pitting or other problems from misuse. (Steel is much more resistant to these problems compared to cast iron, by the way.) The easiest way to clean the stuff of all the accumulated grime, grease, and rust is to buy a bunch of it, get a $30 10 amp manual battery charger (Northern, Sears, etc.), a big $12 feed tub, and watch a youtube on electrolysis cleaning of cast iron. It's super-easy and you can do a half dozen or more pans at a time. Electrolysis cleans it perfectly without any damage, and as long as you don't stick your finger into the pot and shock yourself, it's easy and harmless. When you're shopping for pans, look especially for the popover pans (also called Texas muffin pans) and for deeper chicken fryers, any frying pan with a lid, and so on. (Just so you know that this forum isn't the only place for OCD nuts in the world, check out The Cast Iron Collector: Information for The Vintage Cookware Enthusiast) Clean it all and then season it all in your oven at one time. You can make some money with the stuff you don't want to keep or make Too Tall ecstatic with a free pan. The really old pans like the early slant-lettered Griswolds are pricey even when in poor shape, but just look for good condition and smooth surfaces. There were thousands of shops making nice cast iron pans back in the day. The old pans are thinner than Lodges and have much smoother surfaces. Very nice and they can even be ornamental on your wall if your sense of ornament turns that way.

    Of course, I suggest all this because we are, after all, a bunch of demented fools who actually like to scrape rim cement off carbon tubular rims and think that stitching a tubular repair is a great way to distract us from a good movie on the TV. We're not normal. You probably won't find that a $13 Lodge frying pan cooks any less well than a $160 Griswold antique, but hey, like with tubulars, ... Lodge does have a good thing going and their pans work great. The rough pebbly finish smooths out as you season the pan with a dozen uses or so, at which point you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference from a $300 machined one. And if you could, you should be using steel anyway. (I know Richard Sachs twitches every time I say that.) If you find a giveaway price on a ultra-premium cast iron pan, by all means grab it. I got a couple $300 pans at $50 for the pair because they were in a Goodwill store. But then, I haunt Goodwill stores looking for mint Masi Gran Criteriums in my size anyway.

    Bottom line: It's a pan. Cook with it. Use it. We're all imbued with the merits of fine steel tubing but it's the food we're focusing on here. Or I think it is.
    Lane DeCamp

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