Your cookware preferences? Non stick, cast iron, stainless, carbon steel?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by AJBaker, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. dented

    dented Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a complete set of Lodge cast iron and a set of pots from that Italian girl (?) cooking show. Then one beat up skillet I use for breakfast every morning. I'm about to redo the handle for the second time. lol o_O
     
  2. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Friend of Leo's

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    Cookware is sort of my passion. I have a good ten thousand dollars worth of it. We live close to the All Clad factory, so we get to take advantage of deals that most people don't get access to.

    It's horses for courses though. I have numerous All Clad pans. I prefer the copper exterior and stainless interior. That is a limited line though, so most of my All Clad is Copper Core, which is stainless on both the outside and inside, with an inner sandwich of copper. These are what I use for most of my day-in-day-out cooking.

    I have quite a nice collection of cast iron too. They get used when I want to sear items without the pan going cold after you add the food. The thermal mass of cast iron retains heat very well, but it doesn't conduct heat all that great so it takes a long time to come to temperature. Cast iron is great for searing, reheating slices of pizza, toasting tortillas (dry), and baking corn bread or pan pizza. Lodge makes great inexpensive cast iron, but I love finding vintage cast iron at flea markets or yard sales. As with fine acoustic guitars, the vintage pieces usually perform better than modern. Never throw away a cast iron pan, no matter how bad it looks. They can usually be saved.

    My most non-stick pan is carbon steel. It is a pain in the butt to work with though since you have to season it every time you cook. Carbon steel just doesn't hold the seasoning like cast iron does. But it is lightweight and quicker to respond to temperature changes than cast iron. This is the pan I use if I'm cooking omelets, other egg dishes, chicken breast, fish fillets and other items that would stick to regular pans.

    Enameled cast iron is hit or miss for me. I love it, and it looks great. I own several Le Creuset pans, but I have had trouble with the interior enamel cracking. That ruins the pan since if you ingest a shard it would be like eating glass. I use enameled cast iron to cook "wet" items like a braise, soup, or chili. I also use these to bake bread in the oven. Since air is less thermally efficient, I'm not as worried about overheating enameled cast iron in the oven as I am on the stove top. I know I overheated one Le Creuset just cooking rice, hence my policy to cook only "wet" items on the stove top.

    I own one non-stick skillet. I rarely use it, but if I am just cooking a fried egg or something quick and simple I'll use that one. I don't trust non-stick pans, and using them feels like cheating to me since I know how to make carbon steel equally non-stick, and cast iron almost equally non-stick.

    It's like playing guitar. There is no one choice that is the best. Certain pans work well for certain situations. If I was just starting out today, I'd go to Costco and buy their knockoff pans that are almost identical to All Clad Copper Core, but at about the price of one All Clad pan. I'd also buy the white-handled Wusthof Ikon knife block knockoff set they sell. It's kind of like buying a Harley Benton instead of a Fender or Gibson.
     
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  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Cast iron all the way for me too (including the cookstove:cool:). We were gifted an enameled cast Iron Le Cruset pot that works well on our wood fired cookstove, as a "crock pot of sorts for all day simmering.

    FYI, burning teflon coated cookware can be fatal to pet birds. Canary in the coal mine?

    Oh, and that Lodge cast iron is horrible compared to older cast iron cookware. Just sayin'
     
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  4. MAXXFIELD

    MAXXFIELD Tele-Meister

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    Copper!
     
  5. rewind

    rewind Tele-Meister

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    I use cast iron and stainless skillets. But my absolute favorite for making big batches of sauce are my Wearever Aluminum. Light and commercial grade with an even heating all around. Also have their 12" deep pan and two smaller sauce pans. Funny thing is I got them all with their lids from a thrift shop for less than $25 total. Can't beat that price.
     
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  6. Alcohen

    Alcohen Tele-Meister

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    Cast iron for high heat cooking that doesn't require you to shake the pan ('cause it's heavy af). The big enamel dutch oven is great for braising. Restaurant-supply-store aluminum sauté pans for like 80% of your needs. Been meaning to try carbon steel for same; it has its fans but is more temperamental. One non-stick pan for eggses and other delicacies (although the newest non-stick I got from Costco (a Tramontina) seems excellent and reasonably bulletproof compared to the old teflon tech). A well-seasoned metal pan is basically non-stick.

    I haven't used the All-Clad or other fancy stainless much but they may work well, don't know. But if restaurants use cheap, super-sturdy aluminum, not sure why people think they need something else. A well-seasoned workingman's tool is my idea of a status symbol, but horses for courses as said above.

    I got a good set of stainless pots from Ikea. They had three or more grades and styles, this one was the best. No idea if they still make them but Costco sometimes carries something similar. The Ikea isn't as quite as sturdy as restaurant or All-Clad but they've lasted a decade and not slowing down.

    Oh, and I just took delivery of a Barber Gain Changer SR. Stoked.
     
  7. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    I am a graduate of a cooking school more than 35 years ago and always used cast iron or stainless steel pans. In fact, my cast iron set came from my Grandmother...it was a wedding gift from 1929!

    That said, I did make a purchase for a set of granite stone frying pans and love them. Lightweight and very non-stick, really great cookware design.
     
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  8. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    we use mostly cast iron (inherited from my grandma)...

    quick tip: when you get a bunch of cooked on stuff in your skillet--> after you wipe it out and stuff is still in there (it happens)

    put water in the skillet and a little dawn... put it back on the burner and let it come to an almost boil... then carefully take it back to the sink and scrub it... should come out no problemo...

    also make sure you season new cast iron until you don't need to season it.... and with the new stuff (got some for my kids) a lot of it is dimply on the cooking surfaces... no bueno... get your sander out and get it smooth... then season it... decreases adherence by a bunch.
     
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  9. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have some enameled iron stuff and it's OK, but my favorites are All-Clad stainless pots & pans and my Farberware Millennium non-stick frying pan. My choices are limited because we have an induction stovetop.

    The Farberware PTFE is the most durable non-stick surface I've ever used. My first one lasted about ten years before it started scratching and flaking, the current one has been going strong for I guess about four years now, and I have another that I bought for the future, when it gets discontinued or banned.
     
  10. Nickfl

    Nickfl Friend of Leo's

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    My wife likes enamel and stainless, I prefer cast iron and carbon steel. By the way, the idea that you can't use soap on cast iron and carbon steel is a myth. Once they are well seasoned you can and should wash them like any other pan, just wash by hand and dry them on the stove. That last step is important, they need to be heated to dry out properly and failing to dry them that way can leave water in the pores of the metal which will impede the development of the non stick seasoning and may even lead to rust. Once I started heat drying my pans, the non stick performance improved dramatically.
     
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  11. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Friend of Leo's

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    The better question is: what type of pan/pot for what type of food.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  12. hmemerson

    hmemerson Tele-Meister Vendor Member

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    Non-stick on Induction.

    HE
     
  13. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    I have a frying pan of each. Cast Iron, SS, Carbon Steel, and Teflon (Omelettes/crepes).

    The SS puts a great sear on meats. Easy to clean-up if you deglaze the pan with a little water after you pull the meat.
     
  14. ndcaster

    ndcaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    "Rapidly he mixed some buckwheat flour with water and stirred it smooth, one cup of flour, one cup of water. He put a handful of coffee in the pot and dipped a lump of grease out of a can and slid it sputtering across the hot skillet. On the smoking skillet he poured smoothly the buckwheat batter. It spread like lava, the grease spitting sharply. Around the edges the buckwheat cake began to firm, then brown, then crisp. The surface was bubbling slowly to porousness. Nick pushed under the browned under surface with a fresh pine chip. He shook the skillet sideways and the cake was loose on the surface. I won't try and flop it, he thought. He slid the chip of clean wood all the way under the cake, and flopped it over onto its face. It sputtered in the pan. When it was cooked Nick regreased the skillet. He used all the batter. It made another big flapjack and one smaller one. Nick ate a big flapjack and a smaller one, covered with apple butter. He put apple butter on the third cake, folded it over twice, wrapped it in oiled paper and put it in his shirt pocket. He put the apple butter jar back in the pack and cut bread for two sandwiches."

    Highly recommended.
     
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  15. Joshtheguitarguy

    Joshtheguitarguy TDPRI Member

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    Just a good cast iron pan is all I need. It´s not as much work as people say to season cast iron. Super easy, and you get the benefits of Teflon/nonstick with better heat retention for searing and such, plus stove to oven safe, durable, and cheap. What more could you want?
     
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  16. Gardo

    Gardo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Since my wife got an induction cooktop my cast iron skillet was banned for fear it would leave scratches.
    The only suitable replacement came from Williams Sonoma. It's non stick ceramic and has a decent weight,
    I treat it like cast iron and it works great. but I do have to keep the outside clean so it doesn't stain her pretty stove
     
  17. MisterZ

    MisterZ Tele-Afflicted

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    Cast iron, yes, but not for everything. Enameled cast iron, yes, ditto. Nonstick, yes - but good ones, Ballarini. Stainless, yes, but not always. Mostly I use my Lincoln Wearever aluminum pans. If they were good enough for Julia Child, they're good enough for me!
     
  18. micpoc

    micpoc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Stainless steel (All–Clad), a couple of enameled cast iron pots (Le Crueset), and an Instant Pot. I no longer use high heat or oil in cooking, so I have moved on from plain cast iron, but relied on it for years. Pretty sure I held onto an old Griswold Dutch oven with a super smooth surface—much more so than modern Lodge iron—that was perfect for gumbo; I'll probably will it to a family member.
     
  19. cometazzi

    cometazzi Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've actually had really good luck with non-stick skillets. I get an average of 15 years out of them. The previous Calphalon would have kept going but it was destroyed by the exgf. Currently I have a Circulon that's at least 10 years old. My mother has a pair of EKCO non-sticks that are really thick, really slippery and probably from the 90s.

    Some years ago I bought a set of 3 Martha Stewart brand cast iron skillets at a KMart on clearance for $5. I could never get them seasoned right and everything sticks and scorches. I was having a discussion earlier this week with a friend who was telling me how the instructions were flawed and that there's a better way. Sometime I'll try it again.

    I've also got a big ole set of RevereWare pots and pans. An exgf's (different from the one above) grandpa gave them to me. He was a pack-rat type so I don't know where he got them. When I broke up with the gf I took them with me- For one she didn't cook, and two he gave them to ME. :cool: I'm no master chef but I feel like the RevereWare stuff is great for my uses. The copper on the bottoms are ugly because I put them in the dishwasher, but they were ugly when I got them. These are my pans to use, not look at.

    I have a couple of coated oven pans but they're limited to 275F, and I have some glass casserole types that are limited to 375F. I intend to get some stainless half-sheet pans to replace the coated oven pans so I can scorch pizzas at 550 and such.


    My biggest issue is that between work and school I don't have much time to do much cooking. Usually I'm either simmering a big hunk of something in a slow cooker or boiling up a pot of beans to package up for the week. I used to enjoy cooking but over the last few years it's felt like a chore.
     
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a couple pieces of cast iron that I love. I’ve got a giant aluminum skillet from my grandma that is really solid too. I use a lot of stainless and some glazed stuff. I don’t love Teflon. How does it stick to the pan anyway?
     
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