Help me choose cast-iron cookware.
March 26, 2007 1:07 PM Subscribe
What do I need to consider when choosing cast-iron cookware (a skillet or a griddle)? Do brands, price, pre-seasoned v. not, or anything else make a difference?
posted by gauchodaspampas to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'm thinking about starting up a collection of cast-iron cookware. I'm interested in cast-iron because it seems to be reasonably cheap most of the time, and is reputed to last roughly forever. So what do I need to know when choosing my cookware? For now I just want to buy one piece, probably a griddle or a skillet for some basic stovetop cooking, like sandwiches, pancakes, eggs, maybe some sauteeing if I get a skillet. Here are some specific things I'm wondering:
I've read you should leave watery or acidic foods sitting in cast iron. Does that mean I should avoid even cooking things like tomatoes in it, or simply that once they're done cooking, they should be removed? If the former is the case, I will likely go with just a griddle.
What are the advantages/disadvantages (mainly disadvantages) of pre-seasoned cast-iron. Obviously it means I wouldn't have to spend much or any effort seasoning it before use. But will it last as long? Do you think it's worth any extra cost? Cast-iron seems to be cheap all around, even for pre-seasoned, so if there are few or no disadvantages, the extra cost likely wouldn't bother me.
Will any particular brands or stores have much better or worse quality stuff? For instance, will a piece from a cookware store actually be better than one from target? Will lodge or another established brand be better than a less established brand? Will a higher price actually correspond to higher quality?
Some cast-iron is coated with wax or similar to prevent rusting before it's seasoned. Are there disadvantages to this other than having to scrub the coating off before seasoning?
Are there cheap, long-lasting alternatives to cast iron I should know about?
What else do I need to know before making my purchase?