Banging pots (looking for some)!
April 3, 2012 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Pots and pans filter, the pots edition. Good brands for reasonable prices?

Not exactly gourmet cooks, so we don't need diamond encrusted platinum pots, but would still like to get decent quality pots for some simple dishes, vegetable boiling/steaming, bean cooking, soup-making etc. Stuff we buy at places like IKEA or World Market seem to go to pot, pun intended, in very short order, what with coatings peeling and so forth.

What we need are basic pots - enamel cast iron cooking pots, hopefully not more than about $50 that will last awhile with fairly gentle use. What brands should we be looking at - something that's possible to buy online a bonus - for decent value? I like the look of Le Creuset, but don't like the price. Lodge Logic seems interesting, but the selection is super limited and reviews are mixed (at least on Amazon).

If not available online, then a B&M is fine, as long as it's located in the LA, CA area - but the only ones I'm vaguely familiar with are Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma, both probably too pricey.

So, what brands should we investigate?
posted by VikingSword to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Lodge brand. I saw a couple at Target but their full line is on amazon. Quite frankly I think the quality is that of my Le Crueset piece and the price on my latest addition? 6 qt. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven = $48.99.

The amazon reviews are all at least 4.5/5 stars.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:30 PM on April 3, 2012

posted by rhizome at 7:34 PM on April 3, 2012

I have a Lodge skillet and I'm going to pass it to my great-great-great grandchild if I don't lose it. The rest of their line is also bombproof.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:35 PM on April 3, 2012

magnetsphere is pointing you in the right direction... buy cast iron, learn to care for it and use it... you'll never buy another pan/pot. I'm using cast iron that is three generations old and it rocks.

My best cast iron story: When I was a scout master one of our kids managed to burn about an inch worth of god knows what onto a cast iron frying pan. We tied a rope on it, throw it into the lake for two weeks, the fish cleaned it, we re-seasoned it... we're still using it. Try that with a typical boutique pan.
posted by HuronBob at 7:35 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Walmart has the Tramontina enameled cast iron dutch ovens, recently rated "best buy" by Cooks Illustrated. $35.
posted by Marky at 7:36 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have cheap cast iron frying pans (Lodge, I think, but I'd have to walk into the kitchen to confirm that) that I have had in hard daily use for more than a decade and they just get better with age. I also have a Le Cruset enameled french oven (or is it a small dutch oven?) that also works great, though probably no better than a cheaper Walmart alternative. I certainly couldn't claim that it is 100% worth the extra money, except on grounds of beauty. As long as the Walmart version can go from stovetop to oven and the top fits tightly enough to work for slow cooking, I'd suggest you buy it.

I also have a few stainless saucepans, no non-stick coatings of any kind, and they are all working fine after most of a decade. They are different brands bought on sale; I know one is a Calphalon, and have no idea about the others. I think all that matters is that they have no coating and are solid enough to handle daily use; I'd avoid the super thin flimsy feeling ones.
posted by Forktine at 8:09 PM on April 3, 2012

Belgique tools of the trade sold exclusively at Macy's - either the anodized or copper bottom stainless steel. I swear by them!
posted by ramix at 11:21 PM on April 3, 2012

Best answer: A few years ago I got an enameled cast iron pot and pan at TJ Maxx for good prices.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:38 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As Vitabellosi said, TJMaxx and Marshall's always have nice pots and pans available cheaply. If you're wanting a matching set, you may need to visit a few locations, though.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:10 AM on April 4, 2012

I wonder if I could piggyback on the question...I too am in the market for an enameled cast iron cooking pan, but remember that either Lodge or Tramontina came with a knob on the top that wasn't quite oven-safe and would need to be replaced with one that was oven-safe, which I think I read in the same issue of Cooks Illustrated that rated Tramontina Best Buy.

Anybody know which one that was?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:13 AM on April 4, 2012

Best answer: I also recommend looking at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I bought my Le Creuset Dutch oven at TJ Maxx for $60.
posted by apricot at 6:59 AM on April 4, 2012

I too am in the market for an enameled cast iron cooking pan, but remember that either Lodge or Tramontina came with a knob on the top that wasn't quite oven-safe

Lodge knobs are oven safe to 400 degrees (at least they are on the dutch oven and the french oven I have). Le Crueset knobs are oven safe to 500 degrees, so yes, I know a few people who have bought The Lodge dutch/french oven and replaced it with a Le Crueset knob.

In fact, the Le Crueset replacement knob is one of those "frequently bought with" items on the amazon page for the dutch oven I have. It is $12.95, so even if you replace it, you are still saving a bundle.
posted by magnetsphere at 12:01 PM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you everybody. Went to TJ Maxx in Sherman Oaks, and bought a bunch - close to $200 worth of pots and pans, heavy duty, stainless steel, Calphalon, Cuisinart, what have you. Also ordered a Lodge iron skillet from Amazon. I think we're set! (at least for the time being...).
posted by VikingSword at 10:56 PM on April 7, 2012

If you're interested I wound up getting a red Lodge enameled dutch oven at Target for $60, and the package said it was oven safe to 500. I made braised short ribs in it yesterday and the clean up was a breeze.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:27 AM on April 9, 2012

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