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School me on why I need cast iron frying pans.

clifish

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My wife got me a set of Tramontina cast iron frying pans for Christmas from Costco. I returned them today (kept the Dutch oven set), so I got the $26 bucks back, thought that was a decent price for 2 decent sized pans. Anyway, walked past the isle and saw the same item was only $14.97 for the pair. These were very heavy and also came with a silicone handle cover.

Soooo, I know there is a lot of love for CI pans here, what am I missing? What can these things do that I can't do in a stainless pan, my griddles or Dutch oven?? For $15 am I an idiot for not at least going back and getting them?
 

idahopz

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It took a long time to season my pans to coal black from handle to spout, but once accomplished they became non-stick with a smooth slick surface. While I have other non-stick pans, I like the cast iron when I do things like searing a steak - because of the large thermal mass of the iron, the pan keeps much of it's heat when you throw in the meat leading to a great Maillard reaction.
 

clifish

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Thanks, wouldn't my 36" blackstone griddle do the same thing? It is a cast iron top, I probably would not sear inside on the pan as it would smoke up the entire house?
 

bauchjw

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Hm, I’m sure there may be more scientific answers or culinary responses, but for me there is 2…maybe 3 reasons:
1) Nostalgia. Some of my CI was passed down from several generations. Some are newer, but expect they will pass down as well.
2) both growing up, and now in late 40s, the only cooking ware that survives and doesn't have to be replaced are the CI. Cook on direct coals camping, throw over a fire, stick it in the Webber, beat the crap out of it and it’ll be the same on the home stove the next week making eggs and bacon. Some of the nice, Non-CI, ones my wife got for wedding gifts didn’t even make it a decade and they never left the house. Which is probably why there is a reason 1.
3) I think that they look cool. I have different types of pots and pans for different things. I’m not pure CI, but for me, there is something very strong and Americana about a hunk of meat in a sizzling classic CI. Oh, we use vents when searing to keep from smoking the house out.

I’ll emphasize this is my opinion and I don’t have any hard science to back it up. Also, I don’t have anything against using other pans…..I just know those pans will be in the landfill before I have grandchildren who will hopefully be cooking on my great grandparents CI!
 
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Brokenhandle

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It's all personal preference really. But we use all cast iron when camping / rendezvousing (historical reenactment) and almost 100 % of the time at home. And we just got a Blackstone also. To me food tastes better out of cast iron. Plus I really enjoy refinishing cast iron so that's part of it for me.

20210310_140210.jpg


Don't think I have the before pic but this one cost me $1 on a garage sale

Ryan
 

bauchjw

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It's all personal preference really. But we use all cast iron when camping / rendezvousing (historical reenactment) and almost 100 % of the time at home. And we just got a Blackstone also. To me food tastes better out of cast iron. Plus I really enjoy refinishing cast iron so that's part of it for me.

View attachment 521743

Don't think I have the before pic but this one cost me $1 on a garage sale

Ryan
Okoboji has a Labor Day and Memorial Day flea market you can get CI for nothing. Well, last time I was there you could, but now Hipsters are into it so prices may have gone up!
 

Brokenhandle

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Okoboji has a Labor Day and Memorial Day flea market you can get CI for nothing. Well, last time I was there you could, but now Hipsters are into it so prices may have gone up!
Yep, happen to have gotten a lid for a dutch oven that was given to us from up there. But that was several years ago. Somewhere on here I have a thread on our cast iron collection.

Ryan
 

mosparky

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For me nostalgia is a big part. Beyond that durability. The finish can get screwed up from mis-use or when your young bride decides it just isn't clean and takes it upon herself to take an SOS pad to it. (yep. that happened)
It can also be restored from such tragedies quite easily. Other pots/pans don't fair so well if overheated just a time or two.
I have no proof, but when we were expecting our first kid, my wife was found to be very anemic. More that one doctor suggested adding beans to our diet to increase her iron intake and said that beans cooked in cast iron were even better for it. I think this is what led to the SOS incident.
Some recipes call for a cast iron whatever, and often if you study the details you'll notice they rely on the stored heat in the pan for part of the cook. (Cast Iron is a lot of mass, therefore stays hot much, much longer). If a recipe calls for cast iron, you can bet I'm gonna reach for cast iron, rather than try to compensate for the cooking differences in other ways.
 

pineywoods

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We have non stick pots and pans and my wife uses them 90% of the time. I have some cast iron pans mostly frying pans. The directions that came with the non stick said not to use high heat I don't have to worry about that with my cast iron pans. I usually sous vide our steaks then sear we have a 36" griddle, pellet grill, and a gas grill yet most of the time the steaks get seared in cast iron. I turn the vent over the stove on but there really isn't much if any smoke from searing the steaks. As others have said cast iron properly seasoned is very non stick. The crust comment about the burger is true of a lot of things that you want a little crisp on. I like home fried potatoes, taters washed, sliced, along with sliced onions and maybe a little garlic fried and just a little crispy on the edges and nothing does that like cast iron. Like others I think most things taste better in cast iron.
 

BrianGSDTexoma

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I really have not used my cast irons much since got Nitrided CI Pans that civilsmoker civilsmoker recomended some time back. While good for some things never got as non slick as regular cast iron. I think I am going to go back now.

This is the one talking about:

DA49B420-7ECF-4FEF-9D40-271023B1A44E.jpeg
 
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mike243

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Blackstone griddles have a cold rolled steel top not cast iron, also 1/2 the thickness maybe. cast iron are forever cookware imo.
 

smokin vegas

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My wife got me a set of Tramontina cast iron frying pans for Christmas from Costco. I returned them today (kept the Dutch oven set), so I got the $26 bucks back, thought that was a decent price for 2 decent sized pans. Anyway, walked past the isle and saw the same item was only $14.97 for the pair. These were very heavy and also came with a silicone handle cover.

Soooo, I know there is a lot of love for CI pans here, what am I missing? What can these things do that I can't do in a stainless pan, my griddles or Dutch oven?? For $15 am I an idiot for not at least going back and getting them?
It is almost something you have to experience. The heat distributes more evenly plus if you cook with cast iron pans plus you will not be iron deificent.
 

Sowsage

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It's all personal preference really. But we use all cast iron when camping / rendezvousing (historical reenactment) and almost 100 % of the time at home. And we just got a Blackstone also. To me food tastes better out of cast iron. Plus I really enjoy refinishing cast iron so that's part of it for me.

View attachment 521743

Don't think I have the before pic but this one cost me $1 on a garage sale

Ryan
Is that a Griswold??... I have one that looks a lot like it!. One of my favorites.
 

DanMcG

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Looks like mine which I beleive is a no name Wagner Ware.
1641916073231.png
1641916157742.png
 

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