01-22-2017, 06:57 PM
#1
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I have a nice set of lodge cast iron.  Does anyone use carbon steel?  I know it is very similar and lighter.  What do you guys prefer?

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 01-22-2017, 08:07 PM
#2
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Stay with the lodge!  As you have found it'll get better with age. Lodge is the best of the current stuff but you may want to keep a weather eye out for som griswold or wagnerware.  Enjoy

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 01-22-2017, 10:52 PM
#3
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Quite a few of us use carbon steel pans. I've used cast iron for decades and it's good, but carbon steel is much better IMO. It's the pro cooks secret weapon. It heats faster, and conducts heat better, it's lighter until one gets into really big pans (they are available in large size), and is wonderfully non-stick when properly seasoned. Too, the seasoning can be seen just by looking and seasoning on cast iron can't be seen. One place where CI is superior is in heat retention.

Let me see if I can find the thread re: carbon steel. http://primogrillforum.com/forums/showth...cast-iron)

The thread mostly deals with DeBuyer, but I bought Matfer. Matfer is less $ for the same or better performance. Matfer actually beat out DeBuyer in the ATK testing, mostly for ergonomics and it's <1/2 the price of DeBuyer. My 8" pan is out on the range top and very rarely ever put away. Unless I destroy the seasoning by doing something foolish nothing sticks. If  it needs to be reseasoned it's a simple rangetop process that can done in minutes.

The result of all of this experience with cast vs carbon steel is that most of my CI pans have been mothballed and are in storage in the shop.

There are some real lemons of carbon steel pans available, but if you stick with DeBuyer or Matfer you'll do OK. Do NOT buy Lodge carbon steel. That didn't do at all well in ATK testing. There were others as well, but the Lodge carbon steel pan stuck out for me as I would have preferred to buy American but not at the expense of usability.

One place where carbon steel pans really shine is in stir frying on a typical western rangetop. I use my 13" Matfer for that, and "wok cooking" has never been easier or better. I use my big burner and it's almost too hot, and the pan conducts the heat almost too fast. It's a great problem to have for stir frying. They are problems that are almost the reverse of most stir frying problems where our western type burners actually fight good stir frying.

Edit: BTW, I answered this late last night and moving around fast on the 'net I thought I was still on the BBQ forum. I doubt that the link will work unless by chance one happens to be a member there. Sorry about that. I blame the hour I posted.

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 01-22-2017, 11:59 PM
#4
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Carbon steel all the way - tossed most of my cast iron pans years ago.  Lighter, quicker to warm up/adjust temperature, no comparison IMO.

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 01-24-2017, 09:07 AM
#5
  • Rufus
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  • Greater Toronto Area
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This thread is very informative.  I was not aware of carbon steel cookware and now I'll have to give it a try.  Currently we use All Clad stainless steel pots and pans and have one cast iron frying pan that sees little action because of its weight.

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 01-24-2017, 11:57 AM
#6
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Bryan, you won't be getting rid of the SS cookware because it can do things that will strip the carbon steel pans of their seasoning.

One other type of pan I've been hearing a bit about on the BBQ forum are the "copper titanium" no stick pans. They're supposed to be quite non-stick, but they're also throw away pans. I have no experience with them and I think they would have hot spots due to their thin nature. But again, I have no experience with them.

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 01-24-2017, 12:52 PM
#7
  • Rufus
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  • Greater Toronto Area
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II was thinking of using their 11-7/8" frying pan to replace our T-fal non-stick frying pan, which I've never liked.  On first blush, however, it looks as though it could be difficult to source one in Canada; the two distributors in my area listed on the company's website don't carry what I'm looking for and I can't find a retailer or restaurant supplier that does either.  There's an on-line vendor in the US that ships to Canada, but shipping costs are almost the same as the cost of the pan.  I'll speak to my neighbour who owns a high-end restaurant and my daughter who is the admin.manager for a group of five restaurants for  advice.

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 01-24-2017, 10:38 PM
#8
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At that price there's no way I would ever try one of the "cheap" pans. Heck, I can get them inexpensively and I still don't have one.

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 01-25-2017, 03:05 AM
#9
  • Rufus
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(01-24-2017, 10:38 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: At that price there's no way I would ever try one of the "cheap" pans. Heck, I can get them inexpensively and I still don't have one.

I should clarify that the pan I'm interested in is the Matfer Bourgeat 06 2005 11-7/8" round black steel frying pan.  I believe this is the top-rated Carbon-steel frying pan; at least by ATK and Cooks Illustrated.

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 01-25-2017, 01:52 PM
#10
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Oh. I thought you meant the el cheapo throw away pans.

That's what I call my 8" Matfer pan. Their dimension quoted is at the top of the pan and not the bottom, while I use the bottom dimension with generous allowance. That very pan is my workhorse and just a fantastic pan. Yes, it was the top ATK pan. If it'll save you some $ on shipping have it sent to me and I'll ship it through to you as long as you foot the bill for the shipping (I'll have your pan). Most companies charge an arm and a leg to ship to Canada because of the paperwork. I've done it for others why not for you? Let me know the shipping weight and I can get you a price for shipping through UPS. I get a shipping discount through UPS and that's worthwhile with heavier shipments. Typically it's something like 3 days from Maine to Toronto with UPS ground.

As long as you know how to use a seasoned pan the price and hassle will be well worth it. If you must wash the pan after every use it'll be a PITA. Yes the Matfer pan will be worth the price to ship it to Canada. Or would it be less expensive to ship it from France? Worth looking into IMO.

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 01-25-2017, 02:48 PM
#11
  • Rufus
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  • Greater Toronto Area
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Brian, thank you very much for your generous offer.  Right now, however, I think I may have a solution and might be able to get the pan through my neighbour or my daughter both of whom are in the restaurant business; I'm waiting to hear from them.

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 02-25-2017, 10:49 AM
#12
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I can say that I've purchased a Mafter carbon steel crepe pan after reading Brian's review on one of the forums, and I really enjoy it. I've also purchased a deep/French skillet style 12" pan from DeBuyer, on the cheaper side (really thin, not the fancy mineral whatever type), and yes, you can have hotspots and burning because it's very thin, but it replaced my wok completely. I put it on the largest gas and it's smoking hot in seconds, and the heat transfer is superb with it being almost completely non stick (whatever sticks is quickly gone with a nylon brush and hot water). It works so well the stir-fry is a breeze, and it's very stable compared to my wok, with it having a flat bottom.

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 02-25-2017, 02:14 PM
#13
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Does all carebon steel pans have to be seasoned ?

Can you bake a pizza on a carbon steel pan in the oven, as you can with cast iron pans ?
Will it make the same crisp crust ?

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 02-25-2017, 10:20 PM
#14
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I thought I already addressed this. Maybe I didn't.

Yes, carbon steel needs to be seasoned and maintained. But I've used cast iron for decades and carbon steel is easier to maintain since the seasoning can be seen.

I don't make pizza in cast iron or carbon steel but on a stone and "throw" them off of a peel or place them in the oven on a pizza screen (off of the peel), so I can't answer the rest. I can get my indoor oven to over 500°F and my outdoor oven to much hotter (but I don't), so the issue has never come up. My pizzas cook at 400 - 425°F to allow me to cook the toppings and the dough, and have both dough and toppings cook for the same completion time.

The more toppings one has in relation to the dough the lower the temp' required to make the 2 finish at the same time. That's the best answer I can give since I don't know exactly what you're making.

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 02-25-2017, 10:44 PM
#15
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(02-25-2017, 10:20 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I thought I already addressed this. Maybe I didn't.

Yes, carbon steel needs to be seasoned and maintained. But I've used cast iron for decades and carbon steel is easier to maintain since the seasoning can be seen.

I don't make pizza in cast iron or carbon steel but on a stone and "throw" them off of a peel or place them in the oven on a pizza screen (off of the peel), so I can't answer the rest. I can get my indoor oven to over 500°F and my outdoor oven to much hotter (but I don't), so the issue has never come up. My pizzas cook at 400 - 425°F to allow me to cook the toppings and the dough, and have both dough and toppings cook for the same completion time.

The more toppings one has in relation to the dough the lower the temp' required to make the 2 finish at the same time. That's the best answer I can give since I don't know exactly what you're making.


Thanks.
I don't want pans I need to season, so carbon steel is out.

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 02-27-2017, 09:11 AM
#16
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this is all very good information.  i'll look into some of this stuff.  i love my lodge, but my wife hates the iron's weight.

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 02-27-2017, 01:35 PM
#17
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I don't remember what I wrote, sorry if I'm writing the same stuff twice.

Get into the bigger Matfer CS pans and the weight begins to approach that of cast iron. But the performance is still better than cast iron. My big Matfer is just a beast and it'll stir fry a lot of Lo Mein or Fried Rice. I use it on our honkin big output burner. I can't remember the BTUs, but in the past we always had a problem with not enough heat. Not with the carbon steel and the big burner. I actually need to turn the burner down a bit at times.

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