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Cast iron - especially in the UK

Long story short, after several years of typical London flats without gas, the wife and I are moving further outwards for more space thanks to my job becoming permanently work from home. A little added bonus of this is that we are no longer shackled to those glass cook tops - the new place actually has a proper gas stove!

Now, for our cousins across the pond who will suggest "go to your local thrift store", as someone who has lived on a couple of continents, and living in a central district in continental Europe was able to outfit my flat almost entirely with the home comfort cast offs of departing expats from the local thrift shop - you just can't do that here. The thrift shops and "car boot sales" around me when they were on, are not great for finding much which hasn't been beaten to hades if it resembles something you're looking for.

I asked about La Cruset on this forum about a year ago and part of not going ahead in that instance was the glass cook top. I've spoken to US afficiandos of cast iron in general, who believe that the "Cadillac" of cast iron is Stargazer. If you were buying new and you could buy any brand you wanted, what would you select?
 
The high end new cast iron are the hyper thin smoothed ones like fields and finex etc. A friend has a finex and loves it. You can see the reviews for high end raw cast iron here ( via epicurious ):


We have le creuset because of the glass cooktop ( induction ), it works but not like raw cast iron for sears. I had ( pre induction ) cheap lodges for raw cast iron from before the time of fancy pants cast iron and thought it worked fine ( these new ones just start smoother and are much lighter )

( so as an aside clearly I disagree with the idea enameled cast iron like le creuset scratches glass cooktops )
regards
avi
 
I like both my field and Stargazer. I'd be hard pressed to pick one over the other. I would also consider a carbon steel pan before jumping to cast iron.
 
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I have a field skillet, smithey, and a couple finex. I only have a couple finex because they were RIDICULOUSLY cheap from a lady who got them as a wedding gift. They are great pans, but note they’re incredibly heavy, the corner spouts aren’t as good as they say, and the brass knob at the end of the stay cool handle gets hot enough to burn you.

the field and the smithey are both excellent, the smithey has a bit more weight so is better for searing, but the field is better for more delicate cooking like veggies maybe. (Please note that these are 100% pickypoints on the field And the smithey, while the finex is great and beautiful...though it seems like it could be improved)

there’s also carbon steel which is very good, and the Aus-Ion is an incredible one piece pan I’d highly recommend.
 
You can spend a lot more than a Lodge costs but I have had nothing but great luck with their products. The Combo Cooker is ingenious! Skillet and a Dutch oven combined.
 
I have a couple 10 inch lodge skillets. One I use on a glass top stove and the other one is used in the oven. Still need to get a cast iron Dutch oven
 
I mostly have Lodge cast iron just because it was affordable and easy to come by when I was buying cast iron cookware, but I do have a few vintage pieces from Wagner.
If I had the need and the money for a new set, I'd buy Finex Cast Iron. I've had the opportunity to handle it and find that it appears to be uniquely, beautifully, and well crafted. A big bonus is that it's locally made in my immediate area and easy to come by without worrying about buying it online and shipping costs.
 
What I have seen of current Lodge offerings are disappointingly bumpy.
Both the 10 inch lodge skillets I have are bumpy but are fairly nonstick. I can count on one hand the number of times that things have stuck on the one used on the stovetop and nothing has stuck to the one I use in the oven. And the one used in the oven is ungreased and unlined
 
If you look at the epicurious redux, you can see they argue that somewhat ironically the rough surface may actually help in the long-term non-stick nature of the pan that the smooth ones do not (so its easier to carbonize on the rough pan), so potentially those cheap lodges (and maybe in particular the new lighter ones) are the best?
 

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If you look at the epicurious redux, you can see they argue that somewhat ironically the rough surface may actually help in the long-term non-stick nature of the pan that the smooth ones do not (so its easier to carbonize on the rough pan), so potentially those cheap lodges (and maybe in particular the new lighter ones) are the best?
Ah, good point.
 
IMO the best combination is cast iron for dutch ovens and carbon steel for skillets, woks...

Since we purchased our carbon steel skillets, we haven't taken the cast iron out of the cabinet. Light, heats up fast, non stick (once seasoned)... Good reason why professional chefs prefer them.

Lots of reputable manufacturers on your side of the pond. Matfer Bourgeat, De Buyer... Not all that expensive either.

For dutch ovens, I too can recommend Le Creuset, expensive but good. We like them better than our Staub's .

We will be perchasing a Vermicular Misui Kamado soon... Not sure how they perform but they are beautifully made.



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