Cast Iron Skillets

4-Co LR

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I'm a big fan of Griswold. I've got an "odd" set like the one you pictured. I have sizes 3, 5, 7, & 9 skillets. A Griswold muffin pan that is really cool, and a Griswold corn stick pan. Also 2 Favorite Piqua skillets. I like Griswold because they are so well documented.
Nice. If I ever found a muffin pan, I’d get one too. I really like the quality of the Griswold and it’s surprisingly light. One of my Wagners is light but some are thick so they’re heavy, but they all cook well with the smooth finish on the inside.
 
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CountryShooter

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Nice. If I ever found a muffin pan, I’d get one too. I really like the quality of the Griswold and it’s surprisingly light. One of my Wagners is light but some are thick so they’re heavy, but they all cook well with the smooth finish on the inside.
Can't speak for this particular example, but they can be found.
 
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Do-nothing

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My wife and I switched to cast iron two years or so ago. Not going back. You have gotten some good advice. If you can find old stuff that is not warped, go for it. Don't worry about a little rust. We went with Finex. Very heavy but quality stuff. Plenty of good "how too's" on U-tube. Look up Cowboy Kent Rollins--good advice on how to prep cast iron and great recipes.
 

Sniperwannabee

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    I love cast iron, any old school pan you get at a garage sale or lodge brand is excellent! the secret is to wet sand them to a mirror finish, makes them pretty much non stick after seasoning it. I actually have just learned a recipe for apple pie in a cast iron pan! its excellent!!!!
     

    MK20

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    Do NOT buy a lodge. They try to get away with leaving a rough surface in the bottom of the pan. Notice that all the old pans have machined inside surfaces. Not that krinkle coat crap that lodge leaves in there.
    Get an old one at a flea market for about 20 bucks. Make sure it is not warped and that it sits flat. Cool some bacon in it to season it.
     

    4-Co LR

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    My wife and I switched to cast iron two years or so ago. Not going back. You have gotten some good advice. If you can find old stuff that is not warped, go for it. Don't worry about a little rust. We went with Finex. Very heavy but quality stuff. Plenty of good "how too's" on U-tube. Look up Cowboy Kent Rollins--good advice on how to prep cast iron and great recipes.
    Yeah I have enjoyed his videos “Campfire Café,” and his cooking with “Bertha.” Recipes are good too for country cooking-type stuff.
     

    Boltyboi

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    I may have missed if this has been explicitly stated yet, apologies if so.

    The practical reason why vintage iron is preferable to modern is unless you pay a lot, the surface finish on modern cast iron will be from the sand casting. Take your fingernail and run it down a lodge, you'll see and feel the bumps. Food will stick in there.

    You can polish that out, but in my opinion it itsnt worth your time. Just buy something vintage and start with a smooth cooking surface and strip and reseason it if neccisary.

    My time is worth more than 20 for polishing up a lodge when I could just as easily find something good on Ebay for 50... YMMV. That said my stuff is old shit passed down in the family anyway so it's a non issue for me.

    Edit.
    One thing to note about cast iron, particularly with iron that has a young/thin finish is its not a great idea to make dishes in it with high acidity and long cook times. So let's s say a red wine reduction going a long time, or a tomato pan sauce going a couple hours. That can strip off your seasoning.
     

    jinxx4ever

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    my wife been using cast iron for over 30 years. I think she had a teflon skillet once for about a month and threw it away. She use's the same pan every morning for cooking eggs and bacon. Probably been years since it's seen water. She wipes it out with a paper towel after she's done every morning. That's it. Nothing sticks to it, it's almost like a teflon surface it's so slick. All our pans are older, most from the 30's thru 50's. We collected heavily off ebay about 10 years ago , to several complete collections. She probably has around 30 total pieces. She even has a couple dutch ovens though she doesn't use them. The older stuff is smoother and much lighter than today's cast iron, really quite thin. Only pan that i remember seeing moisture is the big skillet she does fried chicken in. She always makes gravy so when she's done pouring gravy out, let's it cool just slightly and while still quite warm, she'll put a small amount of warm water and dish soap in it, clean it and immediately dry it. She does that before we even sit down to eat. Only takes her a couple minutes. She has about 4 or 5 pieces she uses all the time that sit either on the stove or she'll keep in the oven. Nothing taste quite like food cooked in cast iron. My oldest daughter is learning the same thing, even my oldest son and his wife, though quite preppy, are starting to use cast iron extensively
     

    Maser

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    Is it possible to buy one that has not been seasoned these days? Last time I went shopping all i saw were pres-seasoned.

    I guess I have only looked for Lodge but we love our cast iron - skillets and pots. I'm thinking about getting a cast iron griddle

    Yeah, you're right. Did a search on entire cast iron cooking sets and most of them did say pre-seasoned. The price of them sets seems to have no middle ground. They're either dirt cheap at like less than 50 bucks or high priced at over 500 and even 1,000!
     
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    Do-nothing

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    Yes, you can find pre-seasoned ironware. I believe most of the quality companies offer it both ways. You may have to pay a little more. I have Finex and it was pre-seasoned.
     

    Snuby642

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    If you trash your cast iron.
    Boiling it out is easy just may take a couple of times.

    If the outside gets nasty, fill with water and put on outdoor grill, keep filling with hot water.

    When outside looks gtg get lard at the ready. Dump water, put back on fire.
    As soon as last drop of water evaporates toss in lard and get it hot.
    Get a old dishtowel or something you can discard, t-shirts work well.

    Wipe inside and outside while hot turn off heat set it back on grill put a little more grease inside till it melts .

    Close grill and walk away.

    Wipe off excess when pan is cold.

    I'm 61 years old and have cast iron older than I, it's still gtg.

    An old rag is way better than paper towels for this.
     

    Sean the Nailer

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    For anyone new to the cast-iron game, the label that says:

    "pre-seasoned"

    Only means that it was coated with some-sort of oil (cheapest bidder) from the manufacturer to prevent it from rusting in storage or shipping.

    When you actually own it, you'll then be joining four separate clubs. They are all called "Always/Never"

    Club A 'Always/Never' is place in the oven on the cleaning cycle, to cremate the living shit out of whatever is on there, so that you can start over.
    --or don't, because that 'too high of a heat can bend/warp/crack your pan

    Club B 'Always/Never' is place your pan in the campfire to cremate the living shit out of whatever is on there, so that you can start over.
    -- or don't, because that 'too high of a heat can bend/warp/crack your pan

    Club C 'Always/Never' is that you can use soap to clean your pan, just like any other dish or utensil.
    -- or don't, because that soap will remove/stick to your seasoning and either remove said seasoning OR make your next dish taste like soap.

    Club D 'Always/Never' sand/grind/scrape/polish your pan before seasoning, to get that flat, smoother surface for better cooking.
    --or don't, because if you season it properly, over time those hills/pits get evened out and eventually nothing will stick

    So, after all this blithering and diatribe, it is completely UP TO YOU to decide which way you want to go on this. I'm not saying either way, or "which one's right" because there's already enough Hatfield's and McCoy's up in here.

    Just know this when going in, that everyone has their own "right way" of doing things, and anything else is "wrong".
     

    tomcatmv

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    So I have a very old skillet of my gramma's that's likely 100 years old and it needs refurbishing. What's the best way to do this? The outside is really encrusted and black. Should I just go at it with an angle grinder?
     

    Srgt. Hulka

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    If you're looking for new cast iron, I have one of these 10" skillets, and it's a sweet skillet. They're proud of them though.

     

    Snuby642

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    So I have a very old skillet of my gramma's that's likely 100 years old and it needs refurbishing. What's the best way to do this? The outside is really encrusted and black. Should I just go at it with an angle grinder?


    Hell no !

    See my post above and try that, it's not likely you can harm it in any way.

    If that doesn't appeal to you go on other forums and read thier methods.

    That black crud has been protecting the outside of that pan and in my opinion cosmetic.

    Tossing the pan in too hot a fire could hurt it but it has worked for me on some pans I thought were gonners. Heat up pans slowly if you do that.

    Many ways to do it grinding is not.
     
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    pmclaine

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    Mother fucking boss at work through away a beautiful Griswold that was some 50 plus years old because he thought it was.......old. WTF.

    I have a big size Lodge (not giant but not medium) that is 20 plus years old and has never seen soap. It cleans pure with hot water, a special brush that has never seen soap and on occasion a piece of chain mail.

    Last Christmas my wife got me a Smithy medium. Beautifully finished pan. The interior is turned smooth. Much smoother than my lodge. Great products. Other have already recommended you check their site.

    Finally got a small Griswold - Has a finish like the Smithy but has been through decades of use and is nicely blackened/seasoned.

    You cant go wrong with Lodge. Smithy is the luxury version but for real love searching used sales for a set of Griswolds can be fulfilling to your soul.

    You are on the right path get rid of those other shitty pans.

    My wife hates my cast iron "Its too heavy" yet she is also concerned about shit in the kids food - she cooks on Teflon - yes I am confused - make my leeched from the pan contaminants blood improving IRON.
     
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    pmclaine

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    Here's a pic of that large pot. Sometimes I tie the dog to it for exercise. He'll drag it around the yard. He's about 70 pounds and I think the pot weighs about the same.
    View attachment 7309530
    In the second half of the twentieth century, New Bedford MA, it wasnt uncommon to find whalers try pots abandoned near the fishing piers....

    1588012168448.png

    Your dogs anchor kind of looks like an old Try Pot....


    You know the history of it?
     

    TmisterE

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    Cast Iron is the best to cook with have a few old cast iron frying pans & a griddle, have had these forever don't what brand they are but once seasoned well they are great, have a new Lodge Dutch oven my kid gave me for Christmas a few years ago & once I got it seasoned right it works great too.
     

    diverdon

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    Mother fucking boss at work through away a beautiful Griswold that was some 50 plus years old because he thought it was.......old. WTF.

    I have a big size (not giant but not medium) that is 20 plus years old and has never seen soap. It cleans pure with hot water, a special brush that has never seen soap and on occasion a piece of chain mail.

    Last Christmas my wife got me a Smithy medium. Beautifully finished pan. The interior is turned smooth. Much smoother than my lodge. Great products. Other have already recommended you check their site.

    Finally got a small Griswold - Has a finish like the Smithy but has been through decades of use and is nicely blackened/seasoned.

    You cant go wrong with Lodge. Smithy is the luxury version but for real love searching used sales for a set of Griswolds can be fulfilling to your soul.

    You are on the right path get rid of those other shitty pans.

    My wife hates my cast iron "Its too heavy" yet she is also concerned about shit in the kids food - she cooks on Teflon - yes I am confused - make my leeched from the pan contaminants blood improving IRON.


    https://duparquet.com/products/solid-silver-cookware Hmm so cast iron is too heavy, well there is an answer for that. Copper or silver.
     
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    Sheldon N

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    I have a small 8" vintage cast iron pan that permanently lives on the stove top, gets used almost daily for fried eggs. Super smooth surface, very well seasoned, absolutely amazing. Never wash it, just scrape off the old butter/grease with one of those plastic scrapers, wipe it out and use it again. I don't even bother cleaning it, just let it sit until I use it the next day.

    I also have a big 12" lodge, I sanded all the texture out of that one until it was smooth then re-seasoned it. It's very nice, but not quite as good as the vintage piece.

    Also check out carbon steel pans, same principle of cooking on a well seasoned piece of steel.
     
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    The D

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    I’m super happy with my large $25 lodge pan, lodge Dutch oven, and my grandmother’s hand-me-down no-name 8” pan

    But... I do have a nice enameled Le Creuset French oven that gets used often too. And purely out of my desire for very well crafted things, I will be giving my well-seasoned lodge pan to my stepdaughter when she moves out and splurging on a badass Finex
     

    uffduh

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    Balled up foil and hot water is all mine ever see if I need to knock down some stuck on bits. Stainless/copper All-Clad is reserved for acidic reductions and tomato sauces. Cast iron dutch oven for pozole on the smoker, but enameled Le Creuset for stews.
     
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    Deets

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    Is it possible to buy one that has not been seasoned these days? Last time I went shopping all i saw were pres-seasoned.
    They have to put something on em to keep them from rusting. Unseasoned cast iron won’t last long.
    It doesn’t take much to remove whatever they put on em
     

    Deets

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    If you need to clean the seasoning off a cast iron pan, you can just stick it in the oven on clean. Comes out grey and ready to start new.
     

    loveha

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    Father has about six or eight pans, a skillet, and a Dutch. There is a 6" that never leaves the stove top that is used for eggs, never gets cleaned with water. Just add butter, crack your eggs, and you're good. Thing is old and smooth. Have a couple new ones that are rough, not a big deal in my opinion depending on what you are cooking.
    Cleaning just heat some water up and scrub with a bristle brush then reoil it.
    The word soap is never to be mentioned around cast. That is blasphemy. Get the fuck out, be gone with you, you filthy heathen!

    We have a hodgepodge of other normal trash pans I need to replace. Good 5 ply ain't cheap though, rather by a new scope or action for what they are asking in a good set.
     

    DarnYankeeUSMC

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    In the second half of the twentieth century, New Bedford MA, it wasnt uncommon to find whalers try pots abandoned near the fishing piers....

    View attachment 7310092

    Your dogs anchor kind of looks like an old Try Pot....


    You know the history of it?
    It's shaped different than those. More round like a large bowl.
    It's been in my wife's family since the earliest part of the 1900's. Her ancestry goes back to the 1600's in these hills of East TN.
    What we do know is that her family had used it on the farm for all sorts of things.
    Other than that? Any guess is good.
    I'll get a better picture of it tomorrow
     

    pmclaine

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    It's shaped different than those. More round like a large bowl.
    It's been in my wife's family since the earliest part of the 1900's. Her ancestry goes back to the 1600's in these hills of East TN.
    What we do know is that her family had used it on the farm for all sorts of things.
    Other than that? Any guess is good.
    I'll get a better picture of it tomorrow


    Check out the link that was in my post.....this one.....


    A design from Canada, cast in Scotland. Not much whaling in TN though, just struck me as a casting that big had only so many uses.

    Boiling pig fat or boiling whale blubber they were similar uses.
     
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    pmclaine

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    @Jaron3

    Sir love the pan but.......


    1588068884199.png

    The cooking surface?

    Sorry for being a dick but that cast on glass strikes me as nails on a chalkboard.

    Had my cook top die last year and went with a Blue Star....

    1588068991112.png

    Flame the way cooking is supposed to be....

    1588069038581.png

    With the Smithy medium and ......... Bacon.

    1588069093764.png

    After a year in service I cant 100 percent recommend this drop in Blue Star top.......go built in if you are going to get one. I think the sheet metal on top could be thicker or they need some more frame structure to keep the heavy ass cast iron grates level. Cleaning is also fucktarded as the drip pans can not be removed from the burner holes, you have to reach in to the interior through sharp steel burner holes to wipe the interior down.

    The built ins have drip sheets that pull from the front of the cabinet for cleaning - much like commercial flame tops.

    At work we have the precursor to the Blue Star line - a Garland commercial oven. That bitch is a beast, 6 burners, two oven, a grill/broiler station. Work would probably give it to me for the cost of a standard oven and moving the Garland.

    Running the Garland would be an expense though. Its got old school pilots so there are 9 flames burning constantly. My house cook top runs off a 60 gallon propane tank. The truck would be there weekly to fill it up.
     

    Jaron3

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    I get what you’re saying, I think. No offense taken. None of the cast iron makes a sound on the cook top when moved so no nails on a chalk board. I understand that gas is the way to go with cooking but it’s a major pain in the ass to keep the range top clean. Once this stove shits the bed we are still going to stick to a glass top but switch to induction. There’s a lot to be said when it comes to ease of maintenance and cleanup. A couple squirts of windex after the top cools and you’re done. I like easy. For the real stubborn, burnt on splatters I use a razor blade then the windex.
     

    uffduh

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    I get what you’re saying, I think. No offense taken. None of the cast iron makes a sound on the cook top when moved so no nails on a chalk board. I understand that gas is the way to go with cooking but it’s a major pain in the ass to keep the range top clean. Once this stove shits the bed we are still going to stick to a glass top but switch to induction. There’s a lot to be said when it comes to ease of maintenance and cleanup. A couple squirts of windex after the top cools and you’re done. I like easy. For the real stubborn, burnt on splatters I use a razor blade then the windex.
    Had an induction cooktop while overseas. I was sceptical but it turned out to be awesome. Boiled water like you wouldn’t believe and maintained super low simmer temps without issue, all you had to do was dial in the setting. And dead easy to clean, as you said. Bought a stand-alone counter top gas burner for the times I needed the flame...non-magnetic pans or roasted peppers. The one complaint I had was that it wasn’t immune to scratches. Highly recommend regardless, miles better than a halogen cook top.
     

    Jaron3

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    Had an induction cooktop while overseas. I was sceptical but it turned out to be awesome. Boiled water like you wouldn’t believe and maintained super low simmer temps without issue, all you had to do was dial in the setting. And dead easy to clean, as you said. Bought a stand-alone counter top gas burner for the times I needed the flame...non-magnetic pans or roasted peppers. The one complaint I had was that it wasn’t immune to scratches. Highly recommend regardless, miles better than a halogen cook top.
    My mother in law has induction and she’s one hell of a cook. According to her it’s the closest thing to cooking with gas as far as heat range and adjustability. Also the induction tops cool much faster than an electric top.
     

    pmclaine

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    @pmclaine
    I get what you’re saying, I think. No offense taken. None of the cast iron makes a sound on the cook top when moved so no nails on a chalk board. I understand that gas is the way to go with cooking but it’s a major pain in the ass to keep the range top clean. Once this stove shits the bed we are still going to stick to a glass top but switch to induction. There’s a lot to be said when it comes to ease of maintenance and cleanup. A couple squirts of windex after the top cools and you’re done. I like easy. For the real stubborn, burnt on splatters I use a razor blade then the windex.


    The issue I have with the glass is I, and my family, are klutzes. I see that shit breaking.

    Id be putting my cast on it like it was made of egg shells. I often shake my pans back and forth to move the food inside. Im overthinking it but doing same on glass would scare me.

    I agree with you on the clean up aspects but with this new top Ive taken a different mentality, its a tool, scratches and being shiny are not going to be my concern.

    The open top burner like the Blue Star is kind of an anomaly and the problems are magnified on the drop in model where as the ranges and built in use engineering to make clean up easier. Other cook tops like the Wiking or whatever have a "closed" pan so cleaning is a little bit easier to deal with as long as everyone understands that the stainless steel is going to get scratched and it wont have that sweet factory fresh, brushed finish, once it gets real use.

    Nothing is easier than the glass top though for clean up and good looks assuming it never breaks so there is a lot of attraction there.
     

    Romeo458

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    I have also taken some of the newer lodge pans and sanded them into some nice cookware. These are some pictures of ones I did for my brother. It's a bit of work but if you're doing it is a group project it's a good time.

    I pretty much only cook on caste except for the Wok, a few limited things on stainless, and one thing in a small ceramic pan because I haven't found a square cast iron pan yet.
     

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    Jaron3

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    The issue I have with the glass is I, and my family, are klutzes. I see that shit breaking.

    Id be putting my cast on it like it was made of egg shells. I often shake my pans back and forth to move the food inside. Im overthinking it but doing same on glass would scare me.

    I agree with you on the clean up aspects but with this new top Ive taken a different mentality, its a tool, scratches and being shiny are not going to be my concern.

    The open top burner like the Blue Star is kind of an anomaly and the problems are magnified on the drop in model where as the ranges and built in use engineering to make clean up easier. Other cook tops like the Wiking or whatever have a "closed" pan so cleaning is a little bit easier to deal with as long as everyone understands that the stainless steel is going to get scratched and it wont have that sweet factory fresh, brushed finish, once it gets real use.

    Nothing is easier than the glass top though for clean up and good looks assuming it never breaks so there is a lot of attraction there.
    Granted, I don’t put my pots and pans on the stove like I’m splitting wood but I don’t think I’m overly gentle with them either. I shake the skillets back and forth too to move things around and there’s no issues while leaving the full weight of my #9 and it’s contents on the top. No scratches and no sound while doing so. My spice cabinet is above the stove and above the microwave. I dropped a glass steak rub container out of the cabinet and it hit the glass top of the stove and broke. The cook top took the impact fine. The steak rub container was a 1 cup glass jar with a metal lit and it fell from about 3 feet. That was the hardest impact the cook top has been exposed to to my knowledge but my teenage kids also cook and they sure aren’t gentle creatures. Haha. I’m not sure how hard you have to hit a cook top to break it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that they are more durable than people think.
     
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    Jaron3

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    These are my buddy’s skillets. The #8 is an unmarked Wagner and the #9 is a newer Griswold that was made after Wagner bought out Griswold. He took all the seasoning off to start over. I love the swirl marks from the original machining process at the foundry. 7AA72A40-8EF5-4F8E-8640-583C7CD3B51C.jpegBABFBE48-EC9B-4736-9313-250FD4C070CA.jpeg
     

    pmclaine

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    These are my buddy’s skillets. The #8 is an unmarked Wagner and the #9 is a newer Griswold that was made after Wagner bought out Griswold. He took all the seasoning off to start over. I love the swirl marks from the original machining process at the foundry. View attachment 7310792View attachment 7310793


    I wonder if "spinning" is part of the casting process.

    Dont even know if such a thing is a thing but it looks like molten iron poured into some sort of form than spun.

    Just brain storming.
     

    Jaron3

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    I wonder if "spinning" is part of the casting process.

    Dont even know if such a thing is a thing but it looks like molten iron poured into some sort of form than spun.

    Just brain storming.
    They were all sand cast then finish ground, no spinning. Today Lodge skips the finish grind step. That’s why they are so rough textured. The old “notched” lodges were very well made and finished. I’m on the lookout for a gate marked piece. It’s very hard to ID the manufacture but most gate marked examples are from the mid to late 1700s to the 1850s if memory serves me correctly.
     
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    riverside jeep

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    @Jaron3

    Sir love the pan but.......


    View attachment 7310722

    The cooking surface?

    Sorry for being a dick but that cast on glass strikes me as nails on a chalkboard.

    Had my cook top die last year and went with a Blue Star....

    View attachment 7310723

    Flame the way cooking is supposed to be....

    View attachment 7310724

    With the Smithy medium and ......... Bacon.

    View attachment 7310725

    After a year in service I cant 100 percent recommend this drop in Blue Star top.......go built in if you are going to get one. I think the sheet metal on top could be thicker or they need some more frame structure to keep the heavy ass cast iron grates level. Cleaning is also fucktarded as the drip pans can not be removed from the burner holes, you have to reach in to the interior through sharp steel burner holes to wipe the interior down.

    The built ins have drip sheets that pull from the front of the cabinet for cleaning - much like commercial flame tops.

    At work we have the precursor to the Blue Star line - a Garland commercial oven. That bitch is a beast, 6 burners, two oven, a grill/broiler station. Work would probably give it to me for the cost of a standard oven and moving the Garland.

    Running the Garland would be an expense though. Its got old school pilots so there are 9 flames burning constantly. My house cook top runs off a 60 gallon propane tank. The truck would be there weekly to fill it up.
    I built a house 4 years ago to downsize into and put a Blue Star range in along with a big AirKing hood. I have to say that after 40 years of using the Kenmore/ whoever else is on sale for $500 , going to the Blue Star was like getting a blow job every morning when you cook breakfast!
     
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    PBWalsh

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    Threads like this is why I love SH. The sheer depth of knowledge aside from firearms is outstanding.

    This thread inspired me to get out my unused Lodge skillets and season them. Cooked my daily eggs today on an 8”. Was delicious. I cook every day for breakfast and supper, these will get a ton of use.

    Think I need to reseason them as the first go around did not leave a uniformly shiny finish.
     
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    pmclaine

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    They were all sand cast then finish ground, no spinning. Today Lodge skips the finish grind step. That’s why they are so rough textured. The old “notched” lodges were very well made and finished. I’m on the lookout for a gate marked piece. It’s very hard to ID the manufacture but most gate marked examples are from the mid to late 1700s to the 1850s if memory serves me correctly.


    You know the "rough finish" has its benefits.

    I think the Lodge cleans a little easier than the Smithy.

    If Im cooking something like fried cabbage with a sauce I know will glaze either the added surface of the rough finish on the Lodge produces a better non stick surface (counter intuitive), perhaps better seasoning pockets? Hot water and a scrub brush clean it right up.

    On the fine finished Smithy it "carmelizes" materials more and they stick in the center of the pan requiring just a bit more cleaning effort.

    For "crisping" fried eggs though....the smooth finished Smithy creates a great "crunchy" edge.
     
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    XLR308

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    I have almost nothing but lodge and pretty much everything ranging from small skillets and griddle to several sizes of Dutch ovens.
    The newer stuff definitely requires more effort to make user friendly and stripping and buffing some of the porous surface area down before working on proper seasoning has helped.
    Either way new or old switching to cast iron is a step up from the bullshit stamped out crap that pretty much everyone has in thier kitchens.
     
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