Lodge Carbon Steel Seasoned Skillet – Item of the Day
NOTE – The 10 and 15 inch skillets are all on sale today for 20% off retail. But the 12 inch is hugely discounted to 36% off retail. The 12 inch skillet is the workhorse of the kitchen, everyone should have at least two of them, well seasoned at all times.
Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.
Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Lodge Carbon Steel Seasoned Skillet. These are my go to for searing and if you ever go to a professional restaurant where a lot of searing happens you will likely see dozens of these in use, and there is a reason, they work really damn good. While I used them mostly for searing at first they have now become my go to for 90% or more of my stove top cooking.
There are quite a few options from 8 inches up to a huge 15 inch one with double handles. I currently own an 8 and a few 12 inch and one 15 inch skillet and they serve my needs very well.
I am a huge fan of old cast iron but it is heavy and it is not efficient when it comes to getting it hot, what it is good at is staying hot once you get it there. Thinner carbon steel is efficient at getting hot quickly. These come pre seasoned and if you use proper care they will stay stick free and last forever.
When I first got these pans I really used them the most for searing off meat in two ways.
One – I will sear steaks and such BEFORE finishing on the grill or in the oven. They provide the best sear I have ever gotten and if you are finishing in the oven they can go strait in.
Two – For searing after a sous vide cook. Again they are just the best thing I have found. I have also begun doing reverse sear sous vide as well, especially with skin on duck breast, then a second quick sear after the cook.
But over three years that has changed. First I found the factory seasoning on them to be very good, way better than I expected. They are very low stick, note I didn’t say non stick. I have pretty much given up on other cookware at this point and use Lodge carbon steel pans exclusively. Honestly I have two 12 inch skillets that sit on my stove at all times. I use these for 70-80% of things that I cook indoors at this point.
The primary advantage of the carbon skillets over the cast iron is they heat up a lot faster and are easier to get searing hot. They also weigh less so they are easier to toss food around with when you don’t want to use a spatula and damage food by doing so. Also being able to go from searing on a stove top to finishing in the oven is perfect for thicker cuts of meat, things like seared duck breasts, 1 inch strip steaks, etc.
But what about sticking? This is what every pot and pan set on TV sells to, a non stick surface. Look I won’t say nothing sticks, because you can find things that will. What I will say is the “egg test” is what most people base their opinions on. Well in a well seasoned and cared for carbon steel skillet you have to chase an egg with the spatula at times because it is almost too non stick.
After trying both expensive and low cost cookware over the years today I do almost all of my cooking with the following
- A Lodge 8 inch Carbon Skillet – small sides
- Several Lodge 12 inch Carbon Skillets – the workhorses that do most things
- A Lodge 15 Inch Two Handed Skillet – for larger main courses
- A Lodge Dutch Oven – for Osso Busco, pot roasts, etc.
- An assortment of stock pots – boiling, soup making, stock making, etc.
I feel like I have mostly had what can only be called an amicable divorce from cast iron. As in I still respect it, we still have a friendship and do some stuff together but carbon steel has replaced cast irons role in my life. It is just better, period. Honestly at this point about the only cast iron item I use often is my dutch oven. Again more on this in an upcoming show.
Lastly as a prepper, when it comes to carbon steel pans, I love the efficiency here. If you are ever in a situation where fuel needs to be rationed you want a pan that heats up fast, cooks fast and finishes fast. So check out Lodge’s Carbon Steel Skillets today.
Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com
P.S. – For those involved in the stainless vs. cast iron debate, I suggest a trip to a high end restaurant with an arranged tour of the kitchen. If the restaurant uses pans to sear and cook meats at high temp, there is a 95% or better chance you are going to see carbon steel skillets all over that kitchen, and there is a reason.
P.S.S. – I find the Lodge pans to be more than adequate for my kitchen. I have read some negative reviews on Amazon and most are frankly people that don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground in the kitchen. That said they are not “perfect” and not a high end pan. If you want to spend almost double but get pans like you’d find in the highest end kitchens in the resturant scene check out Matfer Bourgeat. These are French Made and while I am not willing to pay the premium on them for all my pans I am thinking about adding a 12 incher just to experience the difference. Note you will have to season from scratch with these but it is actually preferable assuming you take the time to do it right.
Those carbon steel pans are money!! The do conduct super fast…so heat up time is nill. The trick is building up the seasoning layer. Lodge Logic is a great pre-seasoning..but they still need TLC to really get a good coating.
Big mistake people make it by trying to add too thick a layer of oil before seasoning..I have made this mistake……so use a very, very thin, almost invisible layer of oil as you season the pan.
You can repeat over and over, but the pan HAS TO cool to room temp in between each seasoning layer. As Jack says…you can sear amazignly well with them.
I must also confess…..do to added mantainence….I use my stoneware pans more often. I am testing some other non stick pans at this very moment…when and if I find they are a good product…I will chime in here.
Happy Cooking !
I was delighted to hear that you were not recommending a modern Lodge cast iron skillet which is junk compared to their older skillets. Most modern day skillets have a rough cooking surface while the older cast iron was polished smooth, thus it’s higher cost. I can fry an egg in the older cast iron and it won’t stick, using a teaspoon of oil. You were right about cast iron not being suitable for searing. In addition to your comments, cast iron can lose it’s temper if it is heated to a temperature used in searing meat.
Thanks for opening my eyes about a couple of skillets that I can use for searing.
Yea all my cast (except for one enameled dutch oven) is old school. You just go to antique shops etc, you can always find good stuff, a bit of TLC and you have a 100 year old heirloom as good as the day it was first seasoned.
Best article EVER on rehabbing cast iron is from our own Paul Wheaton!
A few years back I bought an oval cast iron fry pan that was super rusty….really bad…..it took about 45 minutes using a electric drill powered heavy-duty wire brush thingy….once it was rust free I used kosher salt and sand paper until it was completely smooth . Washed it, dried it and starting seasoning it. It’s a great pan now….back from the dead! I paid $1 for it.
Another good place to find older cast iron is at estate sales. There seems to be one or two sales every weekend within 25 miles of where I live. You can get on an email list for your local area at https://www.estatesales.net/. Photos of the items are also found on the website. The good stuff always goes fast. I bought one skillet online only because I got tired of looking for a large and 3 in. deep cast iron skillet (and I wasn’t getting any younger – LOL).
hey folks..I wanted to add this video…I sand my pans with a wire brush, then salt, then season…but this guy gets his even smoother then mine..
might be of use to some of you..
Hey Jack, Keith Snow has moved away from the Moneta/Greystone cookware and onto Diamond Swiss as his preferred non-stick cookware. Might want to try it out for us and let us know what you think.
This is true.. I had 2-3 pieces of stoneware and it’s non stick no doubt, but still flimsy like the vast majority of non stick pans, Swiss Diamond on the other hand is HEAVY…almost as heavy as my best French copper…but easy to maintain…handles are oven safe too…this brand is one of the only brands I have sought out..I have a pretty good set so far and they perform terrific…simple case in point…Steel cut Oatmeal..when I make it in stainless pots its a pain in the ass to scrub it out later…with Swiss Diamond it comes right off….until the 31st..you can enter to win a free Swiss diamond 8 inch skillet….about 3,000 entrants so far…see this link…https://www.swissdiamond.com/swiss-diamond-food-storage-feast-giveaway
Keith cannot recommend those anymore….Swiss Diamond, great at first, but hey are VERY VERY Slow to heat up, and I dont trust the coating…..I am back to using carbon steel and occasionally Scanpan…..which are expensive….but built better than Swiss Diamond.
I purchased a lovely Mauviel 1830 skillet on Chef Keith Snow’s recommendation. Love it! I used your link to purchase a Lodge CRS15 Carbon Steel Skillet. I think it will be great for many things we cook including stir-frys and many oven recipes as well (doesn’t have a long handle). These are MUCH lighter in weight compared to equal sizes of cast iron we own….which is important as I move closer to being a senior citizen. 😉
I hope you enjoy…those are great pans!!
Hey Jack, I’m looking for an older post where you linked to a nice stainless steel soup/stock pot which was 6-8 quarts–maybe the Cuisinart brand? I’ve looked all the related posts here in the Amazon Review/TPAZ area and cannot find it. I need to replace mine, so was checking to see which one you recommended.
The one that comes with a super useful and cool orange silicone slip-on/off handle is cheaper. Same skillet, more value, lower price????
Yep, that’s the one I ended up buying.
I have a large no-brand carbon steel wok that we bought almost 30 years ago. Still just as good as the day we bought it and we love it for stir-fry. However we have always had gas cooking stoves, I wouldn’t want to try to use it with electric. In fact I don’t know how you would use a wok on an electric cooktop.
There are flat bottom steel woks.
What spatula is best for this pan?
I always use stainless steel with these pans, this one is my favorite http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/aiotd-11-30-18
I picked one of these up and when I used it the first time I noticed the center was warped upward. I contacted lodge and they sent me another one and this one is also warped. It really bugs me when pans are warped in the middle like this. I assume it is supposed to be flat. Has anyone else noticed this?
Mine is slightly domed in the middle as well. Didn’t notice for a few years after I bought it because I don’t really use it for things where it would matter. It’s a good pan for a lot of things, but I think I use cast iron just as often.
I am not sure how this would even happen. Did you forget it for a long time on a hot burner or something?
Just got my 12-inch today. Ordered a smaller incarnation of one over a year ago and love it.
Unfortunately, the finish on this one is of classic Lodge cast-iron variety sandpaper. Even the handle is rough.
Unless I’m doing something wrong and the finish will magically smooth out with a little bit of use, I’m returning it.
Just cook with it and care for it it will become very stick free over time. They are pretty damn stick free out of the gate though. The key is the seasoning the texture you describe is not an issue. That is how they are made.
I have Griswold and Wagner cast iron skillets. Griswold is the best IMO but they quit making pans with the Griswold name on it around 1959 if memory serves. The ones I have are extremely smooth on the cooking surface, and they just don’t take much special care. My #6 lives on the stove top and gets used for just about everything. I have a 10″ Wagner that is almost as good as the Griswold. I use it to sear meat before I throw it into the slow cooker. I have been looking at the Lodge cast iron pots from time to time, but none of them have the smooth finish on them like the Griswolds or the Wagners. Must be the cost of the labor to finish the bottom, so they leave that to the user.
Getting harder to find the good old ones, but as Jack said….garage sales, antique stores, yard sales etc….but people are wise and I see them cost a lot of dough…..good old things are worth money….especially these days…
I bought one of these skillets at the local Lodge store after I heard you recommend it the first time and I love it. I was lugging along a cast iron skillet this size for cooking at camp and I replaced it with this and it suits that purpose a lot better.
What are the down sides of stainless steel pans (if any) ?
I bought the Lodge Carbon Steel 15 from Amazon and it would not sit flat on the counter. Had a bowed out middle. I got a replacement no questions asked and it was fine. If you look at the comments this is common.
Season Season Season, Preheat your oven to 450 – 500 degrees. Do yourself a favor and get some Flax Seed oil. Apply a very THIN coat of oil all over the pan, so thin you can barely see it. A lot of people make the mistake of adding a thick layer of oil and eventually it cracks and leads to a whole other issue to deal with later on. Put the pan inside the oven upside down and cook for 1 hour. Then turn off the heat in the oven and let sit inside the oven until cool to touch. Warning the Flax Seed oil will smell like fish, but it’s worth it. Repeat the same process 4 to 5 times for the best coating. Minimum of 3.
I love these pans. I use them with the “Lodge ASCRHH11 Silicone Hot Handle Holders for Carbon Steel Pans, Black” handles. A tip: these handles stay on better when inserted upside down (logo down).
Ordered three, you jerk. Skipped the 8″. There are no small meals at our house.