29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2008
This is a superior item. I have had a few cast iron pieces before and was always looking for one that would solve a few of my hang ups. Namely: The handles get too hot and they look like an item from an old western camp cook out.
I have always loved my cast iron cookware, they are virtually indestructable, cook evenly and clean up is a snap. I have had a 12" skillet for 5 years and used it about 2-5 times a week, every week for those 5 years. Very heavy usage because of the reasons stated above. That skillet was seasoned to perfection. Eggs would slide off of it like they were cooked on glass. My only hang up was that I was constantly burning my hand on the handles, and those of you who have experience with cast iron know that the hot handles are unforgiving when you pick one up after it has been on the stove top. Unforgiving indeed.
My girlfriend has a complete set of Calphalon cookware. It's great looking in our modern style kitchen and preforms okay. The heat distribution isnt as even as my cast iron and I hate the fact that I have to use specific tools (non metallic) that wont damage the non stick surface. Once the non stick surface is scratched the $150 Calphalon pan is ruined.
I saw this skillet online and decided to give it a try. This skillet seems to solve all my problems. It looks as great as my girlfriends pricey Calphalon and it preforms to prefection. I opened the package, which was substantial for protecting the pan during shipping, the pan arrived in mint condition. I immediately loved the look and weight of the pan. Lighter than my old 12" skillet. However, the look and weight are more for my vanity and convenience, but I bought it to cook food better not just sit on my stove top looking great, the preformance would be the real test. My eyes glazed over as I got the idea of frying up some eggs or maybe a burger right then. I rinsed it off (and towel dryed it) and turned toward my fridge for something to try it out with. What to do, what to do?....ah, BACON. Perfect, I wanted the first test to be on a fatty food to aid in the seasoning. On the first 4 strips went. I have to say, I thought the pre-seasoning was a gimic and that I would have to season the pan myself. The bacon didnt stick at all, even before the fat sizzled up. The heat was even and it cooked as well as any cast iron does. Perfection. My next 4 strips went on. Everything is perfect, I can use any tongs I have including my easy to grip metal ones. Cast iron is virtually indestructable. It's doing great! As I was distracted over the brillance of my beautiul yet functional new toy, I reached down to move the pan off the burner without thinking that it was hot (I make this mistake all too often), in the instant that my hand closed on the handle, I thought, "D'oh, this is going to hurt". But low and behold, the steel handle was actually still room tempature after doing 8 strips of bacon. So was the assist handle on the other side. I have since found that it stays cool to enough to touch through out alnost all of my stovetop applications (it does heatup in the oven, though, as one would expect).
I have found a true heirloom piece.
I have since used it enough that the seasoning has built up even more and it is just about where my 5 year old workhorse skillet was before I retired it to camping duty. The eggs are starting to roll off my new skillet like glass.
It cleans only with water and a dedicated non-soap scrubber. It cleans easier than any pan I have and looks like new (except for the seasoned inner surface). I also wipe it down with salt and olive oil every so often.
My friends and relatives envy the pan whenever they visit. So, it also solved another problem of mine, what to get my loved ones for holiday gifts.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2008
After doing a ton of research on this site and others I finally ordered this beast and waited for its arrival. Straight out of the box I had great results (see below) and have nothing but positive things to say about this tool.
A bit of reading suggested that the first things cooked in these skillets are important, and so I planed to start off with some thick cut pork chops cooked up in plenty of oil in order to add to the manufacturer's seasoning - for more on that go to the Lodge website - [...] - regardless of what other reviewers say on this site, it's not 'sprayed on' and shouldn't be able to peal or crack. The point of cast iron is that if the seasoning fails (sounds like she got a bum item and should have had it replaced!) it's VERY simple to reseal it. Back to the pork chops - as with others just starting out, I had some sticking, but very little - see clean up below.
I followed this meal with a fry up of some chicken thighs - again I had a slight bit of sticking but that might be because I put them in too cold. The key with this skillet is that it's heavy enough to hold the heat without being overly so, as are so many short handled 100% cast iron alternatives.
Both of these meals were nicely seared on the outside (possible due to the high heat maintained by the iron) and cooked nice and evenly all the way through...I'd turned down the heat to get the heat all the way through the meat, and the skillet held the high heat brilliantly while slowly cooling down to the medium flame.
Since these first two dishes I've had very, very little sticking through cooking burgers, 3 pounds of onions, 5 pounds of beef short ribs, and no sticking on a huge corn bread - just to name a few.
I was looking for an cost effective, AMERICAN made to the fro-fro European 'cost a lot but aren't any better' skillets and fry pans that you see out there. To be effective at the 12 inch size a pan is going to have to have some weight, otherwise the heat will not be held and go right through the pan into the food - in a not-too-even way. This seems to be the answer to my cooking prayers and my sense is that it's only going to get better over time.
Make no mistake, this skillet requires a bit of commitment - maybe it's better for folks with a 'married' mindset, rather than the buy it and toss it crew. IF you want a disposable fryer that you can put in the dishwasher and/or that food just FALLS off right out the box than I might suggest a Swiss Diamond (if you can beyond the silly Teflon 'controversy'). But if you're looking for a long-term commitment that is going to get better over time and provide YEARS of pleasurable cooking this is for you.
I bough a pot brush from Target along with the skillet and that's been working like a charm - food doesn't really stick to the skillet, instead it gets kinda 'associated' on there until I come along with a brisk circular motion with the brush, and it's gone. I've read (Cook's Illustrated and otherwise) that a nice warm cook up with salty water and then a good brushing will clean ANYTHING from these bad boys - thankfully I haven't had to do that.
The key is to clean it without ruining the seasoning, but that's been no trouble for me so far.
In the end, I really like the scrubbing - it's a work/reward balance here that marks a good fulfilling relationship. But I might be overstating the effort to clean my skillet, it really isn't hard!
A last thought - I live in an NYC apartment and keep mine in the oven - always dry it and wipe it down with a spot of oil before putting it away.
Materials & Design:
I went for the signature version because I had read that the handle stays much cooler than the short stubby all iron alternatives - and so far I've been very well pleased in this department. The helper handle is also super helpful (and well named) but mine gets pretty hot, so be aware of that. I wouldn't call that a disadvantage though, because it's there; without the helper this wouldn't be nearly as well designed.
I really like the contrast of iron and stainless steel - and even my wife who thinks this thing is a beast (6 pounds is not that heavy!) freely admits that it's handsome.
Performs well when cooking -
cleans up with only a little effort -
Go for it, make the commitment and reap the rewards!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
I really like this skillet. I'm not sure how much aesthetics matter to the end product (usually bacon), but this skillet is absolutely beautiful. It's a very manly skillet, assuming one believes men to be made of cast iron and stainless steel. I have a number of random cast iron cookware, including a 12" skillet from Tramontina. When I bought a Lodge Logic lid for it, I discovered it wasn't truly 12" across. The Lodge Signature Series skillet is a little bit lighter and has more vertical walls then my Tramontina, but retains heat just as well. Both the glass and cast iron lids by Lodge fit this skillet. The stainless handle stays much cooler than the integrated cast iron handle of my Tramontina. The pre-seasoning is functional, but I'd still recommend a proper oven seasoning with some sort of vegetable oil before or immediately after first use. With the Lodge glass lid, this thing has both the looks and function of a much higher end skillet.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2011
I owned several other pieces of cast iron prior to this, and used them often, but they were hard to move, and the surfaces left much to be desired. When I got this, I immediately fell in love. It comes pre-seasoned, better than most Lodge pans, and worked well right away. The workspace is large and flat, with nice sides to reduce the spatter. However, after several months of use, it gets even better, and I can now fry eggs on it successfully. The handles work great, and although it weighs a ton, I can move it around by the long handle with no mitt. If I want to move it a long distance, I can use the helper handle with a mitt. The only downside is that it is hard to keep the stainless handle nice and shiny, as you don't want soap on the cast iron, but you do on the handle. So the base of the handles is building up a patina.
I keep it on the stove permanently, and cook almost half my dishes in it. I thoroughly recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2009
We bought this pan to replace the Calphalon we purchased when we were first married. The Calphalon was great at first, but eventually the finish wore through and we would have to send the pan back. The company always sent us a new one without fuss and honored their warranty well, however eventually we began to wonder just what was wearing off - and of course we didn't like the idea of whatever that was getting into our food.
We switched to stainless steel but found that frying eggs and potatoes and various other sticky items quickly became a hassle and so that is when we purchased this Lodge Signature pan.
I love it, I use it for everything and it does not stick much if at all (these are the results after only a month of non-stop use). It is easy to clean and beautiful to look at. It is heavy, but I kinda like some heft to my pan!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2008
I have had this pan for over a year now. It looks as beautiful as the day I brought it home. The Stainless handles add a wonderful touch of class to this skillet. It has also retained it's Seasoning without any additional seasoning needed. While heavy the assist handle makes it very easy to manage the weight.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2011
I have been needing to replace my teflon skillets, and didn't want to continue using the nonstick products. This pan has been great. I am glad I upgraded to the signature series, as the pan is heavy, and the helper handle is very useful. The handles stay cool while cooking. I did do some extra seasoning of this pan at home. First I fried bacon 2 separate times, then I coated it with a light layer of grapeseed oil and baked it at 450 for 1 hour upside down. Then I cooked 2 more fatty meats on it. I now can easily fry and egg, and do anything else, and there is no sticking. I have been faithful about not using soap, and drying it right after it has been washed. When completely dry I put a LIGHT coating of oil and store it. Long review, but I think if you spend the extra couple minutes on care and seasoning you will be happy with this pan for many years.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
This pan was highly rated by other reviewers, and this is why I purchased it. Even though it is "Pre Seasoned," no matter how I prepare the pan, it really sticks. Even bacon sticks. Part of the problem is that in the production, the bottom of the pan is sandblasted, and not sanded or ground to obtain a smooth cooking surface. Older pans from different manufacturers did not neglect this part of the process. I feel that this pan is very expensive for a mediocre product. If I had known the pan would perform like this, I would not have purchased it.
on December 12, 2012
So I just received this 12" signature skillet which fit my 12" Glass lid! So I was very happy about that. The pre-seasoning was good but not perfect. The inside/bottom of this pan is a bit smoother than my other Lodge skillets but it is still not machined smooth like my Griswold pan. This doesn't bother me as I honestly dont notice much of a difference. The Griswold cooks better but that is because it is 50 years old. This Lodge skillet is great! The first thing I cooked in this skillet was the first thing I cook in every Cast Iron skillet, bacon. Cooked it up just fine and used my glass lid to keep the splatter down. After cooking it in bacon I wanted to add another layer of seasoning in the oven. I season all my cast iron in REFINED peanut oil because it has a smoke temperature of 475º.
Because of the stainless steel, I was a bit worried about how hot I could get the pan before I discolored the stainless steel and would have to wash it with a stainless steel cleaner. So I set the oven to 400º and baked for 45 minutes. When I took it out the stainless steal was not discolored at all and I had another layer of seasoning on. This time I cooked eggs with just the tiniest bit of oil with which they cooked without sticking.
I love this pan. If all you want is the benefits of cast iron cooking and dont care about the flare I wouldnt buy this pan. If you like a modern look and love cast iron this pan is for you, if you dont mind paying the premium price. The handles do stay relatively cool. The helper handle will heat up faster as to be expected but the primary handle stays cool for a long time. The long handle does make it easier to pick up but lets be honest. This is a heavy pan and will not be lifted by the average person without the helper handle.
I picked the 12skillet over the 10 inch skillet for 2 reasons. 1 I already have a 10 Cast Iron skillet and Lodge's 10 1/4 cast iron and didnt feel I really need another. 2nd Lodge's signature 10in skillet would have required me to buy a separate lid for it, which I understand is hard to procure. However, Lodge's 12 inch skillets are 12" and all the lids are interchangeable whether you buy the Logic Cast Iron 12" lid or the Lodge Glass Lid 12" or the Signature Casserole Lid 12" You can use all three on this skillet. I had the glass lid already and it is my lid of choice for this skillet. Matches the look of it nicely.
By the way, If you are looking for this pan and wondering why the price has jumped drastically, it is because Lodge has temporarily discontinued the "L" Series (enameled cast iron) and the "Signature" Series (cast iron with stainless accents). You will not find these again till they re-introduce them with new look and design tentatively late 2013. So if you love the signature series buy them while you can or wait till they come back. I personally dont recommend the "L" series over the "Color" series which is not being discontinued but if you really wanted an "L" series get it while you can.
on July 18, 2011
This pan has been great. I've grown tired of my scratched and peeling teflon pans, and decided to give cast iron a try. I am so glad I did. Although this skillet comes pre-seasoned, I added my own seasoning by wiping it inside and out with grapeseed oil and placing it on my gas grill for an hour (twice). The first couple of times I used this skillet, I was disappointed because I had some sticking, and it appeared to have hot spots. But now, as long as I pre-heat sufficiently, I get very little sticking, and it cooks perfectly. I brought this out when we went camping, and it was a breeze to make scrambled eggs and bacon.
The stainless steel handles are great, and make this skillet so much more functional. I like being able to grip the skillet when I'm cooking, and the stainless steel means I don't have to grab oven mitts every time I touch the skillet (the short handle does get hot). For a family of four, the 12 inch skillet is a good size (although I'm considering buying a cast iron griddle since I seem to be making a lot of grilled sandwiches, and you can only get three, maybe four pieces of bread in the skillet). I like how the sides of this skillet don't have a large slope - there's more skillet surface for food (although the corner was a hassle to clean when I had food sticking there). The skillet is heavy, but manageable with the two handles. Highly recommended!