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This review is from: Lodge L8SK3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch (Kitchen)
I have 2 pieces of Lodge cast iron cookware. This one and the 12" un-preseasoned skillet which I conditioned myself. I have to add my voice to the chorus of cast iron admirers who don't know how they ever survived without their Lodges. I do about 80% of my cooking with one or the other.
Cast iron's chief strength comes from its massiveness. It is basically a honkin' big hunk of iron formed into a cooking utensil. This large quantity of metal, once heated, will tend to evenly distribute its heat and stay hot no matter what you put into it. Futhermore, once properly conditioned (which Lodge has done for you here), they are almost as non-stick as teflon.
Unfortunately, cast iron is not without its faults. Its greatest strength may also be its greatest weakness in that it is significantly heavier than other types of cookware. This skillet weighs about 6 lbs. Imagine trying to pick that up, plus the weight of whatever you've cooked in it, with one oven-mitted hand so that you can use a spoon in the other hand to help maneuver your recipe into a serving dish or storage container! If you have weak hands or arthritis or any condition that limits your ability to pick up and manipulate heavy objects, it may not be a good choice for you.
Also, iron will rust if not maintained correctly. Lodge provides you with use and care instructions which are not complicated or difficult, but which you MUST follow to the letter. Read the instructions carefully when you get your pan. No dishwasher, no soap (just hot water and a stiff brush), dry quickly and coat with cooking oil.
I've read some reviews where folks are saying that you can't cook tomato-based or acidic products in cast iron. Though it may be true, I've never found an authoritative source to corroborate this and, in fact, Lodge's website (lodgemfg.com) offers recipes that contain tomatoes and acidic ingredients! I regularly put tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, lemon juice, etc. in my cast iron and haven't seen any ill effects from doing so.
These pans are so inexpensive, it will cost you very little to give them a try. If you do, you'll be singing their praises with the rest of us!
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 5, 2008 8:46:41 PM PST
Ramon D. says:
Just wanted comment that I have a cast iron wok and my sweet and sour chicken recipe has a tomato base and it has no problems with it. Proper maintenance should keep you in the clear.
Posted on Feb 15, 2009 1:40:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 15, 2009 1:54:42 PM PST
In answer to your question, the book "Cast Iron Cooking for Dummies" talks not only about avoiding highly acidic ingredients during the initial stages of ownership, but also high sugar dishes. These apparently strip seasoning, and since Lodge Logic cookware doesn't include re-seasoning instructions -- they specifically instruct new owners to "call or email for instructions" -- this may be a problem.
Although 25-coats of seasoning come pre-applied by Lodge, they aren't always adequate in my experience, either. Not long ago I bought a 5-quart dutch oven, not my first experience with cast iron but my first Lodge purchase, and EVERY SINGLE ONE I saw in the store had rust or mottled areas under the lid where the seasoning had evidently been applied over rust. I did not observe a problem to this degree with the cast iron skillets on the shelf, but the dutch ovens come in heavy cardboard with only a thin cardboard separation between the lid and the pot. I believe the packaging restricts air flow, hence the rust. By contrast, the other day I bought a 12-inch "irregular" pre-seasoned Lodge skillet at Marshalls and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it other than the fact that the foundry had marked it as a 10-inch. I got a great deal on it due to that flaw.
In general, I would say that one of the reasons some people post unflattering reviews on these cast iron items from time to time is because the manufacturers neglect to mention important information in their use & care info. Some of these FYIs you can only learn by trolling the Internet or reading the likes of "Cast Iron Cooking for Dummies". Imagine if you couldn't make informed use of a microwave oven, a rice cooker, a bread maker, a stand mixer or a washer or dryer without spending time on the Internet or reading a book you purchased separately? Why American-made cast iron documentation is so lacking compared, even, to so many of the foreign products on the market beats me. Cast iron has been around for generations, but those growing up using nonstick cookware need a proper introduction. Unfortunately, Lodge's documentation isn't geared toward first-time owners as evidenced by the fact that it has nothing to say about how to go about re-seasoning, doesn't advocate that new owner's pre-heat the pan with nonstick spray or a dab of cooking oil to avoid undue sticking, and doesn't address the question as to whether acidic ingredients agree with this form of cooking method. If Lodge were to provide adequate instructions, you wouldn't see so many people stepping forward out of necessity to help uninformed new owners out (or to call them "clueless", as unfortunately is the more common comment I see).
Great review, BTW!
Posted on Feb 24, 2009 10:15:11 PM PST
K. Pidhayny says:
I think the theory that cooking tomato based foods or anything acidic for that matter stems from an old theory. In the good old (old old) days, pewter was often used for plates and cookware. Pewter was of course high in lead content. In most circumstances the lead was never lifted from the plate to be ingested, but the acidity of tomatoes would extract the lead. For this reason tomatoes were often thought to be poisonous. This lead poisoning would cause people to slip in to comas, resulting in holding a "wake", wherein the family essentially waits for the "deceased" to arise from the lead poisoning induced coma. These days, there is no lead, so any iron pulled by the acidity of what you are cooking wont do much harm.
also, the acidity might expedite the rusting process, perhaps that is why the instruction to avoid cooking tomato based stuff is still around.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2009 12:34:38 PM PDT
Jim Hendrickson says:
Regarding cooking tomato based foods, I have found through multiple experiences that if your cooking time is fairly normal - i.e., less than an hour - you will see no problems in a properly maintained utensil. However, if you cook a recipe that requires a long period of simmering (like 3-4 hours or more), such as chili recipe that includes tomatoes, you will definitely be able to taste a metallic flavor and you will have a two-tone interior where the line of demarcation is the level of the contents. Non-acidic recipes (pot roasts, pork butts, stews, soups) can cook for hours with no such negative results. I am a competitive chili cooker so I know my flavors and while I might brown my beef in a cast iron skillet, I won't cook the chili in one.
Otherwise - like many who have offered testimonies here - I wouldn't want to have to cook without a large and varied collection of cast iron cookware.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2009 6:03:28 AM PDT
Camping Out says:
I grew up watching my grandmother and mother cook with cast iron every day for every meal. Their pots and pans were used to fry, to simmer, to braise, and to bake on the cooktops and in the ovens of wood cookstoves, gas ranges, and electric ranges; over campfires, and in sandpits. Cast iron was their most valued cookware. I carried on the tradition with my own cooking and still favor cast iron over any other cookware. I have used my dutch oven to simmer and cook down thick, rich, tomato based spaghetti sauces that tasted great, did not harm the pot, and did not harm my guests.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2010 8:20:39 PM PDT
That 12" pan was not an 'irregular' due to being marked wrong, it was marked exactly right, it is a 10" skillet. The 'traditional way' of measuring a fry pan is across the bottom flat of the pan, the 'new way' is across the top, so you can match the lid up when buying. A lodge 12" fry pan is model L10SK3, 10" across the bottom and 12" across the top.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 25, 2011 3:33:24 AM PDT
Great Cook, Great Cook says:
I believe the reason your family could use tomato based sauces in there cast iron cookware, and not get a funny taste was because, they where well seasoned from all the cooking they did in them over the years..
The old Griswold cast iron etc. are far superior then the new Lodge that was just bought, even though Lodge say's its pre-seasoned. It still should be seasoned, and its not smooth inside like the Old Griswolds etc.
If the new Cast Iron was seasoned properly, your eggs would just slide out,and they do not!
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2013 8:00:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2013 8:43:11 PM PDT
NewsView, sounds like you are a seasoned cast iron connoisseur :)! Could you please give me some of your insights into cast iron seasoning? I'm a bit concerned about the food safety issue of the seasoned coating as well as the "patina" of bare cast iron cookware. The seasoned surface consists of a polymerized and therefore plasticized coating, and nowhere on the internet could I find information about its reaction to heat and/or food. I know heating up plastic is not a good idea, so is cooking on a plasticized coating on cast iron similar or different from cooking on a sheet of plastic? Is the layer of seasoning as inert as we would like it to be during cooking? On Wikipedia, it says that, "The seasoned surface will deteriorate at the temperature where the polymers break down. This is not the same as the smoke point of the original oils and fats used to season the pan because those oils and fats are transformed into the plasticized surface. (This is analogous to how the smoke point for crude oil and plastic are different)." Since many recipes call for "hot pans, cold oil", preheating of dry cast iron cookware often causes smoking, which is induced by heating up the polymerized oil of the seasoning material. I know when heating regular oil beyond its smoke point, it releases free radicals, which are carcinogenic, but I have no idea what happens when the polymerized oil is heated past its smoke point. Along the same line of thinking, the slow build-up of "patina" is kind of mysterious and worrisome to me, too. I know when reheating oil over and over again, many carcinogens are being released during the process. So I am not sure if cooking on an age-old patina surface is that different from cooking with the same batch of oil, or rather, the same layer of polymerized fat, again and again, especially if no soap has ever been used to remove any residual oil from the cast iron cookware. I know "patina" enhances the flavor of food and also creates a smooth, non-stick cooking surface. But I would like to collect more info about cast iron seasoning and figure out if it is really healthier than Teflon or Xylan coating. Thank you again for sharing your opinions with us!
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