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Ask Dr. Gourmet



Does it matter what brand of cast iron skillet I choose?

How important is the brand when it comes to buying a cast iron skillet? I know Lodge is probably the best out there, but I figure that since cast iron isn't exactly high tech stuff, its perfections shouldn't be too hard to duplicate. Are the cheaper brands such as Texsport just as good or almost just as good when it comes to cast iron skillets?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

I agree with you that the quality of a cast iron skillet is likely to be of little difference between brands. Certainly casting iron is a lower tech manufacturing process than a copper and stainless steel skillet, for instance. Lodge is a good brand and I try to recommend brands that will be widely available to my readers. There's not much difference in the cost and I recall that my 10 inch Lodge cast iron skillet was about $15.00.

When you buy a cast iron pan you need to cure it to keep food from sticking. Here's how:

  • Use an oil without much flavor, like canola oil.
  • Place about 4 tablespoons oil in the bottom of the pan and put the pan in an oven that has been preheated to 400°F.
  • After about 3 minutes reduce the temperature to 300°F and leave the pan in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Turn the oven off and let the pan cool inside the oven.
  • When the pan is cool enough to touch wipe the excess oil out with a paper towel.

It is best to clean any porous skillet without detergent because soaps strip the oils (and thus your "cure") from the pan. Simply rinse the pan with hot water and wipe clean. For food that is stuck to the pan scrub gently with salt or a plastic scrub pad.

Thanks for writing. Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
Dr. Gourmet