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Monday, August 2, 2010

Why am I such a stickler for certain brands?

I frequently say in my posts that certain pieces of cast iron cookware are not made by a brand I trust. Why does that matter?

Not all cast iron is the same in terms of quality, and I learned this lesson the hard way.

When I first started using cast iron, I bought one Lodge skillet; The rest were off brands, because they were cheaper.

One was a cornstick pan, by Norpro. It was $5 less than Lodge. It did an OK job, but started to rust within a couple of months-- and I always dry my cast iron thoroughly after each use. Since switching to Lodge, I haven't had a problem.

Another was a skillet and pot by Bayou Classic. They were pitted and I had a hard time seasoning them. After a while, the food started to taste funny.

Another was a griddle by Imusa; The label stated in small print that it wasn't really cast iron, and that you should not use metal utensils because the nonstick coating would come off.

So even though they were cheaper, I ended up spending more money by later replacing them.

I covered in an earlier post which brands you should buy, but to recap: Griswold and Wagner are best but no longer made; Lodge is best on the market today; Old Mountain and Emerilware are 2nd; Camp Chef, also called Sante Cabin, is 3rd.

Everything else, stay away from.

Note that this doesn't count brands that only sell enameled cookware, such as Le Creuset and Straub, since I don't use enameled and can't comment on its quality.

I've also learned that Cabela's cast iron is made by Camp Chef. So it's OK, although Lodge is better.

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