Lodge Cast Iron: What’s old is new again

by Terry B on August 31, 2011

Lodge Cast Iron cookware—hefty, oldfangled and enjoying a resurgence—is the subject of my latest USA Character Approved Blog post.

Whenever I’m shopping for a new skillet or sauté pan, the first thing I do is lift it. Usually, the cheaper the pan, the lighter it feels. Meaning there’ll be very little metal between the flame and whatever it is you’re cooking. You want a pan with a satisfying heft to it—otherwise, you’re going to be scorching stuff on the bottom before the rest of the food even has a chance to get warm.

Cookware doesn’t come much heftier than cast iron. That solid, lift-with-your-knees weight assures even heating, great heat retention and generation-spanning durability. This sturdy, no nonsense cookware is enjoying renewed popularity these days among a whole new generation of cooks.

So I was pleased to hear that the best cast iron out there is still made right here in America, in the town of South Pittsburg, Tennessee (population 3,300 or so), where it has been since William McKinley was president.

Lodge Cast Iron is the last cast iron cookware company still in daily production in the United States. And refreshingly, this wonderfully hefty cookware doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. To find out more about the innovations that have kept this culinary tradition alive—and made their cookware the industry standard—check out my latest post on the USA Character Approved Blog.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

randi August 31, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I had a look at your post on the other blog and then went to their website. I happened to see their cookware at Bass Pro Shops of all places and remembered them. It’s been on my ‘things to do/buy’ list for a while and now this will give me the push to go back there and pick up a pan. Thanks!

Terry B August 31, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Bass Pro Shops seem like a perfect place for Lodge cookware, Randi. Cast iron skillets have probably graced as many campfires as they have kitchen stoves over the years.

Carey September 1, 2011 at 1:00 am

I can’t live without mine. I bought a deep sided one (about 5 inch sides) that I love for every day use -and its wonderful for frying. The only thing I don’t really like to do is tomato based or lemony things because they end up with a bit too much bitter from the pan.

Staggerlee September 1, 2011 at 1:01 am

Use my Dutch Oven here at home for stews to heavy chili, take it camping too, set it in the fire and put coals on the lid, bake chicken, campfire pot pie, all sorts of stuff. Pretty damn versatile. Have their wok…beautiful, but really, and I mean really, heavy, great for making refried beans.

Rhonda35 September 1, 2011 at 2:40 am

So glad I caught this post – I have been checking out the Lodge Cast Iron selection in, of all places, Walmart! Have admired several pans but have yet to buy one because I was being snobby and thought, “Well, if it’s here in Walmart, it’s probably not as great as it seems!” I have one of my great grandmother’s cast iron frying pans, but it is only 8-inches. Tomorrow, I am running out to buy those pans I’ve been coveting for months.

Terry B September 1, 2011 at 4:07 am

Carey—Yeah, that’s one of the few problems with cast iron, that it reacts with acids. Tomatoes, citrus juices and wine will often cause that bitter taste you mentioned.

Staggerlee, can we go camping with you?

Rhonda35—They make quite an impressive range of cookware too, beyond just skillets and Dutch ovens. Hope you enjoy your new pans!

Eeka September 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I was lucky to inherit cast iron pans from my Grandmother. Once, for a large party I cooked two pans of the same entree (chicken with rosemary) side-by-side, one in a cast iron and one in a no-stick pan. The chicken in the cast iron pan was noticeably better browned, seemed tastier. And since it was a well-seasoned pan, it didn’t stick, either.

Terry B September 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Eeka, cast iron is rightly loved for its unmatched browning and searing abilities. And regarding the sticking (or in your case, not sticking), one thing I’ve learned with all non-nonstick pans, is if you’ve used enough oil (or butter) and something is sticking, let it cook a little bit longer. It probably just hasn’t properly seared yet and after another minute or so, will probably release just fine.

altadenahiker September 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I have two cast iron dutch ovens, one of reasonable size and the other one huge. The latter was a gift, — maybe he thought I had aspirations to be cook on a cattle drive or something.

Now, thanks to you, I think I must have that frying pan. My mother had one just like it.

Terry B September 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Altadenahiker—Just doing my part to stimulate the economy!

Janis April 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I love my Lodge cast-iron skillet that I got as an early Christmas present from my mom. It’s a very photogenic piece of cookware too so i love taking pictures of my food in it. Gives it a rustic look and makes the food seem more delicious than it actually is. ;)

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