Skillet comparison - OC Register via Chicago Tribune
This may have been covered some time in the past, but the Orange County (CA) Register, ran an article this morning about a comparison run by the test kitchen of the Chicago Tribune. In what was much like one of those TV dramas in which the ending is obvious from the first scene, they compared six different skillets, ranging in price from $160 down to $12. They prepared eggs, chicken, and browned some onions in each skillet.
Viking Professional - ($160) ranked #2
AllClad Copper Core - ($144) ranked poorly, cooked unevenly.
Calphalon Tri-Ply ($70) - the eggs stuck badly
Emerilware ($50) very poor rersults
Cuisinart Chefs Classic ($50) decent results
And the runaway winner ? -
Lodge Cast Iron ($12)
Would most hounds agree ?
The link is below, but you need to register to read the article. Didn't try the Tribune site... it may be there with less hassle.
Time to go for the gold, people... Well okay, the copper.
One that wasn't mentioned is the Matfer Bourgeat copper cookware line. It is such a pleasure to use, responds to heat quickly, cooks easily. Yeah, the price is astronomical, but you'll be leaving them to your grandkids.
An important note- Get the "Alliance Series" with the cast iron handle, NOT the bronze. The copper layer is thicker.
All-Clad has 4 lines, only 2 of which are any good (and all of which are enormously overpriced. The Master Chef and LTD lines have a thick aluminum layers and are excellent. The others, including the Copper, have thin layers (the copper is just an outside coating) and are lousy.
Cast iron is great for what it does well, but you need something else. For more than you would ever want to know, see the superb eGullet thread on pots and pans and the Q&A at http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=25718
Midlife, I was fortunate enough to inherit my mother's cast iron skillet which she got from her mom. (It has to be well over 100 years old and seasoned beyond belief.) However, I also love a pan that is rarely reviewed in these magazines: KitchenAid. This puppy was about the price of the Viking and cooks like a dream. Be sure to check out the elegant coated cast iron pan (with wooden handle) from Staub. Quite nice.
I have a Lodge and an All-Clad Stainless.
Cast iron is great. But the Lodge is an ergonomics nightmare. The silliest handle on the market. It's too short and too flat. You would do better to find in a yardsale a nice old cast-iron from a defunct manufacturer. My friend's got one with a beautiful, easy to hold handle. (Wagner, I believe.) But of course the handle can get really hot. The other problem with cast-iron in general is that they take longer to heat up and cool down. So heat management can be a problem for some dishes. Oh, and it's heavy. A good workout, I suppose.
The All-Clad cooks evenly. Mine does. The handle never, never gets hot. Good weight. Easy to use. Excellent control of temp. Certain food may stick, if you don't heat it and oil to proper temp. Clean up not as easy as cast-iron.
I think you need both.