HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure

Where to commonly find a cast-iron pan?

duckdown Feb 12, 2008 10:50 AM

Hi folks,

Was watching some pan-seared steak methods last night and am dying to try it out today..

Believe it or not -- we own no cast iron pan.

Where can I commonly find one of these without having to drive around to specialty stores

Canadian Tire? Sears? The Bay?

I am thinking of locations at Heartland town center in Mississauga which pretty much has some of everything

Thanks alot!

  1. i
    ishmael Feb 12, 2008 11:07 AM

    Definitely Canadian Tire

    1. Mike from Hamilton Feb 12, 2008 11:07 AM

      Canadian Tire, Home Hardware should have the cast iron pan of your dreams...

      Remember that you have to season it first for best nonstick results though and that takes some time...

      You season a cast iron pan by rubbing it with a relatively thin coat of neutral oil (I stress a light coat of oil).

      Place the cast iron pan, upside down, in the oven, with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to catch any drips. Heat the pan for 30 to 60 minutes in a 300 to 500 degree oven. Once done, let the pan cool to room temperature. Repeating this process several times is recommended as it will help create a stronger "seasoning" bond.

      The oil fills the cavities and becomes entrenched in them, as well as rounding off the peaks. By seasoning a new pan, the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. Also, because the pores are permeated with oil, water cannot seep in and create rust that would give food an off-flavor.

      Your ironware will be slightly discolored at this stage, but a couple of frying jobs will help complete the cure, and turn the iron into the rich, black color that is the sign of a well-seasoned, well-used skillet or pot.

      Never put cold liquid into a very hot cast iron pan or oven. They will crack on the spot!

      Be careful when cooking with your cast-iron pots on an electric range, because the burners create hot spots that can warp cast iron or even cause it to crack. Be sure to preheat the iron very slowly when using an electric range and keep the settings to medium or even medium-low.

      Once it's seasoned, NEVER use soap or submerge the pan in water to clean it. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth and if you see the "Seasoning" disappear, give the pan a quick wipe with a paper towel dipped in the oil...

      7 Replies
      1. re: Mike from Hamilton
        Suresh Feb 12, 2008 11:32 AM

        That's pretty much exactly what you have to do. Mike said it best.
        Good luck in your search. Cast Iron pans are the best.

        1. re: Suresh
          jayt90 Feb 12, 2008 06:47 PM

          Lard or bacon grease is preferable to vegetable oil for seasoning as it does not break down at high heat levels.

          1. re: jayt90
            Mike from Hamilton Feb 13, 2008 07:48 AM

            Yes but if you don't use the pan often, I have found those items go rancid quite quickly...my main pan I use lard on as I use it several times a week, however my "second pan" and my wok get veg (canola) oil treatment so as not to have that rancid animal fat smell each time I heat them up...

            1. re: Mike from Hamilton
              jayt90 Feb 13, 2008 08:03 AM

              That's good to know, as I plan to use cast iron and woks more, and the expensive stuff less.

        2. re: Mike from Hamilton
          vorpal Feb 13, 2008 03:57 AM

          All the pans at Canadian Tire, I believe, are "pre-seasoned". I still did mine pretty much exactly in accordance with your instructions, using bacon grease, but I'm not sure if it was necessary.

          1. re: Mike from Hamilton
            xssnrg Feb 18, 2008 07:15 AM

            Wow. Thanks for this. Clearly you are a true expert.

            1. re: Mike from Hamilton
              ryth Feb 18, 2008 08:38 AM

              Another thing is that you NEVER want to use abrasive sponges or anything tougher than a cloth on the surface or it can tear off the seasoning. I read somewhere once to simply put some roughly ground salt on the spot in the pan and lightly use that in combination with a cloth to get rid of any hard to remove spots, then simply rinse the salt away.

            2. b
              bnemes3343 Feb 12, 2008 11:11 AM

              Do your local stores carry Lodge? These are touted as 'pre-seasoned' and even if you don't believe that and season it more yourself, I have found the two I have to be great. Just keep getting better and better.

              A great cheap source for cast-iron is often a yard sale where you can pick up pans for next to nothing. Since they are pretty much indesctructible, even a poorly maintained one can be brought back to life.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bnemes3343
                insideman Feb 12, 2008 12:36 PM

                outside of overpriced specialty stores ie. Williams Sonoma, Benix et al. you should be able to find a quality cast iron in most department stores with a kitchenwares section ie The Bay, Canadian Tire, Winners etc. etc.

                once you attain said cast iron pan make sure you grab some peoper techniques to season the pan before you cook with it. also take a great deal of good care in cleaning and storing it, in doing so you'll have a friend for life.

                1. re: insideman
                  Richelle Feb 12, 2008 12:40 PM

                  My parent's got me a few Cracker Barrel iron pans and they as of yet, my best, having two other that never seem to remain seasoned though they are all treated the same! They got them down in the Cracker Barrel restaurant stores and I love them!

                2. re: bnemes3343
                  KitchenVoodoo Feb 12, 2008 02:00 PM

                  Agree with Lodge recommendation. There's a dollar store type shop on Coxwell just north of Gerrard that sells Lodge frying pans and dutch ovens at great prices. And they will order in anything. They also sell Cusinart, Kitchen Aid..... it's a find!

                3. duckdown Feb 12, 2008 10:48 PM

                  *Is kicking himself right in the a***

                  Thank you all for the responses -- I had written this but then saw the terrible weather here in Brampton and had to head out without waiting for a response, hoping I could beat rush hour (GOD was I wrong.. Anyone else enjoy 5km/hr driving due to traffic tonight?)

                  I ended up checking out a Canadian Tire at Heartland and it had a nice cast-iron pan, 12" , quite heavy but a good size and even claimed to be "pre-seasoned" (I didnt believe and still did it as per Mike's technique, I found almost identical instructions through google the night before)


                  Mike's advice would have proved invaluable to me, because I was using an ELECTRIC range, and the extreme temperatures burned our steaks on the outsides.

                  Luckily we sort of realised what was happening once we set the bloody smoke alarm off and promptly regulated the heat and managed to still keep some red on the inside of the steak

                  Lesson learned -- big time. We obviously overdid it with the original method of pre-heating it and putting it on an electric burner over MAX heat. Still enjoyed a nice dinner though including roasted asparagus and a baked potato with sour cream :)

                  I am bookmarking this thread :P


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: duckdown
                    Kagemusha Feb 13, 2008 05:07 AM

                    Another cast iron/meat adventure is Japanese-made domed grills for table-top BBQ and nabe pots(like a shallow dutch oven). Little shop at Matheson/Mavis called Mika's Japanese Gifts sells these--only place I've seen that sells 'em. Will trigger smoke alarms, too!

                    1. re: duckdown
                      jayt90 Feb 13, 2008 06:01 AM

                      Alton Brown's cast iron steak recommendation is my goto winter recipe:


                      This steak (1.5"boneless rib eye) takes only 5 minutes in cast iron, and has the desired steak house crust. It might take a minute more if on-the-bone.

                      1. re: jayt90
                        ryth Feb 17, 2008 03:47 PM

                        thanks for the recipe jay. i'd never seared a steak like this, but it turned out EXCELLENT. This is a perfect substituion for those of us stuck without a proper grill in the winter.

                        1. re: jayt90
                          xssnrg Feb 18, 2008 07:19 AM

                          Thanks for this. Just bookmarked it!

                      2. s
                        singe Feb 13, 2008 05:52 AM

                        I find cast iron that just needs a little love at Value Village ALL THE TIME! For cheap! Or, I think Nella on Queen E has a bunch of sizes and grill style ones too.

                        1. The Chowhound Team Feb 13, 2008 08:00 AM

                          Please keep this thread focused on where to find cast-iron pans in the Toronto area. Discussions of care belong in the Cookware board and discussions of recipes belong in Home Cooking. Thanks!

                          1. jboeke Feb 13, 2008 08:04 AM

                            In the US, garage sales and estate sales are a great place to find cast iron pans that have been in families for generations and are now essentially being tossed out by someone who doesn't understand the beauty of a pan that's been seasoned for decades. I don't know if it is the same in Canada, but it is worth a try.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jboeke
                              jayt90 Feb 13, 2008 08:16 AM

                              A lot of people (not me) would be reluctant to use someone else's seasoning and
                              might even try to remove the patina.
                              But there are some real gems out there. My s.i.l. has a wonderful McClary dutch oven, and she is not sure where it came from, but it gets a lot of good use.

                              1. re: jayt90
                                Davwud Feb 13, 2008 08:24 AM

                                If you don't want their seasoning, just season over it. I have my grandmothers pan and wouldn't dream of taking the patina off. It's too hard to build it back up. A couple of you own layers and it's all yours.


                            2. s
                              Suresh Feb 16, 2008 03:18 PM

                              got some good news for you.
                              I was at the bay tonight and saw that the pro-logic cast iron pans are there in 3 different sizes. the medium sized one, is only $29.99 (marked down from $40)
                              I picked one up.

                              1. mlukan Feb 16, 2008 03:26 PM

                                Does anyone know where I can find mini cast iron pans. They use Them at Perigee and look cute.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mlukan
                                  DrewStar Feb 16, 2008 03:58 PM

                                  They sell them at Placewares, the crammed-to-the-rafters tiny shop in the centre of St.Lawrence Market.

                                  1. re: DrewStar
                                    digiteyes Feb 17, 2008 08:37 AM

                                    I second Drew's recommendation. Cast iron skillets of every size and shape you'd want, including grill pans (raised ridges).

                                2. c
                                  ctl98 Feb 17, 2008 06:51 AM

                                  Cayne's Houseware in Thornhill has a great selection of Lodge cookware.

                                  Show Hidden Posts