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Oct 13, 2008 09:27 AM

cast-iron pan with vertical handle?

I was in a restaurant the other day and they were using cast-iron frying pans that had vertical iron handles. That is, rather than sticking out laterally from the side of the pan, the handle went upwards, about 10 inches. The chef said they were from France.

Anyone know what these are called?

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    1. When I saw this I was intrigued.
      Google showed me nothing!

      I would love to hear about this style pan as well - please keep us informed if you find anything. Can you get more info from that chef?
      Begging and ordering lots of food and wine might help :-)


      1. Did it look like this:
        See attached pic

        6 Replies
        1. re: ThreeGigs

          ^^Wow, that's wild looking. What is it used for?

          1. re: ThreeGigs

            That handle appears to be removable, gripping the pan with a levering action. I'm guessing that it is a cast iron sukiyaki pan, meant for table side pan-frying.

            1. re: paulj

              Yeap, it's a sukiyaki pan, and yeap, the handle is removeable.
              And if that's not what grilledcheese was looking for, I'm stumped.

              I *have* seen pans with vertical handles in restaurants, although they're generally pots, not pans, and generally aluminum, not cast iron. Mostly for saving room on a crowded griddle-top stove, a cook will keep 4 or 6 different sauces warm in them.

              However, if they have a name other than a milk pot, I'm unaware of it.

              1. re: ThreeGigs

                That space saving feature occurred to me as well. I can see where it would be better for a sauce pan that can be placed on a back burner, as opposed to one that needs frequent attention.

                I have an older kitchen equipment book that shows a number of classic style pans, many with handles at a 45deg angle, but none vertical.

                I've seen some odd shaped pans from the days when most cooking was done on in an open hearth. Besides the usual dutch oven, there were ones designed for hanging, and long leg skillets (called spiders) designed to stand over a small fire. Some cooks might have liked a vertical handle that would be further from the flames.

                1. re: paulj

                  Well, I specifically remember them from my first job, in a fine dining restaurant. One of the line cooks would have 6 of them sitting in a 1/2 steam table pan with an inch or so of water in it, which was sitting on the stove. Like a hot water bath to keep the contents warm. After plating food, he'd take the appropriate sauce pot out and over to the line shelf, and ladle sauce as needed. Apparently faster than holding individual plates over the stove. In the kitchen they called them milk cans or milk pots, although they were more like coffee cans with a handle going straight up, like a cylindrical 1 or 2 quart ladle.

            2. re: ThreeGigs

              Nope. These were solid cast iron, pan and handle. The handle went straight up about 8 inches and was bent to a hook at the top.

            3. I have a sneaky suspicion that the handles of those skillets were modified (bent) using a high heat torch.

              Maybe an Amish blacksmith or a welder friend can assist in doing that to a skillet you have purchased?