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Feb 20, 2009 08:33 AM

A question about a copper frying pan

I'm tempted to buy this pan. I saw it online at what looks to be a very good price (Bourgeat 11" pan, $132). What I'm trying to understand is what advantage this would have over a similarly-sized All-Clad piece I own.

My understanding of copper cookware is that it offers even heat, and that, in the case of this pan, the heat would also go up the sides of the pan. But if I'm frying or sauteing, why is it important to have the heat up the sides of the pan. Isn't the bottom surface where the cooking actually takes place? That's where the carmelization takes place. That's the part where the deglazing happens.

I'm also concerned about the weight of this pan. My All-Clad piece has a handle opposite the regular handle so I can use both hands to move it.

I think I'm talking myself out of this Borgeat piece. Can someone offer me some clarity and educate me on the advantages and best uses of copper cookware?

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  1. You are going to get a lot of contradicting responses here. Really the answer is always "it depends". The speed of heating up the pan, temperature holding, and uniform temperature on the cooking surface will depend on the amount (ie thickness of metal used for a same sized pan) and type of metal used (copper v aluminum).

    Read this thread here: for a great primer on cookware (skip to the part on "thermal properties")

    1. Heat "up the sides" really offers a more even cooking surface all-around. Your All-Clad pan has aluminum clad all the way up the sides of the pan just like the copper. That's where the "All" comes from in the name. Copper, aside from even heating offers fast temperature response. Flame on, hot - flame off, cools faster. For that reason it's often used in candy making and things of the sort.

      If you have an All-Clad already there's really no specific need to buy copper unless you just want it. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice thing to have, but it's not a necessity. The Bourgeat pans (I think you're probably referring to Tuesday Morning here?) also have a tin lining on the inside. That requires a little extra care because it can melt (yes, melt) and can scratch off with the use of metal utensils.

      2 Replies
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        It's actually copper lined with stainless. The price seems almost "too good to be true." But I know someone who just bought a copper Bourgeat casserole from this website, also at a remarkably low price, and it seems to be the same piece being sold elsewhere for almost double the price.

        1. re: CindyJ

          Well there ya go - nevermind! I could have been a separate company I'm thinking of, who knows. Anyway, stainless won't melt!

      2. If you like the looks pf it, and
        have the money, I'd say buy it. But
        don't expect it to make your food
        taste any better.

        I had an All-Clad fry pan that I
        scrapped. It took sandpaper to clean
        the inside walls. I have a copper-and-
        stainless pan that I rarely use. It's heavy
        and awkward to clean. My main pans
        now are Wear-Ever aluminum. They
        work as well as copper and are
        considerably easier to handle.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mpalmer6c

          I ditto that response. Have a few cast irons handed down from grandma, had a couple of nice pans 2 all clad from a gift and one emeril I have . I cooked at this ladys house this week for a dinner party. She had only the best and insisted I use hers. They were top of the line. I didn't like one of them. I guess it is all personal taste.

          I personally have said a million times, it make make it easier, but it is the cook, not the pots and pans. I still stand by that.

          1. re: mpalmer6c

            Sandpaper is not required to clean any pots and pans and I'm sure that nearly everyone here who has purchased and used All-Clad or a similar product has NEVER needed to use sandpaper to "clean" pans. It is not a recommended cleaning utensil...

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              My apologies ... I had to blogs open this was for cleaning a very old cast iron pan, I am not sure how they got mixed up. I did have some internet issues the last 2 days and had somethings go and I probably copied and pasted and they got mixed. Sorry, I understand that.

              I have used a very fine almost steel wool on a very badly worn and rusted cast iron and then reconditioned. This was not meant for this thread. Sorry. My mistake for not catching.

              Blame it on the meds rather stupidity... flu and a few cold meds. And I hope no other miss posts. I did have issues with the internet cutting in and out and reposts. Sorry about that.

                1. re: chuckl

                  Thanks! just the winter flu, sucks actually, on the mend. thx u

          2. I'm NOT going to buy that pan after all. I'm looking at the angle of the handle and I think I'd have a difficult time handling this pan. I'm short, and my cooktop height is a standard height, which makes it about 3-4" higher than I'd like it to be. I've talked myself out of THAT piece, but now there's another that I'm considering. It's the saute brazier. But I think I'll take Cary's advice and read through the egullet forums, first.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CindyJ

              Cindy, I think you nailed it. If the pan doesnt work well for you ergonomically, it's not a good purchase whatever the price.

            2. Cindy,

              Replaced all the stainless “Clad” cookware I owned (except an All-Clad grill pan (a gift from my wife), with Falk stainless lined copper cookware when I retired.

              Copper cookware out performs aluminum, stainless and the multi-ply “Clad” cookware when it comes to heating, adjusting to changes in burner setting and holding heat when adding food to the pot or pan.

              About a month ago I used the All-Clad grill pan to cook pork chops, needed a hotter burner and it took nearly twice as long to cook two pork chops then it would have in a copper pan.

              The down side, copper is heavier (per cubic inch) than cast iron, an 8 2.3mm copper frying pan weighs around 4 lbs, an 8” Cast Iron Skillet weighs about 3 lbs. The bigger the pot or pan...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Demented

                Was your All-Clad grill copper core or aluminum?

                1. re: Demented

                  Do you ever regret getting rid of your All-Clad?