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My search for a Non-Stick alternative, my results, and THANKS!

A while back, I decided to get rid of my teflon pans and was searching for an alternative.

Thanks to this forum, I picked up some DeBuyer Carbon Steel pans. It took a while to find them and to figure out which ones were "best". I finally got the Carbonne Plus. Turns out (thanks to Chemical Kinetics) that the Force Blue line might be better for me. The thickness is based on your heat source and the Carbonne Plus is probably thicker than I need at home.

Regardless, I received my 2 Carbonne Plus pans, followed the steps boiling potato skins, and then heated some peanut oil in the pans. I've cooked bacon, hash browns, pancakes, scrambled and fried eggs with no problem. I clean them with hot water, a nylon scrub pad, NO SOAP, and wipe them dry when done.

These pans work great. I have some seasoned cast iron and the steel pans stick less for me plus they are lighter.

Thanks to all of you for steering me to these.

I just need some silicon sleeves for the handles and I'm all set. No more teflon for me!!!

Hope this helps someone in the future.

Paul

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  1. pquidry,

    So glad you've joined the "carbon steel" fan club! I'm so impressed with mine that I now own several and rely on them for nearly everything. Yeah, they're a bit heavy, but not like cast iron in weight. Just note, if you do decide to get the 14" fry pan beware that it's a real monster and pretty heavy.

    I have some joint issues, so I really like the angled, wide handles too.

    Good luck with your pans!

    1 Reply
    1. re: breadchick

      Breadchick (and anyone else who has experience/thoughts), re: relying on them for nearly everything -- has reactivity been an issue? I've heard mixed things, including on these boards. I cook with a lot of tomatoes and other acidic foods, and was wondering it I could regularly use these pans for that - ideally right out of the gate (after the first seasoning) but at least after they're well seasoned (?).

      BTW, thanks - I believe you were the first to get me thinking about CS and your posts on this have helped a lot. It's been fun to follow your progress from initially thinking about the pans, to getting your first ones, to building up a whole collection, to now relying almost entirely on them!

    2. Thanks for posting about them. Where did you buy them from? What type of range do you have that you feel they are too thick? I thought thicker conducts heat better though.

      4 Replies
      1. re: blondelle

        Blondelle,

        I think a thicker pan will have better heat capacity (heat retention) and may have a bit better heat distribution (heat eveniness), but, in term of heat conduction (heat response), I believe the thinner the better.

        Paul,

        Yeah, what did you get? Tell us.

        1. re: blondelle

          I got them from www.finestcookware.com It was very hard to find the Carbonne Steel model. Amazon has the newer Mineral Steel line which has the same thicknesses. I bought the 12 5/8" (2 handles) and the 11".

          finestcookware.com was great. I ordered on a Saturday and originally ordered the 9.5" instead of the 11". I sent them an email and they called me Sunday evening at 9:00 to help me straighten it out.

          I have a gas range. A basic Kenmore. With the points you mention, the thicker is probably better. I'd stay with the Carbonne Plus or Mineral Steel in the future.

          The pans are great. I just finished making Philly Cheese Steaks in them.

          1. re: pguidry

            I want to post one more update. I love these pans. I've gotten rid of all my teflon and use these all the time. I also have a stainless steel sautee pan that I use sometimes. I just ordered 2 more of the Debuyer's today (9.5" and 14"). I need at least 3 but the new ones were so cheap. I got them from bakedeco.com their page says "black steel" not Carbonne but the thickness goes to 3mm. I should have them next week. I hope they're as good as the first 2 I got.

            1. re: pguidry

              I found an earlier thread discussing the difference (or lack) among lines. Thanks.

          2. Very interesting & impressive. Thanks for the post. Do you know where this DeBuyer pan is made?

            29 Replies
            1. re: fauchon

              I believe the original ones I bought (Carbonne Steel) were made in France. I checked the pans and they don't say "Made In" anywhere on them. The handles are stamped "DeBuyer France" though.

              I haven't seen the new ones yet (next week). The site I ordered them from says they're made of Black Steel. That's not listed on DeBuyers website. We'll see what shows up.

              1. re: pguidry

                I originally got my deBuyer carbon steel pans from Chef's Catalog, but now they only carry the mineral line. So, when I wanted to get a couple more c/s pans, I found the "finestcookware" website and was able to order the additional c/s pans I wanted. Those pans matched identically with my first order from Chef's. (I also checked deBuyer's website to be sure I was getting the same pans based on thickness, etc.) The second order arrived without a hitch - btw. Good website.

                Glad to hear you're happy with yours.

                (Kudos to you for getting that monster 14" pan! I honestly wish I could lift it!)

                1. re: breadchick

                  Excellent post Paul! And thanks for the tips from everyone else.

                  All these years of cooking and the only carbon steel pan in my kitchen was a wok.

                  I have always had to do my high heat searing in cast iron.

                  I wonder.....is the carbon steel pans more popular in French or European kitchens? I sure don't remember seeing them in stores in the US.

                  1. re: cajundave

                    Good question. Carbon steel pans are not very popular over here.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Very true, CK, I don't know anyone else, personally, who have these pans.

                      I don't think anyone in my extended family would see anything but a blackened pan that they would most likely suggest I throw out!

                      Eh, eh, eh.

                      1. re: breadchick

                        breadchick,

                        You should be grateful if they only suggest you to throw the blacken pans out, as opposed to "helpfully" throw them out for you. What would go through your mind when you come home one day to only find the pans have been thrown out by your relatives?

                        Would you be overwhelmed by anger that you attack them? or would you be filled with sadness and burst into tear? Or maybe just start laughing because you are starting to lose your mind?

                        Just kidding.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I would tell them to keep their effin hands off my cookware & that if they couldn't retrieve those pans from el garbagio they could treat me to new ones. Not that I'd let them season them for me....bleh...:-(

                          1. re: fauchon

                            Gotcha, fauchon. Don't give me no crap, and keep your hands off my pans.

                            (hmm, channeling some Georgia Satelites?)

                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Ha, CK, good one.

                            Hmm - I think I'd give them pause, and demonstrate the amazing roasted Yukon Gold fingerlings with browned butter, sage, and garlic that the little black pan can do to perfection!

                            And then, I'd do some pan seared pork tenderloin medallions with wild mushrooms lapped with a rustic dijon sauce. Again, using my little black pan.

                            Eh, eh, eh. (They'll ask for leftovers.)

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              First i would flip out about them throwing away my pans, and secondly i would shake a finger at them pointing out the pans are recyclable. i would insist on replacements and tell them the next time they feel like murdering the environment to do it away from my kitchen.

                              recently joined the carbon steel camp, but there is no turning back for me. I have two de buyer pans and looking to add a 12.5 in fry pan from the mineral or carbonne plus line, i'm trying to decide how much i really want that helper handle. :)

                              1. re: cannibal

                                Cannibal, I noticed you got the two 9.5" already -- are they both the blue line, and if so, what is making you want mineral or cabonne plus for your next one? wondering if you tk they'd be better than blue, which i know is thinner.

                                1. re: iyc_nyc

                                  that's correct, i got the crepe and country style fry pan both 9.5 inches in the force blue line. I originally started looking into carbon steel for a 12 inch or larger fry pan, came across the deal at world market, and could not pass it up. I decided at the price point it was a good introduction to carbon steel to test the waters, i'm sold for life :)

                                  I'm still in the market for a fry pan and will go with the de buyer 12.5, but just need to decide between mineral and carbone plus. the reason i'm looking into the mineral or carbone plus lines is for the extra 1mm of thickness. Both lines offer a 3mm thick 12.5 inch pan and, if my understanding is correct, the only difference between those two lines is the carbone has a helper handle and a slightly different finish.

                                  Sorry, kinda rambling. To answer your question, from what i have read in regard to the force blue, mineral, and carbon lines is that there isn't really a "better" line, just different. I am not speaking from experience though and wish to get a pan from another line to see what the performance difference is, if any. I have a dinky consumer gas range and probably won't notice much difference between the lines. I'll post back if/when I get my bluestar range ;)

                                  1. re: cannibal

                                    Also supposively, the mineral is more environmental friendly and are made from recycled steel. How much, no idea.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      I've never read any claims about the Mineral line being made from "recycled" steel. The marketing materials do state, however, that the Mineral series is "recyclable". From the De Buyer website:

                                      Organic construction 99% pure iron
                                      Ecological Recyclable Durable

                                      http://www.debuyer.com/product.php?id...

                                      1. re: ToothTooth

                                        Most steel contains recycled iron. That is, junk cars are crushed and shredded, melted and blended with 'raw' iron, ending up a plate steel and eventually washing machines.

                                        I suspect De Buyer is pandering to people fear that there are toxic contaminants in recycled steel, and hence want some pure and 'organic'. Recycled or not, I can't imagine something less 'organic', especially since the French equivalent is 'biologique'.

                                        1. re: ToothTooth

                                          ToothTooth,

                                          I think the term "organic construction" may mean it is made from recycled material in 99%. The word "organic" always confuse the heck out of me.

                                      2. re: cannibal

                                        Thanks, Cannibal. Pls report back on differences, even on your regular gas range! (that's what I have too :-). Would be interesting to see if that extra 1 mm makes a difference on a standard range.

                                2. re: breadchick

                                  New to forum, so ...Hi !! Great forum you have here.

                                  I am in the UK and also don't personally know anyone who has these pans. I have 6 but I think I might be insane.

                                  My mum suggested I clean them when she saw them. I think most people over here still go for convenient cookware. It has to be light, cheap, non-stick and last forever! At least it gives them something to moan about when they have to replace it all.

                                  Not sure about the French,.. the ones I know (in Paris, mainly) don't cook much; less than the currently cooking-mad British. They have tiny kitchens, 1 "fait-tout" style pan, and eat out a lot.

                                  1. re: Fumet

                                    Welcome to this site.

                                    "It has to be light, cheap, non-stick and last forever" -- does it exist?

                                    Carbon steel pans are the very close to this description. They are light, fairly inexpensive, last forever. Though not completely nonstick, they are probably the closest one can get beside Teflon cookware. Meanwhile, Telfon cookware are almost at the opposite spectrum of "last forever" and cast iron cookware is the antonym to "light".

                                    1. re: Fumet

                                      Welcome, Fumet! Geographically, I'm located in upstate New York.

                            2. re: pguidry

                              OK, I got the pans from bakedeco.com today. Low and behold, they're the Carbonne Steel line. What a great price. The 14" will be great for big batches of food, like they next time I want to fry up 6 big pork chops. Can't do that with the 12", have to do 2 batches. Leftovers for work. When my kids move out in a few years, I'll probably get rid of the monster.

                              I haven't touched my cast iron since I got these. I'd get rid of them but they were passed down from my Mom.

                              1. re: pguidry

                                If you want to test carbon steel for cheap consider 2 options:
                                - a crepe pan (also good for omelets)
                                - a Mexican comal, tortilla griddle (<$10)
                                Both are shallow, which is fine for things they designed for as well as grilling.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  Personally, I think they're great and will only use teflon for scrambled eggs. I just think that for a lot of people who lack the knowledge of cooking which seems to be abundant in this forum, a cheap teflon pan might be the best choice for simple cooking of certain foods (omelettes, light fish, etc)... even if if has to be replaced every year or 2.

                                  I prefer carbon steel to cast iron because you have more control over temperature, they are lighter, and a pan sauce seems to come out better than with cast iron. I only use cast iron when I need to cook something that would suck the heat from carbon steel too quickly - like a whole load of mushrooms. If I had a higher BTU burner, I probably wouldn't use cast iron any more. Seasoning carbon steel is a less forgiving process than cast iron in my experience,.. but still far from impossible.

                                  I don't think I have ever seen a US-style cast iron skillet in a kitchen over here - they seem extremely popular over there! I will definitely buy a proper vintage one next time I visit!

                                  1. re: Fumet

                                    When you cook fish in your carbon steel pan, does the pan retain the fishy smell for the next dish?

                                    1. re: E_M

                                      I have cooked salmon in mine and it has not retained the smell at all.

                                      I always do a salt scrub, followed by a mini-seasoning burn-in after every use. Takes a few mins but it seems to help keep them nicely maintained - and may help with smells?

                                    2. re: Fumet

                                      I wouldn't recommend a teflon pan for anyone. I think people read these forums to learn, and to be steered in the right direction. From what I have seen at peoples houses, the people who buy teflon pans tend to keep them well after they should be kept; coating peeling off and in bad shape. We've all got to do our part and take the time to show them that there are much better methods! :)

                                      1. re: Fumet

                                        Fumet, I find the carbon steel is perfect for scrambled eggs. They just slide around in the pan - light and fluffy, just using a silicon spat.

                                        My carbon steels are now like mini-flat tops. Breadchick's Diner!!

                                        1. re: Fumet

                                          I tried to fry wild mushrooms in mineral pan and they got stuck to the surface. Does it mean, mineral pan is not good one to cook mushrooms in? Is cast iron better?

                                          Thanks

                                          Julia

                                          1. re: julia01945

                                            How are you cooking them? If they're sticking, it might be because you're not letting them brown before you try to turn them.

                                            My method is generally to sweat and slightly brown the mushrooms in batches (without crowding the pan) in a hot pan with little or no oil. Dry is ideal; I don't wash most wild mushrooms, but I do usually wash morels (several rinses immediately before cooking, and then towel or spin dry), in which case you want an even hotter pan. I turn them over after they release cleanly.

                                            Then, deglaze the pan, re-heat it with a little oil, and sauté the browned mushrooms with oil, salt, and pepper.

                                            [And yes, I cook wild and cultivated mushrooms in my Mineral carbon steel pan, as well as in cast iron, with no problem]

                                2. These look great! Can they go into a hot oven?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Channa

                                    The hottest oven you can muster. I personally have two of these babies and they are great! Angled sides allow tossing like a regular skillet (not the straight sides of a CI), and I personally have the ones with CI handles, rather than the stamped steel ones. I find them more comfortable, albeit a little heavier and more expensive.

                                  2. Quick question: Where are the De Buyer pans made?

                                    1 Reply