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Le Creuset Skillet issues - hoping for tips or help...

kscooley May 13, 2010 04:57 PM

Hi all!

New to posting on the forums, though I've lurked a bit. :) I've tried doing a search on my issue, but have come up with nothing. Hoping that some of you will either have helpful tips or suggestions for my problem.

I have an 11.75" LC skillet, as well as a 7.25 QT round French oven. I love the oven, but the skillet has seemed a bit lackluster.

* I run into a hot spot issue, where the food in the center of the pan cooks much faster than the food around the perimeter. If I adjust the flame, then I'm cooking way too high a temp for the LC.

* I'm also trying to figure out what I can do to make it more non-stick. Do I need to use a lot of oil to have the food not stick to the pan? I already know to let the meat cook for ~3 minutes before moving it. I do this in my All Clad skillet and never have any issues with sticking.

* The manual states that over time, a patina will develop. I've had the skillet for over a year and nothing seems to be happening. I do know what a patina should look like, as my parents have cast iron skillets (not LC).

Any tips, hints or suggestions? Should I try to season the pan, despite the enamel finish? Cook on a lower setting than medium?

Thanks for anything you can answer. Much appreciated. :)

Karen

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  1. Quine May 13, 2010 05:16 PM

    The enamel finish is flame side, right? SO why assume it works inside the pan?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Quine
      kscooley May 13, 2010 06:27 PM

      The LC skillet has an enameled finish on the cast iron itself, not just the outside of the pan. They state this on the website: "The inner cooking surface is satin black enamel" Hence my "assumption" that it works inside the pan. ;)

    2. pikawicca May 13, 2010 05:26 PM

      Frankly, I see no upside to a LC skillet. I'd toss it and get an All Clad. Very even heating, well-made, will last a lifetime.

      6 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca
        kscooley May 13, 2010 06:30 PM

        Well, as I said in my original post, I DO have an AC skillet - and I happen to love it. However, I would love to get feedback on the LC issue, as I'd like to use it beyond just cornbread. :)

        I appreciate the replies thus far, but would really like a reply from someone who owns an LC and might have some ideas for me. :) Thanks much!

        1. re: kscooley
          Chemicalkinetics May 13, 2010 06:38 PM

          Sorry. I have an enameled cast iron Dutch Oven, but it is not Le Creuset and it is not a skillet. I know a few people here swear by their enameled cast iron skillet, especially some Staub people, so may be they will be more helpful.

          1. re: kscooley
            pikawicca May 13, 2010 06:41 PM

            I had one and dumped it. IMO a cast iron skillet is much more useful.

            1. re: pikawicca
              Chemicalkinetics May 13, 2010 06:56 PM

              I agree that a bare cast iron skillet is better for my cooking style, but I have read people who prefer an enameled cast iron skillet. Hack, I like bare cast iron Dutch Oven better as well, but many LC owners swear by their enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens are the best things have ever happened to them.

              Hopefully, our writings will attract those are the followers of the Church of Le Cresuet.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                hobbybaker May 14, 2010 11:10 AM

                I belong to the followers of the Curch. But I admit I am a believer of the bare cast iron in this case. I got mine as a X'mas gift so I cannot compalin and dump either at least until a couple of years more : ) Hoped they had given me a gift card instead so that I could get ANOTHER DO of my own choice, which is my 5th DO. I know what you want to call me.... :)

              2. re: pikawicca
                tanuki soup May 13, 2010 07:44 PM

                I use my plain cast iron skillets more than 90% of the time, but I like to use my enameled cast iron frying pan for specific tasks such as sauteing mushrooms in butter.

          2. optimal forager May 13, 2010 06:49 PM

            I think a lot of people have similar issues with the LC skillets and grills...

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4812...

            Since that thread, I asked about it at a LC outlet store, and the guy said he's heard similar complaints but he uses the LC cleaner and never had a problem. I tried it, but maybe I'd let it go too long, because there was no difference.

            1. hobbybaker May 13, 2010 07:45 PM

              I have a smaller skillet and no hot spots issue. Your pan might be a bit larger comparing your stove top?

              Over the time, mine gets a bit more non-stick but It is not a non-stick pan and it will never be.

              This past thread might be of your help.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/655180
              I think the "Special Tip for Grill" is applicable to the skillets
              http://www.lecreuset.co.uk/en-us/Care...

              How do you clean it? I just try to clean it with warm water as much as I can and not to use soap that much unless it has heavy residues. If I need to use soap for cleaning, I always warm up the pan after cleaning and put some oils on the surface and clean off any excess oil with paper towels. Hope it helps.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hobbybaker
                kscooley May 14, 2010 01:23 PM

                Hobbybaker, thanks for your reply. I'm not quite sure how large my stovetop should be to match my skillet. Some day, when we move, I hope to get totally crazy and splurge on a GOOD stove top - I dream of Wolf and Viking. ;) I don't get the hot spot issues with my All Clad and they're about the same size. However, you pointed out that the tips on the LC site might apply to the skillet. I did read there that they recommend very slow heating up to ensure an evenly heated surface.

                I'm going to try this, as well as follow your cleaning routine, and hope that this helps. I truly don't want to give up on this pan, though right now, I think it's jealous of my All Clad. :)

                1. re: kscooley
                  hobbybaker May 14, 2010 01:44 PM

                  me neither. I find good use of this pan since I don't have a large lodge. Also, compared with the very beginning, it is so much better now : ) You are right. This pan needs our attentions:) If we don't use it, it becomes jealous of our AC and never be nice to us :)

              2. alanbarnes May 14, 2010 01:07 PM

                My wife came with a full set of Le Creuset, including a couple of skillets. After using them for 17+ years, I'm nonplussed.

                Hot spots are definitely an issue. Cast iron just isn't as good as copper or aluminum at distributing heat. But don't worry about "cooking at way too high a temp" for the stuff. If you've got a typical residential stove, it can take as much heat as your cooktop can dish out. Just take common-sense precautions: don't heat it empty for long periods of time, and don't drop cold food into an overheated pan.

                As far as getting things not to stick, you've got the right idea. More oil. More heat, too, if things are sticking because they haven't cooked enough to release.

                Patina? I dunno. Any time my LC pieces start developing a patina I figure it's time to start washing them more carefully. Seasoning won't do any good because the enamel is non-porous.

                All in all, they're not terrible skillets. Not a good choice for an only skillet, but they do a good job with most tasks. Just quit fussing over the thing and cook with it.

                1. kscooley May 14, 2010 01:24 PM

                  Thank you everyone for your replies. :) I greatly appreciate them and will use some of your tips. I don't want to give up on my pan just yet, so here's hoping I can learn to work with it. Maybe there's just a trick I have yet to master, so I'll be practicing until then!

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