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Apr 22, 2011 08:25 AM

best cast iron pan, any price

I just threw away my second Chinese cast iron pan.
Couldn't keep the rust away.
I purchased a Staub pan and after a dozen uses and oiling, etc.
it still sticks.
Not happy with Staub.
I have had a smaller Copco Cast Iron for 30 years and it is amazing.
Smooth as a coated pan.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. " just threw away my second Chinese cast iron pan.
    Couldn't keep the rust away."

    I really don't think the best cast iron pan has anything to do with this. A better and more expensive cast iron pan is more beautiful, more smooth and constructionally more durable... etc. These properties will benefit the pan in an array of aspects. However, the best cast iron pan will rust just like the cheap ones. Cast iron is cast iron, and it can rust. If you want to look for a smoother cast iron pans, there are certainly some, especially the vinetage ones.

    1. cast iron isn't going to be REALLY non-stick like teflon until many many uses.

      you need to think of it more like a grill. you put in something and don't touch it and when its ready to move, it will release. cast iron requires a level of patience.

      1. When you say Staub, do you mean Cast Iron or Enameled Cast Iron, because, I was not aware that they made non-Enameled Cast Iron Cookware.

        2 Replies
        1. re: DougRisk

          I bet the original poster meant the enameled cast iron. My take is that the original poster has experienced problems with the regular bare cast iron cookware due to rust and also experienced problems with the enameled cast iron cookware due to food sticking to the surface.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            OK. Because, if you try to make Scrambled Eggs in an Enameled Cast Iron pan/dutch-oven, with the normal amount of butter and heat, it will stick. I understand that you know this, but I felt the need to say it for Erly.

        2. regular cast my lodge pieces...

          enameled cast iron...i only have a le crueset....

          and like CK said iron will rust no matter who makes it or how expensive it is...
          its all in the use and care...

          20 Replies
          1. re: srsone

            The Staub is enameled Cast Iron.
            Wasn't aware that it was available without the enamel.
            Yes eggs do stick, as does everything else.
            I will reiterate, my Copco pan is 30 years old, and amazing, and has never rusted.
            I just wanted a larger pan.

            1. re: erly

              "I will reiterate, my Copco pan is 30 years old, and amazing, and has never rusted."

              Did you bought your Copco pan brand new? Or did you get it handed down from your parents?

              Get a Lodge pan then if you want to get an American-made pan. Though I don't think a Lodge cast iron pan is any more "stainless" than Chinese made cast iron pan. I have both. I have two Lodge cast iron cookware and a Chinese made Calphalon cast iron cookware.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                If it's rusting all the time , either it's not seasoned or it's having the oil or grease washed away and stored wet or in a very damp place, even unseasoned with a smear of bacon fat won't rust for a very long time

                1. re: Dave5440

                  I purchased the Copco pan new 30 years ago.
                  I didn't mind the "sticking" with the Staub, it was just that it didn't clean up easily, and needed scrubbing, especially after searing a steak on it..
                  I did oil my Chinese pans, and always dried them well, but over a couple of years rust would appear.

                  1. re: erly

                    You only use them every couple of years? or only oil them every couple years, I leave bacon grease in mine at all times and they never rust

                    1. re: Dave5440

                      no they lasted only a couple of Years before rusting.
                      Sorry if I wasn't clear.

                      1. re: erly

                        You should be able to clean the rust out there's a thread on here somewhere on how to do it

                        1. re: Dave5440

                          been there done that
                          Spent so much time cleaning it the suggested way.
                          In a couple of Months I detected Rust on the Dishtowel.
                          That is when I tossed it.
                          The Copco pans online don't look exactly like my Omelette Pan, which is all black.
                          The back says
                          Michael Lax Design
                          I think that I will look for vintage Copco

                          1. re: erly

                            Something doesn't quite add up here in your descriptions, or is otherwise creating confusion in the responses.

                            For one thing, enameled cast iron is, under any circumstances, a poor surface on which to cook eggs. (In fact, the propensity of enamel to stick is a selling point for creation of tasty browned bits--"fond.")

                            And bare cast iron, Chinese or whatever, would probably rust just about the same. It's not high-tech gear. I wonder if your old Copco pan is simply a well seasoned bare cast iron, something that will always be superior to an enameled cast iron pan for non-stick purposes.

                            About the rust: even cheap cast iron will not rust if it is cleaned after use and stored nice and dry. My approach is to wash the pan and then put it on a burner just long enough to FULLY evaporate any moisture. I don't oil the pan then, but instead before the next use.

                            1. re: Bada Bing

                              It is not enamel, and it has never rusted.
                              It has with time become smooth, and the food and burned bits almost slide off.

                              The Staub which I described is enamel.
                              So I will simply try another Brand of plain Cast Iron, which is what my original request was for.

                              1. re: erly

                                which u have gotten several replies to ...mine was for the lodge...

                                but if u search on CH for more than 5 minutes u can find many,many heated debates about cast iron,enameled,seasoning,use and care,cleaning even rust removal...
                                so even a simple question about CI will garner several heated responses...
                                especially when u say "mine rusted so i threw it away"
                                thats just asking for it on here

                                1. re: srsone

                                  when u say "mine rusted so i threw it away"
                                  thats just asking for it on here

                                  It sure is

                                  1. re: Dave5440


                                    "In a couple of Months I detected Rust on the Dishtowel.
                                    That is when I tossed it."

                                    I think a bit of rust here and there is acceptable for cast iron cookware. One simply has to remove the rust with a soft brush or paper towel and then reseason it. It does not sound like we are talking about real deep rust, just some very minor rust which shows up on the towel, but visually difficult to see by eyes.

                                    This reminds me a rather funny ads I saw on Youtube. At 7:05 min, Noel said, "...When my knives become dull, I just buy new ones..."


                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Geez all the time I wasted sharpening , I could have just bought one of those!!!!

                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                        :D I hope you are teasing because I cannot imagine one of these electric sharpeners can match the results from your manual sharpening

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Oh yes I am kidding, I thought you would pick up on that

                                          1. re: Dave5440

                                            :) I was pretty sure, but I just want to be sure.

                                2. re: erly

                                  Clear enough, then. I think that people (I, at least) think of cast iron meaning bare cast iron, unless otherwise indicated, so the comparison of the Copco and the Staub is apples and oranges.

                                  I own some Lodge and other pans, which predate the new "pre-seasoning" that Lodge does on everything now. Get any bare cast iron pan. There are some brands that go for a smoother initial surface, but I don't own them and cannot speak from experience. Many folks here seek out vintage pans to restore and re-season. It takes some real time to get the pans to be egg-ready.

                                  There is a Cooks Illustrated story on how to season a cast iron pan. This Chow discussion treats the method:


                              2. re: erly

                                This may sound like a stupid question, but have you "seasoned" your cast iron cookware?

                                Most today bare cast iron cookware have a preseaoned coating which will last a few months to couple of years, but it may not last much longer. If you have never "seasoned" the cast iron cookware, then this explains it.

                        2. re: erly

                          Do you have a photo of your Copco pan? Does any of these look like yours?


                          Many Copco pans are enameled.

                2. FWIW, I have heard that Chinese cast iron is really made from melted down recycled used cars, ergo they contain impurities and who-knows-what.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: E_M

                    :) That sounds like very environmental. I believe DeBuyer also makes their pan from recycle steel as well. In all honesty, the impurities (if any) actually make the cast iron less susceptible to rust. Pure iron and carbon combination of cast iron is very very easy to rust. So impurities are probably not the best explanation for a rusty pan.


                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Maybe it's time to switch to carbon steel pans?

                      1. re: petek

                        I do have a carbon steel pan (DeBuyer) or are you telling E_M to get a carbon steel pan?

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          No,not you Chem, I was suggesting the OP should think about switching.

                          1. re: petek

                            I think they should just go with non-stick, to throw out a pan with from "detecting a bit of rust on the dishtowel" screams clean obsessed.

                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            EM is searching high and low for a vintage cast iron pan, because she has found that they are considerably lighter than new ones. She has yet to find a DeBuyer carbon steel pan with a handle that won't give her carpal tunnel.

                            EM also suggests that the OP put the pan over a low heat for a few minutes to dry the pan completely.

                            She does admit to reading a whole lot of stuff, from sources both credible and not, and her only point of reference is her old car that rusted out on the bottom that the dealer bought as scrap metal to sell to a Chinese buyer.

                      2. re: E_M

                        Cast Iron can only be made from recycled cast iron , pig iron , older engine blocks , some brake discs, to overly simplify!