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Jun 6, 2012 08:26 PM

Anodized vs. stainless or cast iron pans for searing steak...

I can get a very nice anodized sauté pan at a good price right now; however, I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions on anodized finishes vs. stainless and/or cast iron. I know that cast iron and 3-ply or copper are the best for, say... pan frying a steak, but is there any support out there for using an anodized pan for this function???

I was watching a nice video on Chow about pan searing steak, and wondered what the consensus was on this subject....

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  1. Cast iron is indestructible, low cost, and won't warp at high temperatures required for searing.
    If I was looking at anodized for this purpose, I would want a warranty covering warping at high heat, and pitting.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      Agreed. My cast iron is about 20 years old now and coming in to it's own. Can't beat a well seasoned cast iron pan. Does anyone know where in Toronto there is a good retailer for Lodge pans?

      1. re: Poorboy

        Caynes carries a wide vareity of lodge pans

    2. <I know that cast iron and 3-ply or copper are the best>

      There certainly is no reason why a 3-ply cookware have to be better for searing steak than an anodized aluminum. In addition, I won't put these cookware on the same level. For searing steak, a thick cast iron pan is the best, just like jay90 and Poorboy have said. The reason is that it is very easy to get hold of a thick cast iron cookware. It has a good deal of heat capacity (ability to store heat). Moreover, a well seasoned cast iron cookware is very nonstick. Can you think of another cookware which "can take on very high heat, store this high amount of thermal energy, transfer the heat to sear the steak, and allows the steak to be nonstick on the pan"?

      Now that we have established that a cast iron skillet is great for searing steak, we can talk about anodized pans. A thick anodized aluminum pan is a very good choice too. A thin one, not so much because it can warp. A thick anodized aluminum pan is a good choice.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I have one anodized aluminum pan, an early Calphalon, which was reduced to bare metal on the bottom (inside) by overheating. I don't remember exactly how — it's a relic of my youth, when I was reckless with my cookware.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Not too sure who to reply to - all great answers, oh Great Ones, but now a second question just for fun... I;m a proficient cook can cook, and I have most types of pots and pans... cast iron, teflon, copper, stainless, and now this large anodized (see; however, I'm just curious... what would you think would be an ideal thing to prepare in this type of pant? Note that one reviewer on CT said that it wasn't good for making pancakes... well, I wouldn't use it anyway for pancakes, I'd use a griddle. After the cast iron comments, I think I'm committed to it for future steaks... Thoughts??

          1. re: Moimoi

            This is really a nonstick pan as far as functionality goes just to be clear. Yes, the body is hard anodized aluminum, but the cooking surface is nonstick (Teflon).

            In my opinion, it is not a great pan for searing steak.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              That's what I thought, too. Looking at the review, a user couldn't make it work for eggs because of warping. I'd give it a pass, because there is not much it will do, maybe scrambled eggs, sausages, or lightly cooked vegetables.

        2. Cast Iron builds flavour and quality over time as it seasons, and stainless steel works great time after time, but every restaurant I ever worked in used Thermalloy heavy-duty aluminium cookware.
          You can see exactly what the pros use and get advice from experts at Hendrix Restaurant Supply online or in person.