Which pan is best for browning ground beef for tacos and pasta dishes?
Cast iron, enameled cast iron, non-stick/teflon, or stainless steel? Thanks.
back that up to the ingredient intended for the dish. (ok I'm snobby about small things)
for pasta - a deep and thick pan simmering in the tomato sauce. but for tacos, a higher flame and in a less-sticky shallow one and either would include onion, garlic or anything else you like.
personally I abuse the ground beef. I hate it if too chunky, it asks to be broken down into smaller bits.
you're working with what you have.
Any pan will work fine, except for non-stick/teflon. I'd use stainless steel or aluminum because they're lighter and therefore a bit easier to clean.
First of all, cast iron and acid don't mix. So if you're making a tomato sauce, don't use that. Same with tacos, if there's gonna be lime juice (or some other sort of acid) avoid.
I have a set of Kirkland pots and pans and one of them is a nice, not overly big, deep, straight sided skillet and it's perfect. It's stainless steel clad. I believe it's made by Kitchen Aid. The logos are very similar.
Given what you have, I'd go with the stainless steel or enameled cast iron.
Cast iron is out for the reason Davwud mentioned - seasoning doesn't play well with acids.
I've tried it in non-stick, and found myself chasing the ground beef around the pan while trying to break it up.
My personal preference is a stainless steel saucepan as it makes it so easy to break the meat up as small as you like. I then build my sauce in the same pan, deglazing with whatever liquid I'm using. Cook the beef on medium heat and if you're not using lean beef it's easy to soak up excess fat with a paper towel. Tilt the pan, let the fat gather, wad up a towel and watch the fat disappear. :)
I'd use a stainless saute pan, probably. I'd definitely use that if I was adding several other ingredients to the beef.
If I was using only 1/2 lb or so of meat and nothing else, I'd probably use my cast iron or carbon steel frypan.
As mentioned before, acid ingredients are not the best for the seasoning in your CI or carbon steel.
For browning ground beef, I almost always reach for one of my Silit Silargan pans -- a heavy stainless steel core with a tough ceramic coating inside and out. This great German cookware is similar to Le Creuset in many ways, but provides faster and more even heating, has a tougher ceramic coating that can handle high-heat searing, and is dishwasher safe. Think "Le Creuset on steroids".