can anybody recommend these pans?
I own the smallest one. I've had it maybe a year now? Or maybe almost 2 years. The pan is surprisingly heavy, but not as heavy as CI. The handle is long and not uncomfortable. To me is looks like a campfire pan. It is solid.
The size I bought is so small it is hard for me to find a good use for it. But I have fried eggs successfully, and done a little other sauteeing. I seasoned it as you would a CI skillet. It seemed to take a little longer to get smooth than I expected.
I now use it on my induction cook top and it heats up nicely, and holds the heat. I prefer to do eggs in a non stick, but I use if for other small sauteeing jobs.
If you buy one of these, I'd advise buying a bigger pan than the smallest, unless you are cooking for one.
Of course it depends on where you are, but I've been looking at the steel pans at Surfas, the commercial-but-open-to-public cookware and gourmet-foods store in Culver City, and I think I'll buy mine there. Any restaurant-supply place open to the public is likely to have commercial-grade pans not necessarily made by an outfit you've heard of but worthy of looking at. There is crap, of course - one chef I know insists on cheap nonstick which he'll use up in a month - but I trust myself to know what to look for.
I was considering sticking with Lodge for carbon steel as I love their cast iron products, but found reviews that mention they don't machine their CS pans either (they don't machine their CI pans) and that the pans have a rough finish. So I decided to go with de Buyer instead, and I'm very happy. It helps that I got my de Buyer from France, where they cost the same as the Lodge equivalents.
They are not old, but they are not new. I believe Lodge launched these about two year ago. No, I have not tried them, but some on this board have and they are fine with them.
"I did finally buy a skillet, the 8 inch, to replace a non-stick that had lost its stick. I've used it twice, and I intend to use it again at lunch time. Overall I like the functionality of this pan. It isn't pretty, but I like the function. It is made in the USA and it is obviously well made. Textured surface. Long handle. Small footpring on the burner. The no nonsense skillet is built like a tank. It feels solid in the hand, and is balanced. It is surprisingly heavy for its size.
The pan comes preseasoned. There are almost no instructions....."
<i love cast iron (though not lodge) and carbon steel...wondering if i might love these as well!>
If you like carbon steel, then you probably will like these. As for which particular brand, that is something tough to say.