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Carbon Steel Pans… anyone?

I always see this big, beaten up (dents, etc), beautiful pans (and woks) in restaurants, used by chefs. Has anyone cooked with them? What do you think?

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  1. They are one of the most discussed items on the cookware board. I have several and adore them. For high heat cooking, I find them unbeaten.

    3 Replies
        1. re: tim irvine

          X3 - I have the cheapest, ugliest, most warped "Cheapy McCheap" pans... And I abuse them... And nothing can touch the pan fried potatoes that come out of my cheap no-names

        2. I have two small ones - crepe and omelette - they are a pain to use unless you use them constantly as they go rusty after awhile even when seasoned or maybe I didn't do good seasoning job.

          1 Reply
          1. re: herby

            I have a large one that I actually seasoned inside and out properly, yet that does the rusting thing, and I have a smaller one which I haven't seasoned the outside of, and only use to make eggs with a bit of butter, yet this one has never rusted. I don't understand why the pan with more seasoning is rusting more!
            But it doesn't really matter as the rust is easily removed and doesn't affect performance at all. I love both pans, and I'm retiring the small one from eggs-only duty, since I've found out that eggs don't stick in the large one even when its "dirty" from cooking other things at the same time/before :)

            Tom P, I definitely suggest you get yourself a carbon steel pan. De Buyer is my favourite brand for these, and they're cheap. You can get the Carbone Plus from west elm or kitchen supply stores (they are silver/grey in colour, the thinner Force Blue and La Lyonnaise are blue-ish) for very low prices so even if you end up not using it, you'll only be out of pocket about $20.

            West Elm's are still on sale:
            http://www.westelm.com/products/mrk-w...

          2. Thanks to you both! I did not realize there was a cookware board. I will head over, as I imagine this will be moved. Happy New Year!

            1. As tim notes above, there are innumerable threads on the Cookware board regarding all aspects of carbon steel pans from buying choices, through seasoning and using them. Here, for example, are the search results for de Buyer: https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&a...

              I have had three de Buyer Mineral Bs for a little over a year now and I'm kicking myself that I waited so long to buy them.

              1. Yes. I have cooked with them. They are heavily discussed on the Cookward board. I do encourage you to skim a few.

                Without getting to into too deep, I will say that they are not perfect for everything, but neither any cookware material.

                I personally rank carbon steel very high -- extremely high. They can take on very high heat and they is nearly nonstick. They is physically durable and it is relatively inexpensive.

                As far as I am concern, there is no better material for a Chinese wok than carbon steel. As for fry pan, I also think a carbon steel pan or a cast iron skillet is superior to many other material/construction.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Totally agree, CK. Carbon steel is so darn forgiving too, so no matter how one messes up - tango on.