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One carbon steel skillet?

I use original Calphalon for pretty much everything other than one non-stick pan only for eggs, and two LeCreuset ECI Dutch ovens that I use for braises, soups and stews. I'd like to get one carbon steel skillet, probably 10" to see how I like it. Which one should I get? DeBuyer has several different models, and a friend loves her Lodge carbon steel pan. Ease of care and non-stick properties are most important. Which should I get?

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  1. I have debuyer 12" 10" 8" IMO they are awsome. The nonstick performance is better than my lodge CI. I make a lot of stove to oven dishes that really push limits of carbon steel. Also debuyer has the organic bees wax coating on the exterior.

    3 Replies
    1. re: VeganVick

      Which de buyer? They have a few different lines of carbon steel. Which do you have and love? I too do a lot of stovetop to oven cooking!

      1. re: josephnl

        Just get the thicker one, either Carbone Plus or Mineral B or something.

        <Ease of care and non-stick properties are most important. Which should I get?>

        All of them have about the same level of ease of care and nonstick properties

        1. re: josephnl

          I have several deBuyers, mostly used for breakfast, for some reason. I think I'm just so used to cooking dinner with stainless steel that I automatically reach for it, along with either my Mauviel or Zwilling ceramic nonstick sauté pans.

          Among them, my most used are the small 8" Force Blue crepe pan for fried eggs and the 10" Carbone frypan from West Elm (terrific pricing for this line). My 8" frypan and 10" crepe pan see less use.

      2. I'm a Lodge fan. So you know my answer.

        http://www.lodgemfg.com/seasoned-carb...

        Their carbon steel is also US made. I buy US every chance I get. The Frence have enough support lol.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Muddirtt

          I buy us whenever possible. But lodge does not have enough options when it comes to CS. I'm not sure their CS line comes with a protective exterior(which would be a deal breaker)

          1. re: VeganVick

            I have the Carbone Plus(9"&12" with helper handle) not as fancy as the mineral b line(which I also have but haven't used yet). I love them.High heat searing strait to oven with perfect results and non stick every time.

            1. re: VeganVick

              Deal breaker? Protective exterior? I just have to ask: did you mean the beeswax mentioned in your earlier post? AFAIK, that only keeps the pans from rusting a bit during transit between the factory and end users. Beyond that, beeswax melts at around 150F and will burn at 300F, which is a pretty common cooking temp. (Beeswax does make wonderful candles.) That doesn't seem like much protection to me. To be sure, I've seen plenty of posts where folks have articulated reasons for preferring DeBuyer CS to Lodge CS (and vice versa), so I apologize if you had something else in mind.

              1. re: JWVideo

                Something keeping the exterior nice. Now I need to find out the difference between the mineral B vs. Carbone plus

                1. re: VeganVick

                  <Now I need to find out the difference between the mineral B vs. Carbone plus>

                  Beeswax. Mineral B ships with a beeswax coating. Carbone ships with some other coating, not sure what it is. Anyway, both coatings need to be removed prior to seasoning. AFAIK there is no difference in the seasoned pans.

                2. re: JWVideo

                  I have a Mineral B and an Au Carbone (plus some smaller Lyonnaise, like a dedicated omelet pan). After one use the beeswax is gone, and the pans' exteriors and interiors developed along pretty much the same lines, dark backs, nicely seasoned insides.

                  To the OP, go up a size from what you think you will need. Lyon shaped pans have a lot of slope and a relatively small footprint. My most used size is, amazingly, 14". I love these pans.

                  1. re: tim irvine

                    <After one use the beeswax is gone, and the pans' exteriors and interiors developed along pretty much the same lines, dark backs, nicely seasoned insides.>

                    Am I misreading this? You don't strip and season your CS pans before using them?

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      Strip, yes, but only the interior. As to seasoning I have had good luck with a very cursory seasoning of about 1/16 inch of oil heated barely to smoke point, racked heat back a tad, and left on heat for about fifteen minutes. Cool, toss, wipe, and start cooking. No problems.

                      1. re: tim irvine

                        Thanks for clarifying. You had me wondering if you were cooking on beeswax or whatever the Carbone line ships with. I thought, "Nah, no way he would..." but one wonders. :)

                        I agree that it's not necessary to add layers and layers of seasoning to a new pan to get good performance. Sure, parts of my pans get a little stripped from time to time, but they're still nonstick enough. As long as I give any stripped spots a quick oil wipe before storing the pan, they seem to do just fine.

                        1. re: DuffyH

                          My wife just recently made a dish with tomato sauce a stove to oven dish, the seasoning did strip a little but I just re-season it no biggie

                          1. re: VeganVick

                            Yeah those tomato based sauces are quite the pain. I think that's all I use stainless steel for, along with blackening sliced jalapeños or anything else that's acidic. I use to fry fish with lemon but have learned better ways. The rest is refinished/smoothed newer Lodge cast iron. Think I'll need some lighter weight carbon steel pans though before I hit 70 or 80 in about 35 to 45 years, lol... Or I try out some old, lighter, thinner, Griswold iron.

                          2. re: DuffyH

                            Although I don't supposed there'd be any problem with cooking on beeswax, a la the Canele threads.

                  2. re: VeganVick

                    The Lodge carbon steel is preseasoned. But knowing me, I'd refinish it and then reseason on the stove with flaxseed oil or Crisco vegetable shortening -- 3 times on the outside and probably 9 times on the inside. Carbon steel is a different animal than cast iron. I would may even season the entire thing in the oven the first few times. You may want to watch this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=xoIO8YOpyN4

                    1. re: Muddirtt

                      Yep I used that method in the video. Great results

                3. If you want it for eggs, go with a crepe pan. Eggs slide out much easier with the shallow lip. However, if you will be using it for other things, go for the frypan.

                  If you won't be searing, but instead will be using low to medium heat, you're fine with a thinner pan, about 1.5mm, like the deBuyer Force Blue or the Bourgeat Matfer black steel line.

                  Lodge pans have a rough texture similar to their cast iron. Matfer and deBuyer are smooth. From everything I've read, performance is the same, although some say the Lodge handles are less comfortable. However, they do not have the angle the deBuyer have, which may make them easier to fit under your broiler. Also, don't overlook Paderno, which are also apparently similar to deBuyer Carbone/Mineral.

                  Pick your parameters and you'll know which pan to buy, :)

                  1. Depends what you want. Thicker ones will act more like CI, thinner will have faster heat response and less heat retention.

                    I have a force blue 12", 2mm thick. I don't think I'd want that size in 3mm, too heavy. I find 2mm a nice balance between heat retention and response.

                    I also have a 1mm thick (or 1.5, not sure, it depends on whether you believe the label that came on the handle or stuck onto the pan surface) la lyonnaise. That one is too thin for most things, but perfect for eggs, toasting nuts etc...

                    1. The Matfer Bourgeat black steel frying pans are superior to Debuyer because the handle is welded instead of riveted. That is stronger (though rivets are adequate) and makes it easier to clean the smooth interior. Paderno makes nice rubber handle covers that slip right on for comfort.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Alpncook

                        That would be nice. I'll put that in my Evernote Food app notes.

                        1. re: Alpncook

                          <The Matfer Bourgeat black steel frying pans are superior to Debuyer because the handle is welded instead of riveted.>

                          A poor weld will cause a handle to fail, just as loose rivets can. With quality cookware, the choice of welds or rivets is more a matter of personal taste and preference. One is not inherently superior to the other.

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            Hi, Duffy:

                            Actually, the chances of sudden catastrophic failure and resultant injury are least with rivets. Much depends on the makers and their CQC, of course. Welding straight-gauge mild steel to straight-gauge mild steel also improves the odds over clad, but I'll still take rivets any day.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Good morning K,

                              I've only had welded handle pans in the last 18 months, so I'm kind of new to them. It's still a little weird to me, honestly. So yeah, I think all things considered, I feel more comfortable with rivets.

                              As corroded as the aluminum tips on my Calphalon clad rivets got, not one failed on a pan in 12+ years. I lost one lid due to catastrophic failure, but only when I dropped it on our tile floor. Yeah, I trust rivets a lot. Especially when they're made of the same material as the pan.

                          2. re: Alpncook

                            How is the cooking performance of the matfer?

                            1. re: VeganVick

                              Yeah I was just thinking that -- A welded handle doesn't necessarily make a pan "superior."

                              1. re: Muddirtt

                                The smooth interior that is a result of the welding does make the MB fry and crepe pans superior. Rivets have no advantage at all. Cooking performance is the same and price is comparable.

                                1. re: Alpncook

                                  I agree that in a crepe pan, welds are more desirable. deBuyer welds the handles on it's crepe pans.

                                  IME, with frypans it makes no difference how the handle is attached.

                            2. I'm the op, and after reading all the posts about how much folks love their carbon steel pans...and how they require stripping off the initial interior coating, seasoning the cooking surface, avoiding overly acidic ingredients, being careful about thoroughly drying and coating with oil before storing, the advantages but very significant heft of 3 mm. pans...I'm really beginning to wonder if I shouldn't just continue to enjoy my old commercial Calphalon anodized aluminum and forget about carbon steel. My Calphalon is relatively stick resistant (I use n/s for eggs) and otherwise always use some fat for sautéing, it sears perfectly, goes from stove top to oven with ease, handles all ingredients including acidic ones, is relatively light, cleans up beautifully with only the occasional need for abrasives such as BKF, requires no special care, etc. Although I originally posted thinking that I was missing something by not having at least one carbon steel skillet and really wanted one, but now I'm wondering. Convince me that I'm missing something!

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: josephnl

                                The health benefits of using iron versus the health risks of using aluminum. But I'm we can all debate this subject till we are blue in the face. for me I stay far away from aluminum

                                1. re: VeganVick

                                  Although you are correct in implying that although very tenuous, there indeed has been some speculation that cooking acidic foods in aluminum can leach a minute amount of aluminum into the food, and that this may potentially have untoward health effects. The scientific evidence for this is pretty much lacking, but if you want to avoid using aluminum cookware for this reason, so be it. But you should also realize that anodized aluminum (as in Calphalon), does not react significantly with acidic food, and I am quite sure that the amount of aluminum leaching into food from Calphalon would be very minimal, if even detectible.

                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    I don't know if the scientific evidence is lacking I have not done a test myself and neither has anyone on this board. I can go by the research that I have done in the mid-80s to early 90s. I have to read extensive research on fluoride, titanium oxide aluminum, bleach, vaccines, pesticides, the list goes on. We can all pretend that everything is all good and all foods can be eaten cooked however and there will be no consequences. You can take the blue pill or red pill lol

                                2. re: josephnl

                                  <...I'm really beginning to wonder if I shouldn't just continue to enjoy my old commercial Calphalon anodized aluminum and forget about carbon steel>

                                  you've pretty much answered you own question. If you're happy with your old pan, don't want to bother with a bit of extra maintenance and your old pan serves you well, don't bother. We'll always wonder if we're "missing something". Sometimes the grass..... :)

                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    Seasoned steel/iron is very easy maintain. Nylon brush and hot tap water and a quick wipe with a towel to get the few beads of water and onto the stove at medium for one minute and a quick swipe of Crisco and done. It sounds complicated but its easy and fun. Just like the old days. And aluminum?... Yuck... Metallic taste.

                                    1. re: Muddirtt

                                      I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about metallic taste from anodized aluminum. If you want metallic taste cook tomatoes in cast iron or carbon steel. I truly started this post sincerely wanting to try a carbon steel pan, but now I'm not sure.

                                    2. re: josephnl

                                      <Convince me that I'm missing something!>

                                      I don't think you are. I'm the first to admit that I don't get maximum use from my CS pans, using them primarily for breakfast, grilled sandwiches and such. I'm a casual carbon steel user, and find no real use for cast iron at all. I blame my long-time stainless steel habit. I've only once cooked steak in a pan. It was very good, but better than Dude's grill? Nah.

                                      I like aluminum, a lot. If I could find some uncoated anodized stuff with an induction base, I'd grab it. Heresy, I know, but it sounds to me like you're well-covered for cookware.

                                      Still, ditch the nonstick egg pan and buy one 2mm carbon steel crepe or fry pan for eggs only. Don't crank the heat (2mm can warp on high) when you season it, then don't cook much over medium heat and it will show you some major love. Quick, responsive, super easy care, you'll like it, I promise. Bonus - you'll never need to replace it. Ever. And your eggs will be outstanding. Really.

                                      http://www.kitchen-universe.com/de-Bu...

                                      or

                                      http://www.kitchen-universe.com/de-Bu...

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Hi, Joseph: "Convince me that I'm missing something!"

                                        Not sure anyone can. Thick aluminum is a great choice.

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo