I can confidently say that Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is one of Americas most popular frying pan. Founded by John Lodge in 1896, they are one of the oldest cast iron manufacturer in the world. They produce affordable cookware for your average everyday American. Their cookware is often on sale for a really affordable price at Amazon. Today, we will be reviewing their 8 inch skillet. It is one of my most used pan in the kitchen. In this review we will see how well it compares to Carbon Steel. We will also take a closer look at its overall construction, design and features.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Review Quick Summary
|Categories||Lodge Cast Iron Skillet|
|Compatibility||Gas, Electric, Halogen, Glass Top, Induction|
|Country of Manufacturer||USA|
|Thoughts||One of the best value and best performing cast iron fry pan. It is made in the USA and it last forever. With time, it will develop a non stick coating like teflon. It makes a great pan for steaks also. You cant go wrong with this purchase.|
|Reviewed Cookware||Lodge 8 Inch Cast Iron Skillet|
What is Cast Iron?
Cast Iron has been used in cooking since 679. They are prized for their ability to store heat and sear food. As you cook in them, the pans develop a nonstick coating that makes egg slide like hockey puck. This nonstick coating is called seasoning. A lot of aficionado will get angry if you accidentally wash their pan with soap. It runs the possibility of ruining the seasoning.
Despite what the marketer tries to tell you, cast iron are poor conductor of heat. They are prone to heat spot and takes forever to heat up. However, these pans are typically very dense. They store a lot of heat and can sear a steak like no other.
In recent years, there has been a huge resurgence of cast iron cookware popularity. Although the exact reason are unknown but I suspect its due to its low cost and performance. As such, a lot of manufacturer has started to come out of the wood works. Artisinal manufacturer like Finex and Fields make smooth cast iron pans like the vintage models. However, in my experience those are just mostly for cosmetic purposes. Lodge is still one of the best value and best performing cast iron cookware out there.
Seasoning your Cast Iron Pan
Lodge cookware did not always come preseasoned. It used to be that once you got their pan, you have to do your own seasoning. Faced with declining sales, they came up with an idea to preseason their cookware. It was a success. However, they also faced a couple of issues with this. Namely the automation of the seasoning process. The smooth surface of the old cast iron cookware simply do not adhere as well. To combat this, they gave their cookware a texture finish. They found that this texture finish actually held the seasoning better than a smooth surface.
Since Lodge skillet comes preseasoned, that is not to say that it cant be improved upon. To better season the pan, all you would really need to do is keep on using it. Avoid washing it with strong soap and just use salt to rub off any excess food. Avoid acidic food like lemon or tomato they can strip the seasoning.
You can see more about their manufacturing process below.
If you would like to improve the seasoning right away, you can use a fat like lard or crisco. Grab a paper towel and rub a light amount all over the pan. Stick it in the oven at temperature of at least 350 degree Fahrenheit for an hour. Remove from oven and check the seasoning. Repeat as needed.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Non Stick Performance
The non stick performance is closely related to how well seasoned your pan is. The more build up of seasoning, the better it will perform. Lodge Cast Iron skillet and most other manufacturer have a rough surface. Some of these newer manufacturer and the very old vintage pan has a smooth surface. These pans are highly coveted because of the belief that a smooth surface will not stick as much. However, if you think about it, what makes the pan non stick is the seasoning, not the surface. Lodge’s reasoning behind having a rough surface is that the seasoning adheres better to a rough surface. My experience with these cookware is aligned with Lodge’s finding. I have a nest cast iron skillet that has a smooth surface, new out of the box, food stucked like a stainless steel pan. It even lifted the seasoning right off the pan.
Check the video below to see how to season a cast iron pan.
Does Seasoning add flavor?
So now you should have a better understanding of how the seasoning is developed. If it adds flavor to your food, something is wrong, it is most likely remnant from the old caked on fat. It really should not add any flavor to your dish.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Design
The handle on Lodges skillet is small and short. It gets hot to the touch and its not particularly comfortable. However for the purpose of lifting the pan, its perfect. Because of the weight of the skillet, grabbing the handle from the inside makes the pan feel lighter. If you ever grabbed something with a long handle, it feels a lot heavier than it really is. Although these handles are small, it serves its purpose. There is also a helper handle that aids when lifting the pan. A glove should always be worn when cooking with these skillets. There are Silicone and Leather handle cover that you can buy if you want to protect yourself further.
Aside from that, the design is not really interesting. There is a big loop so that you can hang the pan. It dissipates heat pretty well and you might be able to grab it from there without burning yourself.
The skillet has two pouring lip on either side of the pan. This is great when you finish reducing sauce or draining grease from the pan. Pans without these lips will often drip to the side of the pan.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Logo Design
Traditional lodge pan will only have their logo on the bottom of the pan. However, if you would like some variety, Lodge Wildlife Series has a variety of animal on the skillet. They can be purchased at Amazon for those interested.
Lodges Skillet Sidewall
These skillet have a very high sidewall. The sidewall is almost as high as a saute pan. Usually you want a frying pan to have low sidewall so that you can flip food easier. It also helps in the evaporation of liquid, since steam can escape easier. The good thing is that it keeps oil splatter in the pan a little better. However, If you compare it with the skillet from Le Creuset, theirs are much lower. Overall, Le Creuset skillet functions more like a true frying pan than lodge’s skillet. You can see my in depth comparison of the two skillets at the following link.
Fit and Finish
For the most part, these pans are very well made. Issues that are apparent would be the burr edges on the side of the handle. Although it is not too large, it feels like something that can be removed but wasn’t. To be fair, I seen higher end cast iron skillet which cost 10x more still have the same issues.
On the lip itself, there is not a continuous texture finish to it. Near the front of the lip, you can see vertical scratch mark where it looks like it has been cut off.
Note:These measurement are done by me with the tools that I have on hand. The manufacturers have their own measurement guidelines and that should be assumed to be accurate. What I find on this review can vary widely due to several factors, such as ambient temperature, location, water, tool calibration, stove btu, etc..and should only be considered as my opinion.
Weight: 1516 g
Rim Width:Around 8.25 inch
Base Cooking Width:6 inch
Height: Around 2 inch
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Performance
To test the how well it distribute heat and how well it heats up, I perform a toast test where I place a piece of toast in the center than weight it down with a meat pounder. I heat up the pan for a total of 2 min then see the color of the toast.
Below you can see how the test was performed.
The result is as you would expect. Cast iron in general is a poor conductor of heat. As such, in the two minute time frame, it was not able to sufficiently brown the toast. This is due in part to how dense the metal is.
If you compare this test result with the Matfer Bourgeat Carbon Steel Pan, you can see the difference the weight makes. That 300 g difference will actually make some color to the toast. The heat conductivity of the two metal also contribute to this. But all in all, they are both poor heat conductor. Heat spots are apparent.
For those who are interested in how the ten inch pan performed under a 3 min test. Look at the result below. Same issue with heat spots.
So how does lodge cast iron skillet rank? I would say it is a pretty good value for your money. The heat conductivity of these skillets are not exactly good but that is not the real reason why people buy them.
They are nonstick and they hold heat to sear food. It is one of the most popular choice for cooking steaks. Combine that with its amazing affordability and durability and you have a winning choice. Few other cookware can make the claim that they get better with age. If you would like to purchase this skillet, you can find it at Amazon at a great price!
I hope you like this Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Review, If you would like to see more, please visit our Pots and Pans Review page.