I can confidently say that Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is one of Americas most favorite frying pan. Founded by John Lodge in 1896, they are one of the oldest cast iron manufacturer in the world. Ever since then, they produce affordable cookware for your average everyday American. You can often find their skillets on sale for less than 15 dollar at Amazon. Today, we will be reviewing their 8 inch skillet. It is one of the most used pan if you are cooking for one. We will see how it stacks up to other pan of this size and we will test the performance.
What is Cast Iron?
Cast Iron has been used in cooking since 679 or earlier. They are priced for its ability to store heat and sear food. As you cook in them, the non stick finish of the pan gets better. A lot of aficionado will get angry if you should accidentally wash their pan as that would ruin the seasoning. In general, cast iron are poor conductor of heat, they are prone to heat spot if you use the inappropriately sized burner. However, these pans are typically very dense. They store a lot of heat, more than your typical stainless steel pan.
For whatever reason, there has been a huge resurgence of cast iron cookware popularity. There are a lot of artisinal cookware like Finex who make specialty handle and surface finish. All in all, the most famous out of all the manufacturer would be Lodge.
Seasoning your Cast Iron Pan
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet already comes preseasoned from the factory. However, 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 instead just use salt to rub off excess food. Acidic food like lemon or tomato can also strip the seasoning, so be careful.
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 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 developed. If it adds flavor to your food, the flavor is most likely remnant from the old caked on fat. It really should not add any flavor to your dish. If it does, it probably will not be good. There have been a lot of cases where water has been boiled and the result is yellow water.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Handle
The handle on Lodges skillet are typically very small. For the larger size pan which are 10 inch and above, it looks comically small. The 8 inch skillet that is being reviewed today looks more appropriate for its size. Although these handles are small, for the most part it serves its purpose. If you consider the weight of these pans, a longer handle is counterproductive. It increase the leverage the pan has. You would have to grip the handle near its base regardless. A glove should always be worn when cooking with cast iron skillet as these handles will get hot.
Aside from that, the design is not really interesting. The big hoop for hanging allows heat to dissipate rapidly, you might be able to grip the pan at that area without burning yourself. I wonder why there is a taper near the loop, I do not see the purpose of that.
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 very high sidewall. The skillet sidewall is almost as high as a saute pan, whose purpose is more suited to braise food. The upside to this is that marginally less oil will splatter outside. Downside is the fact that you will have difficulty getting a spatula in from the side to flip food. If you are not use to this, you will face some problem. If you compare it with the skillet from Le Creuset, theirs are much lower. 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 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 performance of these skillets are not exactly good but that is not the real reason why people buy them.
The ability to hold heat and sear food. That is the most important factor for most people. The amazing affordability of these pans and the durability is unrivaled. Over time they will become more non stick and you should be able to cook eggs on them like a non stick pan.
The benefit far outweighs any issue with heat conductivity and heat spot. 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.