Stargazer Cast Iron skillet is a lighter and smoother pan. Unlike modern cast iron skillet, their skillet has a smooth surface. They are lighter for a easier and more nimble design. The lips are rolled for easy pouring of liquid. No more pouring spots on either sides. The handles are also redesigned to stay cooler to the touch. However, is all this new fangled design worth anything? The price certainly ask for more. This review will take a closer look at the design and features of Stargazer Cast Iron skillet.
Stargazer Cast Iron Skillet Review Quick Summary
|Categories||Stargazer Cast Iron Skillet|
|Compatibility||Gas, Electric, Glass, Induction, Ceramic, Halogen|
|Colors||Flax Seed Brown or Unseasoned|
|Country of Manufacturer||USA|
|Thoughts||Its an ok skillet. The handle design is the biggest issue. It can cause fatigue and wear with use. Since it weighs almost the same as lodge, I dont know where the light weight perception came from.|
|Reviewed Cookware||Stargazer Skillet|
History of Stargazer Cast Iron
Stargazer was founded in 2015 by Peter Huntley. He use to design products for other manufacturer. However he got tired of their lack of accountability and started to manufacturer his own products. I personally first notice the company when they started their kickstarter campaign. It was fairly successful and it help got their name out there.
Stargazer Cast Iron Skillet Design
This section will discuss the design and features of Stargazer Cast Iron skillet. We will go over seasoning, handle design, construction and general performance.
The handle design is quite interesting. It resemble quite a bit like how all clad design their handle. It has a divot right in the center with two notches on the side. Construction wise it looks to be made out of cast iron. So I assume the only way it stays cools is by surface area. Since the surface area is larger, it can cool faster than a solid metal. A less heat conductive metal like stainless steel would have perform better.
The issue with this design is that its really uncomfortable. All Clad skillets are still relatively light compared to cast iron. Yet, people still complain about the pain caused by it. Now imagine carrying a 5 lb skillet with that same handle design. You are basically asking for pain. The good thing is that the sides will dig into your hand giving you superior grip.
Shape of the skillet is ok, nothing special. I like it better than how traditional skillets are designed. The sides are relatively short so you can fit a spatula underneath it. However, a low flaring sides are much easier to use. Stargazer Cast Iron skillet still resembles too much of a saute pan rather than a skillet.
One thing that I do like is its dripless rim. The reason why liquid can roll down so easily is because of the rolled lip. I have never seen any other cast iron manufacturer do this. Most will just put a pouring spout. Regardless, this design is really great and superior to most other manufacturer.
Seasoning and Smooth Surface
The smooth surface is something a lot of vintage cast iron collector geek over. These collectors think that it makes the pan more nonstick than a rough surface. What most people dont know is that Lodge was the one who originally made rough cast iron. Lodge needed a way to mass season their cast iron skillet. What they found is that the rough surface hold onto the seasoning better.
The Seasoning is what makes the pan nonstick, not the surface. If anything, a smooth surface is detrimental to a pan nonstick performance. Now Stargazer Cast Iron has a unique rough surface, its suppose to hold it better. However, accounts from many users still say that the seasoning gets ripped off easily. I recommend to not try and baby it but rather use it. This way the seasoning can build up.
To season the skillet, I recommend that you put a thin coat of flax seed oil. Then bake in a oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit for half an hour. Repeat as needed. As you use it, it should get better and better.
Light weight Design?
There was a short period of time when light weight cast iron skillet was all the rage. The antique griswold skillet are also noticeably lighter than modern day lodge. For this reason, there seems to be an odd obsession with lightweight. However, if you think about it, cast iron are pretty poor conductor of heat. They have heat spots everywhere and take forever to heat up. You can compensate for this by just making it heavy and thick. This way the heat can be retained really well. By lightening and making it thinner, you are pushing against that.
Oddly enough, Stargazer Cast Iron skillet isnt really light. Their 10 inch skillet still weights a whopping 5.2 lbs. Lodge 10 inch skillet weights the same. So I dont understand where the light weight perception came from. Nevertheless, its good that they kept it heavy.
Stargazer Cast Iron skillet Thoughts
Overall, the skillet is ok. I like the rimmed lip for easy pouring. However, I dont like the handle, its a bit pain invoking. As for the smooth surface, I can see the benefit for and against it. A everyday home cook will benefit from a rougher surface though. At its current price point, I think its relatively affordable for an artisan skillet. Its not bad, but not mind blowing.
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