One day I was cooking dinner and a friend asked me why I was using cast iron instead of a stainless steel pot. I told him it all started when I was a kid, my mom used cast iron cookware all the time.
I remember we would bring home fresh rabbit for my mom to cook. She always cooked it down in a brown gravy and served it over rice. She would sear it in a cast iron pot; making it golden brown on the outside. Then she would add some beef stock, bouillon, and onions to the pot. She let it slow cook in an enamel cast iron french oven for hours. The meat was saturated with flavor and falling off the bones. It was one of my favorite dishes.
Weeks later I was think about the question my friend had asked me and decided to look at the cast iron cookware for sale; the one I had was given to me. I noticed that there is a wide price range for different types of cast iron cookware and that there is especially a big difference between the price of most and one brand in particular, Le Creuset. In my pursuit to understand the differences of the selection of cast iron cookware, I read hundreds of reviews of the top bestselling cast iron cookware brands.
I chose the top three brands to compare; Le Creuset, Lodge, and Staub. I compared the major features of each brand. The cast iron cookware that my mother has had since I was a kid, is made up of both a seasoned (bare) cast iron set and an enameled cast iron set. I have had some cheaper cookware with enamel coatings that didn’t hold up well, so I particular paid attention to enamel coated vs bare cast iron when reading the reviews and recommendations.
What I found through my research was just plain inspiring. The group that cooks with cast iron is smaller than the one that uses other cookware, although there are many who use both. But the cooks who use cast iron often are down right passionate about their cookware. They talk about the unique flavors that a seasoned cast iron pan adds to the dish; matched by no other cooking instrument. Or how slow cooked meat cooked in an enamel cast iron french oven is so tender that it falls right of the bones. I don’t know about you, but that makes my teeth tingle with excitement.
Why cast iron vs stainless steel
The number one reason for choosing cast iron over stainless steel. Many of the reviews I read said that their cast iron cookware distributed and maintained heat better than any other type of cookware they owned; noting that they could go from the stove top to the oven and then to the table with one piece of cookware and rest knowing that it would still be warm when it came time for a second helping; without the use of a hot plate or some other external heating device. Some people even said they used it to bake a cake in.
The only negatives
The only drawbacks I could find were, cast iron is heavy and you can’t wash the bare cast iron with soap or you will have to re-season it; which is nothing more than cleaning it thoroughly, coating it with vegetable oil, and baking it in the oven.
Here are a few quotes from some of the reviews I read at Amazon.com about Le Creuset cast iron cookware:
“Anyone serious about Cooking should have at least one cast iron pot and Le Creuset is the best quality available today.” Michael
“This is simply the best cooking pot I’ve ever used.” Grizz
“Wished I ordered this sooner…It cooks evenly…holds heat better than anything I have ever used.” Carolyn
A few quotes from some of the reviews I read on Amazon.com about Lodge cast iron cookware:
“The quality is outstanding and the color is beautiful…” C. Turner
“This is one of the nicest pieces of cook wear that I have ever purchased.” Terry
“…I have found that here in America they make as good of a product at a fraction of the price of the French version.” nmr