Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Skillets, dutch ovens, woks, griddles, etc.
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YukonJasper
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Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by YukonJasper »

I own some lodge CI pans and your standard non-stick pan set but no Carbon Steel. I caught a little discussion about the value of each. I don't own any carbon steel pans, should I?

What should I look for?
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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by gandrfab »

I'm looking to learn more. My 1st guess mild or carbon steel warps easier with temperature changes than cast iron. .
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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by SVonhof »

gandrfab wrote: Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:40 pm I'm looking to learn more. My 1st guess mild or carbon steel warps easier with temperature changes than cast iron. .
I would say you are correct as when I see restaurant cooks using them, they are never flat. But those get used and abused daily too.

There are plenty of web reviews of different carbon steel pans (by America's Test Kitchen and others) but I have learned that they should only cost about $25 for a 10" pan.

Here is a review I found:
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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by 1MoreFord »

Carbon Steel won't warp badly/easily if taken care of. Don't overheat it or bang the crap out of it and a decently thick pan will last a long time. Compared to typical CI, like Lodge, CS pans are generally much slicker finished so they will season more like old Griswold and Wagner pans do. They also respond to temp changes much faster when needed.

Tip - the best thing to use to season either CI or CS is your outdoor gasser. No smoking up the house.
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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by YukonJasper »

I've also seen videos of a guy polishing up a cast iron pan to get a smooth finish. The idea was that the older process brought them to that finish, but the newer process leaves them rougher than they should be.
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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by Smokin Mike »

The one "must have" that I would consider is a carbon steel hammered wok. It's a very versatile piece of cookware for making stir fry or deep frying, etc.
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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by 1MoreFord »

YukonJasper wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:57 am I've also seen videos of a guy polishing up a cast iron pan to get a smooth finish. The idea was that the older process brought them to that finish, but the newer process leaves them rougher than they should be.
I used to have the tools to do this but that was two jobs ago and I'm now retired. 8-)
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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by Smokin Mike »

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Re: Carbon steel vs. Cast iron

Post by Pit Boss »

Yes, carbon steel will warp in a hurry if you bring it up to heat too fast...and even being careful, it's hard to keep them flat. Most of the restaurant pans are quite thin & warp immediately...but restaurant ranges usually have a hollow spot right in the center of each hob & a warped pan isn't as noticeable.

I use plenty of steel on my induction range at home...warped bottoms & all. Love them...they skate eggs without much issue.

As for modern cast iron with rough bottoms...I don't seem to have much of an issue skating eggs on them either. The polished ones look nice, but really don't give much of a practical advantage (in my experience).
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