Saturday, August 14, 2010

Large cast iron skillets revisited

Some 18 months ago, I commented on a vintage Griswold 20-inch cast iron skillet that was being actioned on eBay. I noted that any cast iron purchase was destined to be put to work feeding large groups.

My self-imposed limit was $100. Any higher and it would have to be chained to a tree.

I want camp equipment, including cast iron, that's ready for any culinary application. Museum piece or not, I don't want added worries about theft to hinder my ability to use the skillet in camp.

The article, originally posted on February 2, 2009, remains active to this day. As of this afternoon, seven readers have left comments. And I have responded four times.

It's the most active blog article in 'Round the Chuckbox history!

In April 2009, an anonymous reader left a link for the Bayou classic 20-inch cast iron skillet in response to my question. My research showed that it was the only 20-inch skillet on the market at the time.

I asked several questions of the anonymous reader:
Do you have a review of the Bayou Classic 20-inch skillet? How does it compare to the Lodge 17-inch in construction and durability? Amazon reviews highlight some problems, although most said they liked the product.
Questions unanswered, I opted to purchase a Lodge 17-inch cast iron skillet. I cooked fried chicken thighs smothered in gravy at the 3rd Annual IDOS Region II Dutch Oven Gathering shortly after the purchase.

I finally received an answer to questions early this afternoon.

"I don't recommend bayou classic quality," said greenturtle, the prolific editor of the blog Ramblings on Cast Iron. (In three months, the writer has posted 182 articles. Most are reviews of cast iron cookware.)

"It's cheaper but I wasn't impressed," continued greenturtle. "It was pitted in some places and made the food taste funny."

With my suspicion confirmed, I'm happy that I purchased the Lodge 17-inch cast iron skillet from Placerville Hardware last year. It received full use last summer, as attested my the photographs attached to this article.

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