Best pan for cooking steak: Cast Iron or Copper Core?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by circumnavigate, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. circumnavigate

    circumnavigate

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    Hello I am looking  to by a pan to cook steak at home, it seems that many of how to videos on youtube show people using a cast iron pan.

    These are the two pans that I am deciding between.



    http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L8SK3-4-Inch-Pre-Seasoned-Skillet/dp/B00006JSUA/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1297838239&sr=8-5

    Which one would you guys recommend? Would the All Clad Copper core be the wrong type of pan for this? I think I recall hearing that you need very high temperatures for frying steak and I am not sure if the All Clad pan could handle that, I was having trouble finding information on their website but read something that briefly spoke about not using too high of a temperature on the stove or some damage could be caused.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
     
  2. welshstar

    welshstar

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    Hi

    I went through the same exercise recently and I would suggest a third option.

    Check out a carbon steel pan, this is what resturants use for cooking steak. You can get an amazing sear and get the pan smoking hot without all the drama of All Clad or cast iron. The All clad will be a nightmare to keep clean, the first time you use it it will look dirty and used, this is fine with steel or iron as they are designed that way but for a $200 all clad you dont want that.

    For a budget option check out Paderno, around $45 or the ultimate is De Buyer, around $80 list on Amazon but you can find for around $57 if you shop around.

    Alan 
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    First off, both your links go to the All-Clad listing. Have no idea why that is. Reading the link indicates a 4-inch skillet. Surely that's not correct?

    All that aside, of the two materials there's no question that cast iron is the better choice. Indeed, for any searing operation cast iron is a better choice than stainless, no matter what it's lined with.

    That said, I agree with Welshstar about carbon steel. Although not as commonly available (you won't find it in supermarkets or regular housewares stores) it has a number of things in its favor. Among them: It provides all the advantages of cast iron but, item for item, weighs about 1/3 less. The handles do not heat up. It is easier to clean and maintain.
     
  4. circumnavigate

    circumnavigate

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    Thanks a lot for the replys.

    Sorry about the broken link here is where I meant to link to

    I found a couple of results for carbon steel pans on amazon, I don't mind spending a lot on a quality pan that would last a long time, do you guys know of any high quality carbon steel pans that are not available on Amazon?

    Here are the three best pans I found on there







    The De Buyer seems to be going for $20 shipped, didn't you say that it would be around $80? I would certainly like the best pan I can get.
     
  5. circumnavigate

    circumnavigate

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    Sorry I think I provided the wrong link in my previous post, is this the De Buyer's you were talking about?



    Are you sure its the best one I can get, I hear All Clad makes the best stuff?
     
  6. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I hear All Clad makes the best stuff?

    You hear wrong!!!

    As to carbon steel, there are, in general, two classes of them. Blue steel tends to be thinner, and has at least one less heat treatment. And it tends to be less expensive. Black steel is usually a thicker gauge, has undergone additional treatment, and is more expensive.

    Within those two groups there are, of course, different qualities. Generally, de Buyer is considered the best. And it's price point reflects that.

    I have carbon steel skillets ranging from 8" to 14" in size. If I were only buying one, I'd by-pass the 8" and go with a 10" as the minimum. Why? Because carbon steel pans have sides that slope more sharply than others. The nominal size, however, is based on an across-the-rim measurement. Thus, an 8" deBuyer has a cooking surface that's only 5 1/2 inches. It would be difficult to get even a small steak in that size pan.

    Day-in and day-out, I find the 10" and 12" pans to be most useful.

    Here is one source of carbon steel you might want to look at:

    http://www.knifemerchant.com/products.asp?manufacturerID=110&mtype=2#483

    And here's another:

    http://www.twinsupply.com/vollrathfoodservice/products.asp?cat=187
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  7. french fries

    french fries

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    I second (or third) the suggestion for a carbon steel pan. Compared to cast iron, it's lighter, easier to move around, etc.. so you can use it for many more things.

    I use Matfer Bourgeat, but have heard lots of good things about the Vollrath that KYH just linked to. 

    http://www.culinarycookware.com/bourgeat-round-frying-pan.html
     
  8. welshstar

    welshstar

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    The prices on the Vollrath link are way to high.

    I use the De Buyer 12.5 inch mineral fry pan and I paid $57 from northwestern cutlkery in Chicago, I cant find it on their website though
     
  9. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Carbon steel by De Buyer offered at Kerekes Baking Supply: Bakedeco.com.
     
  10. circumnavigate

    circumnavigate

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  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    How important are grill marks to you? That's the determining factor.

    We've trained ourselves to believe that grill marks (as opposed to an even sear) are the sign of a well-made steak. That pan will produce them for you. The procedure is: Get the pan screaming hot. Drop the steak (or pork chop, or whatever). Wait until it self-releases. Then, depending on your pattern-of-choice, either flip the steak entirely, or turn it 90 degrees to create a cross-hatch pattern before flipping.

    The downside is that the grill pan is more limiting, because anything you want to cook in it will be supported only by those raised ridges. So you'll be trading overall usefullness for the ability to put grill marks on a few items.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    KY  is correct The grill marks that are put on the steak are, as far as I am concerned for decoration. They make the steak more  appealing to the eye, but not to the taste as much as searing the whole steak on a good red hot flat surface would be.
     
  13. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Circum:

    Just get yourself a flat bottomed 10 inch or wider carbon steel frypan and be done with it.  You be there.

    Best,

    -T
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  14. welshstar

    welshstar

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    Hi

    I love my carbon steel for the high heat stuff, my non stick for the delicate stuff but ive not really found a good stainless pan for fish. Ive bought All Clad and to be honest found it to be overpriced junk, poor quality and terrible finish plus its so hard to keep clean.

    What do you guys think of the new Demeyere range being carried by Williams sonoma, i saw the new Atlantis pan and thsi thing is beautiful, it is heavy solid and very well made. Anyone got any experiences ?

    Alan
     
  15. wade daily

    wade daily

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    Do yourself a huge favour and check out  the Star Gazer cast iron skillet. That is all that Star Gazer makes ....One super duper cast Iron Fry Pan in one size that is probably the best Steak pan ever made. Recommend ordering the pre-seasoned, it is preseasoned by hand.