Carbon Steel Pans - de Buyer or Matfer Bourgeat?

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by jwk1, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. jwk1

    jwk1

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    I want to get a couple of carbon steel pans. I've done a search of the threads and see that de Buyer and Matfer Bourgeat are the two that look good to me. It would seem that the thickest steel would be the best. True or not? If so, which of the two fits the bill? Where is the place online to get them?

    Thanks for any info. I can't wait! I've been using cast iron all my life. It will be great to use something I can actually pick up and shake, tilt, etc. and still have that great seasoned cooking surface.
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    This is the website for Matfer Bourgeat USA: The Entire Matfer Bourgeat Catalogue

    You can also find Bourgeat and several other brand of carbon on Amazon. Please use the Chef Talk link to get there.

    If you're interested in the highest quality carbon steel, you should also look into Vollrath.

    The handles for all this stuff are uninsulated and decidely not ergonomic. Be aware that you are absolutely committed to using a towel, kitchen rag or potholder every time you cook with one; and that no attempt has been made to make the handles comfortable in any way shape or form.

    Personally, I like a lot of arch on the handles so I can swing them around over other pans. But to each their own.

    Luck,
    BDL
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    You're so right, BDL. Handles on these pans are not designed well, in terms of comfort or function.

    However, I have to disagree with you re: heating. Unless I've had the handle over a heat source for some reason, or have put the whole shebang in the oven, the handles on my de Buyer pans do not heat up. Don't ask me why, because logically they should. Maybe something to do with the coating on them??

    More recently I bought a lower-costing Paderno 14" pan. It's handle is even worse, in terms of design. But it doesn't heat up, either.

    Go figure.
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    KY,

    You're right. The cast iron handles (like bent bars) don't transmit heat as rapidly as the steel (flat, wider) handles do.

    BDL
     
  5. jwk1

    jwk1

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    BDL,

    Why do you think the Vollrath is the highest quality? It's not typical of you to recommend something with welded handles over riveted. Thanks for your input.
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    They take an enormous amount of abuse without any problems. They're a nice heavy guage. I like the flare of the side, too. Excellent for flipping. A carbon steel pan should last darn near forever in a home kitchen, but if there's a problem they're cheap to replace.

    Vollrath fanboy? Could be.
    BDL
     
  7. french fries

    french fries

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    About 9 months ago I was looking to get carbon steel pans, and BDL suggested that I look into Vollrath and/or Matfer Bourgeat. I couldn't find Vollrath online, so I got the Matfer Bourgeat from there: Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pans - (Matfer Bourgeat) SKU314

    I'm very happy. I'm about to buy a 3rd, smaller one for when I only have one steak to cook for myself (which is pretty darn often). The built is incredible. Don't worry about welded vs riveted handles. Those things are undestructible. By the way I know on the link I gave you the pans look like they have rivets - but they don't, the handles are welded. Not a concern in my opinion - if anything, it makes the pans much easier to clean up. Also the arc is not as much as on the picture: in reality, the handle is much closer to being in the same plan as the pan. For me it's fine.
     
  8. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    I purchased a Matfer skillet a while ago and was somewhat disappointed with it. First of all, the handle wasn't welded on straight, and was at a slight angle to the body of the pan. Secondly, the seasoning instruction sheet was pasted to the cooking surface and I could never fully remove the adhesive no matter what I tried, and so the pan ended up with areas where food would stick, no matter what temperature I cooked at and no matter how much and what type of fat I used. There were no instructions for removing the information sheet. What's the best way to remove the adhered instructions?

    Schmoozer
     
  9. jwk1

    jwk1

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    There is nothing I've ever not been able to remove with lighter fluid. Now that you've fried the adhesive into the pan surface, I think you're going to have to use sandpaper to take everything off and season again. I've done it with cast iron that have had their surfaces ruined for one reason or another. It's not that difficult to get a decent season going again. It just takes a while to get fantastic.

    Go to at least 220 grade. I go a little finer to finish up, but 220 works fine. HTH.
     
  10. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    Are you suggesting that, were I to get another pan, that I just douse the label with lighter fluid and set it ablaze? Is there some recommended technique for removing the label and adhesive using lighter fluid, such as peeling off as much of the label as possible first, or ... ?

    Schmoozer
     
  11. french fries

    french fries

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    Light up? Naaaaah.. just remove as much as possible with your nails, then with a paper towel, wipe with alcohol or lighter fluid or goo-gone until all glue is gone. Then you still have to take some green scotch brite and go at it with all your heart, scouring the pan as best as you can, and removing the protective varnish that they put on top of the carbon steel in the factory.

    THEN you can season the pan.
     
  12. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    Thanks a lot for all the replies and suggestions,

    Schmoozer
     
  13. verkinmom

    verkinmom

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    Know this is an older thread, but here is some info that may be helpful to others. I too have been looking at purchasing carbon steel pans for a while. My September/October 2015 issue of Cook's Illustrated just came and lo and behold they did an informative article on carbon steel as well as their testing results for 8 different brands of pans.  The Matfer Bourgeat came out at #1. Yes, you do want a thicker carbon steel. Thinner will warp over time. Their tips, which were from Matfer Bourgeat, for seasoning and cleaning the pan were as follows:  To remove the new pan's wax or grease coating use very hot water, dish soap, and vigorous scrubbing with a bristle brush. Dry the pan and then put it on low heat to finish drying.  Add 1/3 cup oil, 2/3 cup salt, and peels from two potatoes (these help pull up any remaining wax or grease from the pan surface).  Cook over medium heat, occasionally moving the peels around the pan and up the sides to the rim for 8-10 minutes. The pan will turn brown. Discard the contents, allow the pan to cool, and wipe with paper towels. It is ready to use. If you experience any sticking, repeat the above steps once more. This method will work on any carbon-steel skillet. 

    I will be getting a pan to try out sooner than later!
     
  14. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    You may have to wait a few months.  Matfer Bourgeat reports they are out of stock and it may be 2 to 3 months before they get restocked.

    In the meanwhile, there are a few secondary sellers on Amazon who are only asking $200 plus for a pan.

    You should wait a few months before the feeding frenzy settles down and prices return to the sub $50 range.

    Galley Swiller 
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  15. cory

    cory

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    Bingo. I saw the Cooks Illustrated story and tried to order a pan from amazon just to try it. Matfer was backordered several weeks; there were a couple of pans available from secondary sellers for ~$250. I placed the order through Amazon for less than $40. For $200+,I can wait a few weeks.
     
  16. grande

    grande

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    Vollwrath makes a pretty decent french pan.
     
  17. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    deBuyer are as good as all the others.  The only time blue/black/carbon steel warps is if it's "wok" thin and used over a flame at 100,000 Btu's several times daily.  (EDIT)  Meanwhile your typical home oven max's out at around 10-20k btu's.  (EDIT) And then the wok, at least, can be pounded back into shape several times (I dunno' about fry pans being pounded back into shape because of their thickness)!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015