Stainless v Cast Iron v Nickel Plated

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Joined Dec 29, 2007
Hi

Ive tried various non stick and stainless cookware over the years and cant really get along with it, i like to sear a lot of fish and meat  with a lot of spice on it, this injunction with using olive oil seems to be a killer for pans.

Ive tried a basic lodge cast iron and it is just to hard to look after, also the hot handles are a pain to work with. my question is which of the following would be the best choice for great searing and easy clean up.

1 - Good quality Stainless All clad skillet

2  - The new signature series lodge skillet or grill pan.

3 - The Olivida Nickel plated cast iron, it will still be difficult to hold but look real easy to keep clean

4 -  A good enamal cast iron pan like Staub

Appreciate any thoughts or ideas

Alan
 

phatch

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Great searing and easy clean up do not occur together.

For many cuisines, you'd deglaze the pan after searing which improves cleanup a lot and doesn't waste the fond.

But for general cleanup and easy care, I'd go with a tri-ply clad stainless piece from a quality manufacturer.  If you do lots of high heat cooking you might warp it so I might consider a disk bottom from a good maker. Still, if you're cooking with gas, I think tri ply would be my preference.

And clean up is what it is; the price of good searing.
 
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6,367
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I'm totally unfamiliar with nickel-clad cast iron, so offer no opinion, other than that it doesn't appeal to me. I really don't see the purpose.

The idea of searing and non-stick pans is oxymoronic, and I don't know why you'd even consider it.

You are leaving out another choice, though: Carbon steel. Almost all the benefits of cast iron at about half or 2/3 the weight and, possibly, easier clean-up. But I don't find cleaning cast iron to be a particular chore, not after it's been properly cured. Unlike cast iron, carbon also offers, in most designs, handles that stay cool.

Enameled cast iron does have some clean-up advantages. But at the extreme high-heat used for searing there's a tendency for the coating to craze and eventually chip. Which makes it a pretty expensive way to go for a dubious advantage in clean up.

If you opt for stainless I would shy away from All-Clad, which has the worst customer service in the industry. There are other high-quality makers who stand behind their products and whose prices are much lower as well. I agree with Phil that a disc bottom might serve your needs better for high-heat cooking. Stainless works best at medium to medium high heat, and if you damage it using high heat it will void the warranties.
 
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If you don't have a very hot stove, a very heavy cast iron will hold a lot of heat for searing.

I use a cast iron coated steel wok for searing. Very light and non-stick.

dcarch
 
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Joined Apr 30, 2010
When your talking about a disk bottomed pan are you talking about something like the allclad pans that have the big thick plate or what ever the heck it is on the bottom?

If so I have never really cared for the look of them, I have a 9.5" pan and a 2 qt. saute pan from Viking that I absolutely love ... they have the same thickness on the bottom and sides.
 
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I adore my favorite iron skillet & don't experience much trouble with clean-up.

I season it with bacon grease on occasion but mostly olive oil.

You can't go wrong with the searing of that iron!

It's also great on my grill.
 
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Hi

What about the new technology non stick like Scanpan, Cuisinart Green pans, are they syuiable for searing ?

Thanks

Alan
 
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There are far more qualified "voices" on this forum but, IMHO, there are NO "non-stick" (well, aside from a well cured cast iron or carbon steel) that can withstand the temperatures necessary for adequate "searing".
 
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Pete,

Is anyone more qualified on this than you?  Not really. 

That aside, I don't like applied non-stick for searing because the natural "release" point of a protein seared over high heat in properly preheated pan with a minimum of oil, coming when the pan is shaken vigorously but just so, is the best indicator of when the first side is done.

BDL
 
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Joined Dec 29, 2007
Hi

I checked into Steel Pans and had chance to look at the Vollrath and De Buyer.

Although the the De Buyer was $57 against $35 for the Vollrath it was thicker, heavier and looked much higher quality so i went with the De Buyer.

I seasoned it when i got home and so far ive used it a few times, it already looks old but boy does it cook. I cooked Skate with it today which is a a delicate fish and this sticks to stainless something terrible, it just did not stick at all to the De Buyer.

It is the ugliest cookware you can imagine but performance seems incredible

Alan
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2010
If you want to get a good sear on something, but still have easy cleanup, got with something seasonable....cast iron or carbon steel.  A well seasoned cast iron is amazing for a great many things, and cleans up beautifully.  Tri-ply is fine, but cleanup will be ugly.  I like All Clad just fine, although they do have terrible customer service.  I've recently discovered Fissler, which is disk bottom, but will give All Clad a nice run for the money.

Stay away from non-stick for searing.
 
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For those who cook with wine, vinegar, long simmered tomato sauces, and similar non-exotics, stainless or something else non-reactive is a practical necessity. 

Cast and carbon (especially carbon!) are great for most cooking, but they are such a crummy choice for that acidic 10%, it makes sense for most home cooks to have their first two or three skillets and/or frying pans in a high performance multi-ply with a stainless interior. 

With room and money for more -- by all means start adding cast and carbon. 

Similarly, as wonderful and useful as one is, a raw, cast-iron, dutch oven is not a good choice for the only stew/braise pot.     

BDL
 
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a raw, cast-iron, dutch oven is not a good choice for the only stew/braise pot.     

Probably can't stress that enough. Raw cast iron is not a good choice for that purpose.

I happen to feel that the "don't use acids" in cast iron advice tends to be overplayed. You don't want to use them if they'll be in the pan for any length of time. And that pretty much defines braising. So skip raw iron for that.

But you'd go a long way finding something better than enamaled cast iron. Other than the possible crazing from sustained high heat I can't think of a single negative.

I would advise, though,  getting the next larger one than you think you'll need.
 

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