It’s that time of year when we scour the internet and our local department stores for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. As you may have guessed, I think cast-iron cookware is a fabulous gift for just about everybody, from college students to grandparents. But where do you find the right kind of cast iron for your loved one?
NOT ON AMAZON!
Here’s why. Much of the cast iron sold on Amazon is made by foreign companies, often in China. These companies do not use the same level of quality control as our domestic companies. That means the metals used may not be in a proper ratio or may contain slag and contaminants that are normally removed. This can cause hot spots in the cookware, warping, and cracking. Or the seasoning could be chemically-based instead of edible oils (yuck!).
Amazon is also fraught with counterfeit products. Foreigners (and even some domestic companies) will steal designs from well-known manufacturers and pass them off as authentic pieces. So that high-end skillet you’ve been eyeing may not be the real deal.
For budget pieces (under $50), look for the Lodge brand. You can often find them in Target or department stores, but they have dozens more styles and sizes on their website.
For higher-end pieces, shop at reputable kitchen stores or go directly to the manufacturer’s website. Most of the manufacturers are running specials right now, so it’s worth checking out. I’ve included a list below of the companies I’m highlighting in my upcoming book, Skilletheads, along with links to their sites, and a comparison of prices (using the 10” skillet). Just don’t forget to put a a copy of Modern Cast Iron with that pan so your loved one will know how to care for it. (Yes, you can get that one on Amazon!)
Modern US Cast-Iron Manufacturers
Lodge Cast Iron – $22
Stargazer Cast Iron – $115
American Skillet Company (Features USA State-shaped pans) – $130
Austin Foundry Cookware – $140
Field Company – $145
Smithey Ironware – $160
Lancaster Cast Iron – $175
Butter Pat Industries – $195
Finex Cookware – $200
Marquette Castings – $250
Borough Furnace – $300
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