Best cookware for high BTU burners?

jormydogMay 5, 2014

As part of a kitchen remodel we are (likely) buying a 48" Bluestar Platinum range that has very high heat burners (25k BTU). We're figuring on getting new cookware at that point to replace some VERY well used Calphalon non-stick pans.

How good are the 5-ply All-Clad Stainless sets, with a copper core? Saw them at Williams-Sonoma and they seem well-made, although a small fortune for a large set.

I figure heat distribution will be of extra importance with the power of the new range....quite a change from our current KA.

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Hi jormy,

First off, cool beans! Nice range. :-)

I'm not a metallurgist, just an avid home cook who's been doing a lot of research for my induction range and testing a lot of pans. IME, cookware thickness is going to play a major roll, as you've guessed. All-Clad CC should do the job very well, but so will a lot of others, some of them costing a lot less.

Still, thickness isn't everything. You can continue with your nonstick and turn down the heat. If you want clad cookware (and I highly recommend it), any thick 3-ply line will do. All-Clad classic and Zwilling Spirit are just about the best of the consumer 3-ply brands. Both should work very well on your range. Note that the Spirit line comes in both uncoated and Thermolon Granite ceramic configurations. Very handy if you want a combination of bare steel and nonstick pans. The AC and Zwilling Spirit will cost a LOT less than the AC copper core and give you excellent results. Make sure you check out All-Clad pans in person. There's about a 50-50 split on whether the handles are great or torture devices. Me, I despise them.

Anyway, you should not be using high heat on any clad cookware unless you're boiling water. Save it for cast iron and carbon steel, when you want to sear a steak or wok a stir fry. Searing other proteins is easily done over medium heat. Your pans will get plenty hot, I promise. And give you better results than if you use higher heat. Also bear in mind that when you go to thicker 5 or 7 ply pans, your response time will be a little slower. Don't turn up the heat to compensate, just wait. You want to give the heat time to spread.

When it comes to 5 or 7 plies, configurations vary. All-Clad Copper Core uses SS-Al-Cu-Al-SS. Others use layers of aluminum and aluminum alloys between the steel. Either arrangement is fine, and there's been a bit of debate on Chowhound about whether AC's copper layer is thick enough to give it an advantage over aluminum. No consensus has been reached.

If you want to go for the thicker, heavier pans, look at these in addition to the Copper Core. All have aluminum and aluminum alloy cores.

Mauviel M'Cook (M'collection at SLT) - this has two handle options, stainless steel or old school cast iron. Classic French lines. Also available in hammered M'Elite. Gorgeous!
Check out the M'Steel frypans, too.

Zwilling Sensation - I really like this one for having long, wide handle forks that help with pan balance, making it feel lighter than it is, and also keep the handle cooler.

Demeyere Industry 5 - Twin to the Sensation, sold only at SLT. (Zwilling owns Demeyere)

deBuyer Affinity - 7 ply, French, seriously excellent stuff, available at

Demeyere Atlantis - also 7 ply. Similar handles to the Sensation/Industry lines. Straight-walled pans like sauté and saucepans have ultra-thick disk bottoms, the curved-wall pans like sauteuses (sauciers) and frypans are the fully clad 7 ply. Similar in price to AC Copper Core, very highly regarded.

Viking V7 (7 ply) is also very, very nice, and can be had for a song because it's being discontinued. It was made by Demeyere (Zwilling) in Belgium, so I'm pretty sure that should a pan fail, a suitable replacement will be provided. Clearance prices are serious bargains. Buy some!

One more line should be considered, unless you want pretty cookware. Vollrath Tribute is 3-ply commercial cookware, less costly than AC classic, but much, much thicker. It is easily as thick, perhaps thicker than, the 5 ply pans. Heat spread is excellent, because of the thick aluminum layer in the middle. It's sole failing is that it's not pretty. Function is everything. Look at or check your local restaurant supply store. BTW - that's also an excellent source for other no-nonsense pans, like thick aluminum frypans. Note that Tribute lids suck. Get Centurion or Optio.

All of these are lines are excellent and offer real lifetime warranties, even on their nonstick pans, like All-Clad does. Happy cooking!

Here is a link that might be useful: Viking , All-Clad, Demeyere, Mauviel and Zwilling

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 3:19AM
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