What to look for in old cast iron

marys1000November 26, 2008

I tried new cast iron once and didn't get it seasoned right and gave it away. I'm thinking of trying again but still don't like the idea of pre-seasoned. I was thinking of picking up something at an antique or flea market. I also tend to worry about pre-used pans, who knows, maybe someone used it to cook meth at some point........but anyway!

If I were to see a cast iron skillet or dutch oven in such a store, what do I look for? Certain brands? Thickness?

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Fori is not pleased

Older pans tend to be thinner and smoother. That's nice--they'll season faster and weigh very slightly less. I'd check for a flat bottom, partly because I have induction, but also just as a sign of decent craftsmanship. (Obviously that's not what you'd look for in round-bottomed or footed items.) A smooth interior that isn't rusty is best, but even pebbly is OK--just a little harder to season.

As far as using a used pan, I'm right there with you. I probably have an old post here about should I use this pot and how do I strip it since for all I know it was used as a camp toilet. Whether you burn off the old seasoning or EasyOff it, it'll be clean enough you won't have to worry about meth or poop.

Look for a nice fitting lid, too. Some brands are more famous than others, but I think there are plenty of the less common brands that are just as good.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 6:10PM
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