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  #21  
Old 01-19-2016, 09:49 AM
Kevin Meares Kevin Meares is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Beaufort, SC
Posts: 23
Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

Looks like I will want to get a DO, griddle, and chicken fryer, at least

I own just six pieces of CI, which were acquired two weeks ago and haven't been cleaned.

1. Griswold #9 LSL
2. "Sidney" #8
3. 10" Wagner Sidney -O- Chef's Skillet
4. #5 unmarked Wagner, '60s
5. #5 unmarked BSR '60s Century
6. Unmarked 11 cup muffin pan

I'll have to see which ones I like best, but if reduced to four from these, I would probably eliminate redundancy and drop one of the #5s and either the #8 or #9 skillet from a rotation. Muffins are one of the few things I make regularly, so that pan should get good use, and a couple of the skillets, for sure.
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  #22  
Old 01-19-2016, 11:40 AM
Michael Talton Michael Talton is offline
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Posts: 145
Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

Guess it would have to be:

Griswold LBL #5 (my cornbread pan)
Bottom Gated #7 (for no-knead bread)
Bottom Gated #8 (my egg pan)
Erie 2nd Series #9 (my default "wok")
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  #23  
Old 01-19-2016, 05:04 PM
JDSchneider JDSchneider is offline
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Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 75
Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

Hard to narrow down to just four pieces, but those that are used the most are as follows

1) Lodge combo cooker
2) UM hammered dutch oven
3) UM hammered #5 skillet
4) Wagner Ware double burner flat top griddle

I'm a sucker for the hammered pieces

-J
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  #24  
Old 01-21-2016, 01:28 PM
ChadVKealey ChadVKealey is offline
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Posts: 26
Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDSchneider View Post
1) Lodge combo cooker
Isn't that cheating a bit? It really should be counted as two pieces.

However, I'd have to agree that that's the one piece/set of cast iron I'd have a really hard time getting by without. In fact, my entire list is "modern" Lodge stuff (mainly because I only have a couple of older pieces and I've been too lazy to properly strip & re-season them).

1 & 2) Lodge Combo Cooker
3) Lodge square grill pan
4) Lodge 9 quart DO
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  #25  
Old 01-21-2016, 11:50 PM
JaredS JaredS is offline
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Posts: 167
Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

1.) BSR Red Mountain #8 with matching lid

image by twillightkids, on Flickr

Absolutely and undoubtedly my most used piece. This one I found covered in rust sitting under a dumpster in a recycling yard. Nearly left it because it was a BSR and I was early in my collecting career and didn't appreciate it like I should have - I knew enough to recognize BSR but because I had delusions of stumbling across an Erie Spider or some such I almost let it lay there. I went back to it after looking through the rest of the yard and talked the owner into giving it up with the lid for $7. It cleaned up perfectly. It is, in fact, a perfect cast iron pan, in the way that most modern cooks think of cast iron. Relatively heavy, will not warp, but not a monster like modern pieces. Has a very smooth cooking surface. Heavy enough that it holds heat and cooks the way a modern cast iron recipe calls for, unlike older Griswold. This is an all arounder. I cook eggs, hash browns, burgers, chicken, etc., etc. in this pan and it is a wonder. THE classic cast iron skillet.

2.) Second series Erie, #10, bullseye maker's mark

image by twillightkids, on Flickr

This one is a bit of an embarrassment for me, as it is my only eBay piece for which I paid "market value". Actually, I tell myself I paid nothing for it, so it's all a matter of perspective. I had actually hunted down and salvaged several iron pieces (chief of which was a Lodge 90s bundt pan) and sold them on eBay for a massive profit. I in turn spent that on this skillet. I actually still netted money on the whole experience, although many would argue having the bundt pan in my collection would be better than this particular skillet. Nevertheless, I LOVE the Erie skillets that Griswold produced. This particular skillet has the finest polished sides I have ever seen on a cast iron piece. I feel like many people don't understand early Griswold, (at least through the LSL period and most of the LBL pieces I have handled). These skillets are NOT the classic cast iron pieces. They are very thin and do NOT hold heat like their heavier cousins. As such the limitations of cast iron are very apparent with these pieces - particularly with respect to uneven heating. Cast iron, being a very poor heat conductor, needs to be very thick to avoid major hot spots. The early Griswolds are anything but. As such you really have to understand these pans to use them appropriately. They excel when you use the hot spots to your advantage. Unlike heavy cast iron you can actually adjust heat settings quickly with these pans. Things like pan sauces are much easier to build in a thin skillet than in a thick heavy, because the pan can quickly adjust to changes in heat so much better than a heavy pan like the above BSR. This particular pan I use for searing meat, particularly when I want to deglaze and build a pan sauce. I also use it for occasionally cooking large batches of fried eggs, bacon, etc. Additionally I use it for tons of baking - brownie, cookies, bread puddings, and the like. Great pan.

3.) Unmarked Favorite or CHF skillet, #5

image by twillightkids, on Flickr

This one is a beauty, and, unfortunately, cracked. I picked this up at a junk shop in the neighboring state. Cleaning revealed a cracked sidewall, opposite the handle. This pan demonstrates that a cracked pan is not ruined. I use it for cornbread and for cooking meals for a single person. Much like the earlier Erie, this is a thin pan. It fries eggs like no other. We also use it as our cornbread pan, as my wife typically prefers to make small cornbreads. A fantastic little pan. Use and abuse your cracked pans, just use them wisely!
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  #26  
Old 01-21-2016, 11:51 PM
JaredS JaredS is offline
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Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

4.) Erie dutch oven, #8 with LSL lid

image by twillightkids, on Flickr

I bought this oven at a local antique shop. I had gone into the shop and looked at the oven for several months before making an offer at about half the asking price. They accepted. ALWAYS MAKE AN OFFER. The worst that can happen is you get laughed at and go on your way. The lid came about 6 months later. I was looking for the exact matching lid and never found it. This is the correct model lid, just about 20 years younger. It fits nice and I can get the money I put into it back if I ever find the correct lid for the pice. I use it for dutch oven things.

Honorable mentions:

Le Creuset 5 qt. dutch oven. I personally don't count enameled cast iron in the same class as black cast iron. Two entirely different beasts, and when I think of "cast iron" I think of seasoned cast iron. That being said, my absolute favorite piece of cookware ever (forget just cast iron) is a 2000s Le Creuset dutch oven, 5 qt. This pan is why I sought out and bought the #4 Erie above. The Erie was the only black iron dutch oven that was thin like the Le Creuset, unlike the gangly and stupendously heavy modern dutch ovens that you can buy from Lodge and the gang. I much prefer this style for dutch oven. Personal preference. Regardless, the enameling of the Le Creuset minimized the major downsides of black iron and keeps the benefits, at least as far as a dutch oven is concerned. This is a true "chef's tool", and has transformed many an inedible cut into a beautiful meal.

#11 early Wagner, circa 1890s. Perfect french toast pan. Although recast from an early Erie Griswold, it is much heavier, and more of a traditional cast iron pan than the early Griswolds.

Unmarked frankenskillet. No idea where it came from. Outside heat ring, probably turn of the century, just a wonderful cooker, and the first skillet I refurbished for myself. Great mac'n'chese pan.

Those are my favorite cast iron pieces. On a side note, I never mentioned steak in the above thèse. This was on purpose. Very often many of us immediately jump to cast iron to sear steak, and this is often a mistake. Cast iron radiates much more heat than other metals; as such it tends to cook more deeply than another metal like copper. I typically use a copper skillet with a thin stainless steel interior to sear tender steaks like filet or what we typically call New York strip. The sear really is kept to just the surface of the meat. For pieces that I prefer to be closer to medium (ribeye or chuck where the fat needs to melt to make the steak it's finest, or the like - I never cook steak beyond medium) I use black cast iron, or for searing before a long braise. Cast iron is wonderful, but it is not perfect for every job!

Last edited by JaredS; 01-22-2016 at 12:14 AM.
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  #27  
Old 01-22-2016, 09:53 AM
Michael Talton Michael Talton is offline
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Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

thanks Jared. those were a couple of very educational (for me, anyway) posts.
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  #28  
Old 01-22-2016, 10:47 AM
Kevin Meares Kevin Meares is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Beaufort, SC
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Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

(Sorry, Doug)
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  #29  
Old 01-22-2016, 10:51 AM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Posts: 6,256
Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

Since the topic here is "top 4 users", let's not hijack the thread by changing the subject to cracked users. Thanks.
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  #30  
Old 03-19-2016, 05:43 PM
Mike F Mike F is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 154
Default Re: Your top 4 "users"

So, during the first 90 days of my time in this hobby, the following pieces have become my most frequent users:

1. Wagner 9 inch chef skillet -- been my no 1 user and been cooking eggs frequently. Fried eggs, omelettes, etc. All good.
2. #109 Griswold skillet griddle -- pancakes and/or french toast on weekend mornings.
3. Wagner #8 dutch oven -- frequent popcorn batches. Been also waiting to build up the seasoning so that I can try Hilditch's chili challenge (side by side batches with the Wagner DO and my enameled DO). I think its almost there.
4. Wagner cornbread stick pan (jr size) -- it took me a couple of tries but I have managed to refine the process enough to get very crispy crusts on the cornbread sticks.

Honorable mention goes to the popover pan.

Pics below:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/139658.../shares/7c8Gh6
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