What is the best or most go-to brand of cast iron skillet? My mom has requested a 15-inch one for Xmas and none of my usual sources, like Williams Sonoma, sell them so I'm not sure how to wade through the options. Also, do I want a pre-seasoned pan? Any other thoughts would be welcome!
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Get one for yourself, too, so your grandkids will have stories about you and your magic pan that made the best corn bread or pan-fried steak or fried catfish in the world.
As for using cast iron on glass cooktops, I did that for a decade and never had a problem with scratches. That's including my Swedish pancake pans, which have a lot more irregularities than anything with just a logo stamped in the bottom.
My parents took a hand grinder to the inside of a new one for my brother which worked really well to get a nice surface, but took a couple of hours.
I think it's a waste, it is very easy to season, I just swipe the pan w/ veg oil, put in a hot oven, turn oven off after aprox 1/2 hour and leave in overnight.
I got mine at the hardware store.
Another option is to buy an older, used cast iron skillet. Ebay is very good for this, and thirft stores - particularly in the south, are excellent options. There is a bit of a sub-culture here, but Griswold is considered the gold - or iron - standard here. Ebay has dozens and dozens available, and make sure you get one that is well seasoned (not rusted, a smooth black surface that has not been scoured off). A well seasoned cast iron pan is better than the best non-stick. It will give you a lifetime of use and joy.
Almost all of my cast iron is Lodge, it works great! I use them everyday on the stove and even take them camping to use over the campfire.