No one pan is ideal for everything, but the Lodge® Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Deep-Sided 10.25” Skillet appears to fill a lot of needs.
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I saw this in a store, then I bought it on Amazon for fifty bucks, lid included. My first response when I opened the box was “Wow! I can cook EVERYTHING in this!” Alas, everything except popcorn, for the iron lid is cleverly finished with numerous sharp stalactites that, I assume, are designed to collect steam and then optimally redirect the condensation away from the edges. Popped corn would likely get spiked on them. But aside from that, I could see using this pan for searing, sautéing, deep-frying, roasting, braising, and more.
This pan is also available in a 12” version, but the smaller size seems perfectly adequate. Furthermore, the sheer weight of the twelve-incher would make the handle less useful. No one I know is going to be flipping omelets with either size of this pan.
I wish I could give a review of this intriguing product right away; however, Lodge® famously sand-casts their ironware, thereby giving it a “pebble-grain” finish not unlike that on a football. This is why I’ve avoided their skillets in the past, as I greatly prefer the smooth finish of a vintage garage sale or junk shop pan. But for this pan at this price, I’m willing to invest the effort of painstakingly smoothing the cooking surfaces with my orbital sander and then re-seasoning it with grape seed oil. (There are some brand-new iron pans available with smooth, machine-finished surfaces– like this one– that come with ridiculously high price tags. No thanks.)
Unless something unforeseen goes horribly wrong, I look forward to cheerfully extolling its virtues. I promise an honest review either way.