We’ve been wanting a cast iron pan for some time now. And not just for baking delicious shortbread and Dutch apple pancakes or amping up my iron intake. But for sizzling bacon over the fire while we put our boots up by the fire and sip our cowboy coffee. We’re in Montana, y’all. It’s time for a cast iron pan.
We couldn’t find one we like to register for and so it’s been on the “to buy eventually but maybe we should just wait till we have more space” list. But here’s my debate: should I buy a new or used one?
One of the thrift/antique stores around here is always over flowing with cast iron pans and so I could get a good deal on one. On the other hand, that pan above (Lodge) is on sale for 30% off at Amazon. Now I haven’t joined The Compact or anything, but I do like the idea of buying used where I can.
But is a used cast iron pan a good idea? They require a lot of special care, and I would have no idea if the previous owner had kept theirs up. So here’s my question: can you “ruin” a cast iron pan? Or if you take bad care of it (meaning washing it in soap) does it mean a patina just hasn’t build up yet but you could from there?
I debated buying one in JVC and then I would’ve just done the used route. Now that money isn’t as tight (okay just getting. It is just as tight. But we don’t have to consult 3-6 other people before each purchase) I figured I would just by a new one so I could season in “right”. But now I’m thinking that maybe any cast iron pan can be redeemed whether or not it was seasoned right from the start.
So what do you experienced chefs, foodies, and pioneers from the 1890s have to say? What brands should I look for? If I buy a used one, any way to know if it’s good or bad?