What's the Perfect Cast Iron Pan?

cast iron skillet comparisons
If you place a modern cast-iron pan next to your grandma’s Griswold, you’ll see a noticeable difference.David Draper

If you place a modern cast-iron pan next to your grandma’s Griswold, you’ll see a noticeable difference. To save on manufacturing costs, modern cast-iron makers skip the important step of polishing the interior of the pan. Vintage cast iron is smooth as a baby’s bottom. In a properly seasoned pan, you can fry an egg without it sticking. Even on a modern cast-iron pan with the perfect seasoning, that’s difficult—if not impossible.

You can make a modern cast-iron skillet better with a palm sander and some sweat equity to smooth out the interior. Frankly, it's a pain, and you'd be better off scouring antique stores and auctions for an older pan. Or, you can sign up on Kickstarter to receive an early run of the Field Skillet.

The Field Skillet is what modern cast-iron pans wish they could be. Lighter and smoother, the size No. 8 cast-iron pan is a throwback that combines handcrafted artisanship with modern materials and manufacturing. Machined, polished and factory seasoned, it’s ready to fry an egg right out of the box. Also, like any cast-iron cookware, it will just get better with age, provided you treat it right and continue the conditioning process.

The Kickstarter project has already raised a whopping $800,000, signifying a real need and want for good cast-iron cookware like our grandparents had. Many of the levels have been spoken for, but for $90, you can still sign up to receive a Field Skillet from the fifth production run, which is scheduled to deliver next fall.