Made In The USA: Lodge Cast Iron

Success carries its own kind of burden. We are knock-knock-knocking on the door of two million visits here at Riverside Green, and we’ve had more than twenty thousand comments in the past thirty months. This is all great news. The problem occurs when you are looking for a particular needle in that comment haystack.

A few weeks ago, one of the commenters recommended some American-made cookware. I wanted to go back and feature that company, but I couldn’t find the comment. I ended up calling up a list of American-made cookware manufacturers and searching the comments for the brand names until I came up with Nick D’s comment regarding Vollrath. They make some awesome stuff in the literal sense that I am in awe of their pricing. Check it out. Be aware that not all of their brand lines are USA-made, but the high-end stuff definitely is.

Meanwhile, here at Schloss Baruth of the West (the Eastern one is here) we’ve just taken delivery of some Lodge iron pans. The verdict so far?


Unsurprisingly, Danger Girl is thrilled with them. They weren’t terribly expensive and when the people at Lodge felt that they’d taken a little bit too long to ship one of the pans they sent us an apology card and a bottle opener. So give Lodge a look to see if you wouldn’t be better off cooking with iron, why dontcha?

56 Replies to “Made In The USA: Lodge Cast Iron”

  1. -Nate-Nate

    When I got married at the tender (& STUPID) age of eighteen, I had a full set of 1930’s American made cast iron skillets all nested safely away in m kitchen ~ she hated them just because they were old and insisted on new ones, in time I discovered the silly cow had THROWN THEM OUT ! .

    1 more reason I’ll never allow her back into my life .

    She does get a sort of pass on other things because she gave me my Son, so wonderful and perfect in every way .

    (except when he gets drunk, or beats the crap out of someone who foolishly cheated him, or he borrows someone’s vehicles and tears the living hell out of it but I digress) .

    Cast iron cook ware for the win ! .

    -Nate

    Reply
  2. John C.

    Congratulations on all the website visits. It might be time soon to allow for some banner ads to monetize it. Herr Niedermeyer senior has done quite well with his site and I have noticed other people showing up here after being chased off of CC.

    Reply
  3. Pat

    Or if you want to pay 8x for some hipster cast iron made in Portland, there’s FINEX. Personally I’d rather have a stack of Lodge and some extra cash in my pocket, but I believe that their smoother/polished surface would be an improvement over the Lodge.

    https://finexusa.com

    PS: for the price of the Vollrath good stuff you’re in USA-made All Clad territory.
    PPS: I think Vollrath now owns Lincoln/Wearever commercial aluminum non stick “Cermiguard” which are cheap as hell and great and 100% hecho en estados unitas. I used to own a bunch but they don’t work on induction.

    Reply
    • Nick D

      I paid $75 shipped for a 12″ Ceramiguard II pan – it’s the silicone handle restaurant version, but that was still substantially less than the $150+ for a similar all-clad, though you trade AL vs steel construction. For a non-stick, the coating will go before the pan does in any event.

      Reply
    • Sseigmund

      The hipsters always seem to have a smarter idea. ” . . . journey began with the search for healthier cooking” Spare me! At least South Pittsburg is a part of Tennessee that still feels like home. Nashville on the other hand is being taken over by the hipster crowd. As a guitar pickin friend recently said,

      “East Nashville where you used to go buy weed and get your hubcaps stolen is now the home of Nashville’s weed smokin craft beer drinking Prius driving, fuckstick hipster elitist assholes!”

      Who woulda though?

      Reply
    • acesfull

      My wife and I have a set of USA made All-Clad pots and pans that we love. I bought them at significant savings during a (Macy’s?) Black Friday sale. That particular set came with a made-in-China lasagna pan that is still in the box. I also use my wife’s grandmother’s Lodge skillet. Love that as well.

      Random comment: I noticed there was a Lodge store in Pigeon Forge, TN when I was there a couple of weeks ago.

      Reply
  4. EMedPA

    Take good care of those pieces and you’ll be able to hand them to your grandkids. That’s how I ended up with my Griswold skillets.

    Reply
    • Yamahog

      Griswold sure made a mean pan, huh? I got one from a neighbor who passed away, I think mine was made in 1906? It still works great – makes a mean hamburger. I have no doubt that it could go another 111 years.

      That’s something I wish ecoweenies would harp on more: making durable products. It seems more efficient to make something right the first time than to make disposable things. But instead of durable things, we get junk that’s “made with carcinogens that are known to cause cancer in the State of California”.

      Reply
      • EMedPA

        I have a No. 43 Chef Skillet and a No. 10 skillet. I have no idea how old they are, as they were my grandmother’s, but my guess is that they were bought in the 1930’s.

        Reply
  5. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I have 6 different Lodge iron pots/pans/skillet.

    They’e like a sore dick; ya can’t beat it.

    Certain ones are specific for a given task, IE a 6″ fry pan that is ONLY used for cornbread.

    Reply
    • -Nate-Nate

      “They’e like a sore dick; ya can’t beat it.” .

      My Education turns yet another interesting page .

      Thank you Sir .

      Yes, my long gone vintage cast iron skillets all had a very smooth surface under the blackened cure .

      -Nate

      Reply
        • -Nate-Nate

          Thanx Eric ;

          The issue is : a house full of Teenaged Foster boys and SWMBO who isn’t pleased when I listen to The Blues or old car stuff already, reducing the time I have available to indulge you tube .

          Currently whenever she asks what I’m doing OnLine it’s either my vintage tech writing or this sort of site, I call this “Auto Porn” and she stopped even looking at it a while back .

          -Nate

          Reply
          • -Nate-Nate

            I just sneaked a peek and it looks very interesting, THANK YOU Sir ! .

            (I expected naughtyness) .

            -Nate

  6. rwb

    I have a few Lodge pans, though I ended up sanding the shit out of the 12″ I actually use because I wasn’t satisfied with the surface. I hate to say it but I really don’t think they make these like they used to. Very old cast iron cookware tends to be much better-finished than what I’ve bought new.

    I generally prefer carbon steel Mauviel skillets, but if anyone knows of carbon steel pans of equal or better quality made in the USA, I’m all ears.

    Reply
  7. Kevin Jaeger

    I have some cast iron skillets that I know are more than 50 years old and we still use every week. I never checked what brand they are but, yes, they are Lodge made in USA.

    Reply
  8. jz78817

    unfortunately, to compete with China Lodge has been cranking out barely finished cast iron pieces. I inherited a Griswold #8 skillet from the 1930s which is glass smooth, and not just because of the seasoning; it was ground/sanded smooth after casting. Lodge just grinds the sprue off of raw castings, slaps a coat of flaxseed oil on them, fires them in an oven, then ships out pans rougher than 60 grit sandpaper.

    and all of Lodge’s enameled cast ironware comes from China.

    Reply
    • Nick D

      Hmm. Never really considered smoothing the inside of my lodge pans. My angle grinder may get some use this weekend.

      Reply
      • rwb

        Do it. I just used 80-120-320 grit and beer muscles and it still came out much better than it started. Takes some time to fully re-season from bare metal, but it’s not that bad.

        Reply
      • jz78817

        cast iron is relatively “soft” and you shouldn’t need any serious hardware. just a set of sanding blocks going from coarse to somewhat fine. you don’t need a shiny surface (let the seasoning give you that) you definitely want smoother than as-cast.

        Reply
    • hank chinaski

      I have a #6 Griswold that I restored. It and the similar vintage knife that I got with it are my go-to’s.

      I’ll have to take a wheel to the big Lodge we have. I’m not a fan of the stock finish either.

      Reply
  9. Felis Concolor

    I have their 2 part deep pan-fry pan-dutch oven combination set and have been happily using it for years. It’s especially useful for caramelizing a bunch of sliced onions on a day when I feel like making french onion soup.

    One of my big gripes regarding modern cast iron cookware is their lack of a smooth finish: I’m certain they’ll eventually wear smooth, but I’d rather it happen in my lifetime.

    Reply
    • jz78817

      I recently got a Lodge (made in the USA!) 5 qt dutch oven, but I’m not really concerned about the coarse finish on it; I mostly use it for deep frying.

      Reply
  10. Disinterested-Observer

    I bought rusty old pans and a cast iron crock pot at an auction. They looked like shit. Just sanded the rust off and seasoned them. It doesn’t do anything for current American factory employees but I did end up with some nice pans for next to nothing.

    Reply
  11. Rick T.

    A fine Tennessee company. I prefer our Lodge pans that we purchased in the 1990’s before they all came from the factory pre-seasoned. Could be just my imagination, though.

    Also be careful when using on induction or other glass cooktops. A slight unevenness on the bottoms can cause scratches.

    Reply
  12. Will

    As others mentioned, note that some Lodge products (particularly the enameled iron and accessories) are from China.

    Other US makers of pots and pans include American Kitchen Cookware, AllClad (utensils and electrics imported), Nordic Ware (not everything), USA Pan, 360 Cookware, Granite-Ware, and Kitchen Craft.

    Of course, if you go in for pans like you do for suits, check out Finex, Borough Furnace, Duparquet, Blu Skillet Ironware, and Brooklyn Copper Cookware.

    Reply
    • rwb

      Problem with the “pans like suits” philosophy is that while a good suit will potentially have you taken more seriously than otherwise, the most expensive pans won’t show significantly better results that the well-made workaday stuff in any commercial kitchen. They’re just Nice Things to Have.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If I had all the money I’d have some pointlessly expensive copper-plated shit for sure.

      Reply
      • Rick T.

        We had a set of anodized Magnalite cookware for a few years after we were married. Never seemed to release seared meats properly. Went to All-Clad stainless saute pans and have never looked back. Still have the small Magnalite pots for noncritical steaming and such.

        Reply
      • Nick D

        Tres – consider perusing your local restaurant supply store to get an idea what the commercial side may look like. We got a ‘set’ for a wedding present and have slowly replaced it with a big and small lodge cast iron skillet set and the Vollraths.

        Fewer, better pieces that we use daily make me happy.

        Also, most of the restaurant supply stores are Mom & Pops and sell at the same as online retailers.

        On a side note, I’m going to be in Montreal in September and am going to Tate+Yoko’s brick and mortar store. I can’t wait.

        Reply
  13. mas

    My dad still has a WWII era surplus water canteen (and food container), dated 1944 and made by Vollrath. In Iran.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Iran, the Arsenal Of Democracy!

      It was probably a great place to live before the Ayatollah. Was your dad there for any significant length of time?

      Reply
      • Rob

        I have a few old-time structural engineers who fled Tehran when the Shah was deposed, and they are great guys: smart, friendly, and as American as the Lodge family (see what I did there?) at this point.

        Reply
      • mas

        It was alright, from what I hear. He was born there and still lives there. He got the canteen from a surplus store (which meant the store that sold stuff that draftees stole during their mandatory service)

        Reply
  14. josh

    lodge gets all the glory but i’ve been making breakgast almost every morning in my wagner 8″ american made cast iron skillet for over 30 years. they eggs slide right out.

    clean it with oil and occasionally scub it with a soapless steel pad and water. it will last forever. no soap ever!

    Reply
  15. Hogie roll

    I’m a stickler about cooking oils. I would season a cast iron with light OO or grass fed ghee. I try to avoid vegetable oil.

    Reply
    • jz78817

      what makes a good cooking oil and what makes a good oil for seasoning cookware are two different things. for seasoning ironware you want an oil which readily polymerizes with heat.

      Surely a “stickler” would know that.

      Reply
      • Hogie roll

        Mostly out of health concerns. Veg oils aren’t good for you. I try to choose healthy things with higher smoke points. I cook healthy but quickly.

        Reply
        • jz78817

          “Veg oils aren’t good for you.”

          first I’ve heard that. but according to the Internet, no food in existence is good for you.

          do you even know what seasoning is? we’re not talking about adding shit to what you’re cooking, we’re talking about prepping cast iron or carbon steel cookware with a coating of oil, then heating it past its smoke point to where it polymerizes (essentially turns into plastic) protecting the cookware from rusting and giving it a non-stick surface. you’re not eating it (if you are, you’ve done something very, very wrong.)

          you wouldn’t season cast iron with “good” OO or ghee.

          Reply
          • Hogie roll

            Veg oils didn’t exist in 1900. How do you think your great grandmas cast iron pan got seasoned?

            http://www.thankyourbody.com/vegetable-oils/

            “Vegetable oils are bad because they contain very high levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). But did you know that the fat content of the human body is about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat? Our body needs fat for rebuilding cells and hormone production. And it can only use what we give it.

            Polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable. They oxidize easily. These oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells. That oxidation is linked to all sorts of issues from cancer, heart disease, endrometriosis, PCOS, etc. PUFAs are bad news.

            There’s a lot of hype about Omega-3’s and how healthy they are. But what often gets neglected is the fact that it’s more about the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats that are critical to good health.

            Vegetable oils contain a very high concentration of Omega 6 fatty acids. These fatty acids oxidize easily. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation and protect against cancer. Unbalanced levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats have been linked to many types of cancers and a host of other problems. And, as you’ve probably guessed, most Americans are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega-3’s. But people keeping buying into labels on vegetables oils that say “a good source of Omega-3s” without realizing that they are really just making the imbalance even worse.”

          • jz78817

            that site looks like a load of woo, most of their claims are uncited (at least the ones about vegetable oils being bad and “rancid before you ever get them”) and surprise surprise, they also sell a line of dietary supplements you don’t need. It doesn’t look quite as absurd as the “Food Babe” (of Subway yoga mat bread fame) but really it all seems like a bunch of half-truths (or just outright truthiness.) No, you don’t want to consume rancid vegetable oils, but you can pretty easily identify rancid oils by smell (and butter goes rancid too.)

            It sounds like you did the typical American thing; someone told you something that “sounded right,” then you “researched” it by finding stuff that agreed with it and ignored everything that didn’t.

  16. Joe Shea

    Have a Lodge cast iron skillet we bought 20+ years ago. Still gets regular use, only problem is it is too heavy for my wife, so I get it out and clean and put away. Great pan.

    Reply
  17. galactagog

    +1 on cast iron cookware!!

    I have a few pans I inherited from the farm, they are probably 80 years old??

    “Griswold”, “GSW made in Canada”, and one appears to say “Leveoware” on it.

    I use them all the time…in fact, I baked jerk chicken in one tonight. turned out amazing

    I find a lot of the newer iron pans aren’t as smooth as the old ones. they have a rougher cooking surface; harder to clean, not sure what’s up with that?

    Reply

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