High end frying pan recommendation

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Jovidah

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There's a lot of these fake review sites floating around. Some might simply be written and paid advertising done by a manufacturer...others are made by shills who don't care about anything as long as they get proceeds from the clicks. As long as it isn't a known and trusted source I'm inclined to just outright ignore it these days.
Even with the more trusted sources there's usually a problem: bias of omission. There's only so many products they can test, so often a lot of interesting ones get left out.
 

Pensfan

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I'm not a cookware expert by any means. However my All-Clad has never let me down with induction or electric. I've not had a gas stovetop in over 20 years (dying more each second from it).

What are you looking for that is beyond the All-Clad's ability /performance?
 

Noodle

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I bought one of those Darto pans mentioned earlier b/c I’ve always wanted to try carbon steel. Will post some pics and impressions if people are interested.
 

tally-ho

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Well, nothing that thick existed even before induction started making inroads. So, it's still probably a combination of factors, including perceived lack of demand as well as the higher cost of tooling & equipment upkeep.
In Europe raw aluminum steamers were common in the 80's, lighter and cheaper than stainless steel but actually the main factor about aluminum (and aluminum oxide that inevitably develops on cookware) is health concern, hence nowadays there is rarely aluminum cookware without an internal coating.
 
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tally-ho

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Aluminium has a little more than twice the heat capacity of copper. Heat capacity is essentially the number of Joules of energy you can "fit" into a given mass of the material. Intuitively, it determines how quickly a hot pan will cool down when you put something cold into it. (Cast iron has high heat capacity, which is why it's good for searing.)
I heard several times elsewhere that copper has a greater thermal mass than aluminum so I made a quick research about it and one thing to note though, if I understand it well, is that it depends if you consider the massic heat capacity or the molar heat capacity.
A cube of the same weight of aluminum and copper are not the same size, the aluminum piece is twice as big, heat will take more time to evacuate from the center to the edge via conduction (given the thermal conductivity of aluminum). Massic heat capacity (J/g °C) for aluminum is 0.9 and for copper is 0.39.
Now if you consider a piece of aluminum and copper of the same size, your comparing them based on the molar heat capacity unit (J/mol °C), aluminum is 2.4 and copper 2.47.
A disc of aluminum and a disc of copper of the same radius and thickness seem to have the same heat capacity.


EDIT : I think that I got this part wrong.
 
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@tally-ho,

You and I have the same numbers for (massic) heat capacity. See post #468:

MetalDensity (g/cm3) [source]Specific heat capacity (J/g °C) [source]Thermal diffusivity (mm2/s) [source]
Aluminium2.700.8997
Copper8.960.385111
Iron7.860.45023

Copper is dense stuff... more than iron! While it stores less heat per gram than iron... it has more grams per unit volume than iron. Multiply density and specific heat capacity and iron and copper look pretty much the same. They can both store a very similar amount of heat per volume of material (iron has a very slight advantage). But look at the thermal diffusivity! Heat moves almost 5x faster through copper than iron!

While aluminium spreads heat about as fast as copper... it stores about 1.5x less heat per volume than copper/iron.

If you want 'fast' cast iron... get the thickest copper you can!


A cube of the same weight of aluminum and copper are not the same size, the aluminum piece is twice as big
If you are talking about equivalent mass; I have copper being 3.3x more dense than aluminium. So for a cube of copper and a cube of aluminium to have the same weight, the aluminium will need to have 3.3x more volume. The volume of a cube is... the cube of its side... (🤯)! So to equalise the mass, we need the aluminium cube to be 3.3^(1÷3) ~= 1.5x bigger on all sides...

I also included thermal diffusivity (conductivity)... I am going to assert that for all human intents and purposes... aluminium and copper will be perceived as having identical diffusivity. If we are talking about cubes of equivalent dimensions (volume), copper and aluminium cubes share the same time for heat to conduct from one face to the opposite. But in this scenario the aluminium will store less heat energy. If we are talking about the same mass of material, since the aluminium cube is 1.5x bigger on each side, the heat has to travel 1.5x further... so it will feel 'slower' than the copper cube.

A disc of aluminum and a disc of copper of the same radius and thickness seem to have the same heat capacity.
Be careful not to confuse (massic) heat capacity (J/g °C) with heat energy stored per volume (J/cm3 °C).

If you are talking about discs with the same dimensions, they will have identical volumes. Not mass. Nor heat energy stored. From the table above, copper stores 3.4 J/cm3 °C whereas aluminum only stores 2.4 J/cm3 °C. Since copper stores approximately 3.4÷2.4 ~= 1.4x more heat energy per volume than aluminium, to equalise the heat energy.... same math as before.... the aluminium cube needs to be 1.4^(1÷3) ~= 1.1x bigger on all sides. In this scenario the cubes ought to store the same amount of heat but now they do not share the same volume or mass....

I think I got that right??! 😵 I'd be happy for somebody to math/science/engineer review me 🥴
 

deskjockey

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Sort of related but, right now my "High-End Frying Pan" of the moment is a 12" Stargazer cast iron skillet.

Its much more vertical sides (compared to my other cast iron options) really reduces splatter when I fry bacon or an egg or two but, it is harder to use with something like a pancake.

The thinner sidewalls with a heavy base really make this the best handling cast iron skillet I have. The handle is shaped similar to the All-Clad handles I dislike but, the 'oval' bottom is much wider and rounder, and the top is wide enough to rest a spoon or spatula. Its greater overall width makes it easier to tip and dump bacon grease and doesn't dig into my hand or fingers when it is loaded with food. It simply handles better than my other cast iron skillet options with its superior handle and the excellent balance it has.
 

sansho

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the term i'm familiar with is specific heat, not massic. is it massic in french?

edit: i see it's capacité thermique massique. cool
 

ian

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😭**

But it contains low dimensional topologies....



** I acknowledge I occupy a niche that writes posts that are often too long for anybody to bother....
I like the fighting kangaroos!

Your other post seemed fine to me on a quick read. Idk much about the physics, though, so I’m not sure something would jump out at me if it was wrong.
 

rmrf

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😭**

** I acknowledge I occupy a niche that writes posts that are often too long for anybody to bother....
Hold my beer....

It didn't look wrong to me but I hate numbers. The general principle that you need less mass of Al to store the same heat energy as Cu seemed right. Al is less dense so you need more volume I think is right.

I have mixed feelings about thermal diffusivity. On one hand, it seems like the best metric to use when comparing pan materials. However, I don't really care about pan materials, I care about the heat map of a pan (temperature over the surface of the pan) given a non-uniform heat source (gas burner, induction heating, etc) at various times and with and without a heat sink on top (like a steak). In particular:
  1. How large the max difference between hot and cold spots in steady state with no heat sink?
  2. How many seconds does it take for that amplitude to drop below some X degrees?
  3. How much energy can be released into the heat sink (steak) when it is added to the pan in 30 seconds?
  4. When the pan is removed from the heat source, how long does it take to cool? (This probably is answerable from just composition and total mass)
I suspect that the answer to those questions requires a 3D heat simulation.

I remember trying to do a back-of-the-envelope 2D model of a pan by pretending it was a bar, holding one side at constant temperature and looking at the temperature at the other side. Then, asking how thick a bar of Al would need to be to have the same cold-side temperature as a bar of Cu. This gives you a rough estimate of how thick an Al pan needs to be to have the same thermal conductivity as a Cu pan.

To me, this made more sense for fry pans compared to thermal diffusivity. Based on how people measure thermal diffusivity, however, I suspect these are the same metrics... 😂 So I guess I'm saying that I want something better than the stupidest 2D approximation to the 3D question.

The real question is why can't I find a paper that does exactly this. I want to know how thick copper I need to get to be better than demeyere skillets and if I could lift it 😂
 

coxhaus

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It seems to me you are saying copper cools quicker than aluminum? Which is what I want on my gas stove. I want to be able to control or fine tune my gas stove to my pan. So, I want a responsive pan. I don't want a pan that holds heat on a gas stove.
 

tcmx3

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It seems to me you are saying copper cools quicker than aluminum? Which is what I want on my gas stove. I want to be able to control or fine tune my gas stove to my pan. So, I want a responsive pan. I don't want a pan that holds heat on a gas stove.
depends on the type of pan IMO

saucepan, absolutely agree. fry pan? Id rather it move fairly slowly.
 

ptolemy

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It seems to me you are saying copper cools quicker than aluminum? Which is what I want on my gas stove. I want to be able to control or fine tune my gas stove to my pan. So, I want a responsive pan. I don't want a pan that holds heat on a gas stove.
having copper definitely helps, as copper is 2nd most responsive to silver... and by responsive, i meant to heat up and to cool off.

so you want a pan that has 2mm+ of copper and ss on the inside... falk, mauviel, matfer, those all offer 2.5mm+ copper. or you can go with copper clad... but only few have those .. all-clad 0.9mm, certain demeyere lines/or demeyere made pans have 2mm copper as well... there are few other, i heard of, but i don't know exactly...
 

ptolemy

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Mauviel no longer make the 2.5 mm range. It’s 2 mm now, with the same prices as for the 2.5 mm ones.
fair enough, but luckily you can still buy it on the 2nd hand market
 

tally-ho

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Mauviel no longer make the 2.5 mm range. It’s 2 mm now, with the same prices as for the 2.5 mm ones.
Unfortunately, over a year the price of raw copper went up by 130% between march 2020 and march 2021 to reach its all time higher price. That may explain why they "downgraded" the thickness.
 
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Michi

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Unfortunetely, over a year the price of raw copper went up by 130% between march 2020 and march 2021 to reach its all time higher price. That may explain why they "downgraded" the thickness.
Yes, I'm sure that contributed a lot. It's no good making a great pan when no-one can afford it any longer.
 

coxhaus

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depends on the type of pan IMO

saucepan, absolutely agree. fry pan? Id rather it move fairly slowly.
Yes, you are correct because I am thinking High end pan. If I just want a pan to hold heat like to sear a steak then I use a low-end Lodge cast iron pan. They work great for me.
 

deskjockey

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Yes, you are correct because I am thinking High end pan. If I just want a pan to hold heat like to sear a steak then I use a low-end Lodge cast iron pan. They work great for me.
Wait until you try a Stargazer skillet! Big Lodge fan myself but, that 12" Stargazer has kicked them out of the kitchen.
 

rmrf

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It seems to me you are saying copper cools quicker than aluminum? Which is what I want on my gas stove. I want to be able to control or fine tune my gas stove to my pan. So, I want a responsive pan. I don't want a pan that holds heat on a gas stove.
Depends on the weight of the pan. For the same weight, the copper will cool faster (Al has a higher heat capacity per gram than Cu). It turns out if you do the math for the simplest 2D approximation for how even the pans get, for similar "evenness", Cu will cool faster.

Keep in mind that the Cu pan cools faster because it has less heat capacity, not because there's something magic about Cu (i.e., the emissivity of the two pans are identical)
 

ptolemy

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Wait until you try a Stargazer skillet! Big Lodge fan myself but, that 12" Stargazer has kicked them out of the kitchen.
I have tried a few high end cast iron skillets... and performance wise, they are all pretty much the same. Ones I tried look nicer, and sanded down nicer, but they perform just about the same.... Now, if you plan to put them on the serving table, maybe it's worth it to you... but I got my 10.25" lodge, 12" and 15" lodge all for below $20 each. I friend of mine sanded them down to 220grit (i paid for pizza and beer)... and that's it..

now, obviously, some use cases may change for others, I admit, if I had $500 to throw out, i'd get them... but these days, I maybe use cast iron pans once a week, and been a long time since I used 15" pan period, so to me, my pans will last me a life time.
 

tcmx3

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stargazer handles are WAY better than most other cast iron, the lip is super useful, and it's just more maneuverable.

whether it's worth the money to you is personal. to me it absolutely is because I use mine all the time and it's just nicer to cook with.

my personal advice is get 1 nicer cast iron in the main size you use and then for your lower use sizes it's not as important. I know a lot of folks use theirs for camping and I probably wouldnt bother with a camping pan because like, you've already accepted youre not gonna have the creature comforts.
 

JayGee

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I had an average cast iron skillet that I needed to completely strip and re-season. I struggled hard to remove the seasoning with vinegar / over cleaner etc. In the end I used a wire brush on my drill. Removed the seasoning quick smart, but also smoothed the surface considerably. It wasn't the plan, but this improved the performance of the pan a great deal and helped it hold a super consistent seasoning. This last step might account for the performance difference between different levels of cast iron.
 

deskjockey

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I have tried a few high end cast iron skillets... and performance wise, they are all pretty much the same. Ones I tried look nicer, and sanded down nicer, but they perform just about the same.... Now, if you plan to put them on the serving table, maybe it's worth it to you... but I got my 10.25" lodge, 12" and 15" lodge all for below $20 each. I friend of mine sanded them down to 220grit (i paid for pizza and beer)... and that's it..
I have all the Lodge skillets up to the 15" one and the chef's skillets with the sloped sides. They are very serviceable but, my Stargazer is simply a better skillet. Better handle, better handling, better...

Sure, you can sand a Lodge down and smooth out the rough edges and rough casting but, that won't fix the thin short hot handle or the heavy sides affecting the balance. For $12, the 10" skillet is a great value and saved me from weak pathetic stoves in various rental places but, if I knew then what I know today, I'd eat beans for a month or two to afford one.
 
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