A List of Blacksmith Skillets.
This website provides a list of Carbon Steel Blacksmith Skillet companies. I created this website to help others considering purchasing a blacksmith skillet to explore what skillet they should buy.
Who makes Blacksmith Skillets?
There's a huge diversity in Blacksmiths that manufacture Carbon Steel Skillets. While some of these manufacturers are one person forges making an occasional skillet on the side, others are large enterprises with teams to match. There are a variety of methods used to make these skillets -- some skillets are hand-pressed, others are hand-spun.
Why should I buy a Carbon Steel Skillet?
Carbon steel skillets are a great choice for someone looking to move away from teflon-based non-stick pans. Unlike ceramic pans, they're much harder to scratch, so ultimately you're less likely to replace them. Carbon steel skillets are frequently described as behaving somewhere between a cast-iron skillet and a stainless steel skillet because they're seasoned like a cast-iron but they often weigh much less. Depending on the rivet and handle design, they usually can be used for baking and finishing in the oven. Blacksmith carbon steel skillets are hand-forged, not mass-produced, carbon-steel skillets. Many mass-produced skillets are thinner gauge (14 gauge), however, some are thicker. Matfer Bourgeat pans have measured to around 3.2mm thickness, which is approximately 11 gauge.
What factors should I consider when buying a skillet?
My goal is to help you discover the skillet that matches your needs. Instead of asking which skillet is best, you should decide which factors are most important to you.
- Pre-seasoning: Carbon steel pans, like cast-iron skillets, are naturally non-stick because of the seasoning that forms on the pan when cooking on it with fats. Most Carbon steel skillets come pre-seasoned with coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or soy bean oil. In general, it shouldn't affect your purchasing decision, but you'll want to know when you initially get your pan whether or not you should season it yourself.
- Rivet design: Many skillet manufacturers connect the handle to the base of the skillet using two or three rivets. These rivets can be small or large and they can be hammered into the the pan. The reason why you should care about the rivet design is that you're going to be cleaning around the rivets. When cleaning your pan, you won't be able to use soap because doing so will strip the seasoning. This is the largest contrast between carbon steel pans and cast iron / stainless steel pans. Cast iron pans are seasoned and rivetless, so cleaning requires elbow grease. Stainless steel pans are by definition not seasoned, and therefore people often use mineral abrasive surfactants like barkeeper's friend to clean them.
- Wall height: There are many uses for Carbon Steel skillets, including frying eggs, stir frying vegetables, and even baking a pizza. Some skillets have shorter, more angled walls which make it easier flip contents in the pan (e.g., when braising or making pancakes or eggs), whereas other skillets are more ideal for a paella or gratin. Blacksmith pan manufacturers often give these products different names, such as french skillets, deep skillets, fry pans, and saute pans, though there isn't a consistent definition, so the best way to understand what the pan is used for is to look at the height and slope of the walls. (Walls typically range from 1 to 2 inches.)
- Thickness, gauge, and weight: There's a tradeoff between how heavy a pan is and how it performs during cooking. Thicker pans heat up more slowly, retain heat longer, and distribute heat more evenly. Thinner pans heat up quickly but can have hot-spots and can actually warp when heated. Most blacksmith pans are at least thick enough to avoid warping, but commercial Carbon steel pans are often thinner (higher gauge), and subject to warping. One strategy to decide if a pan is the right weight for you is to compare its weight to pans you already own. Check out my guide to skillet weights for more information.