The Cast Iron Pan to Gift Every Home Cook
What Is Stargazer?
Born in founder Peter Huntley’s storage in Allentown, PA—ancestral residence of American metal manufacturing—Stargazer cast-iron cookware is a direct-to-consumer suite of skillets that’s doubled manufacturing yearly since its 2016 Kickstarter marketing campaign.
Before falling down the cast-iron rabbit gap within the early 2010s, Huntley was a graphic artist for a housewares firm specializing in licensed items. (If you obtain a Mickey Mouse or Batman mug for
your self your little one, there’s probability he was the person who designed the decal and oversaw its manufacturing.) “I became obsessed with collecting and restoring vintage cast-iron,” says 34-year-old Huntley, who was motivated by the prevailing grievance in on-line cast-iron group boards: They don’t make ‘em like they used to. He puzzled, what if he might?
Why We Like It
Though a lot of it may be chalked as much as mythmaking, cast-iron cookware will get an outsized quantity of consideration for its persnickety nature and care routine: Don’t use cleaning soap! Don’t get it moist! As in the event that they’re Gremlins as a substitute of pans. Huntley had his personal apprehension about shopping for his first skillet again within the day: “I hadn’t gotten into cast-iron sooner because it sounded like it was so hard to maintain, with all these special rules.” So when he determined to develop the Stargazer skillet, he hedged his bets towards the medium’s fussy fame by dialing within the ultimate nonstick end.
“The surface finish is the gateway drug,” he says. The majority of cast-iron cookware is forged in pressurized sand, which leaves behind a tough stippled floor. “That’s the main difference between vintage and [contemporary] budget pieces. Everything pre-1950s was grinded smooth after casting,” an additional step jettisoned by large-scale producers as a cost-cutting measure. Huntley added it again. After being forged in Wisconsin, the skillets get a two-step sprucing remedy, first by machine in Ohio, then by hand at headquarters in Allentown, the place they’re additionally seasoned with non-GMO grapeseed, canola, and sunflower oils. The mix provides the Stargazer its distinct coppery glow.
The ending course of optimizes meals launch. While testing, I charred broccoli within the Stargazer, pan-roasted rooster thighs with grapes, baked cornbread, even seared swordfish steaks—a idiot’s errand even in one of the best seasoned of cast-iron skillets—and every merchandise disconnected from the skillet with out sticking. This additionally made cleansing extremely straightforward. While typical knowledge recommends solely wiping out a cast-iron skillet with a paper towel, I usually need to briefly soak my pans from Lodge, one of many largest legacy producers within the United States, and the model I’ve at all times default really helpful prior to now, in sizzling soapy water, then scrub, wash, and totally dry them to protect towards rust. To be clear, there’s nothing unsuitable with cleansing cast-iron this manner, however when testing the Stargazer, a paper towel was actually all that was required.
Other advantages to the Stargazer embrace a protracted convex deal with that stays cool to the contact; a helper deal with once you require a two-handed carry; and the tall flared sides that retains splatter within the skillet and off of the stovetop. Stargazer can also be one of many few producers promoting its pans in a naked possibility. According to Huntley, it solely accounts for 10 p.c of gross sales, “but some people in the cast-iron community have their tried-and-true method that their grandmother used,” and who’s going to argue with grandma?
Lodge will promote you a ten.5-inch cast-iron skillet for round $20, whereas the Stargazer of the identical dimension prices $115, together with transport, because of the further ending labor and all-American provide chain. The worth level may very well be one thing to nitpick, however once you take a look at apples-to-apples retro-inspired opponents like Smithey Ironware, Borough Furnace, and Finex, Stargazer is probably the most reasonably priced possibility of the group. If you’re out there to improve your cast-iron arsenal, Stargazer is one method to do it.
[10.5-inch skillet, $115 and 12-inch skillet, $145; stargazercastiron.com]
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