There are plenty of cooks out there who only own and use cast iron cookware and we can assure you that most own Lodge brand. Lodge out-rates and outperforms even cast-iron cookware brands costing two or three times as much. For some experts, there is no comparison even to other types of cookware -- such as stainless steel and nonstick. Of course, in spite of what they think, cast iron is not for everyone. It's very heavy, has a learning curve, and requires extra care, but when it's used right, there's nothing better.
Top quality in every cooking mode. In expert tests Lodge cast-iron cookware performs flawlessly, with even heat distribution, the ability to go from stovetop to oven, and superior flavor imparted to food. Owners love that they only need one set of cookware for life -- kitchen, grilling and camping -- and that it cooks equally well in any of those situations. The pre-seasoning is a huge hit; although you still have to continue seasoning and the cookware doesn't reach perfection until it's been used for a while, it cuts down that time frame. The drawback to cast iron is that it's slow to reach cooking temperatures and, until it does, the heat isn't always even, so you have to have a bit more patience. However, once cast iron finishes cooking, it retains heat longer than other types of cookware, a very popular thing with moms who have trouble getting everyone rounded up at dinnertime.
Requires a bit more care. Lodge cast-iron cookware can't be tossed in the dishwasher, you shouldn't use abrasives to clean it, and Lodge recommends you not even use soap. It should also be seasoned after each use with a bit of vegetable oil or other fat. There's also a bit of a learning curve with cast iron, just as there is with stainless steel, to figure out how much fat is ideal and to understand how to get the best results from meats and more delicate tasks like frying eggs. The payoff for that care and education, reviewers say is the most flavorful results from almost anything you can think of cooking or baking.
It will last longer than you. If you have a Last Will, go ahead and decide who you're leaving your Lodge cookware to, because it lasts virtually forever. We're not exaggerating here; there are dozens of forum discussions where people lovingly discuss the Lodge cast iron they inherited from their grandparents or great-grandparents. We saw a few complaints from users that parts of their pans feel rough, but Lodge explains that it's a result of the sand casting process and it will become smooth with use and seasoning. Lodge cast iron is made in the USA and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Cooking enthusiast Michael Zhao chooses the best skillet by hands on testing, research and speaking with experts. Ultimately, he chooses the All-Clad 12-inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan, but he also says there's a compelling case to be made for cast iron, and he suggests everyone should own at least one Lodge skillet, no matter what.
Review: The Best Skillet, Michael Zhao, July 18, 2014
2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
In this review, editors test eight grill pans, including Lodge brand, to see how well they perform as stovetop grills. Testing includes cooking hamburgers, and strip steaks, and grilling sandwiches and zucchini. This was not a test of the entire set, but performance can be extrapolated from the results.
Review: Cookware Sets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Oct. 1, 2012
This very positive, very thorough review of the Lodge 12-inch cast iron pan gives excellent insight into how the Lodge line of cookware can be expected to perform. Editors give it 5 stars out of 5, and users are nearly as complimentary. Editors conclude this would be the one pan they would want if they were stranded on a desert island.
Review: Lodge Logic 12-Inch Cast Iron Pan review: An American Classic, Now with Instant Gratification , Editors of Chow.com, Oct. 4, 2013
Owners say this #1 Best Seller in Campfire Cookware is for far more than just camping. Giving it an overall average of 4.7 stars out of 5 in more than 420 reviews, they say it cooks evenly and keeps food hot for a longer time, great when dinner is delayed. It's also versatile, they say, going from kitchen, to grill or smoker, to campfire and back to the kitchen. The main complaints we saw were involved shipping issues, which has nothing to do with performance.
Review: Lodge L5HS3 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Cookware Set, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2014
In about 60 customer reviews the Lodge 5-piece cast iron cookware set gets a near-perfect 4.9 stars out of 5. Owners say the set is an incredible value, and that they use the pots and pans for everything. They say if you learn to use this set right, there is no problem with food sticking.
Review: Lodge Logic 5-Piece Cast Iron Set , Contributors to Walmart.com, As of August 2014