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- Price $195 for the 10-inch on fieldcompany.com
- Material Cast iron
These days, I spend most of my time in Singapore where there is an abundance of hawker food. Unfortunately, food in Singapore is becoming less affordable. Cooking is a way to not only save on food cost, but control what you put in your body.
I always feel that if I want to do something well, I need to work with the best tools to increase the chances of success. My Oxenforge Wok has certainly made me look forward to cooking. While a wok is one of the most versatile pieces of cookware, you'll find that it won't work quite as well for some tasks, such as searing a steak.
That is why Field Company intrigues me. They are not just any cast iron company. They were started by two brothers who were driven to understand all the lore behind these generational tools and make them like they used to.
Take Wagner skillets for example. These legendary cookware are handed down from generation to generation and have quite the collector's market. Why do that if they didn't have something special compared to a Lodge?
The two brothers were equally perplexed and embarked on a journey to discover how to recreate these heirloom pieces which ultimately gave birth to the Field Company.
This is the review of the Field Company No.10 cast iron skillet.
A cast iron skillet isn't just a cast iron skillet. Try to tell the community that they all look the same and prepare for war.
There are cast iron skillets are just made better than others. More time and skill goes into the crafting, refining, and it shows. The Field Company skillet is one of those. It looks beautiful even before that patina has been build.
Looking from top-down, you won't find any branding. It looks minimalistic and classic, resembling a Wagner, but with a touch of modern through the subtly chiseled handle.
Flip is around, you will find the brand's wordmark on the top, following by the logo, size, and a proud “Made in US” text.
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There is a casting date on the underside of the smaller helper handle as well, which is a nice detail to reminisce when it first came into your life. Mine says IAII, which is in a YMDD scheme. This means my skillet was cast on the 11th of January 2021 (1=2021 A=January 11=11th).
Each skillet comes with a lid and on the handle of the lid is the logo that just exudes that bit of cool.
Not all cast iron skillets are built the same.
Field Company starts out with iron poured into a mold to get a basic shape, then use green sand castings, which is sand that has not been set in place, to produce a smooth, vintage-style surface finish.
A “shake out” happens where a machine shakes off the sand remnants, which are then recycled for future use. They are then inspected and cleaned.
The magic comes in this step where it is machined-smooth, removing excess material and weight to get the perfect balance with just a touch of texture.
You get a shiny pan at this point but it can't end there. It is then seasoned with multiple coats of grapeseed oil to help develop some non-stickiness. This is actually fewer layers compared to other makers as they are focused on making it sure the seasoning in baked into the skillet, rather than on top of it.
While many cast iron makers have similar processes for casting, the step about hand-machining it smooth and balancing the weight and the pre-seasoning with a point of view is what makes Field Company skillets stand out.
I designed a thing.
I found a 100 year old company that would create these heirloom quality canisters for me. They are handmade and will keep your tea leaves, coffee beans or anything that you need dry for years to come.
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First of all, it is important to note that these skillets, unlike the Oxenforge Wok, will not be non-stick out of the box. The seasoning needs to build up and you can do so simply by cooking with it as often as possible.
It is the heating of oil or fat for an extended time that adds a thin layer of seasoning, and over time it will build up. Like painting a wall, you want to have thin layers and let it settle each time before going for the next layer or, like paint, they will scrape off like a giant scab.
Even with that in mind, I still like to test my cookware with frying an egg on the first use to see exactly how sticky it gets. After all, like a good boot that needs a break-in period, you still have to cook and clean these pants until the seasoning is right where you want it to be.
As expected, it isn't non stick. But I was able to scrape the crud off with my spatula, which is unheard of for brand new cast iron skillet.
Next, I tried some asparagus.
The pan holds heat so well and my asparagus cooked in no time. Using the skillet, you would have to control the heat as well as toss the food often or risk burning it.
Last but not least, I tested it with a piece of sirloin steak.
It leaves more crud than the egg.
I used the rough side of a sponge to scrub it off and it had some soap on it which rubbed off some of the original seasoning. Having used cast iron skillets for many years now, I wasn't worried. Cast iron pans are passed down from generation to generation because they can be stripped and re-seasoned.
While there are many who would warn against using detergent with a cast iron skillet, I don't believe that. I use it when I need to. No shame.
And sure enough, heating a thin layer of oil for a few minutes put seasoning right back.
The weight of the skillet is also why most would like the Field Company skillet. Relative to the size, it is lighter than other cast iron skillets out there. However, note that the lid can add a decent amount of weight. Additionally, the handle is relatively short which adds to the effort needed.
I am 200 lbs and lift weights regularly and still find lifting it with the lid on pretty taxing on my wrists. I guess this is where the helper handle comes in.
Unlike skillets like Borough Furnace which has an innovative way to prevent the heat from conducting in the handle, Field Company is much more traditional. They do have a leather sleeve that you can buy but is a little pricey. These handles are quite slim so aftermarket ones or the silicone one from Lodge might fit a little loosely.
There is no doubt that Field Company makes premium skillets, which is reflected in the price. But if you are someone that cooks daily, you might want to invest in something that gives you joy.
From the manufacturing to finishing touches and honestly great branding, the Field Company skillet definitely does it for me.
For those without such a desire, a Lodge might require more time to season but would offer a close performance, especially at that price point.