I Almost Gave Up On Cast Iron…Then I Tried Our Place’s Cast Iron Always Pan (Which Is 25% Off Right Now!)

In partnership with Our Place.

When I moved into a studio apartment a few years out of college, one of my best friends gifted me a cast iron pan to celebrate. We had a tradition of cooking meals together whenever she came into town, so it was a thoughtful idea. In practice, it was a challenge. Every time I told her I had used it, she had something to huff and puff about. (Don’t get me started about the time she found out I washed it with… soap.)

I enjoy cooking – I whip up something at home most nights, and the entire process relaxes me. However, I was never able to file the maintenance of this pan into the joy-of-cooking category. Why did it have so many rules – and why couldn’t anyone agree on the proper way to care for it? I dedicated a bit of time to understanding how it works – essentially, you must “season” cast iron pans to make them non-stick and rust-resistant through a number of precise steps – before throwing in the towel. When I moved out of my studio and put most of my belongings into storage during the pandemic, the ole cast iron was lugged over to the “donate” pile. (Mckenzie, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.)

Years later, when I heard that Our Place was releasing a cast iron version of its best-selling Always Pan, I was intrigued. Familiar with the brand’s focus on functionality and ease-of-use, I was curious to experience the Our Place spin on a product I had battled for months. As soon as I laid eyes on it, I was ready to give things a second go.

The Cast Iron comes with a nested beechwood spatula, a modular, high-visibility glass lid, and silicone Hot Grips custom fit for the long and short handles

What’s The Deal with Cast Iron?

You may be wondering why anyone bothers cooking with cast iron at all. While it certainly requires upkeep, it has many benefits, too. Because these pans distribute and retain heat extremely well, chefs agree that many dishes – like meats, eggs, cornbread, veggies, potatoes, fish and tofu – simply taste better when cooked in a cast iron pan. When properly cared for, a cast-iron pan is basically non-stick and doesn’t require much oil for cooking. These pans are also made without the toxic chemicals that many other affordable cookware contain. And, they can easily be transferred from stovetop to oven and withstand incredibly high temperatures. Luckily, while traditional cast iron requires a lot of upkeep to achieve these benefits, there’s also a second kind of cast iron coating.

Cast iron, reimagined
Credit: Our Place

Traditional Cast Iron Vs. Enamel

As I mentioned above, traditional cast iron must be “seasoned” for its benefits to be enjoyed. This tutorial explains the science behind seasoning your pan, which essentially comes down to oiling and baking the pan a number of times so that multiple layers of oil bake into the skillet (many enthusiasts have strong opinions on the type of oil and baking temperature to achieve the most desired surface). Between uses, there are more rules and myths surrounding these pans – from what I’ve gathered, they shouldn’t typically be washed with soap, shouldn’t be stacked, aren’t designed to store food, must be fully dried and coated with oil, and shouldn’t come into contact with metal utensils.

Enamel-coated cast iron pans, on the other hand, are much lower maintenance. These pans have layers of enamel coating their cast iron core, making both cooking and cleaning simple. Plus, they’re protected from facing any sort of corrosion or damage without any seasoning involved. Our Place’s Cast Iron Pan is made from a black matte,  heirloom-quality enameled cast iron interior that’s super easy to care for. An added bonus? Its glossy and equally easy-to-clean exterior in the brand’s signature colorways.

It’s available in Our Place’s signature colorways
Credit: @fromourplace

While traditional cast iron pans are more difficult to care for, some of their benefits include durability (they’re great for outdoor cooking) and flavor (they retain flavors and juices well). Alternatively, enamel cast iron pans are much easier to cook in and care for from the jump, and they’re available in more aesthetically pleasing styles.

A Modern Way To Cast Iron

Based on aesthetics alone, you’ll quickly discover that Our Place’s Cast Iron isn’t exactly your grandma’s cast iron. It’s a departure from the rugged, outdoorsmen look of cast iron’s past in all the best ways – and it’s extremely functional to boot. In addition to performing all of the classic cast iron tasks (offering superior browning, moving seamlessly from stovetop to oven to broiler, functioning on all stovetops), it comes with  an integrated spoon rest for its nesting beechwood spatula, a modular, high-visibility glass lid to trap and release steam, and handy silicone Hot Grips custom fit for the long and short handles. Plus, at 6.9 lbs, it’s the perfect weight for even heating, maximum retention and easy handling.

Cooks slow and steady every time

Cooking With This Thing’s A Dream

Our Place offers a few recommendations for caring for this cast iron – and much to my relief, there’s no oiling and de-oiling or upside-down oven-baking before putting it to work. Simply rinse and towel dry it and get to cooking. It takes a couple of minutes to heat up, but once it does, it holds heat incredibly well. Add a touch of oil and cook its contents low and slow…and that’s about it! It’s oven safe up to 425 degrees with the lid, and oven and broiler safe up to 500 degrees without it.

My colleagues and I boast a wide range of skill levels in the kitchen, and we’ve all had amazing experiences cooking in this cast iron. Our more experienced chefs are impressed with the quality and performance of the pan, newbies are glad they can’t really mess up a dish in it (not to mention it’s gorgeous and incredibly un-intimidating), and we all agree that cleaning and maintaining this pan is a huge sigh of relief. (Once the pan cools, simply wash it with warm soapy water and dry it immediately – or you can deep clean it by boiling water and adding a sprinkle of baking soda to nudge caked-on bits with your spatula.)

It’s truly changed the way we cook and clean, an ideal addition to each and every one of our places. If you’ve given up on cast iron before, we have a feeling this version is actually going to stick (in the good way, of course).

Shop Our Place’s Cast Iron Always Pan here.

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