Cast iron has been the gold standard of long-lasting cookware and stainless steel is known as the kitchen workhorse. But across the pond in France, a hybrid of both has taken hold in kitchens, and direct-to-consumer cookware brand Made In is here to change our western cooking sensibilities. Enter: Carbon Steel.
When it comes to the advantage of using carbon steel over cast iron or stainless steel, the answer is simple according to the acclaimed chef, restauranteur, and host of Top Chef Tom Colicchio, who is on the Advisory Board of Made In. “Carbon steel has the heat retention properties of cast iron without the weight of the other two,” Colicchio says. As someone who had to carry home their own Carbon Steel Skillet after being given one to test out, I can attest that it’s surprisingly lightweight for a piece of cookware.
Made In makes cooking with an unfamiliar material like carbon steel easy. Included in each package is a simple how-to to get you started and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your new cookware. The biggest thing you’ll need to do is season it. Made In's carbon steel, like some cast iron pans too, doesn’t come pre-seasoned because it allows you as the cook to customize and season whichever makes the most sense for you. There are even step-by-step instructions available to teach you their method using your oven and a little bit of patience.
Cast iron has its own set of rules when it comes to taking care of it, as does carbon steel. carbon steel can take a little elbow grease if you have some stuck-on gunk. “In most cases, you can scrub them out with a light steel wool,” Colicchio says. But he warned, “Absolutely do not put them away wet as they will rust (but if they do, a little steel wool will take it right out).”
The Made In skillet is an amazing starting point for carbon steel as it has the traditional skillet shape you know and are used to. It comes in the classic 10” or 12” style. But if you’re feeling adventurous, the newest member of the carbon steel family is the $99 wok. Made for rapid movement and high heat, you’ll impress your friends and family with your stir fry skills in the kitchen with this wok that’s made to perfectly fit on your stovetop.
If you’ve been wanting to break out of your reliance on the typical cast iron and stainless steel cookware that’s making you yawn, give the blue-tinted carbon steel Made In skillet a try.
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