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tri ply quandry

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be replacing all of my non cast iron cookware soon (it's all cheap and beat up stuff) and I've decided on tri ply stainless steel. All Clad and Viking are out of my price range so I've been considering Calphalon. I've noticed that Trmontina, Cuisinart and Food Network have also come out with tri ply cookware. Does anyone know how they compare in quality and which would be the better buy?
post #2 of 17
I use a fair bit of Tramontina and have been very pleased with their performance and price. Mine is not the tri-ply however, but the bonded disk on the bottom. I would expect the quality would be good though.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 17
I've been using a Tramontina 8" skillet, and so far have found it the equal of any other tri-clad stainless.

Caveat: I've had the skillet less than a year, so cannot speak for it's long-term durability. But I've no reason to suspect any problems.

My gut feeling: Go with the Tramontina. It's affordible and it does the job it's designed to do.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. The issue of cookware is pretty new to me and once I decided on tri ply stainless it got really confusing.
post #5 of 17
If you can live with (or even like) the commercial kitchen looks, you can't get better than Vollrath Tribute 3-Ply. They aren't cheap, but aren't All Clad prices either. They would certainly be my choice if I were buying stainless now. You've got to go through a restaurant supply or Knife Merchant. At least so far, Vollrath seems bilssfully unaware that home cooks might want to use real cookware too. Ace Mart seems to have very good prices. Watch out though, not all Tribute is 3-Ply.

Generally, it's probably most cost effective to buy your core group of cookware as a set -- which lets the Vollrath out because it's not sold that way.

That said, it also works well to buy whatever stainless you need to deal with recipes that have a lot of highly reactive ingredients like tomato and wine and mix up the rest of your pots and pans with aluminum (cheap and responsive), carbon steel (great skillets -- and you NEED a carbon omelette pan), and cast iron. You already seem to have the cast iron pretty well covered, so that's a start.

I'd add a couple of multi-ply stainless skillets or maybe one skillet and one saute (aka chicken fryer) shapes -- 10" and 12"; plus two or three stainless sauce pan shapes in the most common sizes -- including a Windsor or sauteuse shape.

From there, an inexpensive stainless "Pasta Set" with a strainer and steamer insert. Maybe a larger, inexpensive, stainless stock pot (if you need something bigger than the Pasta set comes with -- and that's it on stainless.

Then an 8" carbon skillet (for fried eggs), a 10" carbon skillet for omelettes and general saute use, and a 12" carbon skillet or saute pan/fryer because it's an incredibly useful size for cooking for more than two. If you actually do fry a lot of chicken, a 14" aluminum or preferably plain cast iron chicken fryer would do you proud.

Finally, fill out the sauce pans (if there are any gaps) with inexpensive commercial aluminum -- like Vollrath or Lincoln.

You've already got the enamel over cast braising pieces.

So there you go. Dream set.

Fugly but effective.

BDL
post #6 of 17
With one exception, BDL pretty well covered a basic cookware outfit.

The one I disagree with: I'm a big believer in not buying sets of anything. Not knife sets, and not cookware sets.

There are two reasons I feel this way about cookware. First, it's rare that sets are really useful. Most people who buy or recieve sets wind up never using many of the pieces. If there are, say, 11 pieces in the set, and you only use 5 of them, then it's not cost effective, no matter what you pay.

In addition, most people find that different makes & models of things serve their purposes better. You might like company X's design in skillets. But company Y makes a better saucier for your needs. And company Z has a great pot design.

So, all in all, it's really better to buy individual pieces.

The only downside is that some company's products that you might like are not available in open stock.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm good on cast iron, 4 of which were my grandmothers. Unfortunately my mother kept them in the basement for years and I have a big job ahead getting them back in shape. Those are Griswold. The surface crud and rust is extensive, but it's all surface and none goes below that. I'm having the guy at the body shop sandblast them when he does the next batch of small parts and I'll reseason them from scratch.
If I bought the Food Network tri ply I'd get the 10 piece set simply because I'd use all of the pans in the set, otherwise I'd be more inclined to buy from open stock. I haven't been able to lay hands on the Tramontina tri ply so I'm unsure of the quality. I really appreciate all the advice and comments, it's making the subject much clearer.
post #8 of 17
Went to Sam's club yesterday to look at the Cuisinart they are carrying. IMO worth the money and will last. I like the external sandwich bottom. Mostly cause I have an electric stove top at home and the sandwich bottom makes them act like they are on a gas stove.

That said I have a 14 year old set of Calphalon, but they are the older external sandwich stainless type. (The original Simply Calphalon.) I also have some of the newer simply Calphalon pieces which are not as even in their heating. I see they now offer the classic Calphalon with the external sandwich again... no experience with it. But I assume from the look it is the original back... which I would buy.

Last I looked a Classic external sandwich Kitchen Aid. It too will do the job.

One word of caution.... test your hand on the handles... take dried beans with you and toss them around in the pans. IMO the handle is the single item that will allow you to make the correct choice for your hand size.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #9 of 17
This is so important. Be certain that whatever pans you decide on will be ergonomically suited to you. If they are difficult to handle...poorly balanced, awkward to hold, too heavy with food in...no amount of looks or prestige can make up for it.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #10 of 17
I don't think handle is that important. You don't spend much time with the handle really. Cast iron skillet handles are about the right size most times.

The main useful thing in handles is stay cool design, but even that isn't that important once you learn that all handles get hot and you need a hot pad or towel period.

Handles should do the job and be as unobtrusive into other space as reasonable. Too many LONG handles out there that hang off edges or conflict with other pans or things to the side of the cooktop.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #11 of 17
I must have been unclear. While sets are a cost effective way of getting a few pieces (and lids!), I agree with every word KY said.

Let me add this to my previous post:

It's very easy to put way too much emphasis on equipment brand names, materials, prices and so on. It's certainly not worth making yourself miserable trying to find the "best." There are LOT of good choices which do pretty much the same thing in the same way. Sometimes those of us who know a little more than is good for us, have way too much fun grinding fine. Don't let it confuse you.

If you hate the way it looks or feels -- don't buy it no matter what anyone says (you already know this). If it seem to suit and hasn't been thoroughly and universally dissed -- give it a whirl.

At the end of the day stainless is along the way of a necessary evil. It's very non-reactive and it or something like it belongs in every collection. But otherwise isn't a particularly good performer. There are better and cheaper choices for almost every task.

BDL
post #12 of 17
Bubba-

I've made this suggestion before, about rusted/crusted cast iron - look up a sandblasting company in the Yellow Pages and ask if they also do "bead blasting". You do NOT want your pans sandblasted; the sand will erode the surface and leave it uncleanable.

Bead blasting, on the other hand, uses tiny glass spheres which actually smooth and polish the surface after they have knocked the corrosion/crud off the pot.

Some of the ads in my Yellow Pages offer "antiques cleaning" and also "soda blasting" that I'm not familiar with. I've done a lot an sandblasting and bead blasting - even built my own bead blast cabinet - and it's a great way to clean delicate things.

That should be fast, thorough, and pretty cheap, since it only takes a couple of minutes for something the size of a skillet.

On the other hand, we refinished a 13,000 square foot steel building by lightly sandblasting before painting, and it took 13 tons of sharp sand to do the job. Different scale.

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Mike, I suppose this is what they'll do since much of the blasting they do is on aluminum. They blast castings for K-C on a regular basis some of which are fairly small and light weight for use in the labs. He'll just add my pans to the next batch for the small blaster. Thanks for the comment and info.
post #14 of 17
Been using the Calphalon Tri-ply for almost 5 years now. Great stuff for the price. Not a thing I could say bad about it. No broken lids, no warps, cracks or discoloring. I can also say that it's one of the best investments for the kitchen we've made. Bought the set and added a couple "extra" pieces. Still a couple I'd like to get but not in any hurry.

The post always clean up easily, heat very evenly so I've never scorched a bottom and they do well for a nice low simmer as well. Mentioned this a couple times in other similar posts.....
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ok, the resolution is I bought a 12 piece set of Cuisinart Multiclad Pro. I haven't used it much yet since I just got it but I had no problem with fried eggs and making gravy was much faster and easier than my old stuff, which I threw out. Thanks much for all the input, I appreciate it.
post #16 of 17
Bubba-

How did the Griswold pots turn out?

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Mike, the Griswold pans came out great, smooth and clean. I've got them reseasoned and fully functional. The guys at the body shop did a great job on blasting.
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