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Aluminum/Carbon Cookware

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I am looking in to getting a few aluminum and carbon steel restaurant supply style pans either from a local supply store, or FSW/Webstaurant. After poking through many of these forums i have noticed there have been a lot of name dropping of brands that do things well and then those who live and die by another brand and feel like it is necessary to battle it out. I am more curious of the gap in quality between the lowest of the low, for example sake say a standard 10" fry pan. There are aluminum ones ranging from $8 at the low end and $20-40 for the name-ier brand type pans, and similar prices for carbon pans. Is there a noticeable quality difference? Is an $8 pan going to need to be proportionally replaced 4 times to equal the top shelf $40?


*Note this is not meant to be the main set of the house, more the travel/on the go pan set


Eat well.


post #2 of 4
Neither would be my pick for a traveling set. They're both reactive metals which limits their versatility, which is what you need to maximize in a traveling set.

Clad tri-ply would be my pick. Walmart carries a nice Tramontina 12" fully clad skillet for about $40.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
As per reactive materials. This another topic often ferreted about in these forums. I am to understand that foods with a "high acid content" will react with said cook ware. Is this to say a certain amount of acid will not affect foods. Also is this a function of cook time? Or is it instantaneous. Would cooking marinated meat (given that the marinade is acidic) quickly still have noticeable effect? Or a cooking/braising liquid diluting vinegar with soy and water? Also seasoning cast iron and carbon is a must. Can you season aluminum?)

thanks again!
good eating
post #4 of 4
Sorry I never got back to you on this.

Short reductions or quick sauces with wine/tomatoes of less than ten minutes are often considered OK in carbon steel and cast iron. Consider the traditional wok and the wine used in cooking and sauces for Chinese food. Very short cooking times and it works. And I've cooked lasagna in a cast iron dutch oven when camping.

But in my view of things. it has to do with the level of seasoning the pan has as well or you start picking up metallic flavors and you can get color changes as well.

I don't like tomatoes that were cooked in uncoated aluminum for any amount of time. I think they develop an off-taste quickly as well as a color change. A teflon pan or anodized, then aluminum is fine.
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