Guy Smarts This is the last pan you'll ever need to buy

Few things last forever—even fewer are under $20. But there's at least one that I know of: the Lodge cast iron skillet.

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This is the last pan you'll ever need to buy play

This is the last pan you'll ever need to buy

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You can do everything with this cast iron skillet. Here's why our editor loves hers.

Few things last forever—even fewer are under $20. But there's at least one that I know of: the Lodge cast iron skillet.

This 10-inch baby looks like your grandpa’s old frying pan, and is every bit the workhorse.

Mostly it lives on my stovetop, ever ready to fry up perfect over-easy eggs, sear a couple of steaks, or blacken some fish.

For recipes that finish with a roasting, it transitions easily from burner to oven (use mitts!).

It keeps my forearms strong because, damn, is it heavy; it could double as a weapon if need be.

It retains heat exceptionally well, great for searing, browning, and shallow frying. Best of all, nothing sticks to it—as long as you keep it properly seasoned.

Try making these skillet wings for dinner tonight:

Lodge sells the pans “pre-seasoned”—but take the time to season it before first use anyway. Buff it with oil—all over—then bake in a 450-degree oven for 30 minutes; repeat twice. Yes, it’s a pain, but to quote a certain shoe-wear company: Just do it. You’ll thank me later.

Then maintaining the seasoning is easy: Use a paper towel to spread a thin layer of oil on the interior surface of the dry pan (put it over medium-low first to remove all moisture). Then heat until smoking. Boom. Seasoned. I do this after every use (usually).

Unlike chemically treated cookware, cast iron only gets better with age. The more you use it, the better the seasoning becomes.

Cleaning is a cinch, too—just rinse while the pan is still hot. And on the rare occasion when something does stick? I use the scrubby side of a sponge and a little dish soap.

I know, I know—blaspheme! But limit the soap to a few drops, and the precious seasoning will be fine. Just be sure not to scrub too hard (easy to do when you have such strong forearms).

I've had this pan for almost five years now, and I use it more than any other I've owned. The best part? It still looks like new. Which is to say, old—like it’s been passed down through many generations. And one day, I’m hoping it will be. After all, it’s basically indestructible. Grandpa would approve.

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