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Why carbon steel pans are what the pros use

A high-performing material that is perfect for serious cooks

When it comes to versatility, durability, and functionality, carbon steel pans are truly unmatched. Our choice for the best carbon steel pan is Alex Pole’s carbon steel cookware because of its fine aesthetics and usability. Made using both modern and traditional blacksmithing techniques, Alex’s work reflects his passion as a craftsman. His frying pans nail all of carbon steel’s strengths: quicker heating, lighter weight, great heat retention, foolproof non-stick qualities and a perfect sear on everything from skin-on red snapper to poultry and vegetables. Furthermore, the pans are brutally tough, and therefore, an ideal choice for decades of cooking.

If you do not want a short-lived and potentially harmful non-stick pan, a carbon steel version can be a healthier and more long-term alternative. Carbon steel is a favourite amongst professional chefs and in commercial restaurants for good reasons. Carbon steel is great because it combines the best properties of stainless steel, cast iron and non-stick. With the lightweight, heat control, and cooking speed of stainless steel and cast iron’s heat retention, seasoning, and healthy to use, and with fool-proof non-stick capabilities, it is the most underrated safe cooking material more home cooks need to take advantage of.

Carbon steel pans cook eggs like a dream, make amazing grilled cheeses, sear steaks to perfection, and are safe for all stovetops, including induction.

Overall, sleek carbon steel pans are made for consistent kitchen performance. There is every reason why carbon steel cookware should make its way into your kitchen.

collage carbon steel-pans

By combining the best properties of stainless steel and cast iron, nothing produces professional results like carbon steel pans

It has all the great qualities of cast iron – a natural non-stick quality through seasoning, excellent heat retention and the ability to handle even scorching temperatures – and stainless steel – lightweight, smooth surface and heats up quickly and evenly. It is also designed to be exposed to extremely high temperatures without warping or leeching any components into your food.

There is no doubt that carbon steel cookware is the king when it comes to versatility since most pans are up for any task. They can be used for braising, searing/browning, sautéing, stir-frying and high-heat cooking (for instance with a wok) – basically everything (except cooking dishes with acidic ingredients, as that can strip some of the seasoning). Super high heat retention (meaning they stay hot when they get hot) makes carbon steel especially great for getting the deepest, richest sear on a steak or that extra crispy skin on fried chicken. Because it is naturally non-stick once seasoned, carbon steel is also excellent for delicate foods like fish and eggs with no fear of sticking.

Like cast iron, carbon steel does take a little maintenance, but you will be rewarded with a smooth, non-stick surface and more flavourful food as the seasoning develops. The more you use your pan, the better it gets as the oil continues to bond and creates a natural non-stick surface without chemicals.

We think that carbon steel pans are likely the most effective cookware ever created, and our family has happily opted for just carbon steel in our home arsenal instead of the standard non-stick pans. Carbon steel pans are also a healthy choice: no coating chemicals and materials rub off from it into the food, unlike in the Teflon pans.

Outstanding performance and design excellence

We love everything about the carbon steel pans from Alex Pole Ironwork – they are not just beautiful to behold, but everything about them is top quality.

Handcrafted and artisanal qualities are very much at the forefront of this carbon steel cookware range. Built of lightweight, conductive, and durable carbon steel and designed with great attention, the range has a certain boutique cachet.

Handcrafted carbon steel pans

Apart from bringing joy to our passion for cooking, Alex Pole’s carbon steel pans are the workhorses in our kitchen. We have never used frying pans before that cook so beautifully, and the food tastes significantly better than when done in a standard, not-so-healthy non-stick pan. This versatile piece of cookware is used for everything from high-heat searing to more delicate tasks like creating egg dishes.

As with all high-iron cookware, the more the pan is used, the better it cooks. And this is achieved with a completely natural process – no synthetic coatings are used. The carbon steel quickly forms a beautiful black patina that is seriously non-stick.

Handcrafted with reference to past and present

Beautifully crafted and perfectly balanced, the carbon steel frying pans are made by hand in Alex Pole’s workshop in Somerset (UK). The pans are sturdy, well-sized and shaped, and they perform perfectly –  in other words, they are all you need. You can cook everything from a beautiful brown sear on a steak to a light, fluffy scrambled egg.

Hand-forged by Alex Pole and his small team of skilled blacksmiths, each carbon steel frying pan features exquisite craftsmanship that combines artistic aesthetics with high-performance capabilities.

Traditional craftmanship

Handcrafted in the fires of the forge, these carbon steel pans cook like a dream. Made from hand-spun carbon steel with forged handles and copper rivets, the frying pans come in various sizes: 15cm, 20cm and 27.5cm. The pans’ depths are between four and five centimetres.

The frying pans can be used on a variety of cooking surfaces including gas, electric and induction. You can even use them in the oven and on an open fire.

The carbon steel frying pans from Alex Pole Ironwork are pre-seasoned with rapeseed oil and baked to 345oC to give a sealed finish. This means that the pans are ready to be used straight away. The spinning process makes the pans very smooth, and naturally non-stick, but they need regular re-seasoning to keep them performing their best.

The pans are individually handcrafted. There may be natural marks that occur during the making process – these in no way affect the pans’ beauty and function. The frying pans are made to last and are often passed down as an heirloom.

Rooted in the tradition of exquisite craftsmanship

Alex Pole Ironwork was established in 2006 and now specialises in hand-forged kitchenware and utensils. Only traditional techniques are used at the forge. All work is forged by hand and, wherever possible, materials are sourced from the local area. The pieces are crafted with function and purpose in mind, as well as thoughtful design.

Each pan starts its journey as a simple bar of steel. The blacksmiths take the steel to the correct temperature in the forge. They place it on the anvil and continue to shape (strike) the piece with precise and rhythmic blows until the metal has cooled and then return it to the fire for more heat.

A blacksmith can spend many hours at a time, or even days and weeks, repeatedly heating and striking until the desired shape is reached.

Collage of three carbon steel pans with different content

The beauty lies in its modern functionality and timeless design which elevates Alex Pole’s carbon steel pans from everyday cookware to a handmade, functional, work of art

If you have often felt tempted to throw out all the old, cracked, or otherwise lacklustre frying pans in your kitchen cabinets, now is your moment.

Carbon steel cookware is a perfect mix of performance, versatility, and longevity, with fool-proof non-stick capabilities that can usually be found in Teflon cookware.

If you want the absolute best carbon steel pan, you cannot go wrong with one from Alex Pole Ironwork. Stunning and lightweight but a heavy hitter when it comes to how it performs.

Hand-spun from carbon steel in small batches, frying pans by Alex Pole Ironworks are fitted with hand-hammered, work-hardened copper rivets, and come in three versatile sizes. For exceptional heat distribution, durability, and great taste, the cookware is as good-looking as it is practical for any and every cooking application.

Once you start using carbon steel pans, there is no going back.

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