|The Borough Furnace cast iron lineup: skillet and braising pan (photo used by permission)|
People often ask me what brand of cast iron cookware they should buy. I counsel them to stick with cookware made in the United States for bare cast iron, and cookware made in Europe for enameled cast iron.
These days, finding anything that's manufactured in the United States is pretty tough. This is especially true for things that are simple, cheap, and mass-produced (like cookware). A near as I can tell, Lodge is the only company that still makes their bare cast iron cookware here in the States.
So when my friend Jake sent me a link the other day about the fellows at Borough Furnace, I was intrigued. These guys are looking to make new-fangled cast iron cookware using recycled iron, a solar-powered blast furnace, and United States manufacturing facilities. What a concept!
Of course, these noble ideals will only matter if the company manages to stay in business. And the key to staying in business will be the in-kitchen performance of their cookware.
I have not yet had the opportunity to cook with Borough Furnace cookware. But I noticed some things right off the bat that made me think these guys are onto something.
|The 9 1/2-inch Frying Skillet (photo used by permission)|
The handles are designed to stay cool. The open-triangle design where the handle meets the skillet is designed to stay cool during stovetop cooking. Same with the oversized loop-like handles on the braising pan. A hot handle is another complaint I hear often with traditional cast iron skillets—which usually have very short handles. I'm ever so slightly worried that the handles might break off a few generations down the line, but no doubt they'd still last longer than any Teflon-ware.
|The Braising pan with two stay-cool handles|
(photo used by permission)
The cookware comes pre-seasoned. I've developed a small love affair with cleaning, restoring, and seasoning cast iron cookware. But most people have trouble getting over the fact that they can't put it in the dishwasher. When the major manufacturers began pre-seasoning cast iron cookware, it made a lot of people think they could try cooking with cast iron. The Borough Foundry boys have been experimenting with flaxseed oil and lard for their pre-seasoning. I'm a fan of buffalo fat myself, but that might be a bit impractical. Also, I would expect that the lack of a vegetarian pre-seasoning could dampen sales among the expected target audience. Flax seed oil has a relatively low smoke point, so I might suggest using avocado oil, grapeseed oil, extra light olive oil, or even just canola oil. In any case, I think it would be a nice differentiator to use organic oil (I've always wondered what, exactly, Lodge uses to pre-season their pans).
The Borough Furnace guys are looking to raise $25,000 in initial funding for their start up. They've already raised more than $15,000. The deadline is Friday, July 8th. Check out their Kickstarter campaign to learn more and make a contribution. Thank you gifts include cast iron bottle openers, trivets, skillets, braising pans, and an invite to a barbecue hoe-down in upstate New York.
Good luck guys!