Amazing cast iron skillet for a steep price
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Stargazer 10.5 inch Cast Iron Skillet
The Stargazer cast iron skillet is a premium piece of cookware thoughtfully designed and produced to an extremely high standard. The entire design and manufacturing process takes place in the USA and is environmentally friendly.
Cooking with the pan is wonderful as long as you take good care to season your skillet and commit to properly maintaining it for the foreseeable future. You’ll also need to be prepared to spend a lot of money as this high-quality piece of cookware comes with a considerable price tag.
Stargazer is a relatively new company in the cookware business. Established in 2015 by Peter Huntley, Stargazer’s mission is to produce high-end cast iron pans for an affordable price point (more on that later) and sell them directly to their customers. Thus, cutting out the middleman, reducing the retail price, and forming a genuine connection with consumers in the process.
Peter first began manufacturing Stargazer cast iron skillets in his garage. Though, as word got out about just how good his products are, he found he needed to upscale the manufacturing process and eventually moved the operation to factories spanning three US states.
The skillets begin life as base metal where it is refined and cast at their foundry in Wisconsin before moving on to the machine shop in Ohio and ending their journey in Pennsylvania, where they are finished and prepared for dispatch.
Using recyclable materials to help reduce their carbon footprint, Stargazer is committed to producing a product that isn’t just environmentally friendly, but skillets that will last a lifetime and are made entirely in the USA.
Let’s check out Stargazer 10.5-Inch Cast Iron Skillet.
- Cookware Genre: Cast Iron Skillet
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 19.4 x 3.3 inches
- Cooking Surface: 8.1 inches
- Appliance Weight: 5.2lbs
- Capacity: 2.3 Quarts
- Material: Cast Iron
- Finish: Seasoned – Bare
- Ergonomic Stay-Cool Handle
- Large Helper-Handle
- Drip-Free Rim
- Ethically Produced
- ‘Infinite Warranty’
- It’s Relatively Expensive
- Wide Handle May Be Too Large for Small Hands
- Helper Handle Gets Hot
Design & Construction
Many mass-produced products lack soul and ingenuity because they’ve been produced to be widely available at a more affordable price point. Their existence is entirely built around profits.
Frustrated with the enormous decline of the quality of cookware around the world, Peter Huntley decided to challenge the status quo to design and produce his own line of pans using his background in kitchenware design.
His passion for quality cookware is apparent in the 10.5-inch cast iron skillet that has been skillfully designed, machined, and finished to an extremely high quality. Each part of the pan has had a great deal of thought, and science poured into it.
Ignoring the quality for a second, this skillet is just wonderful to look at and very pleasing to the eye. Both the ‘bare’ and ‘seasoned’ versions of this pan have a distinctive look that sets them aside from other brands.
Even the underside of the skillet looks spectacular with the company name, logo, and size of the pan which has been cast into the base, while the Stargazer star discreetly makes an appearance on the helper-handle.
Sustainability is a hot topic at this period in human history, and Stargazer are trying to play their part in making the world a better place. They source their metals domestically and use mostly recycled metals, to build a product that, with care and attention, can last a life-time and thus reducing the need for mass-produced cookware and other such disposable products.
Stargazer even take into consideration the thickness of the cast iron skillets to find the perfect blend between weight (for ease of use and control) and thickness (for heat retention).
The Stargazer cast iron skillet is a work of art.
Born in the USA
If ever there was a company and product that could wear the “Made in the USA” mark with pride, it’s Stargazer.
Their skillets are designed by Peter Huntley and his team in America, the recyclable materials used to produce the pans are all sourced from US companies. The manufacturing process takes place across three factories in three different states. Stargazer even proudly claims that the packaging they use is sourced from a local company around the corner from their Pennsylvania property.
Stargazer also offers a 15% discount to all US military veterans as a thank you for their service, and they also support a whole host of domestic charities, which include protecting the environment and helping vulnerable children throughout the USA.
- Skillet Options: While we’re primarily talking about the 10.5-inch skillet, there is a more substantial 12-inch version for larger meals or families. You can also choose between ‘seasoned’ and ‘bare’ products. The seasoned pans are ready to use out of the box (though they do require frequent seasoning as per Stargazer’s instructions), while the bare pans leave you to your own devices and allow you to season the skillet the way you want to.
- ‘Stay-Cool’ Ergonomic Handle: The handle on this skillet has been designed with two purposes in mind: safety, and comfort. The triangular hole where the handle meets the skillet helps redirect heat away from the handle and back into the pan so that you can hold the skillet without a glove. The ergonomic shape has a groove for your thumb to help you with pan-control. However, though Stargazer has given specific thought to the ergonomic shape of the handle and where fingers and thumbs are positioned when holding the product, they neglected to consider different hand sizes. As a result, this skillet is quite challenging to hold for someone with smaller hands, especially if the pan is full.
- Drip-Free Flared Rim: Stargazer forewent a traditional pour-spout on this skillet, instead opting for their own purposefully designed rim that allows you to pour the contents of the pan from any direction without spilling any food.
- Helper-Handle: A large helper-handle gives you more control of your skillet, and the wide opening prevents you from burning your knuckles. That said, the handle gets really hot after prolonged exposure to heat making it almost impossible to hold with your bare hand, so you’ll need to use an oven mitt.
- Infinite Warranty: So confident are Stargazer in their products that they offer an ‘infinite warranty’ with no expiration. However, as all warranties are, this warranty is exempt from all damage caused by improper use.
Cooking & Cleaning
Once fully seasoned (full instructions on seasoning are supplied with the skillet, or you can read them on their website), the Stargazer cast iron skillet will have a silky smooth, natural non-stick coating. The coating, which can be improved upon and maintained with due care and attention, is entirely safe and is so good that you’ll be chasing fried eggs around the pan with your fish slice.
You can continually season your cast iron skillet with your preferred ingredients if you wish, though Stargazer’s recommended seasoning method is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
While there is a precise process for cleaning the Stargazer cast iron skillet (you can find recommendations in the accompanying literature or on the website), it should still be straightforward to clean if you’ve looked after your pan. The pan is made from iron, which is incredibly difficult to damage; however, you don’t want to put yourself back to square one in the seasoning process by over-enthusiastic cleaning.
Appropriately maintained, this pan is a joy to use and will cook delicious meals, not just for your lifetime, but for generations to come.
Should you buy the Stargazer Cast Iron Skillet?
The quality of the Stargazer cast iron skillet is undeniable. It has been crafted with love and is beautifully designed. It’s not only an investment for you, but for your children and your children’s children (should you have any).
But therein lies the rub. Investments are always expensive at the outlay. They cost a lot upfront to save you money over time. You would easily spend more on multiple cheaper pans throughout your life than you would on this single piece of cookware, but if you don’t have the budget to spend it all at once, this skillet might be too expensive for you.
It is possible to buy cast iron cookware for a fraction of the cost, without a huge drop off in performance, so it’s difficult to recommend purchasing the Stargazer cast iron skillet on price point alone.
But if you care about supporting local businesses, if being environmentally friendly is something you’re passionate about, and you can afford the huge initial outlay for just one pan, the Stargazer skillet is absolutely worth considering for cooking enthusiasts and people who love traditional methods.
The Stargazer cast iron skillet also makes a superb gift for someone looking to replace old cast iron cookware that they’ve been using for decades and might be a little worse for wear.