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Cast Iron or stainless? Answered

Next weekend, I'll be going on a campout with my boy scout troop. (Nothing new to me). As every year, we will be having a mock  "Iron Chef" competition. A charcoal pit will be provided for the cooking, as will some cast iron dutch-ovens. I would like to bring my own fry pan however. I am debating whether to bring a stainless or cast iron. I have both, and am fairly well able to cook with both. (besides my horrible cooking skills.) However, I'd like to see some suggestions, and here some viewpoints on the matter. I am not certain if we will be allowed the use of our propane stoves or not.



6 years ago

My thanks to Burf and CatTrampoline. I wish I could give you both the "Best Answer", but since Burf answered first, I feel it's fair to select his answer as the best.


Best Answer 6 years ago

I'm a cast iron man, particularly when camping. A properly cast iron pan heats evenly across the bottom even over an inconsistent heat source like a campfire. And the residual heat in the pan is great for scrambled or fried eggs and frying pan toast. They are also easy to clean, again when properly seasoned, and they do one heck of a job at flattening aluminum cans so you can carry them out when you leave.

Thanks for the suggestion, I was leaning that direction. I just bought a used pan at a yard sale, and just this evening finished restoring it to a usable piece of cookware.

Yeah, I have bought every kind of cast iron cookware I find at garage sales, auctions, thrift stores, etc. We have tortilla griddles, muffin pans, a teapot and a 24" diameter, 5" deep skillet and a full range of sizes of other skillets. Unless they are cracked or rusted through, they're practically indestructible.

That is one thing I would certainly like to find (used). A tea kettle. I don't like to buy new cast iron, especially because some of it gets to be so expensive. Buying used is much cheaper, and you get the fun of restoring it. The one I just got had all of the black patina flaking off, and some shallow rust spots forming. 20 minutes with a dremel and a brass brush fixed that problem though. Now it's been thrice seasoned and I'm eager to check out how it performs.

I'm with Burf. He's absolutely right about needing a heavy pan for an inconsistent heat source. I use both stainless & non-stick on the home stove but with camping, cast iron is the only way to go. Even if it gets rusty from being caught in a downpour (or left in the backyard for 2 weeks) it can be scoured & re-seasoned. Bring a roll of aluminum foil too (if allowed in the competition). It is fantastic for wrapping anything you want to heat or cook on/over coals.

Thanks, I was as I said to Burf, leaning that way. I do believe we will be given foil. Using it as a lid is what my mother does at home. I only can wish I had inherited her cooking abilities. I do want to use my recently restored piece. (i'm proud of my little 7" skillet."

Bring both. Stainless has its purposes as does cast. Temp can be moderated, especially if charcoal is being used.

I am rather limited on pack space, so that isn't much of an option.