There has recently been a resurgence in the use of carbon steel cookware. For various practical and health reasons. Many restaurants and homes are moving away from traditional stainless and aluminium non-stick pots and pans. There are various advantages and disadvantages in using carbon steel cookware, which we will look at here.
Durability. Much tougher than its aluminium or stainless steel counterparts.
Quick response to temperature changes. Heats up and cools down much faster than stainless steel or aluminium.
Affordability. Generally easier to manufacture and work, meaning it can be produced for less money.
Multipurpose. Due to its physical characteristics of being extremely hard as well as resistant to high temperatures, carbon steel products are safe to use on stovetops, barbecues, grills, open fire cooking and in ovens.
Non-stick. If properly seasoned, carbon steel can be given "non-stick" characteristics similar to Teflon coatings or stainless steel.
Food safe. Carbon steel is comprised of iron and carbon so no harm will ensue if consumed. In juxtaposition to this, there are many health concerns associated with exposure to Teflon coated and aluminium cookware.
Requires regular seasoning to prevent food sticking. Carbon steel cookware definitely requires some maintenance compared with its stainless steel and aluminium counterparts.
Reactive to overly acidic or alkaline foods. Cooking these types of foods can remove the pot's seasoning layer which can result in the development of rust and a metallic taste which many will consider unpleasant.
One piece design. Generally, carbon steel pots and pans have handles attached closely to the body. This causes the handles to become extremely hot when in use. Extra caution is advised when handling and using carbon steel cookware and using an oven glove or similar is mandatory.
Uneven surface heating. Although carbon steel heats up faster, heat distribution can be relatively "patchy". This is not ideal for cooking certain foods where even distribution of heat is an advantage.
You may want to read our article - How to Correctly Season a Carbon Steel Pot or Pan.
If you are interested in swapping to carbon steel cookware, be sure to check out our range here - Carbon Steel Cookware.