We weigh the merits of three cast iron pans.

Cast Iron 101

Lodge Logic 12-Inch, $50It’s hard to improve upon this cowboy classic: it’s inexpensive, hearty and, with care, it will outlive you. Always cheapest when bought at a hardware store. homedepot.ca

Cast Iron 201

Cuisinart 5-Quart Stir Fry, $120This has little of the Lodge’s ruggedness but is noticeably lighter and prettier. It’s coated with a perfect non-stick coating, so there’s no seasoning needed (but once that coating is gone, so is the non-stick). thebay.com

Cast Iron 301

Le Creuset Square Skillet Grill, $230Pieces by Le Creuset (and its français doppelgänger, Staub) are beautiful to look at, perform wonderfully and become heirlooms to hand down. This skillet holds high heat for the perfect sear on your next steak. lecreuset.ca

READ MORE4 Amazing Dishes to Cook in Your Cast Iron Pan

Chef’s Pick

“My favourite pan is the oval skillet from Le Creuset. It’s oversized to fit larger pieces of meat or fish and it fits perfectly in our wood-burning oven. The best thing about cast iron pans is that the more you use them, the better they perform. For me, that perfect sear and nicely caramelized vegetable comes from a well-season cast iron pan.” —Blair Lebsack, RGE RD, Edmonton

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