What Is Stargazer?
Born in founder Peter Huntley’s storage in Allentown, PA—ancestral residence of American metal manufacturing—Stargazer cast-iron cookware is a direct-to-consumer suite of skillets that’s doubled manufacturing yearly since its 2016 Kickstarter marketing campaign.
Earlier than falling down the cast-iron rabbit gap within the early 2010s, Huntley was a graphic artist for a housewares firm specializing in licensed items. (When you purchased a Mickey Mouse or Batman mug for
your self your little one, there’s a superb likelihood he was the person who designed the decal and oversaw its manufacturing.) “I turned obsessive about gathering and restoring classic cast-iron,” says 34-year-old Huntley, who was motivated by the prevailing grievance in on-line cast-iron neighborhood boards: They don’t make ‘em like they used to. He questioned, what if he may?
Why We Like It
Although a lot of it may be chalked as much as mythmaking, cast-iron cookware will get an outsized quantity of consideration for its persnickety nature and care routine: Don’t use cleaning soap! Don’t get it moist! As in the event that they’re Gremlins as an alternative of pans. Huntley had his personal apprehension about shopping for his first skillet again within the day: “I hadn’t gotten into cast-iron sooner as a result of it sounded prefer it was so onerous to take care of, with all these particular guidelines.” So when he determined to develop the Stargazer skillet, he hedged his bets towards the medium’s fussy repute by dialing within the perfect nonstick end.
“The floor end is the gateway drug,” he says. Nearly all of cast-iron cookware is solid in pressurized sand, which leaves behind a tough stippled floor. “That’s the primary distinction between classic and [contemporary] finances items. The whole lot pre-Fifties was grinded easy after casting,” an additional step jettisoned by large-scale producers as a cost-cutting measure. Huntley added it again. After being solid in Wisconsin, the skillets get a two-step sprucing remedy, first by machine in Ohio, then by hand at headquarters in Allentown, the place they’re additionally seasoned with non-GMO grapeseed, canola, and sunflower oils. The mix offers the Stargazer its distinct coppery glow.
The ending course of optimizes meals launch. Whereas testing, I charred broccoli within the Stargazer, pan-roasted rooster thighs with grapes, baked cornbread, even seared swordfish steaks—a idiot’s errand even in one of the best seasoned of cast-iron skillets—and every merchandise disconnected from the skillet with out sticking. This additionally made cleansing extremely straightforward. Whereas typical knowledge recommends solely wiping out a cast-iron skillet with a paper towel, I usually need to briefly soak my pans from Lodge, one of many largest legacy producers in the USA, and the model I’ve at all times default recommended up to now, in sizzling soapy water, then scrub, wash, and absolutely dry them to protect towards rust. To be clear, there’s nothing fallacious with cleansing cast-iron this fashion, however when testing the Stargazer, a paper towel was actually all that was required.
Different advantages to the Stargazer embrace a protracted convex deal with that stays cool to the contact; a helper deal with if you require a two-handed carry; and the tall flared sides that retains splatter within the skillet and off of the stovetop. Stargazer can also be one of many few producers promoting its pans in a naked possibility. In response to Huntley, it solely accounts for 10 p.c of gross sales, “however some folks within the cast-iron neighborhood have their tried-and-true methodology that their grandmother used,” and who’s going to argue with grandma?
Lodge will promote you a 10.5-inch cast-iron skillet for round $20, whereas the Stargazer of the identical measurement prices $115, together with transport, as a result of further ending labor and all-American provide chain. The value level may very well be one thing to nitpick, however if you have a look at apples-to-apples retro-inspired competitors like Smithey Ironware, Borough Furnace, and Finex, Stargazer is essentially the most inexpensive possibility of the group. When you’re out there to improve your cast-iron arsenal, Stargazer is one solution to do it.
[10.5-inch skillet, $115 and 12-inch skillet, $145; stargazercastiron.com]
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