I made my two favorite cast iron skillets fight. Guess who won.
The Lodge Blacklock v. the Stargazer 10.5
Before I took this job, I cooked almost everything I ate in the same Lodge 10.25 inch cast iron skillet that I had purchased at the University District Goodwill in Seattle, WA back in 2011. I had been a young, rambunctious lad at the time, and thought there was no finer thing in life than a home-cooked pile of steak and eggs, slid lovingly from the black iron directly onto my plate. I was right, but I also greatly underestimated how much better skillets could get.
Back in November, I reviewed the Stargazer 10.5 inch skillet, a piece of cookware that replaced my Lodge and hasn’t left my stove-top since (except for on the occasions when I use it to cook something in the oven, or... like if I wash it). Since writing that piece, the pan has lost its gold color and shifted almost entirely into the matte-black you find on pre-seasoned Lodge skillets, but the interior surface hasn’t lost its ice-sheet smoothness. I thought it’d be my pan for life, or at least until the end of the year, and in these perilous times, I clung to that kernel of certainty as Leonardo DiCaprio clung to that floating door in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But then the Lodge Blacklock 10.25 skillet showed up, and it's pretty neat, so now I’m back to living in abject terror all the time.
Lodge Blacklock Triple Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet - williams-sonoma.com99.95Shop Now
Launched in 2019, “Blacklock” is Lodge’s line of high-end cookware named after the original Blacklock foundry purchased by founder Joseph Lodge in 1896. The line promises to be more resilient, lighter, ergonomic, and extra non-stick thanks to its triple-seasoning. Even though at $60 the Lodge is half the price of my Stargazer (which retails for $115), the Blacklock website promises “the ultimate in culinary excellence,” so I figured, what the hay, let’s see what happens if this thing boxes outside its weight class.
My methods are simple: since I’d already been using the Stargazer for pretty much every meal for the past five months, I simply swapped it out for the Blacklock for a couple of weeks. I cooked everything in this sucker: fried eggs, bacon, toasted bagels, grilled cheese sandwiches, and even a dutch baby.
In other words, this week has been hell on my arteries and probably hacked an entire decade off my lifespan, so please share this article so it’s all worth it. I’m begging you.
So which pan came out on top? Let’s go through category by category.
When Peter Huntley, CEO of Stargazer, explained that the Stargazer was lighter than Lodge, I honestly didn’t really care. The weight of the cast iron pan has never been an issue for me, both because I don’t do much cooking that requires me to flip anything, and also because I am astoundingly strong. The negligible difference between my Stargazer (5.2 lbs for a 10.5-inch skillet with a large handle) and my original Lodge (5 lbs even for a 10.25-inch skillet) meant that I basically discounted it as a factor.
But the Blacklock 10.25 inch skillet weighs an impressive 3 lb. 14 oz., making it noticeably easier to move around the stovetop. I was even able to stick it up in my cabinet without straining or worrying I was going to put a dent in anything. It sacrifices the pan’s utility as a self-defense weapon in case your kitchen is invaded, but it’s awfully convenient.
So if you lack the hulk-like upper body of a chiseled demi-god and are looking for a cast iron pan that has that “Lodge” quality but is lighter and easier to move around, The Blacklock is well worth your consideration.
I’ve never really trusted “pre-seasoned” cookware. Every Lodge I’ve purchased has been a bit sticky fresh out the box, and my Stargazer, which comes with a lighter pre-seasoning than most pans, needed some intimate time with a box of bacon before it achieved true non-stick status I’ve since replaced that pre-seasoned Stargazer with an unseasoned pan that I seasoned myself, and currently consider that to be the most stick-resistant pan I’ve ever owned.
But there seems to be something different about the triple-seasoning on this Blacklock, because I was able to easily scramble eggs in it on the very first try. It’s definitely the best pre-seasoning I’ve encountered, but the catch is that it didn’t seem to get better over time. My Stargazer, with it’s a hand-polished flat surface, defies the stickiness of any food, and my sunnyside-up eggs slide around its interior like drunk college kids sledding in the quad.
10.5-Inch Skillet - stargazercastiron.com115.00Shop Now
The Blacklock skillet deviates from the normal Lodge design by featuring more beveled, slightly raised grips that are noticeably easier on the wrist. It’s a real improvement, not only in how it feels, but how it looks. This is a pretty pan.
But I’m afraid the Stargazer’s grip, which is better at staying cool when cooking and easier to grip, just wins out. In fact, for some people, I’m sure the superior grip would even make up for the pound-and-a-half weight difference.
Since it’s thinner and lighter, the Blacklock easily warms up faster than the Stargazer. But since the difference is only about 90 seconds, I’m not sure how much this matters. I read some user reviews about the pan heating unevenly, but I was unable to replicate it.
Winner: Blacklock, by a hair.
At the beginning of this review, my Stargazer was my go-to piece of cookware, and after this thorough test… it still is. It’s the best skillet I’ve ever used, and I’ll probably write about it again someday because people need to know and none of my friends will tolerate me singing its praises anymore.
But the Blacklock definitely has its advantages, and for people who prefer a lighter piece of cookware and aren't about to spend $115 in the middle of an economic recession, then this is a great way to treat yourself.