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A Black Iron Haven

Recent Cast Iron Acquisitions

Posted by Rick Mansfield

Last month, Kathy and I took a day trip to Tennessee, and while we were in Sevierville made the required stop for any cast iron aficionado at the Lodge Cast Iron Outlet Store. This is the second time we had been to a Lodge outlet store, with the previous visit made to the store in South Pittsburg, where Lodge is headquartered. If you’re into cast iron like us (and if you’re reading this, you probably are), you know that visiting one of these stores is akin to a religious experience.

Lodge has four factory stores, and of the two we’ve visited so far, the Sevierville store was clearly the nicer one. It was larger than the South Pittsburg location and had high ceilings and lots of bare wood walls and displays. It almost felt like being in a log cabin, but it was brighter and more open than your average cabin. It was a thrill to walk into a store dedicated to cast iron and see shopping carts. I immediately grabbed one, although we did not have a clear plan for what we were going to purchase.

As we went along, spending about an hour in the store, Kathy and I walked up and down every aisle, making certain we had missed nothing. We called a family member as well as a friend of the family asking them if they needed us to get them anything while we were there. They both enthusiastically gave us their “orders.” Some of the items we picked up were novelties such as a Lodge baseball cap. It’s black with the Lodge logo on the front and the words “1896 * USA” on the back. I also got one of those rust eraser sticks I’d heard about, but have not had a chance to use. I’ve got a couple of old cast iron chicken fryers that need cleaning up. I’ll be certain to write about my results with the eraser when I’ve had a chance to try it out.

I was especially excited to find the cast iron casserole dish pictured to the left. To my knowledge, these are not sold on the Lodge website, although Lodge sells an enameled version of the same pan. This one, however, is non-enameled, bare cast iron (although pre-seasoned). A few months ago, I featured the larger enameled cast iron broaster pan in one of my posts, but this smaller cast iron casserole dish was something I’d been wanting for a long time.

Also pictured here is a cabbage casserole which was the first recipe we tried in the new cast iron casserole pan. I plan on featuring this recipe a few months from now as we get closer to New Year’s, but if you can’t wait until then, be certain to shoot me an email requesting it.

I’d also been wanting a lid for our cast iron wok for quite a while. I realize you may be thinking that a lid is not customarily used with a wok, and I’d have to agree with you completely. But let me explain why I wanted one.

When Kathy and I cook dinner using our Lodge cast iron wok (see my original review here), we usually cook enough food for our dinner and then have enough food for leftover lunch the next day. You have to realize that this is not customarily the way woks are used. Most of the time a wok will be used to cook just enough food for one meal. So, if there are four people eating, the food in the wok will be divvied out among them with none leftover. But Kathy and I regularly need to make enough food so that we can take our lunch to work with us.

So, if we pack our lunches right away, we run the risk of our food for that night’s meal getting cold. But if we leave the food in the wok, it tends to lose too much moisture while we’re eating. Therefore, I needed a lid!

A few months back, I emailed customer service at Lodge asking them if they made a lid for the wok. They do not, which didn’t surprise me. However, I was told that the 14” camping dutch oven lid fits perfectly. So, while in the store, I found one of these rather large lids and carried it over to a display where a few woks were sitting. I set the lid on top of the wok, and I was delighted to see that it fits perfectly! It’s almost as if the lid was especially designed for the wok.

So, our cast iron collection has grown a little bit more. Because we have limited room, I decided long ago that I was not going to collect cast iron simply to collect it, although some people greatly enjoy doing that. Instead, all of our cast iron is what like like to call “in use” cast iron. We actually do use everything we have. I’ve shown a picture of our cast iron display rack before, but it’s a bit more full since the last photos I posted.

What you see here is almost every piece of cast iron we own. Other than what you see here, I also have my main cast iron skillet that has a permanent place on the stove top. It the first cast iron piece I got back in the nineties. It is a Lodge 10.25" skillet that I received back before they began adding the extra grip handle and before everything came pre-seasoned.

I also have Kathy’s grandmother’s chicken fryers (two) in the back room waiting for me to find the time to clean them up and get them back into normal use. I don’t yet know what brand they are, but I look forward to trying to figure that out. My only other not-pictured cast iron item is a Wagnerware cornstick pan which I will have to take that rust eraser to before I can re-season it and get it back into working order.

Finally, pictured below are a few shots of the same rack above, but slightly enlarged so that you can see some of the items we have. I’m not showing these items to show off. I know of many cast iron collectors whose inventories are larger than ours. However, I also know that true cast iron aficionados enjoy looking at other folks’ cast iron. So, enjoy and feel free to post any questions or comments in the comment selection of this post.

Feel free to leave your thoughts or ask questions in the comments below, or you can contact Rick directly at

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