My wife really likes to cook with cast iron — but wow, that stuff is heavy, and not very nimble. When America’s Test Kitchen had a deal for their favorite carbon steel pan, which is lighter weight than cast iron, I bought one of those — but the pan warped during seasoning.
So when an inbound press pitch came in about Solidteknics‘ US-ION wrought iron pan, I was intrigued. The company just launched a Kickstarter campaign, which already blew past its $20,000 goal, raising $38,861 with 26 days to go.
According to Solidteknics, the US-ION pan cooks and seasons like cast iron, but is half the weight. Additionally, the pan is unibody, so there are no screws or rivets holding the handle (or anything) in place. It’s all one solid, block of iron. It’s not molten iron cast into a mold and in the promotional video, the process for forming the pan is so top secret that they don’t even put it on camera, in a bit of hammy showmanship.
The US-ION is 3mm thick, half that of a cast iron pan, resulting in the lighter weight. The company says that because of the thickness, the pans won’t warp (like my carbon steel did). Additionally, because it’s just iron, there is no Teflon or other chemical treatment to come into contact with your food, if that concerns you.
There are two sizes of US-ION pans available: a 7.5 inch skillet for $49 (plus shipping) and a 10 inch skillet for $69 (plus shipping). Both skillets are projected to ship in September of this year. The company wouldn’t provide specifics about how much the pans will cost at retail, but the Australian version (the AUS-ION) ten inch skillet sells on Amazon for $93.87. According the Kickstarter campaign, the difference is that US-ION pans will not come pre-seasoned.
Maybe I’m a sucker, or someone who just really likes to buy pans, but I backed the project and purchased a ten inch skillet. The company says that their pans will “clearly last centuries,” and while I’m not sure about that, I should be getting mine in about a hundred days. We’ll see how good it is then.