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Frying Pan Choices

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Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 4:19 pm    Post subject: Frying Pan Choices Reply with quote

I want to get a good 10 or 12 inch frying pan. I am leaning towards the All-Clad Stainless. But, I am tempted by the Emerilware frying pan with the copper disk. I know All-Clad is the top of the line, and I know that Emerilware is made by All-Clad. Any experience or suggestions on which way to go?
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to cook on Emerilware. I do use All-Clad fry pans on a regular basis and they are my go to pans. They are solid, spread heat quickly and evenly, and clean up real easily with a quick rub of Barkeeper's Friend (which returns it to it's original smoothness).
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best advice I can give is to suggest you read the eGullet Guide to Stovetop Cookware. It's long and detailed and definitely worth a read.
There is also a similar guide on this site.

I have not used either of the pans to which you referred, but can give some general advice. Triply pans like All-Clad Stainess are very good quality, but it is expensive to make pans with an aluminum layer between 2 layers of steel, going all the way up the sides of the pan. Such pans work well when you need heat all the way up the sides of the pan. Disc bottom pans like Emerilware tend to be less expensive, but they are very good for certain cooking tasks, especially where you want a thick bottom to retain a lot of heat, because the bottom aluminum layer is generally thicker than in triply pans. But if you have food against the sides of the pan above the disc it won't cook as fast because there is no aluminum conductive layer up the sides.

So consider a frying pan, with gently curved sides. Large pieces of food like bacon or fish, or even putting in a lot of hamburgers, or perhaps a large omelet, food might extend up the sides of the pan beyond the disc, resulting in uneven cooking and a need to move the food around more to get it cooked evenly.

On the other hand, for high temperature cooking like sauteing small pieces of meat or vegetables, you will be stirring the food regularly, so really even heat in the pan is less important. Heat capacity is important in that type of cooking so when the food is put in the pan, the temperature does not drop too much. In such a case, a well designed disc bottom pan will have a thicker base to hold more heat so the temp will drop less when you put the food in the pan. Similarly, if you are just frying 1 or 2 steaks, they will just sit there in the middle of the pan searing so conductive sides are not as important, but you do want high heat capacity.

I have probably confused you more, but the type of cooking you will do will influence the pan construction that will work best for you. Over time, maybe consider getting two different pans. A triply frypan (with gently curved sides) for cooking bacon, omelets or fish, and anything where you need to use a spatula to flip the foods because the low sides make that easier. A disc bottom saute pan (with higher more vertical sides) for sauteing or high heat cooking of things you want to ensure the pan temp does not drop too much when you add the food, and you will either be stirring the food a lot, or moving it with tongs.

Horses for Courses. Both of the items to which you referred are good in their own way, and offer their own value. Hope this helps!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest reading the consumer complain forum for the EmerilWare fry pans on

I was surprised to learn that the copper disk is not bonded, but very likely soldered with a lower-melting metal, resulting in oozing molten metal and layer separation when the pan is overheated. It looks as if it doesn't require really high heat, just a few minutes boiling dry

I had found an EmerilWare pan on sale at Marshall, but returned it promptly without even using it. I did not experience problems personally, just found enough scary stories on multiple boards to drive me away from that model. YMMV

I'm now looking at Try-ply Vollrath. They have a new model with a much better handle than All-Clad (I hate how the All-Clad handle digs into your hand), look for the ones with an all-metal handle (which I prefer to the silicone one, as it can go under a broler without problems)
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Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 58
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also haven't tried EmerilWare. I am fan of using All Clad pans. I feel comfortable cooking using those pans.
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Joined: 17 Nov 2009
Posts: 16
Location: Everett, WA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rarely see the need to have the sides of the pan heat as well as the bottom, but I suppose it could happen. Well, okay, with deep-frying, for instance. But for that, I use cast-iron.

I have owned a set of the Wolfgang Puck cookware for many years, and am quite happy with it. I bought it before it was available on HSN and the like, otherwise I probably wouldn't even have considered it. This was also before all the others were available from the other famous chefs.

I am rarely a fan of buying sets of kitchen tools. I bought all my knives a la carte, for example. But, the cookware set I bought contains nothing I would never use, and most of the items I use quite frequently.

I have never used EmirilWare. I would expect it to be about the same as mine, but the layer separation issue would concern me, if true. I have certainly overheated a couple of my pans a couple of times, and have never encountered this.

In any event, I can highly recommend the Wolfgang Puck cookware, and my whole set cost less than some single All Clad pans I have seen.
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