After using Lodge cast iron for almost my entire life, I finally purchased one of the company’s upgrade items, in this case the Blacklock cast iron skillet. Here are my thoughts…
Personally, I’m a dedicated user of cast iron products. I’ve not used non-stick anything in many years and haven’t really ever liked stainless steel cookware. This means I primarily rely on cast iron and enamel-coated cast iron products.
I’ve stuck with Lodge, despite being quite interested in the growing trend of boutique and small cast iron skillet producers. With this in mind I bought a 10.25-inch Lodge Blacklock, known as model “96,” last year and wanted to us this article to put down my thoughts.
What Is Lodge Blacklock?
According to Lodge, Blacklock was the first foundry used to make Lodge cast iron, having been created in 1896. The foundry was destroyed after what Lodge only describes as a “devastating turn of events,” but in 2019e Lodge relaunched the Blacklock name in a line of cast iron cookware. The line includes:
- 63 Skillet: 7-inch diameter
- 96 Skillet: 10.25 inch diameter
- 39 Skillet: 12-inch diameter
- 10 Skillet: 14.25 inch diameter
- 65 Grill Pan: 12-inch square
- 77 Griddle: 10-inch x 20-inch double burner griddle
- 02 Dutch Oven: 5.5 quart
- 49 Deep Skillet with Lid: quart capacity
Each product is named after a significant year for Lodge’s history, for example the “10” skillet is named after 1910, when Lodge first employed 100 people and become the largest cast iron manufacturer in the US South. The numeric naming is, of course, super confusing, so people just refer to the items by their size.
All Blacklock products are triple seasoned, which means they are quite black when they show up, with a thick coating of seasoning. This means they are more non-stick then a typical cast iron product. That said, they also have Lodge’s typical surface texture, which is not machined and is rougher than a typical high-end cast iron skillet. (An example of an iron skillet with a modern surface, which is both super smooth and super flat, is a Nest Hardware or a Field Company. Some of these surfaces will be machined to be super flat with almost no texture, others will not be.)
“96” Skillet Features
The Blacklock skillets differentiate themselves from the standard cast iron skillets mainly with their weight. The 10.25-inch model weighs 3.9 pounds where the standard 10.25 skillet is 5.3 pounds. The difference is quite noticeable. A typical 10-inch cast iron skill weighs between 5 and 6 pounds.
The Blacklock has dual pouring spouts, an open handle that transfers less heat, an ornate bottom with a stove ring, and more printing on it than a normal Lodge.
The finish on the cooking surface of the skillet is quite textured, just like a standard Lodge. This is a major differentiator from other high-end cast iron, most of which have made the surface smoother, to more closely resemble the smoothness of a stainless steel or non-stick pan. Some people would say that the extra texture is better as it is better for building seasoning upon and it’s the seasoning that makes the a cast iron pan non-stick, not the smoothness.
Blacklock Skillet Video Review
Here you can see our video review of the skillet…
Blacklock Skillet Performance
The Blacklock might be a lot more expensive than a normal Lodge cast iron skillet, but the cooking performance isn’t significantly different. Yes, it’s great to handle a lightweight cast iron pan — it’s easier to clean, easier to stir, easier to pour from, and easier to put away.
In almost every other way the Blacklock is no different from a standard Lodge Blacklock. The seasoning is essentially the same and the non-stick performance is no difference. The seasoning is largely up to you — take care of it and the skillet will be practically non-stick, ignore it or abuse it and the skillet will not handle itself well and your eggs will stick.
The handle stays slightly cooler than a standard Lodge, but it still gets hot so protection is needed for extended cooks.
So, generally speaking, the Lodge is a nice upgrade but it won’t make a significant difference to the majority of buyers.
Pricing and Availablity
Unlike the standard Lodge cast iron skillets, the Blacklock series is only sold at select retailers. For example, it’s generally not sold on Amazon, but you can get it direct from Lodge. Lodge has slow shipping and often sells out of products, but has frequent sales on almost all of its products.
- Is Lodge Blacklock worth it?
Lodge's Blacklock line sells for about 2-3x more than a standard cast iron skillet, so it's hard to justify. While this is a highly subjective question, most people agree that the Blacklock line is good but does not justify the extra cost. This is so because the cooking experience is nearly identical to the standard skillet. This makes the Blacklock a luxury skillet and an excellent gift, but something that offers much less value than the normal Lodge.
- What are the dimensions of the Lodge Blacklock 10.25 inch skillet?
The skillet weighs 3.9 pounds. It's 17.4 inches long, 2.6 inches tall, and 11 inches wide. It has a volume of 0.3 quarts and a cooking surface area of 58 square inches.