Cooking should bring joy. While every experience may not elicit glee, having quality cookware can certainly enhance the experience. Smithey takes the very basic idea of creating long-lasting, durable cookware to the next level with craftsman-style cookware.
The mission of the company began with Founder Isaac Morton and his admiration of vintage ironware. As the story goes, he hatched the idea for Smithey while tinkering around his woodshed, taking in the smooth surfaces and timeless designs of the metalwork he found. That led Morton on a journey to develop an expertise in restoring old cookware and eventually making his own.
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The company name is a nod to the generations-old craft of metal working. The company explained, “A Smithey is a metal craftsman or the shop in which that craftsman works. We like the name Smithy, but we like it more with an ‘e.’”
Fast forward to the present, Smithey manages a balance of old-time appeal with modern kitchenware in its lineup of cast iron and carbon steel pans, as well as accessories. The process of making cast iron requires a “cast” or mold. This is one step that requires acute attention to detail. Molten metal is then poured into the mold and allowed to cool. Once removed from the mold, each skillet is hand-sanded and finished.
As with most cast iron, properly cared for Smithey cookware will last many lifetimes and beyond. It’s undoubtedly the most durable and long-lasting material for cookware. The Smithey cast iron line offers half a dozen skillets of varying sizes, as well as flat top griddles, a grill pan and two sizes of Dutch ovens. For Smithey, maintaining a connection to vintage-style pieces is a top priority. While Morton honors 19th-century craftsmanship, he marries that process with modern technology.
The next phase of Smithey’s story introduced a partnership with renowned Charleston Blacksmith Robert Thomas. The collaboration resulted in a new carbon steel cookware line. Called the Farmhouse Collection, each piece is individually hand-forged and some are made in limited quantities. Every pan offers visual uniqueness while sharing common design features that represent the Smithey values. Carbon steel is slightly lighter than cast iron and offers a quick response to temperature changes.
Furthermore, Smithey is made in the USA with production taking place in Charleston, South Carolina. Unlike many major producers of cast iron, such as Le Creuset and Staub, these pieces don’t have to be shipped overseas before arriving in the U.S. This cuts down on transport emissions and the overall carbon footprint.
In addition, its cast iron skillets are made with recycled metals. Metal is a highly-recyclable material, which not only reduces waste in the landfills, but keeps costs down in sourcing metal for production.
Perhaps the standout feature of quality is their durability. They are easy to care for with water and an occasional light scrub. Most of the time, simply wiping out the pan will do the job. The key to maintaining cast iron pans is ensuring thorough drying after each washing. This is best achieved by placing the pan upside down over a heated burner for a few minutes. Just remember to turn the burner off again!
Cast iron and carbon steel pans are susceptible to rust if moisture remains. Avoid putting pans upside down on a towel, where moisture becomes trapped. If your pan does rust, however, simply remove the layer of rust with a scrubber or very fine sandpaper. Apply oil to the surface and bake it in the oven for an hour or so and it will be ready for food prep once again.
“We are proud of what we make. We design and craft our cookware in the USA, and our talented team of craftsmen and women individually inspects every Smithey multiple times throughout the manufacturing process,” the Smithey team said. “We guarantee the quality of every Smithey for life. We intend for your Smithey to become a cherished possession, and we are here to support you in your cooking journey. Use it well.”
Smithey offers a quality guarantee and will repair or replace defective or ill-performing pans. As most people who use cast iron pans know, they are incredibly versatile. You can use them for baking breads, soufflés, pies, soups, meats, eggs and anything else you throw at them. You can use them on the stovetop, oven, outdoor grill and even directly over the fire.
Since I have a dizzying collection of cast iron pans in my cupboard, when the company offered to send me a sample product, I requested a pan from the carbon steel line. In response, Smithey provided a “farmhouse” style 12 inch carbon steel skillet.
This pan is a thing of beauty. I’ve turned it over and over in my hands, appreciating the hand-forged craftsmanship around the edges, across the bottom and to the end of the handle. It’s clearly made with pride and integrity from a skilled hand. It’s been a conversation piece many times over.
The performance matches the craftsmanship. With fairly shallow sides at about 1.5 inches, I can still prepare my favorite recipes with ground beef or vegetables without ingredients escaping the pan. However, it’s also easy to make grilled cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs or pancakes.
Heat distribution is great, spreading up the edges for even cooking throughout. The first thing I noticed was that the pan responds to heat changes much more quickly than my cast iron pans. I have an electric range, so can’t speak to using it on gas, but I would have zero hesitation in doing so.
What else is there to say? This pan is gorgeous, impeccably made and offers outstanding versatility and cooking performance.
Images via Smithey and Dawn Hammon