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Behind the Design: OXO’s New Carbon Steel Obsidian Cookware Series

OXO’s team of designers pulled out all the stops for the newest line of cookware essentials. Discover the details that make these items kitchen must-haves.

5 min read

A favorite of professional chefs all over the world, carbon steel cookware is a kitchen workhorse. It heats up evenly, produces a naturally non-stick surface when properly seasoned and can last for generations. It’s lighter than cast iron, less brittle and cooks faster, too.

In short, there’s a lot to love about carbon steel, which is why OXO’s team of designers set out to create the very best cookware using the material. It’s a natural fit: OXO already offers non-stick cookware that releases food seamlessly. Carbon steel raises the bar on quality while maintaining the durability and streamlined look OXO fans love. The result: Seven pots and pans (three sizes of frypans, a perforated grill pan, roaster with a rack, crepe pan and a wok) that feature OXO-level details and construction. The new line has easy-to-grip handles, smart silhouettes, just-right seasoning, and more. Take a behind-the-scenes look at how the new Carbon Steel Obsidian Series was developed.

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Carbon Steel 101

There are three important things to keep in mind about why carbon steel may be a superior option when it comes to your cookware:

  1. Both cast iron and carbon steel are made of iron and carbon, but cast iron is around 97% iron and 3% carbon while carbon steel is 99% iron and 1% carbon. A lower amount of carbon makes carbon steel less brittle, allowing for more curvature to the cookware.
  2. Carbon steel is lighter than cast iron. The pans are thinner, making them easier to maneuver and more receptive to heat. And because carbon steel heats up quickly (faster than cast iron) and evenly, it’s a better choice for searing steaks, browning pork chops and blistering vegetables.
  3. Carbon steel has a more uniform grain structure compared to cast iron (because of that lower carbon percentage), so a perfectly seasoned carbon steel pan will behave similar to a non-stick surface, making it a great choice for eggs and omelettes as well.
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Putting the OXO Stamp on the Carbon Steel Obsidian Series

Working with this lighter, less-rigid material, OXO’s designers tweaked classic cookware shapes to maximize home-cooking benefits. These are few ways they improved on traditional cookware:

  • The skillet features curved walls, not straight ones, to help contain splatters and make it easier to work with a spatula or tongs. The sloped sides also make it easier to flip, toss, stir and baste.
  • The pan is designed with a removable silicone handle that creates a safe and sturdy grip for stovetop cooking. If you take it out to the grill, you can close the lid and get the pan really hot, then use the silicone sleeve to easily remove it from the grates.
  • OXO designers took the work out of prepping these carbon steel pieces which, like cast iron, typically have to be seasoned to prevent rusting. Seasoning a pan is the process by which you build up a natural layer of oils to protect the surface—it’s tedious and time consuming. But the new Carbon Steel Obsidian Series comes blackened and pre-seasoned, meaning there’s no stress or sweat. After just a quick rinse, the pans are ready to go, straight out of the box. Of course, the more you use them the better they’ll get.
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Caring for Carbon Steel Cookware

Less is more when it comes to cleaning carbon steel, as too much scrubbing can strip your pot’s hard-earned layer of seasoning. Steer clear of excessive soap and never put the cookware in the dishwasher. Just dispense a drop of mild cleanser into the pot and use a good brush to clean off any lingering grease or bits, then rinse with warm water. After cleaning, it’s smart to rub some oil into the pan to refresh the seasoned layer.

Ready to try the cookware of the pros? Explore the full Carbon Steel Obsidian Series.


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