For every complaint about , Butter Pat Industries has an answer. The Maryland-based company casts its cookware thin, so lifting a pan doesn't count as a trip to the gym. Plus, the small team of manufacturers polishes their until they're smooth, meaning seasoning isn't necessary. Founder Dennis Powell designed Butter Pat skillets to be the modern antidote to clunky, old-school cookware — but he actually found inspiration in the past. The way, way past.
Butter Pat Heather 8" Skillet, $245;
Powell cracked his grandmother's decades-old black iron pan back in 2013, and his urge to recreate it left him with a question: "How do you cast iron as thin and smooth as those great American foundries once did in the late 1800s?" Powell wrote on Butter Pat's site. Because before companies like Lodge and Staub began churning out sturdy cast iron for the masses, other makers made more delicate cookware.
It took Powell three years and a slew of discarded prototypes — ones that were too heavy or too rough — to land on the current Butter Pat model. You can order the skillet in an 8-, 10-, or 12-inch size, and each one is named after an important woman in the founder's life: Heather, Joan, and Lili. At around $250 for the smallest pan, Butter Pat's handcrafted cookware isn't exactly cheap, but it comes with a 100-year guarantee and a stamp of approval from restaurant chefs across the country.