Cast iron skillets: seasoned vs enameled

The vast majority of my regular cooking takes place inside a cast iron skillet. I keep two on my stove at almost all times, one seasoned and one enameled.

Whats the difference?

Bare cast iron is a lot cheaper than enameled, if you are buying new. If you get into buying vintage stuff or some of the crazy ass artisanal bare cast iron Instagram is always pushing, you can spend a lot on it. I got my treasured WagnerWare #9 for $7.50 at a Goodwill in San Francisco years ago. You can find real treasures.

Enameled cast iron costs more and has a fairly permanent non-stick surface, doesn't require paying attention to its seasoning, and makes bare cast iron feel light-er.

Both enameled and seasoned cast iron are fine to use on the stove top or in the oven, however my fancy Raymond Loewy-Le Creuset can not as it has a wooden handle. I do not recommend temps much over 500F for the seasoned cast iron for very long, unless they are lightly coated top and bottom with fresh oil. The seasoning can burn off. Reseasoning is not a problem, put it back in coated lightly in oil at 500F for about an hour then let it cool.

I think a lot of the problems people have with the exterior sides of their skillets flaking is due to not oiling them enough and the seasoning burning.

The enameled has no such problems. I use it on the BBQ, in the smoker, in the oven, at all sorts of temperatures. The one thing I did have to do was replace the black knobs on lids with stainless. The black plastic-y stuff cracks and pops off in the oven after a few uses.

You can put enameled cast iron in the dishwasher! Do not do that with seasoned cast iron, you will need to immediately re-season or it will rust. Enameled will not rust. It's a lot easier to care for than bare.

I have also read, and been told, that you can put enameled cast iron in a microwave oven. I am not so bold. I use the microwave as a bread box.

I do not think you can go wrong with cast iron, however you can have too much of it. I have a few too many griddles, skillets and waffle irons around and should gift them out.