It’s the only thing on my Christmas list. 

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Cast-iron skillets belong to the category of kitchen items that seem elusive to many who’ve never used them, scary even. Slow cookers and sheet pans? Easy enough to figure out. A skillet that needs to be seasoned (whatever that means) and isn’t supposed to be cleaned with soap? Madness—or as we say in the South, duh.

Basically, you know you’re an adult when you start to use a cast-iron skillet enough to at least know the ins and outs. For example, cornbread is a thousand times tastier when cooked in a cast-iron skillet, thanks to browned butter and crispy outer crust; tomato sauce not so much. (Acidic ingredients like tomatoes and lemon can break down the seasoning and lend a metallic flavor to the food.) 

That’s why when you learn how to properly use your cast-iron skillet for all the right things—cobblers, cornbread, skillet cookies, cowboy steak, fried chicken and so many more goodies—the sun really starts to shine. In the distance, angels sing. Pure deliciousness. Which is exactly what brought me to the most special cast-iron skillet perhaps in the whole world: the Smithey Cast Iron Skillet. 

Created by hand and machine in Charleston, South Carolina, by a founder with a penchant for restoring hundred-plus-year-old vintage ironware to its former glory, the Smithey Ironware Co. skillets are made to replicate the charm and resilience of those original pieces with modern touches. As a result, the skillets come out looking uniquely crafted with an ultra-smooth nonstick surface that makes them easy to use and clean. For me—who acknowledges the affordable greatness that is the dependable Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet—it is fully worth the splurge. This is heirloom stuff. The thing you pass down for generations to come. It looks the part, too. 

As far as size and type goes, I’ll literally take any Smithey skillet out there, and I’m putting it on every Christmas and birthday list until my wish is granted. You hear that, Mom? My sight is set on a classic 12-inch cast-iron, but I wouldn’t turn down the versatile 10-inch, adorably rustic farmhouse skillet, or the tiny 8-incher that’s begging to house a cookie.

Shop all the heirloom-worthy Smithey skillets below for yourself or anyone special on your list. (Still with me, Mom?)

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Smithey 12-Inch Cast-Iron Skillet
Credit: Smithey Ironware Co.

Smithey No. 12 Cast-Iron Skillet

Cornbread is a regular in my cast-iron skillet, which makes a classic 12-inch oh-so tempting. Just a tad deeper than the brand's 10-inch skillet, this one is also a great size for using on the grill or roasting vegetables

Shop It: $200;

Smithey 10-Inch Cast-Iron Skillet
Credit: Smithey Ironware Co.

Smithey No. 10 Cast-Iron Skillet

For slightly less of a splurge, go for this equally dependable skillet size that has high enough walls to hold in whatever you're cooking. We're seeing angel biscuits in your future. 

Shop It: $160;

Smithey Farmhouse Skillet
Credit: Smithey Ironware Co.

Smithey Carbon Steel Farmhouse Skillet

Santa? You out there? Because this is the dream skillet. Created to be charmingly rustic and inspired by 18th-century American blacksmith designs, this 12-incher has been hand-forged by a blacksmith (hence why it's made from carbon steel) while maintaining a similar performance as cast iron. 

Shop It: $275;

Smithey Scrubber
Credit: Smithey Ironware Co.

Smithey Chainmail Scrubber

Steel wool scrubbers can be notoriously rough on cast-iron skillets, which is why the brand created a chainmail version that gets rid of any gunk without being too harsh on the seasoning. As an added perk, it's dishwasher-safe. 

Shop It: $20;