Author Topic: Blue Steel Pans  (Read 17887 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline tjkoko

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 74
  • Location: Deep deep South where we run 'dawgs and hawgs'
Blue Steel Pans
« on: April 27, 2011, 09:26:14 AM »
Simple question:  the blue steel pans sold by Northern Pizza Equipment and also PAPROD.com, are they the same product or equivalent in quality and price?  Do they differ in quality such as thickness?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 07:40:10 AM by tjkoko »
Home bread baker for 10 years.


Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 03:11:45 PM »
Simple question:  the blue steel pans sold by Northern Pizza Equipment and also PAPROD.com, are they the same produce or equivalent in quality and price?  Do they differ in quality such as thickness?


tjkoko,

Having conducted a lot of research on the matter of the blue steel pans for the Detroit-style pan pizzas, I also wondered whether and how the products offered by P.A. Products and Northern Pizza Equipment differed. So, I decided to call the companies. I started first with Northern Pizza Equipment (1-877-303-5319) since their blue steel pans looked to have what I call the "folded" corners whereas the photos at the P.A. Products seemed to be seamless. After I was told that the gauge of the blue steel pans is 29 to 30, I asked how their pans differ from those sold by P.A. Products. I was told that Northern gets their pans from P.A. Products. To verify this, I then called P.A. Products (734-421-1060) where it was confirmed that they are indeed the supplier of the pans to Northern Pizza Equipment.  

An advantage for home pizza makers is that one can purchase the blue steel pans in single units from Northern, if desired. As I understand it, one would have to buy a lot of several pans from P.A. Products.

For those who are interested, I was told by the gal I spoke with at Northern Pizza Equipment that their blue steel pans are used by Jet's. That information was volunteered to me. I didn't have to ask. I also asked the gal whose pans Buddy's uses.  She said she did not know.

Also, for what it's worth, I also spoke this morning with a fellow who works for the company that makes the plastic lids for Jet's pans. They are the same plastic lids that are sold by Northern Pizza Equipment. Northern also currently sells aluminum lids but plans to discontinue them once existing inventory is exhausted. I was told that the plastic lids work better, with a better fit. I expect that I will be posting more on the lid matter soon, including the perceived advantages of the lids (according to the manufacturer), at the Jet's thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8247.0.html. If those advantages are real, then it might make sense to purchase lids at the time of pan purchase. I was told that Buddy's does not use lids for their pans.

Peter
EDIT (4/29/11): Edited the pan gauge
EDIT 1 (8/7/12): Members should note that Northern Pizza Equipment is no longer stocking the blue steel pans (see Reply 401 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg190814.html#msg190814); they should also check with P.A. Products to see if they continue to offer those pans.
 
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 12:04:41 PM by Pete-zza »

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 10:45:55 AM »
This whole blue steel pan stuff has been bugging me, especially trying to find out who makes all of the pans for Buddy's, Shield's, Jet's, and so on. However, after doing more research, and a bunch of phone calls, I think I have resolved the mystery. But, first, a little history.

The company that was making the blue steel pans for pretty much the entire square pan pizza industry in the metro Detroit area is a small company in Follansbee, West Virginia that has been around since 1833 making and selling a wide range of very mundane and prosaic products. The name of the company is Dover Parkersburg. I was given their name by an industry insider but I was able to find reference to them in a media piece at http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/01/25/pizza-parlors-report-pan-shortage/. Apparently Dover decided to move production of the pans to Mexico. It sounds like they were having production problems. Those problems were apparently resolved but, in the meantime, a severe shortage of the pans developed.

Yesterday, to see if Dover recovered from all of their production woes and was back in business selling the blue steel pans, I went to the Dover website. After poking around the website for several minutes trying to find the pans, I found what I thought were the blue steel pans, buried under the heading "Utility Items/"Utility Trays" at http://www.doverparkersburg.com/products/utility_items.html. To be sure that I found the right pans, this morning I called Dover and was told that they are indeed the pans. With further probing on my part, the woman I spoke with in customer service told me that they have been the suppliers of the pans to Buddy's, Shield's, Jet's, and pretty much everyone else that makes the Detroit-style pan pizza. Not only that, they are the supplier to P.A. Products, their distributor in the metro Detroit area. P.A. Products, in turn, is the supplier to Northern Pizza Equipment. I might add at this point that Dover does not sell direct to the public. They deal only through distributors and manufacturer reps.

For our members who are interested in the blue steel pizza pans, there are several options. They can order them online from Northern Pizza Equipment. After speaking with Maria at P.A. Products, I discovered that they will sell individual units to individuals but there is a two-tier pricing system. If you tell her that you are a pizza operator or in the pizza business, there is one price. If you tell her that you are just a home pizza maker, there is a second, higher price. She admitted that she operates on the honor system and cannot tell whether someone is in the pizza business or not. With P.A. Products, you have to call to order. The two-tier pricing structure for the pans is as follows:

8" x 10": $4.95/$9.16
10"x 14": $5.95/$10.96
12" x 17": $7.95/$14.10
(Plus UPS shipping)

The prices from Northern Pizza Equipment are as follows (from http://www.northernpizzaequipment.com/bluesteelpans.html):

8" x 10": $6.54
10" x 14": $7.82
12" x 17": $10.07
(Plus shipping)
Note: There is a $25 minimum purchase requirement

I believe that I may have also found a third source of the pans, Bucket Outlet, at http://www.bucket-outlet.com/upan.htm. I found them through a Google search. To be sure that the pans shown at their website are from Dover, I called Bucket Outlet this morning (800-251-8824). I was told that the pans are indeed from Dover. The 8" x 10" pans are not in stock at the moment (they believe they will have them in stock in July). The prices for the 10" x 14"  and 12" x 17" pans are as follows:

10" x 14": $7.99
12" x 17": $10.49
(Plus shipping)

Since Maria at P.A. Products recognizes my voice by now, and I am not so desperate as to use voice modification (like my favorite falsetto voice) to save a couple of bucks, I would perhaps go to Northern for any blue steel pans that I might want to purchase. Also, I would buy the matching plastic lids manufactured by Pizzapanlids (http://www.pizzapanlids.com/). Those are the lids used by Jet's. P.A. Products does not sell the plastic lids, only the aluminum ones. The Pizzapanlids are used by Jet's. Buddy's does not use them. They apparently cross-stack their pans.

As a further clarification of what I posted on the gauge of the pans in my last post, I was told this morning by Dover that their pans are 30 gauge. Maria told me this morning that they are 29 gauge. I have edited my last post to reflect the correction.

Hopefully, the mystery has been solved once and for all.

Peter
EDIT: Edited to note that there is a $25 minimum purchase requirement at Northern Pizza Equipment
EDIT 1 (8/7/12): Members should note that Northern Pizza Equipment is no longer stocking the blue steel pans (see Reply 401 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg190814.html#msg190814); they should also check with P.A. Products to see if they continue to offer those pans.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 12:03:39 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline tjkoko

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 74
  • Location: Deep deep South where we run 'dawgs and hawgs'
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2011, 11:34:42 AM »
Great information!  Thanks for the research which should satisfy everyone at this forum.  8^D
Home bread baker for 10 years.

Online norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21238
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2011, 11:40:41 AM »
Peter,

I agree, great detective work!  ;D I had to chuckle when you posted that since Maria recognizes your voice now, you aren’t desperate enough to use your favorite falsetto voice.   :-D

I think I am going to buy either one of more of those blue steel pans.  I would like to be able to try to make a Jet’s, Buddy’s or Shields’s pizza.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline apizza

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 401
  • Location: Wethersfield, CT
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2011, 03:53:28 PM »
So Peter is that the company referred to in this thread and article link?
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12858.0.html

If so they may now be made in Mexico. Was there any mention of that?

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 04:28:53 PM »
apizza,

If you mean Dover Parkersburg, the answer is yes. For a long while, the company did not want any publicity, which is perhaps why you didn't see its name in articles anywhere (I wouldn't have found the article I mentioned with the company's name if I had not been given the name by my contact). When I spoke with the customer service rep at Dover this morning, as a prelude to my questions about the pans, I laid out what I understood to be the history of the situation, so that the rep could correct me if I was wrong (I do this intentionally since I have learned from experience that people want to set the record straight and not let incorrect information go unanswered). She seemed to agree with everything I said, at least she didn't contradict me, so I think it is safe to say that the pans are most likely being made in Mexico.

If you hadn't provided the link to the freep.com article, I am not sure we on the forum would have been aware of the shortage problem, given that no one else on the forum reported on the shortage. Your post was very helpful to me since is motivated me to get behind the story more deeply. So, I, and I believe the forum, owe you thanks for letting us know the shortage issue that was brewing in the Detroit square pan pizza world. When you think about it, that world is actually quite small. There are about nine Buddy's stores, four Shield's (and another on the way), one Loui's, and two Cloverleaf's. The big fish is the pond is Jet's because it is franchising in many areas of the country, with over 200 locations and many others on the way. But even with Jet's, the problem was not with the stores that were open at the time of the shortage but the incremental increase in stores needing pans once the pans got hard to get. So the total volume of pans is not insurmountable although I have read that others around the country are starting to offer Detroit-style pan pizzas, including Tony Gemignani (see http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2011/04/25/oh-yes-tonys-pizza-has-detroit-style-pie/). I think everyone in the square pizza industry is breathing a sigh of relief at the moment as the pipeline is being filled with new pans.

Peter
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 07:52:53 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline apizza

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 401
  • Location: Wethersfield, CT
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 07:12:32 PM »
As always Peter you got "behind the story".  Great Columbo work and thank you for all the info. I'm pretty sure my part began with a little filler piece on my local NPR station. Pizza news is everywhere.

Offline tjkoko

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 74
  • Location: Deep deep South where we run 'dawgs and hawgs'
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 11:52:27 PM »
'Telly' would have been very proud of you, Pete-zaa, as would Friday and Gannon!
Home bread baker for 10 years.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2011, 01:21:41 PM »
Thanks, guys. It is all part of trying to get enough details and information to be able to try to clone someone else's pizzas, like those at Buddy's and Jet's in this case (and maybe of the other Detroit area pizza operators).

A point to keep in mind is that even if one uses the same pans as the Detroit area pizza operators, the results in a home oven can be different than what those operators will produce in their conveyor ovens. What we get in our home ovens, especially if the pizzas are baked on a stone surface, is likely to be like the pizzas that those operators made in their old deck ovens before they switched to conveyor ovens.

Peter


Offline IEatPizzaByThePie

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 56
  • Location: Nomville, ZA
  • ohaipizza OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM OM NOM NOM
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2011, 06:30:07 AM »
Thanks again for your contributions, Pete.

Has anyone tried these pans since they have started being produced in Mexico? Is the quality still the same?
"I looked at the serving size: two slices. Who the hell eats two slices? I eat pizza by the pie! Two pies is a serving size!!"

Offline ChrisG

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2011, 12:22:55 AM »
I do not know what their quality was before being manufactured in Mexico.  I purchased (2) 8"x10" and (1) 10"x14" from Northern Pizza Equipment a couple weeks ago.  I think the material thickness is a bit thin, but I'd imagine it should still last a person's lifetime in a home setting considering no cutting is done in them for Buddy's and Jets clones.

All three pans I received had stickers stuck on the underneath of the pan like I've never dealt with before. I soaked them in warm soapy water and didn't help soften the stickers much at all.  I had to use a metal scrubber to get them off and even then, some of the stickiness remained so I just left it in the hopes it would burn off during seasoning.

As member BrickStoneOven recently pointed out ( http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16442.0.html ), these pans come with a lot of metal gunk still in them, so it should be emphasized for health reasons they should be well-cleaned before seasoning and before use.  Below is an image of my hand after rubbing it across an 8"x10" pan only a few times.

I am still happy with the pans, but am struggling to season them as I've no experience with it.

buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2011, 07:40:43 AM »
By all means go ahead and wash the pan while preheating your oven to 350. Rinse and dry the pan with paper towels and place in the oven for a short time to insure the surface is completly dry. Remove and let cool enough to handle. I used peanut oil for my wok, for other pans Crisco, lard or canola oil is fine. Rub a light coat of oil and place back in the oven for close to an hour. Let cool and wipe off any excess oil. I do this twice but I live next to salt water. I had the same sticker problem with some enameled pans that were made in Mexico and had to use paint thinner to remove them but mine were inside.
Don

Offline ahamric

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
  • Location: Schaumburg, IL
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2012, 11:59:00 PM »
I just got my blue steel pans from Norther Pizza Equipment as well... after washing thoroughly and drying with paper towel, then putting in the oven, I still find that rubbing the pans with paper towels generates a lot of that metallic dust stuff.

How much washing does it take to get rid of it?!

Andy

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2012, 08:21:11 AM »
Andy,

Based on what buceriasdon (Don) has said at Reply 49 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16379.msg164750/topicseen.html#msg164750 and at Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10521.msg128952/topicseen.html#msg128952, and possibly elsewhere, I think I would clean the pans as best as possible and then proceed to season them.

Peter

Offline ahamric

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 14
  • Location: Schaumburg, IL
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2012, 12:01:01 AM »
Peter,

Thanks as always! I have washed them three times. Now I just get some gray smudges on my paper towel when I dry them. I get this sort of thing from aluminum items I have also, so maybe it is just the nature of the beast.

I am seasoning now with peanut oil.

Andy

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2012, 10:22:11 AM »
One of our new members, Kate24, recently reported at Reply 401 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg190814.html#msg190814 that the blue steel pans discussed in this thread apparently are no longer available. As a result, I did some searching for possible alternatives and discussed what I found at Reply 408 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg190988.html#msg190988. I did not attempt to do an exhaustive study or search for alternative pans, so that should be kept in mind. Also, as noted in Reply 408, one might want to do some research to see if the pans I found are suitable as replacements for the blue steel pans, both in materials and sizes.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 04:23:47 PM by Pete-zza »

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21728
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2012, 10:08:55 AM »
Today, one of our members, BigT, reported at Reply 437 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3783.msg200343.html#msg200343 that an outfit called Detroit Style Pizza Company is selling steel pans: http://detroitstylepizza.co/detroit-style-pizza-pans/.

Peter

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1797
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2012, 10:58:45 AM »
I just received two 10 X 14s from here. http://www.bucket-outlet.com/upan.htm The sticker on the back said Made in Mexico - Dover

Offline matermark

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 240
Re: Blue Steel Pans
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2012, 04:03:07 PM »
I just received two 10 X 14s from here. http://www.bucket-outlet.com/upan.htm The sticker on the back said Made in Mexico - Dover


I just contacted that place (Red Hill/Bucket Outlet) and they told me as of at least the last 3 weeks, (their last order) the product they are selling is "cold rolled steel" pans from Dover. (I have a cart open for the 12x17's; I asked maybe other sizes are still available in Blue Steel and she said they are all "cold rolled" steel.) I tried explaining that supposedly they were now being made in Mexico and maybe they are going to be available again in "Blue Steel" and said better contact Dover about it.

They said Buddy's bought out all their Blue Steel pans they had! :-D

EDIT: I just went to Dover's site and now they say "cold rolled steel..."
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 04:06:40 PM by matermark »