...please tell me you're going to make breakfast with—**SPANG**
"Let me stress that again: heavyweight. A thin-bottomed saucepan is useless for anything. (...) A proper saute pan should cause serious head injury if brought down hard against someone's skull. If you have any doubts about which will dent—the victim's head or your pan—then throw that pan right in the trash."
Unlike many other Improbable Weapons, the frying pan could actually cause quite a bit of damage. One can assume that getting hit over the head with a slab of iron would at least cause a concussion. Indeed, the noble frying pan is a worthy melee weapon.
It should be mentioned that frying-pans-as-weapons are usually wielded by females, although the occasional male chef may be found using it.
It should also be mentioned that wielding a typical cast iron skillet for any length of time, with any efficacy, would take considerable arm strength.
Just as it is in any good kitchen, this is an absolute staple of slapstick comedy. In some cases, it might also be considered the Western counterpart of the Hyperspace Mallet. May be found in the arsenal of the Chef of Iron.
Closely related to Rolling Pin of Doom.
See also Tap on the Head.
Played straight with a twist in Fairy Tail, when Natsu battles a mercenary whose weapon of choice is a gigantic, magic frying pan.
Ranma ½: One of the many blunt objects Akane introduces to Ranma's skull. Used deliberately in a later story arc: when facing the fire-breathing Rouge (in her Asura form,) Ranma and Pantyhose Tarou arm themselves with griddles, pans, pots, and other kitchen utensils that they can use as shields. After Tarou punches Ranma high above the flying Rouge, Ranma comes down on top of her to deliver an overhead frying-pan smash to one of her heads.
The Frying Pan Of Doom becomes Shinobu's weapon of choice in Love Hina. Fitting, since she is the resident chef of Hinata House. And yes, in the manga at least, she ends up smacking Keitaro with it at least twice. When he isn't being smacked around by Naru's fist or Kaolla's feet.
Ataru from Urusei Yatsura becomes quite proficient with a frying pan. Which he uses both to block Jariten's flame breath and to bat the floating brat into next week (or off some combo of walls floor and ceiling). There's also one Pet the Dog moment when Jariten tries to get a mothers day carnation for his mother, but winds up being delayed so that she's just left when he gets back. Ataru promptly uses his frying pan to smack him in a trajectory that lands him right on his mother's bike.
In the Riding Bean OAV, it takes a frying pan (hot off the stove with eggs still sizzling in it) to awaken Bean Bandit from his slumber. Note that he slept through a stun-gun to the neck (or rather, his eyes shot open, then closed again) immediately before this.
Jun from WORKING uses one when Souma gets on his nerves. Which is often.
Played with in Et Cetera where Ming-Chao has arguably a wok of doom which can be used as anything from a weapon to a lifeboat to a shield capable of repelling bullets (to some extent).
Yuno of Hidamari Sketch hits Miyako repeatedly on the head with a possibly hot frying pan for flipping her fried egg. The sound annoys Sae into coming up and meeting Yuno for the first time.
In the manga Worst, King Joe as a freshmen perfectly justified his use of a Frying Pan against Tsukamoto Mitsunobu in stating that in a 6 versus 1 (King Joe being by himself), that the Frying Pan was his handicap.
One Piece has an early use of this. Ninjin (Carrot), one of Usopp's child followers in Syrup Village, used this as his makeshift weapon against the Black Cat Pirates. He used it to great effectiveness when he fought The Dragon, using it to deliver a Groin Attack. Poor Jango...
In the anime only G8 arc, Navarone's head chef Jessica uses this, but only to reprimand her underlings for not working hard enough.
In Ninja Burger, one of the combat boosting items you can get is the spatula, which is as deadly as the Ninja Burger Official Wakazashi. Also, a training card "Wok the Casbah" shows a ninja dual wielding ironcast woks on top of the Casbah.
The Lord of the Rings TCG made a card out of the frying pan used by Sam in the movie (see Film). In-game, it could be used to do direct damage to any orcs the wielder was fighting. Because you could give it to any hobbit you wanted (including Frodo, who for a while was a necessity in every deck), it ended up banned because it made orc-based decks much less effective.
Getting older, The DCU's Ma "Original Red Tornado" Hunkel has been known to administer a beatdown with one of these.
In an issue of Black Panther, Storm's American grandmother knocked out a HYDRA agent with one of these, while grandpa took on several more in the living room. They were actually disappointed by the low turnout, saying "HYDRA played us soft just because we're old."
Batman once used a frying pan to beat up a ninja and block another ninja's shuriken.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, during the battle in the streets of Cairo, Marion takes out an assailant with a handy frying pan. It's such a memorable moment that the Marion action figure in the new line comes with a frying pan. The stunt show at Disney's Hollywood Studios features this as well, with Marion using a frying pan on the roof of a building to knock back a mook on a ladder, though her backswing hits Indy as well.
In the movie Thursday, the protagonist gets bound to a chair in his own kitchen. He manages to free himself while alone in the room, grabs a frying pan, and sits back down in the chair with it held behind his back as the villain who was going to torture him returns. And proceeds to berate himself for not grabbing the hidden gun nearby instead.
Momma: Who the hell is this? Owen: Oh, this is Cousin Paddy. He's coming to stay with us a while. Isn't that nice? Momma: [suspiciously] We don't have a "Cousin Paddy". Owen: [to Larry] You lied to me! Wham!
Hilariously averted in Hancock when the titular hero attempts to prove a point. When trying to get answers from invincible counterpart Mary he manages to bend a barbecue fork in her back, shatter a rolling pin over her head and finally attempts to smash two frying pans on her head. She manages to stop him in time, though it is unlikely the frying pans would have had any physical effect, aside from Cross-Popping Veins.
UHF: "Hey, Bobbo, look up! Now look down! Now look at Mister Frying Pan!" clang "Uh-oh! Bobbo fall down; go boom." In the special features commentary, Al describes that he accidentally hit the actor portraying Bobbo VERY hard with the skillet. The pain and utter aggravation he exhibits is a real reaction.
In one of the more graphic scenes in Chocolat, a drunken Serge breaks into Vianne's flat to try and get his wife Josephine back. He ends up assaulting Vianne, until Josephine sneaks up behind them and bangs the frying pan on Serge's head.
Short story Utensile Strength by Patricia C. Wrede, part of her Enchanted Forest Chronicles, centered around what to do with "The Frying Pan of Doom". It's not just a large blunt object — when wielded by the right person, it turns anyone whacked on the head with it into a poached egg. The pan is usually so hot that whoever holds it must wear an oven mitt; only its Rightful Wielder can hold it bare-handed.
Tika's most prominent scene in the Dragonlance Chronicles has her bashing a draconian in the head with a cast-iron skillet. The skillet was listed in her equipment (1d8 damage) in a version of the campaign modules on which the novels were based. In the 15th anniversary edition of the trilogy (The Annotated Chronicles), Tracy Hickman notes that Tika had a special weapon specialization, known as "Skillet Bashing", which gave several benefits when wielding a skillet.
In 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons rules, this makes Tika's skillet as deadly as a longsword.
In the seventh Harry Potter book, Kreacher gives Mundungus a much deserved bang on the head with a copper saucepan.
Frank Bennett is killed with a single blow to the head by a large cast-iron skillet in the book and movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. In the book, he's nailed in the back of the head; in the film, he's hit in the face.
An example from TKKG, the popular series of kids novels in German-speaking countries: Gaby uses it on one of her kidnappers.
One of several improvised weapons used in an effort to disable the crazed maitre d' in Stephen King's short story Lunch at the Gotham Cafe (found in the collection Everything's Eventual).
Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer's joint story "Agnes and the Hitman" features a heroine who has a notorious habit of hitting men (particularly cheating boyfriends) over the head with frying pans. It is hilariously alluded to throughout the book from the first chapter - when she accidentally kills a dognapper by hitting him repeatedly with a frying pan, sending him hurtling backwards into a hidden basement - onwards. She even notes the differences in damage between frying pans ("It was nonstick, not cast iron, so he shouldn't even need a plate in his head!")
The opening chapter of Remote Man has Janet smashing a TV with a frying pan, the first indication we get of her nervous breakdown.
In Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series, a woman throws a pot at her employer during her "moontime." He then takes several of her cooking implements outside to throw around. She thinks that the Proud Warrior Race Guy is just taking out his anger on things other than her. Turns out he's trying to figure out which of them would make the best weapon for her, then trains her to be literally lethal with a frying pan.
As a result of that training, the rather gentle, caring, and sweet female character declares that she can break bone nine times out of ten when she throws a skillet at someone.
In Dan Wells's Mr. Monster John Cleaver knocks out Agent Foreman with a frying pan. In this case, there is no levity in the use of a frying pan.
In The Pinballs, Carlie's backstory involves a violent stepfather who all but killed her with his bare hands and it is implied she only survived, thanks to a frying pan.
John Irving's "Last Night in Twisted River" has a few of these: The cook, Dominic, is rumored to once have hit a bear with his 18-inch cast-iron skillet to get it out of his kitchen (in reality, he had hit his friend Ketchum with it when he found out Ketchum had been sleeping with his wife). His son Daniel later uses the skillet as a weapon against what he believes to be a bear mauling his father, killing his babysitter in the process.
In the Phryne Fisher novel Queen of the Flowers, Ruth knocks out an intruder in the Fisher household with a long handled frying pan.
In Native Son, Bigger kills a rat in his apartment with a heavy iron skillet.
Live Action TV
Boston Legal— Bernard Ferrion killed his mother by hitting her in the head with a skillet, and later killed his neighbor the same way when he thought she was had found out about the first murder. It then showed up again when Bernard himself was killed the same way by Betty White, after he said that he wanted to kill again.
Kel in Kenan & Kel use one to take down a thug. And Kenan. And Kenan's parents. And a police officer.
In an early episode of Six Feet Under, the opening "Death of the Week" segment involves a woman killing her boring Motor Mouth husband with a single blow of a frying pan.
On the second season premiere of The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy chased after Bo and Luke with a frying pan after finding out they destroyed her car.
In Dinosaurs, the baby repeatedly beats Earl over the head with a frying pan, all the while shouting, "Not the mama! Not the mama!"
A non-comic example occurred in EastEnders with the death of popular, long-running character Pauline Fowler. After several months of leading viewers on a wild goose chase as to who her killer was, it emerged that she died from a brain hemorrhage after being hit on the head with a frying pan by husband Joe.
Which is a Continuity Nod to a 1993 storyline where Pauline discovered her then-husband Arthur had been having an affair. The ensuing argument saw Pauline whack Arthur with a frying pan; unlike Joe's attack on Pauline, this was shown on-screen (3'53" in).
On Friends Chandler and Joey prepare for the arrival of Joey's Stalker with a Crush. Joey grabs a heavy frying pan. Chandler balks at this, suggesting a back-up plan "in case she isn't a cartoon!"
Another time Monica and Phoebe are screaming because of leg-waxing strips. Joey and Chandler run in holding a pot and a tea kettle respectively.
In the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "A Day In The Life", Xena fends off an attack by some bad guys with a frying pan. This leads to Gabrielle scolding her about ruining their only good pan.
In an episode of Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty brains Manuel with a frying pan after mistaking him for a burglar. According to The Other Wiki, Cleese used an real metal frying pan instead of a rubber one, and actually knocked Andrew Sachs (Manuel) unconscious.
And according to the documentary, the sound you hear when Basil hits Manuel on the head with a frying pan is him actually hitting Manuel. Not a good sound and shows how this trope actually can be Truth in Television.
Ellie Bartowski manages to knock out John Casey with two blows of a frying pan in one episode of Chuck. Later on, she also uses a frying pan on Daniel Shaw.
Anya takes out at least one of the Knights of Byzantium with a frying pan in the episode Spiral. A much more serious example — in his fake vision of their future together, Xander hits Anya in the head with a skillet after she chews him out for being such a terrible husband.
And Buffy takes out Ted with the same cast-iron skillet he made those damn mini-pizzas with!
Not played for comedy in the Season 6 episode "Normal Again" when Buffy hits Xander with one then drags him to the basement to be killed by the Monster of the Week.
Dexter. Dexter uses one to knock Rita's ex-husband unconscious after he makes one threat too many. Dexter then stages Paul passed out having a relapse, getting him thrown back into prison.
Subverted in Lie to Me: When attacked in her kitchen, Gillian grabs a frying pan and hits one of the attackers with it — only for it to make a little "ding" sound and the mook to tackle her to the ground.
Lost in Space. Judy Robinson wields one in "Welcome Stranger", knocking Jimmy Hapgood out during his fight with Don. As a Call Back in the season two episode "A Visit To Hades", she tries this again with a pipe, only this time she hits Don instead of the guy he's scuffling with.
In the Mad TV skit "I'm Sorry Mrs. Jackson," parodying a song by Outkast, Mrs. Jackson is seen wielding one in response to the Reverend Jesse Jackson's cheating on her.
In The Haunting Hour episode "The Return of Lilly D", Lilly D (an evil doll) tries to attack Natalie with a knife, but Natalie knocks it out of her hand with a frying pan, then uses the pan to knock Lilly D's head off.
Community - Troy narrates a spooky story where mad doctor Pierce has sewn him and Abed together. After their initial horror they realize they have a new psychic bond - they knock Pierce out with a telekinetically hurled skillet. Then they levitate a big kitchen knife...and cut a sandwich on the counter in two and levitate it over to eat.
Frying pans are used as weapons twice in Doctor Who, once by the Doctor and once by Amelia Pond - though Amy's frying pan is made of wood.
Lano and Woodley, interviewed by Andrew Denton, explained how a very lightweight frying pan or baking tin can be used this way for comic effect. It makes a funny clanging noise, and the actor's reaction sells it as a hard hit. Of course, the demonstration goes awry, and the resulting impact is a little harder than either comedian expected, turning this into another example of Truth in Television.
Leverage: In "The French Connection Job", Elliot is posing as a chef and uses a frying pan to casually knock out a thug who comes to try and drag him out of the kitchen.
Lampshaded in an episode of NCIS. At Gibbs' place (doubling as a safehouse for a young crime witness) Abby helps Ziva to subdue an intruder.
Abby: It's a frying pan. It's a little cliché
Ziva: Works for me.
The Avengers. While fighting in a railway dining car, a helpful crewmember called Crewe throws a sheet over a mook's head, then offers Emma Peel a frying pan.
Crewe: Ladies first.
Peel: Be my guest! (Crewe knocks out mook)
They Might Be Giants, with Particle Man: "Person Man, Person Man, Hit on the head with a frying pan..."
The Bride of Frankenstein uses this against her mate in Monster Bash.
During the Texas Death Match between Cactus Jack and the Sandman at ECW Double Tables, February 4, 1995, Jack grabbed a frying pan from ringside, fully expecting it to be a light aluminum pan bought from the dollar store next to the arena. It was cast-iron. According to Foley, Sandman's brains didn't unscramble for two weeks.
This was back in the days of fans bringing their own weapons to the arena for the wrestlers to use on one another. Immediately following this match, ECW stopped allowing it.
In September-October 1999, Chyna (who was being considered the ultimate feminist) had entered a feud with WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight ChampionJeff Jarrett (who had adopted a Stay in the Kitchen mentality.) They decided to run with it and, for the October 99 No Mercy PPV, booked WWE's only "Good Housekeeping" match, where the area around the ring was littered with household objects. In her autobiography, there's a photo of Chyna bringing a frying pan down hard on Jarrett's head. Chyna won the match and the title, exiling Jarrett from the company in the process, after hitting Jarrett with a guitar. (Jarrett had debuted in December 1993 as "Double-J" Jeff Jarrett, doing an evil country singergimmick [he's from Tennessee], and he has continued to use a guitar as his Weapon of Choice to this day.)
The Stephanie Miller Show has voice impressionist Jim Ward portray former president Bill Clinton's reaction to titillating news stories of the day. Then his wife hits him with a frying pan after the inevitable innuendo. Mind you, this is a liberal radio show.
A classic story passed around in role-playing circles tells of the Dungeon Master who has a monster attack his players that can only be harmed with magic weapons, knowing that they have no such weapons in stock. Instead of fleeing like they were supposed to, one of the characters picks up the only magic item the party has, a self-heating frying pan the DM had previously given them as gag treasure. The character defeats the monster and the player goes on to build the character around frying-pan battle techniques.
One of Samwise Gamgee miniatures by Games Workshop dual wields a sword and a frying pan.
Frying pans are the recurring weapon of choice for the female leads of the MOTHER trilogy. They were the sole weapons available to Ana in MOTHER and Paula in EarthBound. Kumatora can use a Fake Frying Pan late in MOTHER 3, but they're not her primary weapon type.
After the treasure hunting quest chain Fable I, the prize is a frying pan, which has several augmentation slots. note If you cheat and just dig it up, it has none. If you collect all the clues, it has two — plus two more invisible ones that cease to exist if you don't use them right away.
It's an amazingly powerful anti-zombie weapon in Dead Rising. You can smackdown a decent number of zombies with it ordinarily, but For Massive Damage, use the pan with a handy stove, to create a Red-Hot Frying Pan - which you can then use to toast the zombies' faces! One-hit knockout against any zombie, while also looking hilarious.
The Chef class in Makai Kingdom uses Frying Pans as one of their preferred weapons. They're a pretty rare find, as they only show up in mid-to-high level random dungeons.
A variation is in Final Fantasy IX. A chef wants to use his frying pan as a hammer to help rebuild Alexandria, but he's told his work is just as valuable making sure everyone else is fed and healthy, so they can rebuild.
An entire sidequest in Phantasy Star Online involves a club of weapon enthusiasts talking about the ultimate weapon, which turns out to be the frying pan of the club's president's wife. Amazingly enough, it's actually more effective than some of the real weapons you usually get around that time.
Lilith Aileron in Tales of Destiny. Used to devastating effect in the attacks "Shisha no mezame" (waking the dead, with sound waves!) and Steak Flare (though not directly). It is at least as painful as it sounds.
Patty Fleur in the PS3 remake of Tales of Vesperia uses a frying pan for her Little Big Chef and Fire Big Chef artes. She only smacks them over the head with it for the former attack, though, and only if she's using certain attack styles. This is somehow just as capable of producing dishes as the other variants of the attack that actually look as though she's preparing food with the pan.
In Chrono Cross, several characters use various cooking utensils as weapons, the strongest of which is a frying pan made of Rainbow Shell. Combined with a battle system that utilizes stringing weak-fierce blows together, this leads to, among things, an unassuming village girl unleashing a rapid-fire, martial arts Spam Attack with her trusty frying pan.
Evolution: The World of Sacred Device has one of the main characters, Linear, use a frying pan as her main weapon. What is odd is that they are exploring ancient ruins, yet she keeps finding upgrades for her weapon. Surely the ancients had some really tough eggs to fry.
Sauceror characters in Kingdom of Loathing wield a class of saucepans for their Saucery and for bludgeoning as per this trope. The frying brainpan, depicted and described as a frying pan, is among the top-level available.
In Evergrace (by the makers of Armored Core), you not only get a frying pan for Sharline, but the first upgrade adds a pair of eggs, and the second adds a strip of bacon to make a happy breakfast plate. Upgrades add enormous bashing damage (though not as good as the monstrous hammers) and fire attacks.
In a rather weird and somewhat different usage of the Frying Pan Of Doom, but not as a hand held weapon, you've got the Evil Chef boss in Wario Land: Shake It!, Large Fry. He actually rides around in a frying pan as some kind of flying device, uses it to charge at Wario for one attack and slam into the ground from above the screen in another attack, and uses said improbable weapon in quite possibly an evil more improbable way than most.
In Sword Of Vermilion, if the hero refuses to go save a woman's husband, he gets whacked over the head with her frying pan.
Hisui wields a pan, in addition to several other cooking (and cleaning) implements, in Melty Blood. Pishi!
When you play as Sam in one of the Lord of the Rings tie-in RPGs, one of your abilities uses a frying pan that has a stun effect.
Left 4 Dead 2 is the source of the above image. In it, the humble skillet is every bit as deadly as any other melee weapon – maybe even more, as it has a shorter cooldown between swings. Funnily enough, it's such a liked weapon that in the promotion for The Passing DLC, the Frying Pan was added to Valve's other hugely popular multiplayer game Team Fortress 2 as a cosmetic change to the Soldier's shovel and the Demoman's bottle. Then, it reached memetic status as part of the "Demopan", a fan-made parody of the many, many promotional items of Team Fortress 2. As of now, the Frying Pan can be equipped by every class except the Spy and the Engineer. Considering that using the Scout's bat is one of the most annoying things to be hit with, you can only imagine how many people started to use the Frying Pan when playing as the Scout just for the Most Annoying Sound.
In Final Fantasy IV, Yang's Wife (later named Sheila in The After Years) gives the heroes a frying pan with which to hit Yang, and doing so cures his memory loss. It's hinted that this is because it reminded him of the many times it apparently happened before. It's even hinted that she shows her love with physical violence in the Japanese version, where the item is actually called the "Frying Pan of Love". The "Frying Pan of Love" returns with a ladle (meant for Yang and Sheila's daughter, Ursula) in The After Years. After Yang and Ursula take their beatings, they groggily mumble as though waking up, clearly believing that Sheila was the one who hit them. Luca is left utterly dumbfounded.
In LittleBigPlanet, one of the costume objects is a frying pan. If you try to do a Sackboy Slap while holding it, you get the expected sound. It's also supposed to knock the target further than a standard slap.
In Zombie Panic, one of the many melee weapons available is a frying pan. On a similar note, another is a cooking pot.
Your main method of attack in non-Japanese versions of Panic Restaurant is a frying pan.
Frying pans are a weapon in the Snowboard Kids series. They are launched into the air rather than swung and will hit all other racers (unless they're made immune in some way, such as invisibility), flattening them and bringing their forward momentum to a screeching halt. Anyone in midair, such as when going off a jump or doing a trick, when hit by the frying pan, will plummet straight down. Disastrous over a Bottomless Pit.
The Chef Kyroo dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D wields one as a weapon, utilizing it both for close range combos and long range fire attacks.
Ragnarok Online has the Lunakaligo, a transcendent acolyte class weapon, and the monster Magnolia, a reanimated fried egg that uses a frying pan as a weapon.
Frying pans are an available weapon in Silent Hill: Downpour. They're actually the best weapon in the game if you're going for the best ending, due to their high toughness, availability (Every house has one in it) and tendency to lay out enemies without actually killing them.
Featured in Alone In The Dark 2. The frying pan can even block most of the blow darts from the Evil Chef. After the chef exhausted his darts, he will go into a frying pan duel with you.
Hillary Clinton uses one to hit Bill with in the Jib Jab video "Time For Some Campaignin'"
A character in CAPOW uses a Frying Pan Of Heaven. Luckily for the rest of the cast she's a staunch pacifist who only uses it to fix glitchy code in the World Tree, and the planned storyline where the End of the World as We Know It hits and her optimism gets broken in the worst possible way never came to full fruition.
Weapon of choice for Irma, April O'Neil's dowdy coworker in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She nearly brains Donatello before she realizes who it is.
During Huey and Riley's fight in The Boondocks episode "Let's nab Oprah!", Riley first pulls out a frying pan from his pants (and later produces a gun from there as well), while Huey fends him off with a katana. As the fight moves into the kitchen area, Huey uses a frying pan that's lying around to knock Riley down.
Family Guy: Peter invents an antidote for frying pans to the head. It doesn't work.
Chris Total Drama World Tour hits Owen over the head with one in the first episode when he freaks due to his fear of flying.
In the Wacky Races episode "Idaho a Go Go", Dastardly lures Penelope Pitstop into a Red Riding Hood scenario, with Muttley as the wolf. Except that Penelope's an Action Girl, so rather than hide from the wolf, she clobbers him with a frying pan. When the real wolf shows up, he doesn't fare any better.
A season 5 episode of Futurama has Ndnd of the Planet Omicron Persei 8 and Leela facing off with these. Bender sells them when they start arguing.
An episode of Camp Lazlo has Slinkman hitting Lumpus with a frying pan when he gets delusional. It's implied this wasn't the first time it's happened.
Richard the Lionheart is reputed to have died after being called out of his tent to come see an enemy Mook using a frying pan as a shield. The actual cause of death was being shot by crossbow though.
Some versions claim that the lethal bolt was fired from the crossbow of the man with the frying pan. Lucky shot indeed.
As mentioned on the trope page; this trope is often seen because yes, Frying Pans can be pretty heavy and several people had used them as makeshift weapons in self-defense.
Adding to that, if the frying pan has been recently used, it could also be RED-HOT while it's being slung around.
Not to mention it could be full of equally SCALDINGLY HOT oil, making it capable of doing copious amounts of damage (to the wielder as well, if not careful) even on a complete miss.
As the page quote shows, Anthony Bourdain once wrote that if upon hefting a frying pan, if you have any doubt whether it's the pan that will dent on someone's head instead of the reverse, throw it away.