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Cast Iron Skillets

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  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,921 Member Member Posts: 3,921 Member
    I've got a carbon steel pan that I bought from a restaurant going out of business. It was brand new and had to season it b4 it stopped sticking.

    Heats up really fast and I find it hard to control the heat/cook times w/it. Steaks sear fast but don't cook properky in the middle unless you stick it in the oven. Better results w/my cast iron grill pan for steaks and chops.

    So, I seldom use the carbon steel pan except as a wok substitute where high heat and quick cook time is desired/expected. It works better than the stainless and teflon woks that I have for doing Chinese stir fry.
  • dasher602014dasher602014 Member Posts: 1,992 Member Member Posts: 1,992 Member
    Thanks for all this information. Learned a little to add to my knowledge.

    We have two cast iron pans of different sizes which I have been working on. They are great. We have a carbon steel pan which is used less but mostly because I did not understand the uses and care requirements. These comments help. And a carbon steel wok which I wasn't think as carbon steel and was trying to scrub away the patina. Duh! Will be changing my ways on that one.

    We also have a larger triple ply steel pan, a small non stick and a large triple ply steel non stick (called the egg pan) all of which are rarely used by us. But for large groups, where others are cooking and who don't understand carbon steel or cast iron, they do better with a 'regular' pan. The "egg pan" is kept under wraps and is used only for eggs for a crowd and only by people who know how to treat a non stick pan properly. The little non stick is fair game to all and get replaced regularly.

    Our pots are cast iron enameled and I don't worry about guests beating them up. Hard to have a kitchen where everyone cooks and everyone cleans up but also protect your "specials". This system, although taking up storage, works well for us.

    Again, thank you to all the experimenters and all the sharers. Clean up of cast iron and carbon steel will get easier around here. And the carbon steel will come out to play more often.
  • lpina2milpina2mi Member Posts: 427 Member Member Posts: 427 Member
    I read all that @lpina2mi but I got a little lost on the vinegar thing. Did you just soak it in the vinegar and then use the scrubby? Or did the vinegar and the self-cleaning oven somehow have something to do with one another?

    self-cleaning oven thing removes old baked on crud that the oven cleaner left behind. Worked great on the grill side of my contemporary retangular griddle. Site mentioned caution with vintage pans, as the super high temps during self-cleaning may crack them.

    Vinegar bath removes rust. I used equal amounts of white vinegar and water ( I used 30% vinegar) in one of my laundry baskets so I could submerge my larger skillets.
  • lpina2milpina2mi Member Posts: 427 Member Member Posts: 427 Member
    naomi8888 wrote: »
    I always wash my Le Creuset cast iron pan with soap... now I'm wondering if I need to change - does anyone know? I looked on their website and it's not very clear.

    Me too. I have always given my cast iron a soapy swipe, then put them on my cooktop on low heat to to thoroughly dry. Site warned of electric cooktop set to high could warp cast iron because the heat was not diffused and the coils heat too quickly. It was my children who would let them sit in the sink like a casserole dish that rusted mine in spots. Hence, the stripping and complete re-seasoning.

    Many people routinely only scrub with salt. Others rub down with oil and heat occassionally, in addition to deepening the seasoning with use.
    edited July 2017
  • xandra47xandra47 Member, Premium Posts: 121 Member Member, Premium Posts: 121 Member
    Love my lodge skillets! I use cooking spray on them and it's fine. I use soap once in a while and it's fine, most of the time I just scrub with steel wool and hot water. Also, if you dry them after washing you don't have to oil them and they don't rust.
  • jgnatcajgnatca Member Posts: 14,495 Member Member Posts: 14,495 Member
    I think I picked up my cast iron at Army & Navy a couple decades ago. It outlasted any Teflon I had and now it is the only frying pan I use.

    There is no need to go expensive with cast iron and with initial seasoning it is less work than any other pot you have.

    I would happily pick up any old rusty cast iron frying pan as long as it did not have deep pits and reseason it.

  • BeccaLoves2liftBeccaLoves2lift Member Posts: 376 Member Member Posts: 376 Member
    Another Lodge user here and very satisfied.
  • dabearodabearo Member Posts: 56 Member Member Posts: 56 Member
    Cast iron is the way to go. The more you use it, the better and better it gets. Simple wash and light cost of oil before storing. High acidic foods will leach iron into the food. But only a small amount and you will never know it. And you probably need the iron any ways. Only occurrs with acid and long exposure.

    Sticky pans? My mother in law lives in the country and exclusively uses cast iron. Every year she put her pan in the fires from cleaning up the land. She swears it cooked off all the sticky and did not mess with the seasoning. Probably the same as an ovens cleaning cycle.
  • xandra47xandra47 Member, Premium Posts: 121 Member Member, Premium Posts: 121 Member
    dabearo wrote: »
    Sticky pans? My mother in law lives in the country and exclusively uses cast iron. Every year she put her pan in the fires from cleaning up the land. She swears it cooked off all the sticky and did not mess with the seasoning. Probably the same as an ovens cleaning cycle.

    Yesss! Putting the pan in a bonfire is how my bf and his family season fresh cast iron :)

  • jrdnlancejrdnlance Member, Premium Posts: 2 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2 Member
    My cheapo pre-seasoned lodge is about the only thing I cook on. Cleaning and weight is what I think turns most people off. Honestly, it's easier to clean than a regular pan you throw in the dishwasher because you begin to treat it like a prized possession. Just rinse it with water and no soap using a brush (or steel wool for tough stuff). Dry with a paper towel, through a dollop of olive oil in it, rub it around the cooking surface, walls, and rim-- then leave it on your stove top permanently. The only thing that sucks with them is scrambled eggs. Fried egg? Drop a little butter in there first. Filet migon? Heat super hot, sear each side for 2 minutes, then pop it in the oven at 425 for 4-6 minutes depending on doneness.
  • kavahnikavahni Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
    57 years old, and eaten from/cooked in cast iron all my life.
    1) There is no sin in soap. If you can taste it, you didn't rinse well enough. Period. I've soaked them overnight or longer in soapy water, scrubbed with all sorts of soaps, and they power on. Not sure where this soap fear comes from. Mom did the same with the Dutch oven I've now inherited in which she did the Sunday roast for 70 years.
    2) I'm currently using a pan I found in the woods 30+ years ago rusted to a fare-thee-well. A general scraping with a metal scrubber and Several grits of steel wool took the rust off. Coated the whole thing with oil and put in a very slow oven for hours and it was good to go.
    3). I fry an egg in cast iron nearly every day and need to use less than 1/4 teaspoon of butter.

    Lodge is just fine, but I agree with others: new pans just aren't smooth as older pans. My newer one sticks like the dickens.
  • gatamadrizgatamadriz Member Posts: 68 Member Member Posts: 68 Member
    naomi8888 wrote: »
    I always wash my Le Creuset cast iron pan with soap... now I'm wondering if I need to change - does anyone know? I looked on their website and it's not very clear.

    I use soap on my Le Creuset pan and re season it every couple of years.
  • CattOfTheGarageCattOfTheGarage Member Posts: 2,750 Member Member Posts: 2,750 Member
    I have a few cast iron griddles (a flat one, a ridged one and one of the big rectangular ones with a flat side and a ridged side). I have them because they are big slabs of metal that don't warp over high heat and don't get damaged with rough treatment, unlike non-stick and aluminium pans, which can't stand up to proper searing or flatbread-cooking temperatures.

    I'm not precious with my griddles. I keep them dry. I keep them greased. I don't shock them (by putting cold water on when they're hot) or soak them. If, despite my efforts, rust appears, I don't sweat it, I just scour it off, dry the pan by heating over a low flame, and re-grease. I just use vegetable oil for greasing. I don't worry about soap.

    I may not have a beautiful mirror finish on my pans 50 years from now, but they do what I want them to do. I don't expect to be able to cook eggs or fish on them without added fat, but I don't want my eggs or fish without added fat anyway. So I'm happy.

    I also have an enamelled cast iron Dutch oven. Enamelled cast iron is a bit of a diva, and I am precious about that, as it is easy to damage. If you want a rough-and-tumble pan, stay away from enamelled cast iron.

    Tips for cooking with cast iron are:

    Always let it heat up slowly over medium-low heat (otherwise you'll get hot spots and uneven cooking); the flip side of this is you can turn the heat off five minutes before the end of cooking and it will keep merrily cooking your food by its residual heat. This trick means it makes an amazing food warmer for the dinner table or buffets!

    ALWAYS use an oven glove or a good handle cover, and make sure others know never to touch it with bare hands unless they know it is cold - hot cast iron will take your skin off.

    And find somewhere to keep it that its weight won't discourage you from using it. I keep my griddles on the stove top and the Dutch oven on the kitchen counter - if they were in a low cupboard, I'd never bother to haul them out!
    edited July 2017
  • beckycummingbeckycumming Member Posts: 74 Member Member Posts: 74 Member
    I've salvaged a couple cast irons from the thrift store and they've been fantastic! Thrifting them is also a great lesson in learning proper maintenance, and gives new life to basically a potentially better product! It's worth the extra bit of time and effort!
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