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Old 09-14-2008, 08:46 PM   #1
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The Care and Feeding of your Cast Iron Skillet

Seasoning
I picked up a new cast iron skillet today, only to be sorely disappointed with the "instructions" included with it.

It reads as follows:
"Add vegetable shortening to skillet, let melt and coat pan. Let sit in oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit." Ok, straight forward and very very vague. Luckily I have done this before, and I feel it necessary to pass on my experiences with the process.

Before we get started, it is imperative that I state that you must, under ANY circumstance, do NOT wash the cast iron, EXCEPT for the first time. You will destroy the protective coating (the seasoning) on the pan.

First thing is first. Wash that skillet. and wash it very well. Soapy water, and 3-5 minutes soaking after a good scrubbing. After it's finished, dry it up.

You will be using the oven for the next step. Set it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put one tablespoon of veg shortening into the pan and stick it into the oven while it pre-heats.

Once the shortening moves around, but the pan is still cool enough to handle, take a paper towel and coat that bitch. Top, bottom, sides, handle. EVERYTHING has to be coated. Because it is iron, and not stainless, it will rust. The point of the seasoning process (coating it with fat) is to seal it up so that it won't rust on you. After coating it, put it FACE DOWN in the oven. Face down so that you have an even coating and it doesn't pool in the middle of the pan. And have a drip catch of some sort under the pan.

One hour later, let it sit until it is cool enough to handle. With a paper towel, clean off the excess fat. We're not done yet.

Next step (probably do this the day following) is to do the same process all over again with a coating of oil in the pan. Same steps (except the washing) apply. Again in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees. Do not use an oil that burns easily (olive oil). Stick with Canola oil.

CLEANING

To clean your newly seasoned skillet, there are a few methods. None of which include soap. The easiest one is simply hot water and a cloth. Other option (which I prefer) is coarse salt and oil while the pan is still warm. Half a teaspoon of salt or less will do. Add the oil. With a paper towel, use the salt as an abrasive to remove any undesired pieces of leftover food.

Now, I know some of you are saying "This is not hygienic at all!" True, it's not at first. The heat that cast iron can take is more than enough to kill any bacteria on it for the next round of cooking.

Hope this helps, and maybe someone else will go out and buy a skillet like I did today.
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Last edited by TekDragon; 10-08-2008 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:55 PM   #2
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Missing a word somewhere here...

Quote:
Before we get started, it is imperative that I state that you must, under ANY circumstance, wash the cast iron, EXCEPT for the first time.
Quote:
First thing is first. Wash that skillet. and wash it very well.

a good walkthrough though. i've always been curious about cast iron, but i never had the patience to actually go through all that
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:07 AM   #3
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what kind of foods do u cook in a cast iron skillet, any kind, more meat kind of thing ?
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:18 AM   #4
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Meat is great. You can get the crust outside the meat. the whole point is that the skillet won't lose heat when you put a large cold piece of meat in it.

I've done steak, chicken, lamp chops, pork. Hell, I've even done shepherd's pie and baked it in the oven to finish it.
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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My only frying pans are cast iron.

I disagree with not using soap. Using soap to wash the frying pan is ok, as long as it is immediately rinsed after. Soaking a cast iron frying pan in soapy water will kill it.

I usually will wash my cast iron frying pans, then rinse and dry immediately, and then coat them with a thin layer of oil (put a little oil on paper towel and rub into the pan) before I store them.

The only thing I have yet to master cooking in my cast iron frying pan is french crepes.
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:16 PM   #6
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From the main menu, I thought the thread title was going to say "The care and feeding of your GIRLFRIEND" lol

This thread definetely gives me more confidence in having a traditional cast iron skillet though
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:32 AM   #7
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always wanted to get one for cooking
i'll keep this in mind when i do, thanks!!
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Old 11-28-2009, 02:05 AM   #8
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also to test if its really clean, crack an egg on it and anywhere it sicks, its still dirty
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:54 AM   #9
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Where was this when I needed it?

One day, I decide to thoroughly clean the kitchen. Scrub I did. Dishes, pots, pans, walls, cooktop, fan, etc. I came across this cast iron pan. Shit it looked like crap. I spent a long time getting it looking like new again - SOS pads and lots of elbow grease.

Later on, my wife walks in and her eyeballs pop out of thier sockets. Now she's a bitch most of the time, but this time she went on for most of the day slamming things and ranting about years of getting a patina just right or something like that. For Christ's sake, it's like a 14 dolla pan....... She still glares at me when I go close to that cast iron pan.

From that day on, I stay out of the kitchen. She was right when she said, "How would you like it if I went into your workshop and fucked up your tools, Asshole!" Actually, the words were a bit stronger, but with RS being such a family oriented place, I'll leave it at that.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:25 PM   #10
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I clean with the exact same method.
warm - hot pan, kosher salt, oil and scrub with a paper towel.
I just toss out the paper towel when it gets too dirty, then repeat.

89blkcivic,
I think her reaction is pretty justified.
It may be a cheap pan, but it's like something that's required YEARS to properly break in.
I've only had mine for 2 years, and it's one of my most treasured possessions.
It's not like a tool where you can just replace with money.
It'd be like taking your socket set, "fixing it" cause not all the holes are the same size, and not being able to replace it for years.

Also, if anybody touched mine.
I'd tear them a new one.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
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anywhere it sicks, its still dirty
That, or you're not cooking with enough heat...

Cast Iron pans need heat to work properly. It's like the cast iron grates on my BBQ. Not enough heat and shit sticks, enough heat and it sears nicely and is stick free.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:04 AM   #12
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Thanks for the informative thread, at my workplace they have a cast iron skillet but i dont really know the TLC involved in maintaining it. Their cleaning method is putting it through an industrial dish washer, which involves high powered water jets.. that probably screws up the skillet pretty bad.. but oh well, their loss haha
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hal0g0dv2 View Post
what kind of foods do u cook in a cast iron skillet, any kind, more meat kind of thing ?
large chunks of protein
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:52 AM   #14
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I use a cast iron pan for camping. Make everything in it, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even cooked up some bannock bread last camping trip.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:29 AM   #15
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Time to start collecting griswold and wagners. The older ones are much higher quality having a glass like surface that u can do nonstick eggs on.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TekDragon View Post
Meat is great. You can get the crust outside the meat. the whole point is that the skillet won't lose heat when you put a large cold piece of meat in it.

I've done steak, chicken,lamp chops, pork. Hell, I've even done shepherd's pie and baked it in the oven to finish it.


MMMMMMMmmmmmmMmmm... Yummy....

Lamp Chops are my favorite
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:18 PM   #17
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Anyone know of where I can pick up a cast iron? Should I do some yard sale scouting? Or is there some good cast irons that can be found in stores these days? All I hear is that "they don't make cast irons like they used to"
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:39 PM   #18
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Check army/navy. They sell cast iron goods and if I remember pretty cheap too

http://www.armyandnavy.ca/105-Cast-I...t_p_17406.html
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:39 PM   #19
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Home Outfitters or The Bay have the La Creuset cast iron pans, very pricey but when I was working there I had many people tell me how great they were.
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:27 PM   #20
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Heat up your cast iron, when it's very hot use salt to clean off any dirt with a skillet brush or thick wet paper towel. Using soap to wash a skillet is not usually recommended.
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:42 PM   #21
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I haven't used my cast iron in over a year.
Ditto with my stainless.
They sit hanging on my shelf unused.

I've swapped over to a pair of carbon steel pans (De Buyer Mineral B).
Better ergonomics, better angle for saute tosses.

I can't go back.
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Old 11-30-2016, 11:19 AM   #22
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Maybe someone can shed some light on what I may be doing wrong with my cast iron pan. I've had it for just over a year now. Properly seasoned it from the get go with avocado oil, and have followed upkeep rigorously. I always make sure not to use a large amount of soap while cleaning it, primarily just a scrubby sponge and hot water. Dry it right away, thin coat of oil and then stored in the oven.

For items such as an uncoated piece of chicken or pork chop its totally non stick. But once I had any seasonings, spices, coatings, etc. to the meat, the coatings seem to completely "bake" into the cast iron and it is a bitch to get off afterwards. If i try and make a frittata, I can remove the frittata from the pan, but there is always a very thin layer of egg that has stuck to the pan that needs to be scrubbed out. Yesterday, I threw some rice into the pan with my chicken (which didn't stick at all), and almost immediately the rice began to stick, even though I had a decent amount of oil, and the pan was nice and hot.

Any suggestions? It is a Lagostina cast iron pan if that makes a difference.
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Old 11-30-2016, 03:48 PM   #23
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What temperatures are you using? If foods are sticking the temperature might be too high.

Also, are you using fresh rice?

FYI, use lots of soap to clean it if you need to. It's fine. Use a metal turner to scrape the burnt, black crap off of it if you need to. That's not seasoning.

How often are you using it? The only way to truly get maximum performance out of cast iron is to keep using it. Cooking in it is the best way to season and it will take time.
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Old 12-01-2016, 11:11 AM   #24
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I was cooking at medium to medium high. The rice was day old from the fridge.

For a frittata, I typically lower the heat to low prior the pouring in the egg mixture since it then needs to go into the oven and bake.

Use wise, about once a week on average. So overall I probably have used it 50 to 60 times by now.
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Old 12-02-2016, 12:40 PM   #25
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Let the rice sit out a bit before placing in the pan. Also try lowering the temperature.

Egg mixtures tend to stick although low setting might actually be too low in this case. It doesn't have a chance to coagulate and set quickly.

Sticking is usually due to lack of fat (maybe you need more ) or incorrect temperature. I feel like you need to keep tweaking with this.

Any reason (high smoke point?) why you're using avocado oil? What seasoning method did you use?
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