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Old 08-17-2012, 08:51 AM   #1
The Cyclops OP
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cast iron cooking

What could be more manly than frying up some bacon in a cast iron cooker over a flame? I have come to love cooking on cast iron. It really started a year or so ago when I found my dads favorite skillet for his big fish fry's. He had been gone for 9 years, but when I started working to recondition it I could still smell the fish that had cooked 9+ years before. Teared up to say the least. After learning about them and how to condition them I fell in love with them. No one had in my family had been doing it right and they really are nonstick, better and safer than Teflon! Got a gas stove and man I can't believe what a difference that combo makes. Flipping omelets with a 10" cast iron chefs skillet is not for girly men! Now I am almost collecting these things, and love to think about their history. I need to find some really vintage stuff.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:02 AM   #2
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Bacon always messes up the seasoning for my pans. Probably doing something wrong, but I'm still a fan of cast iron.

As a bonus point I can cut back on eating nails.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by PachmanP View Post
Bacon always messes up the seasoning for my pans. Probably doing something wrong, but I'm still a fan of cast iron.

As a bonus point I can cut back on eating nails.
Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I'll cook bacon about once a week to help keep my pan nice and non-stick. After I fry eggs, I'll try to do bacon a day or two later just to help get some oil/grease back in there. For some reason, eggs seem to pull the 'non-stick' out of my pan like nothing else.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:44 AM   #4
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Bacon actually seems to help mine, and I drain the excess bacon grease into a mason jar through a filter (paper towel) to re-use for cleaning the pans or for cooking.

I use thick Wright bacon, which seems more natural, so maybe that helps when compared to the cheap bacon that out's there that probably has more sugar or additives in it?

Anyway, when I first got my (first) skillet (e-bay, small logo Griswold) I went and bought what I think was pork-back to chop up and then render to have pretty pure looking lard in a mason jar. Since then I found that my second mason jar of bacon grease / lard works just about the same, and is free since I cook bacon anyway. Initially I thought I wanted a second skillet to fry grits in while I was cooking bacon and eggs in the first, so I bought a second Griswold (larger logo) that was the same size. While I rarely cook grits anymore (maybe I'll do that this morning though), the second identical size has allowed me use it as a lid (upside down) for the first to use them as a dutch oven to cook bread in.

Since then a friend has passed away, and the people who cleaned out her house found a rusted skillet they were going to throw away, plus another ceramic-coated blue with white specks LL Bean skillet that is much too small for a guy's meal. But the first skillet is the very same size my first two are, except it is noticeably heavier and it has a heat-ring. Still a vintage skillet, but no clue who made it. So now I have three cast iron skillets of the same size on my stove top.

Anyway, I believe that real lard (not store-bought hydrogenated lard) is one of the keys to having a well-seasoned and easy-to-use cast iron skillet. That, and that lard is usually far healthier for us than all the substitutes the last few generations have been sold/convinced were healthier.

If done well, all a skillet that had good bacon and eggs cooked over-easy should seem to need is a little lard from the leftover bacon grease, and a wipe-down with a dedicated lard-wiping rag, or a new paper-towel while the skillet is still hot. Used like that I don't need soap or water.

If I cook other more sugary foods in them, like onions / diced veggies, or my seasoned chicken, then yeah, I'll use hot soapy water (on the bottom of the inside, don't really want to uncoat all it oil off of the sides and outside) right after using it, then put it back on the burner to steam the water off, add a tablespoon of the mason jar's grease and wipe it around or push it around with my SS spatula.

I think one of the things to consider about the way people used cat iron for a long time was that they didn't have this 'clean' fetish that so many are used to today. Sure, they were clean people, and wiped down their cast iron, or maybe boiled a little water in them, but I don't believe they went to the lengths some people today do to get them ultra-clean. After all, it's food particles, and as long as you get your skillet nice and hot the next time... they're sterile enough that a wiped-down skillet that was just used the day before isn't going to kill ya.

For new-comers, I'd suggest this write-up on cast iron: http://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp

Mambo Dave screwed with this post 08-19-2012 at 06:54 AM
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
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Wish I Could...

Cook with cast iron. Unfortunately, my wife of many decades (who steadfastly refuses to ever let her opinion be swayed by facts) does not believe that anything can ever be safely eaten after cooking in a pan that wasn't thoroughly washed. I had some cast iron back in college days, when I moved, she conveniently neglected to pack it. We did have some in the firehouse but a similar mentality prevailed, use, wash, kinda-sorta re-season was the plan. Maybe, someday, I will try again, I thought about getting some for the camper but that is used mostly where I am surrounded by warmth, humidity and salt - can't keep my fishing gear from rusting there and I am probably too lazy to keep the cookware from rusting.


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Old 08-17-2012, 03:14 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, my wife of many decades (who steadfastly refuses to ever let her opinion be swayed by facts) does not believe that anything can ever be safely eaten after cooking in a pan that wasn't thoroughly washed


This is truly the only major downside to cast iron cookware. I keep mine in the garage.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:19 PM   #7
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This is truly the only major downside to cast iron cookware. I keep mine in the garage.

Not a downside - flavor.

I am also OK using soap in mine, and usually every so often I'll do so. Lately I will just click on my electric kettle to boil up some water, and drop some boiling water into the hot pan right after cooking, swirl and wipe. Then leave on heat till dry, and wipe it with some oily paper towel.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:06 PM   #8
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Not a downside - flavor.
What I meant was the unstoppable drive of certain members of the family to scrub them out is the only down side. Hence I keep mine in the garage.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:44 AM   #9
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The entire time growing up my mom washed our cast iron in soapy water so it didn't retain the nonstick, and the first few times I tried I really goofed, too and it didn't work. Here is what I do now, and I can make an egg slide around like its literally on ice. After you finish cooking allow the iron to cool down to where its just a little warm and rinse it off with water. Take a clean, wet rag and wipe it really good until it looks clean and then dry. Spray some vegetable oil in there (just enough to get a good coat), doesn't have to be dripping or running. When you get ready to cook an egg just hit it with a good shot of veg spray again and you are good to go. It may take a few times to get it conditioned, just hand in there, eggs are cheap and the dogs love them!

The best thing is with gas/cast iron is it cooks so much better than electric. You have to really try to burn something with that combo, its like everything is just evened out or something.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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i use cast iron exclusively. i have an induction stove and it maintains perfectly, because the cast iron has the mass to do it. Non stick pans just don't work nearly as well. My pans are almost all either lodge pans that can pre-seasoned or garage sale finds that were very easy to re-season.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:27 AM   #11
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Now I am almost collecting these things, and love to think about their history. I need to find some really vintage stuff.
If you're on a budget, you'd better stay away from eBay, then.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:14 PM   #12
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If you're on a budget, you'd better stay away from eBay, then.
Afraid to even look, lol. My mother in law is a garage sale junkie and brings them in from time to time. I saw this in the Lodge Outlet the other day, talk about sexy! It was built like a tank. I don't know why I haven't gotten one yet.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:27 PM   #13
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Seriously.

What the fuck are you guys using on your cast iron pans that will wash off pure fucking carbon? Muriatic acid?


Clean up consists of deglazing with some water after I'm finished cooking to get up the larger bits, then a quick dip in a little hot soapy water, rinse, back on the still hot stove top to dry it quickly, then a couple of drops of veg oil wiped around before putting away. My seasoning keeps getting better and better.

If you're washing off your seasoning with some hot water and a couple of drops of Palmolive, it ain't really "seasoned".
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:45 PM   #14
The Cyclops OP
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Seriously.

What the fuck are you guys using on your cast iron pans that will wash off pure fucking carbon? Muriatic acid?


Clean up consists of deglazing with some water after I'm finished cooking to get up the larger bits, then a quick dip in a little hot soapy water, rinse, back on the still hot stove top to dry it quickly, then a couple of drops of veg oil wiped around before putting away. My seasoning keeps getting better and better.

If you're washing off your seasoning with some hot water and a couple of drops of Palmolive, it ain't really "seasoned".
From the Lodge website first rule-
Using Your Lodge Cast Iron

Rinse with hot water (do not use soap), and dry thoroughly.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:48 PM   #15
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From the Lodge website first rule-
Using Your Lodge Cast Iron

Rinse with hot water (do not use soap), and dry thoroughly.
Don't care.

A little Dawn dishwashing liquid ain't going to hurt baked-on pure fucking carbon.

Deglaze.
Wash.
Dry.
Oil.
Wipe.
Store.
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