cast iron cooking

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by The Cyclops, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Coffee filters, they don't do all that good with oils. Just go ask any restaurant if they could spare a fat filter or 2. I'd give you some if I was closer.


    Producing lard....darn I used to have one of them huge cast iron kettles, must have been a 60+ gallons. That's what they used them for in the old days, scalding pigs and then produce lard after the butchering. I watched them do just that in Mexico a couple times, everything in the pot bones and all....lets make lard.:wink: The smell can be a little offensive and the end product a little on the dark side. But tasty....!:pot

    I like that smiley...:potreminds me of my youth when we set up my big cast iron kettle for "corn on the cob" parties. That thing would sing when set on a large fire with 40 gallons of water boiling in it. Then dump the cobs in there by the hundreds and later fish them out with a leaf rake. A few pounds of butter preferably set on the hood of someone's junker and some salt. LOTS of beer....:1drink

    I had some doubts about the fat rendering method, did not match what I learned many years ago but had to wait until I got home to my somewhat extensive library of very old cookbooks.Because I remembered the process should start with water and then found a recipe in "The cuisines of Mexico" by Diana Kennedy:

    Easy and best of all....no mess or much time wasted stirring the pot.:pot:wink:

    A meat grinder and 2 lbs of pork fat:Cut the fat into pieces and pass it through the coarse disk of a meat grinder or chop finely in a food processor.( My notes on that...works better if the fat is frozen first and then chop as it is thawing. The food processor works well as long as it is a real one like a Cuisinart, not a wimpy discount one.Same applies to the cleaver work.:wink:)

    A large bowl and 1 cup of cold water: Pour the water over the fat in the bowl and mix it well. Set aside to soak for at least 6 hours.

    3 8-ounce jars: Sterilize the jars.(Note and food service tip, we now use an Hydrogen Peroxide solution to sterilize our equipments.)

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    A heavy iron pan: Transfer the fat and water to the pan. Place on top shelf of the oven and cook until the fat starts to render- about 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 225 F and continue cooking for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Pour off the drippings from time to time, straining them into the prepared jars. Set the jars aside for about 36 hours and then seal and store in a cool, dry place.

    Author's notes on the process: " The rendering could be done on top of the stove but I find the steady. indirect heat of the oven more satisfactory-the fat is less likely to catch you unawares and start to brown." (Diana Kennedy, The cuisines of Mexico, 1989)

    Now that you have lard, go make some deep dish pies in them cast iron pans.I always get a kick of feeding pies to the vegetarians, vegetable shortenings just don't do it for me.:lol3
  2. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    Good ideas - both.

    Not sure how accurate it is, but there is no doubt I should have thought of this beforehand, andjust found a Yahoo reply stating:

    "There are two chemicals of concern in paper towels. The first is formaldehyde, which is used for wet strength of the paper, and the other is dioxin, which may be present from the bleaching of the paper.

    Dioxin is an extremely toxic chemical and has been found to leach into foods such as milk from bleached paper cartons. Formaldehyde is a volatile chemical that can be released into the air and absorbed by other materials.

    I couldn't find any research that shows how much dioxin or formaldehyde is emitted from paper towels or absorbed by food that has been sitting on them for a few minutes. My opinion is that if the food is simply sitting on the towel for a few minutes, it is probably absorbing very little of either chemical. But my best recommendation would be to use a plate instead.

    If you are going to use paper towels, it's better to use the unbleached brown towels. There is more info on choosing paper towels in Green Seal's Choose Green Report on Bathroom Tissue and Paper Towels." http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091018193920AACf7PK

    and there is a longer, more interesting post above that one that gets into detail, but still - good thinking on your parts. :beer

    And thanks for the stories and instructions, H96669, very interesting stuff. You're right - I now have the lard, but I've never made a pie crust before... guess it's not a bad time to learn though, right? I have, once, had a decadent apple pie cooked by a sweet country lass that was made with lard in the crust. I've had bakery-bought pies that came close to it, but I've never had one as flaky or good as that pie.

    I hoped to make Buttermilk biscuits out of the lard, but for the work involved ... I might as well keep buying frozen Buttermilk Biscuits and instead make a pie.
  3. The Cyclops

    The Cyclops Long timer

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    I'm really starting to love my new Lodge that I sanded the bottom smooth. It has been building up a good seasoning and now nothing will stick to it. Even burnt bits wipe out with no effort what so ever. I dare say I think it may be better than my Griswold or Wagner that have fantastic bottoms
  4. ShadyRascal

    ShadyRascal Master of None

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    :clap

    I'm going to try this. My 18 year old has declared himself a cast iron fan, and maybe I'll do this and put one under the tree for him.
  5. pilot

    pilot Slacker Moderator Super Moderator

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    While at the farm during deer season, I was digging around looking at the cast iron. The bottom of the cast iron pot had both Wagner and Griswold labels. What's up with that?
  6. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    I believe that when Griswold went out of business, Wagner bought the molds out http://www.griswoldcookware.com/history.htm

    ignore what they say about them not being 'collectable' - to any of us looking for good CI to cook with that has some history, they're probably as good as anything. Wagner made good stuff, and if I understand what I've read correctly, yours was still made to Wagner specs sometimes after the 1950's, but not in the 1970's.

    Later Trademarks


    • In 1915, Wagner stamped one large italic W followed by smaller letters "agner" and "are" on the bottom of its cast iron cookware. These trademarks included Wagner ware Sidney O stamped on many different pots and skillets until 1959; Griswold Wagner ware on Dutch ovens, muffin pans and skillets from 1915 forward; Wagner ware inside a triangle on skillets and NATIONAL Wagner ware from 1915 until an uncertain date. The company stamped WagnerWare on numerous products from 1959 forward. In 1991, it marketed a "Wagner's 1891 original" on its cast iron cookware.
  7. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    :roflThe dioxin...I can't get over the habit of some restaurants of serving food on top of "paper doilies".:puke1 I don't exactly cook in a restaurant but we had a couple cases of them at work, I threw them all out.:lol3

    What I use for filtering stocks & juices at work is plain old nylon "nauseum screen", same stuff that your tent is probably made of. You can buy that by the yard at most tissue stores, if you don't mind being the odd man in there.:evil

    As a matter of fact, the deep fryer filtering systems for high volume operations rely on a very similar material to prefilter fats before it goes through the machine. You can also buy similar material at the u-brew beer & wine stores,that would be a fruit bag to make wines out of seedy fruit like raspberries/blackberries.Just have to be careful as to how hot the lard is when you pour it in but they all seem to do fine at around 200-210F, I keep washing/reusing them filters over and over, just so I don't have to go to the tissue store too often.:wink:

    Sorry, can't show you how to make pastry here, all I use is lard/flour/water and a little salt, no need to get fancy with extra ingredients for flakiness, it is all in the working/folding the dough.:pot
  8. spezjag

    spezjag Long timer

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  9. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

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    Cool, that's good to know-- polished interior and all.
  10. Joe Shimano

    Joe Shimano Been here awhile

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    :becca


    I just got my Bayou Classic 16 qt Dutch oven. The lid is so warped it won't fit the pot and the lip around the inside of the lid appears to be broken in two places. It could be made this way, but I can't find a reason why. Finish is VERY rough. I'm not a happy camper.

    I'll find out in the next day or so how their customer service is. This pot is going back.
  11. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    Damn, man, sorry.

    What was the shipping cost on that hunk of iron?
  12. Joe Shimano

    Joe Shimano Been here awhile

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    Free shipping to and from with Amazon. Got a replacement coming. I'll post up if the fit and finish is ok or not.
  13. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    Great!

    Any chance you could post pics of the current one?

    I mean, not to bad-mouth the company per se, as mistakes do happen, but in this day and age to have anything come that messed up is worth seeing, especially since it may be the first example of that brand of CI in this thread.
  14. Joe Shimano

    Joe Shimano Been here awhile

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    I will the replacement. This one is already boxed up for ups.
  15. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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    I'm telling you, antique stores and garage sales are the best place to pick up cast iron. Brush up on Griswold and Wagner history and values first though.
    I think my newest CI is from around 1934?


    1911fan
  16. Joe Shimano

    Joe Shimano Been here awhile

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    Already got the replacement. Gotta love free shipping with Amazon. This one is 100% better than the first one. Fit and finish much better. The lid fits like it should and is not cracked. Got it washed and ready for the oven.

    [​IMG]



    Happy Happy Happy


    Now if I could catch about 50 crappie...


    :D
  17. ImaPoser

    ImaPoser adventure imposter

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    Its there anything such as bad old cast iron ? Wife said she would like a set, and the older the better. I found a set at a pawn shop, but it's a mismatch set as one is marked Wagner, one says 7G3, and the rest are unmarked but all look and feel old. For $12 each, I figure it's worth buying them and let the wife decide. Am I wrong? :ear
  18. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

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    If a skillet has a flat bottom (or not if you're cooking on a gas flame range), and rings when you strike it, it should be fine whatever brand (or not) it is.

    As for old, I have an "ERIE" 8 skillet that cooks really well, and I think it dates from the late 1800's.
  19. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    Nailhead hit a good part of it there - Cast Iron can be cracked, and then it wouldn't 'ring.'

    Keep in mind that a whole one or two generations gave up on cast iron for cookware, and I'm sorta afraid quite a few were used afterward to melt tin and lead in for various purposes.

    Pawn shops are nearly experts and valuing what they have on hand because they can easily make more money on ebay if something is collectable. "Looks and feel" old doesn't mean they are old. I read that for a while some CI was been imported from Asia.

    But if your wife isn't a stickler for being able to prove it is old, probably any of it will work anyway. I have a totally unmarked skillet I use a lot, and with seasoning it's about as good as any other.

    * This is just an opinion, but for modern day non-gas stove tops I tend to believe that while the CI skillets with heat rings are collectable, the flat-bottom ones work better with electric ranges. I have examples of both, and it's apparent that the electric heating coil's inner coils aren't touching the center area of the skillet that has a heat ring (because the heat ring is what is sitting on the outside area of the coil).

    * If I had a gas stove, though, it hits me that the gas ring could help trap heat up under the skillet better.

    * Disclaimer: I've never read any of that on any CI site, nor in any commentary, but it's just what I've been thinking as of late when I've seen the red-hot inner coils not effectively transferring heat to my heat-ring skillet.
  20. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

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    A fear of residues from a skillet's former life is the primary reason I strip all my new CI acquisitions in a strong lye solution.