Cast Iron cookware

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by Kommandant33, Dec 24, 2018.

  1. Kommandant33

    Kommandant33 Member

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    Okay,

    So I have been tossing up for a while whether to get a Cast Iron skillet, as we have a cupboard FULL of good quality, non stick frying pans.

    But the other day, I bit the bullet and bought my first cast iron frying pan, and what a difference it makes.

    My first steak was a touch over, but it had a fantastic crust on the outside, and still fell apart.

    I have just cooked my first fried eggs now, and although I am a bit concerned about the amount of oil used, they were fantastic. Crusty on the bottom, but still with a runny yolk.

    I thought cleaning would be a PITA, but it's pretty straight forward - once it has cooled, I give it a good scrub and let it dry - once dry, I apply a thin layer of vegetable oil and put it on the stove on a medium/high heat - and as soon as it starts smoking, I turn off the stove, let it cool and put it away. It sounds like a lot more work than it actually is.

    So - Who here is on the cast iron bandwagon? What are your tips and secrets for cooking, as well as cleaning and maintenance.
     
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  2. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    I have a Lodge cast iron skillet, and it is my go to for practically everything. I’d highly recommend looking at some methods for seasoning, and see which you prefer.

    Once the skillet is well seasoned, cleaning is much easier, and you don’t need to constantly add oil to store.
     
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  3. 303-Acid

    303-Acid Member

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    I've also got a Lodge pan. Cast iron seems to heat and cook differently to my non stick pan. Great steak crusts after sous vide! Browning ground beef seems to take ages in non stick, juices escape and tends to boil out. I think with the non stick you're not supposed to have them on too high heat as it can damage the coating.

    I've also got some tiny cast iron pans that came with cookie mix. I find them great for frying single eggs. Perfect size.

    And just recently I got the Lodge sportsman grill. Yet to try that out.

    For cleaning I just wash in hot water, no soap, using a stainless chain mail scourer. Then reseason if required.

    I might get more small ones in after Christmas sales. I saw in Target they have the cookie mix with pans again and also some oval shaped sizzle pans with chilli sauce. Not bad for a few bucks on sale.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  4. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    For those looking to buy Lodge stuff, I found Amazon to usually be the cheapest.
     
  5. Hater

    Hater Member

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    I have a bunch of Le Crueset stuff that I bought on sale, there was a liquidation of a department store so I bought all of their remaining Le Cruseset and Wusthuf gear for like 80% off heh

    I have the skillet, 2 types of frying pan, 2 different crock pots and use all of it for most things
     
  6. shredder

    shredder Member

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    I've got a cast iron pan but in recent years I've been tending to use a thick-based stainless steel one instead, it holds the heat almost as well (for normal cooking purposes), but can treat it like any normal pot as far as cleaning and storage go. Still can't beat the cast iron one as a potential burglar stopper mind you.
     
  7. Quadbox

    Quadbox Member

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    I'm a huge fan of cast iron, particularly raw cast iron though I do own a lot of enamelled stuff too. When it's seasoned I actually find it massively easier to clean than non-stick or stainless.

    Usual care is just scrub it out with hot water no soap, dry straight away with paper towel, then give it a smear of oil. Then I reseason them when I think they need it, maybe every three to six months at a guess (more frequently when they're newer, once you've had them a while they rarely need reseasoning). As long as you're religious about drying asap and giving it some oil they're pretty easy care

    EDIT - Has anyone used the Solidteknics wrought iron stuff? it looks bloody fabulous albeit expensive as fuck, vaguely curious what it's like in practice
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  8. kooksyau

    kooksyau Member

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    I pretty much only cook with cast iron at home, only have a couple of nonstick frypans and a couple of stainless pots and stockpot. Most raw with a couple of enamelled pieces. Once seasoned well it's hard to beat.

    At the shop, different story. Raw steel and commercial aluminium frypans, stainless everything else. But there's no character there, just pumping food out. It's only at home that you can really put the love into it, and if takes a little longer, or a little more care, it doesn't really matter.
     
  9. scon

    scon Member

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    I love cast iron, we have 2 lodge 4qt pots with lids that are skillets - we use them for pretty much every meal. One tip that I like is to get some of that spray oil for re-oiling, makes it easy to get a nice thin coating and then just wipe with a paper towel.

    Also they're the best thing to bake bread in.
     
  10. shredder

    shredder Member

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    Ironically (get it) I ended up getting another cast iron pan for xmas.

    This one has a removable handle, for more comfortable grabbing, and can be taken off for oven work. The removable handle is non-swivel for safety. Quite cool.
     
  11. flain

    flain Member

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    I use only cast iron and stainless steel, i don't use non stick pans and find them not necessary if you know the right temperature to do the particular food you are cooking (even fried eggs don't stick).

    I got my cast iron pans naked and seasoned them myself using flax seed oil. It's a bit of a process but once done you have a non stick surface and a super smooth sleek black pan. A lot of people use flaxseed these days after this article took off about 8 years ago http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/
     
  12. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    Proper flaxseed oil can be difficult to find, and it seems to be really prone to flaking. I’m not entirely sure it is worth the expense or effort.

    I’ve had really good results from generic vegetable oils, EVOO, and lard as well. I think it really comes down to good prep, and a nice long seasoning process.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Kommandant33

    Kommandant33 Member

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    With animal fats, you will really want to smoke it off so it doesn’t got rancid from what I’ve heard :thumbup:
     
  14. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    Many hours in the oven at a nice high heat takes care of it ;)
     
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  15. Zee

    Zee Member

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    I'm also a cast iron fan. Love the way it cooks, and provided I'm the one cleaning it, life is good. There's always some numpty that insists on washing it with detergent, and then leaving it that way without applying any oil...

    For those family members, I also have stainless cookware.

    Z...
     
  16. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    A few people have mentioned this now; there’s really no issues using a little detergent on a well seasoned pan (as long as you’re not soaking it, or putting it in the dishwasher).
     
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  17. flain

    flain Member

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    In an online age, it's not too hard to find proper flaxseed, especially if you read the reviews and a lot of the people buying it are talking about seasoning pans :). You are right though some supermarkets have a blend instead of 100% pure which can cause problems. I've had no flaking or any signs of it starting, had the pan for about 6-7 years now. I use it at all types of heat and it's my goto for doing steak sears at very high temps. One thing with doing the flaxseed thing and baking the pan is you can get a nice even colouring across the entire pan, hanldle and all (not exclusive to flaxseed but more the baking process).

    I wonder if people experiencing flaking are putting the hot pan in cold water? That would probably flake and also could eventually warp the pan.

    edit: looking further into this now as it intrigues me that there is now a huge debate over it years after i used the method :). Looks like flaxseed oil is a lot more expensive in the USA (at least i assume so with people saying it's expensive while here is about $3 to $8). Here in AU we have a good quality supply of it from NZ and other places and finding 100% virgin flaxseed is easy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  18. ~Spyne~

    ~Spyne~ Member

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    I've got a De Buyer 'Carbone Plus' pan. It's OK, but I only use it for steaks and shallow frying (eg. schnitzels).

    I've tried sausages and I just end up with fat spattered all over the pan which is actually quite hard to remove/clean.
    I've done eggs before, but prefer a non-stick pan - you don't have to use anywhere near as much oil and there's zero chance that it might stick.
    I've done hamburger patties too, but a similar problem to sausages, not as bad though.

    Anyone got tips for cooking sausages in cast iron / cleaning the fatty deposits?
     
  19. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    It sounds like you’re keeping your pan raw. Have you seasoned your pan?
     
  20. splbound

    splbound Member

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    I have a few sized De Buyer Carbone pans and love them. It is my go to pan for frying now as it does not take as long to heat up as my cast iron frying pan. I have moved away from all non stick pans in my kitchen and my fried eggs are better for it.

    They are carbon steel and have to be seasoned like cast iron. Mine have seasoned down to a brown to black colour. Very non stick when cooking eggs with a splattering of oil and correct heat the eggs just slide around. Same goes for anything else that I cook in it.

    I try to keep anything acidic off it as it tends to strip the seasoning a little, but I easily season it up again.

    My seasoning involves dumping rapeseed oil in it and heating it all up until smoking like a wildfire. Then conveniently cooking a steak and browning some onions. Repeat a few times and the seasoning gets better and better.

    Cleaning is done with only hot water out of the tap and a plastic scrubbing brush. If its seasoned correctly anything stuck just slides off.
    One light scrub of dishwashing liquid with a sponge, rinse and dry immediately.
    Once dry I apply a light coating of rapeseed oil before storage.
     

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