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Thread: using cast iron

  1. #1
    Member hunt-fish-trap's Avatar
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    Default using cast iron

    I have started cooking almost everything in cast iron, american made lodge (newer pre seasoned) and a older griswald. how do I keep my pancakes and cornbread from sticking? do I use butter or fake butter or pam spray. my eggs usually come out scrambled but im getting better as one person can only handle so much bacon grease.
    I hope that I posted this in the correct section, and thanks in advance. Larry

  2. #2

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    Cast iron gets better with age if you treat it well, so patience is the best way to end sticking.
    Don't assume that the "newer pre seasoned" pans don't still need to be properly seasoned.
    Don't skimp on seasoning the pans thoroughly. If your food's still sticking, season it again.
    If your food looks 'scrambled', you're probably not bringing the pan up to temperature first.
    Choose proper oils. Butter is for flavor, sprays are for baking, neither works well for frying.

    Most of all, learn to choose the right tool for each job. Sure, cast iron is wonderful stuff, but if you're really "cooking almost everything in cast iron", it might be time to rethink your diet (or at least to get your cholesterol checked)!
    Inspiration is simply the momentary cessation of stupidity.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    And never use soap to clean it. That just takes the seasoning away. I stay away from sprays since they leave a residue. When I need to do a deep clean I put oil and salt in the pan and heat in the oven. Use the salt as a abrasive agent and scrub. This will also season the pan. I still can't cook a perfect egg over easy in cast though...

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    As stated, never scrub the pan with soap or a brillo pad. Season it by starting with a clean pan, no specs stuck to the bottom, add just enough oil to cover the bottom and wipe down the sides with an oil soaked paper towel. Put in your oven for about an hour at 200 degrees or so, just below the temp the oil begins to smoke.
    Allow it to cool and wipe down again removing the excess oil. The pan is now “seasoned” and will need to be done often after each use for a while till it is impregnated with oil. We use our woodstove to season the pans. After each use, I wipe it down with olive oil and set it on the woodstove, usually on the back end where it’s a bit cooler and that’s where it stays till the next meal. This way its preheated and been “seasoned” again.
    To use them, heat the pan first and bring to temp for whatever you are cooking. Crack your eggs and allow them to cook. A metal spatula should slide right under when you want to flip ‘em and leave no residue.
    When done, set the pan off to the side and allow to cool. With a “scrubbie” (plastic looking brillo pad) and hot water, scrub the pan out knocking any little bits that might have stuck to the bottom. Reoil and season again, or put on the woodstove till next use.
    Some of our pans came from my grandparents and are better than any nonstick that is sold today. Others are newer and just take time to impregnate with oil. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll refuse to use anything else. Cast iron is all we use to cook with. Using them as a fryer also helps to season them, like making fried chicken or battered halibut, etc…
    Also-Never try to clean them with water when the pan is hot. It steams the oil out and leaves a bad taste in the pan. If you have screwed one up, place in a woodstove full of hot coals for ½ an hour it will cook everything off and you can start over with a clean, ready to be seasoned pan again.
    BK

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    Member Ak Bird Brain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunt-fish-trap View Post
    as one person can only handle so much bacon grease.
    I hope your wrong about that! I keep a jar of the stuff on my stove. I use it for everything, its better than any spray on oil. Like previously stated though proper seasoning on the pan is critical.
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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    You guys that don't wash cast iron with soap you never heard of botchalism or germs mmmmm good stuff. I wash mine in hot water with dawn it cuts the germs then I reseason them by wiping them lightly with criso then put them in the oven till next use. All our cart iron pans have been around for many moons and will probably make many many more
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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironartist View Post
    You guys that don't wash cast iron with soap you never heard of botchalism or germs mmmmm good stuff. I wash mine in hot water with dawn it cuts the germs then I reseason them by wiping them lightly with criso then put them in the oven till next use. All our cart iron pans have been around for many moons and will probably make many many more
    I wouldn't worry too much about botulism in the case of cast iron as botulinum only grows in the absence of oxygen (which is why it's a problem in canned/sealed food items). It sounds like those who don't wash their skillets are relying on the preheating process to kill the nasty cooties that are surely growing.

  8. #8
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Not many nasty cooties are going to grow on clean oiled cast iron. I NEVER wash mine with soap, and rarely water. Simply wipe clean, oil, and store; or rinse if you must, and wipe clean. If water was used, place on the stove to heat until warm and dry. Then, wipe with a little clean oil and store.

    The inside surfaces of your refrigerator, and the surface of your hands support a bizzilion times more nasties than your cast iron.
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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    We'll make sure to add it to your headstone. I wash mine and season after every use, I had geardeia once I thought I was gonna die if there's ever a way to kill a stomach issue I will do whatever I can to nip it in the *****
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironartist View Post
    We'll make sure to add it to your headstone. I wash mine and season after every use, I had geardeia once I thought I was gonna die if there's ever a way to kill a stomach issue I will do whatever I can to nip it in the *****
    Wait, don't be too quick to dismiss a good case of giardia...it's a great weight loss program!!!!!!

  11. #11
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    Wait, don't be too quick to dismiss a good case of giardia...it's a great weight loss program!!!!!!
    But you won't contract it by eating out of cast iron! (Unless you're using your cast iron as a dipper, and drinking directly from the creek).
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    But you won't contract it by eating out of cast iron! (Unless you're using your cast iron as a dipper, and drinking directly from the creek).
    Very true.

  13. #13
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    I rely on alcohol ingestion to kill the bugs. Any that survive will help inoculate me against further bugs. If and when my cast iron pan picks up a funk odor or starts growing a science experiment then I wash it with soap and water. Until then it just adds to the flavor.
    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,
    Teach a man to fish and he'll also learn to drink, lie, and avoid the honey do list.

  14. #14
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Water will just bead up on my castiron and I've yet to find anything that don't cook better in it from soup to biscuts.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  15. #15
    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    go right ahead you might not ever have an issue from a germed up skillet but I say if a dish is clean it can be licked,
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
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  16. #16
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Your toothbrush has more germs than a properly cared for cast iron pan.
    BK

  17. #17

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    Hey kids, enough bickering already!

    You can't get botulinum toxin from a pan, unless the canned food you prepare already contains botulism.
    You can theoretically get giardiasis from food, but it's extremely rare, most giardia is passed on by untreated water, sex, or poor handwashing (fecal-oral transmission).
    The single best way to avoid having "a stomach issue" is to wash your hands regularly!

    There's nothing wrong with washing your cast iron with soap then re-seasoning it, but you'll NEVER get the same non-stick surface as someone who avoids using soap, because it takes many layers of seasoning to create a truly non-stick surface. (I have one crappy cast iron pan that I used for meals that might require washing it, and for guests who didn't know how to take care of cast iron.) Use soap if it makes you feel better, but it's unnecessary.

    OTOH, there's really no reason not to use water, I always rinsed my cast iron before cooking to remove any dust that settled on it. (This also removes most germs.)
    If your empty pan smells "off", that's the smell of rancid oil, remove it before cooking or your food will be affected. The polymerized oil that's baked into a well seasoned pan can't go rancid, but recently pooled grease from a dirty pan certainly can, so avoid letting excess oil sit. A properly oiled cast iron pan shouldn't feel greasy!

    I think bkmail's long post was exactly right and want to clarify a few of those points.
    "Allow it to cool and wipe down again removing the excess oil." (Wiping down is how you avoid rancid oil.)
    "To use them, heat the pan first and bring to temp for whatever you are cooking." (New cooks generally underestimate the amount of preheating necessary. Cast iron is a surprisingly slow conductor of heat.)
    "Also-Never try to clean them with water when the pan is hot. It steams the oil out" (and quickly turns it rancid.)
    "If you have screwed one up, place in a woodstove full of hot coals" (Yes IN, not ON. Needs to be hot enough to destroy the polymerized coating and start the re-seasoning from scratch, at least 900*F, so try hard to avoid this. Also avoid breathing the smoke from this process! Don't try doing this with regular potholders, you'll need something thicker, such as welding gloves, to remove the hot pan from the woodstove.)

    Although Lodge's bare cast iron is still made in the USA, their enameled cast iron is made in China. (The Chinese originally invented both cast iron and enamel.) IMHO, enameled cast iron looks pretty (especially Le Creuset) but it seems sort of silly for cooking, since you lose almost all of the benefits of cooking in bare cast iron. I still think steel works much better than cast iron for many cooking tasks, such as boiling and yeasted baking.
    Inspiration is simply the momentary cessation of stupidity.

  18. #18
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Love cooking on well seasoned cast iron, makes the best sauces. I'm afraid I'm in the no soap camp as well.

    This thread needs pictures!!!!!



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  19. #19
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Steve, there aught to be a rule against this sort of torture! All right, you gonna share the recipe for those biscuits?
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
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  20. #20
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Steve, there aught to be a rule against this sort of torture! All right, you gonna share the recipe for those biscuits?
    Here ya go,, post number 91 in this thread.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-for-breakfast
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