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Information and Education => Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping => Topic started by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 09:04:16 pm

Title: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 09:04:16 pm
Cooking on or in cast iron pans can be one of the easiest ways to cook there is, provided one understands the basics of such.

Advantages:

1. Cast iron , properly seasoned, is nearly the ultimate non stick cookware.

2.  From a health perspective, cooking with cast iron is much better than using aluminum or Teflon coated pans.

3.  Even cooking/heating

4.  Excellent heat retaining properties.

5.  With proper care, durability is unsurpassed.  Your great grandchildren will be using your cast iron cookware.

Disadvantages:

1. Weight.  No doubt about it, cast iron is HEAVY compared to a similar sized pan in either aluminum or stainless.

2.  Maintenance.  Yes, taking care of it properly permanently and forever more bans cleaning it in the all mighty dishwasher.  The horror.

Much good info here for the beginner- http://papadutch.home.comcast.net/~papadutch/dutch-oven-intro.htm#Alum (http://papadutch.home.comcast.net/~papadutch/dutch-oven-intro.htm#Alum)  .  But ignore the part about aluminum vs. cast iron at the bottom of the front page.  Cast iron is king.  Should I hear of a WTA member buying an aluminum oven, he or she will owe the board at large a written apology, laced with references to the errors of their ways, so that we all may understand and forgive them. >:D

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Kaso on August 05, 2011, 09:17:00 pm
5.  With proper care, durability is unsurpassed.  Your great grandchildren will be using your cast iron cookware.
Indeed.

2.  Maintenance.  Yes, taking care of it properly permanently and forever more bans cleaning it in the all mighty dishwasher.  The horror.
I would venture to say, that most MEN don't care.  The trick is, getting the ladies of the house to clean it properly.  I know this first hand...

Kaso
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Evil Jim on August 05, 2011, 09:23:51 pm
My frying pans are exclusively cast iron... not the crap Lodge stuff...
I pretty much refuse to use anything else... and Caryn is very well trained in the care of my cast iron...  :neener


Jim
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 09:35:04 pm
Advantage #1-

Properly seasoned you ask? What's that? Isn't that hard to do?

No.  It's not.  As a matter of fact, you can buy pre-seasoned cast iron from most makers now.  This option adds about 15 percent to the purchase price of the identical unseasoned item.  But if one wishes to avoid a smoky kitchen, and a dish or 2 out of the gate that must be carefully selected, there's nothing wrong with this choice.  However, should you buy seasoned cast iron, and then flub up, requiring you to re season your cookware?  That's right, you need to know how to do it.

Seasoning is basically filling and sealing the pores in the surface of the metal, and it's really simple to do.  For the initial run, I recommend Crisco or similar shortening over oil, as it does a much better job of filling and sealing the porous surface of cast iron cookware.

Step 2.  Rub Crisco or equivalent lightly over the entire surface of the iron ware, inside and out. You want a nice even coating, with no globs or dry spots here.  Note: You may use the cooking oil of your choice for this step, but doing so may require 2 or more seasoning sessions to get the pan in question ready for its initial use.

Step 3.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place drip tray under area where the pan will be placed to catch the extra oil that runs off during the seasoning process.

Step 4.  Place the item to be seasoned in the oven for one hour.  During this time, keep a paper towel or basting brush handy that is loaded with a little shortening or oil. Check two or three times at even intervals for dry spots on the cookware.  If found, quickly brush/rub on a little more shoertening/oil.  NOTE: This can get a bit smoky.  Disable smoke alarms, open windows, and ventilate the kitchen.  DO NOT leave the kitchen unattended.  Be prepared to spend the entire hour in or near the kitchen for safety reasons.(Say for instance that you have a gas stove and used way too much grease resulting in a fire that needs dealt with post haste)

Step 5:  When the hour is up, turn off the oven.  Allow the item being seasoned to cool to room temperature naturally.  Resist the urge to try cooling it faster by leaving the oven open or taking the item you are seasoning out of the oven all together.

Step 6:  After the item has cooled, remove from oven, and check for dry/bare spots.  If they are few and far between, you may start cooking with your new ironware if cooking low acid high fat foods, as the pan in question will continue the seasoning process as you cook.  If there are several spots or extended areas that are still rough feeling bare cast iron, repeat steps 2-6 again.


With a properly completed initial seasoning, your ironware should have a slightly golden and smooth feeling sheen afterwords.  If it is still a rough surface, or completely metallic grey in color, try again, you did not use enough oil/shortening.

With time, and repeated use, your cookware will take on that high gloss black sheen that well seasoned cast iron is known for.

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 09:45:08 pm
Advantage #2- Health benefits:

Cooking with ironware will add trace amounts of iron to your food.  No need to look for food items "fortified with iron" any longer.  Women of childbearing age and those that are anemic benefit to an even greater degree than your otherwise average person.

Cooking with aluminum is easy, and the pans are light.  But there are 2 major drawbacks here:

1.  There is a substantial(and continually growing) body of evidence linking aluminum and Alzheimer disease.

2.  Durability.  Even the highest quality aluminum cookware can't stand up against cast iron in this dept.


Teflon?  Neat stuff.  But it has been linked to reproductive issues in both women and men.



Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Evil Jim on August 05, 2011, 09:52:36 pm
My seasoning oil of choice...
Bacon Grease.
A side benefit is that you get to eat bacon.
I have had people amazed at how eggs slide around the pan.
It saddens me that people are too lazy to use cast iron.


Jim
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Harm on August 05, 2011, 10:07:47 pm
now we need some recipes from the Norseman!   >:D  Preferably Dutch Oven!
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 10:08:18 pm
Advantage #3-  Even heating and cooking:

For browning, braising and searing, cast iron is king!!  The only time it comes in lacking is when doing truly hi temperature cooking requiring temps above 500 degrees F, such as when preparing a blue steak.

Properly selected quality ironware will heat and cook more evenly and predictably than all but the very best(read very expensive) modern pans.  These modern pans that will outperform your basic cast iron cookware involve multiple layers of different metals(chosen specifically for properties such as heat transfer, heat retention, and surface finish properties), end up weighing nearly as much as the cast iron piece, and cost anywhere from twice to ten times what the iron pan meant for the same job does.

However- You need to understand a couple things about cast iron for it to perform up to expectations:

1.  Always pre-heat your iron ware, always.  If you don't, even with a perfectly seasoned pan you run the risk of food sticking.

2.  Cleaning: Cleaning iron ware should rarely, if ever involve soap or scouring pads.  Just go near my pans with a steel wool scouring pad and dish soap with an offer to "help" clean up.  You will get NOWHERE NEAR my iron ware that I promise you!  -

  Use rubber(or wood if you're a purist) utensils for cooking/stirring and dishing.  For clean up, make sure the pan is warm/hot to the touch, and use either paper towels or, at the most abrasive, a nylon scrubber sponge(used gently) and water to remove stuck on food.  After that, heat water to steaming in the pan, rinse out, and wipe dry.  
At this point there should be no moisture or food residue in the pan at all.  Maintain or reheat the pan to "almost too hot to touch".  With this accomplished, apply a very light coating inside and out using your favorite cooking oil or shortening.  Avoid using products that are salted for this application(such as salted butter).

That's it, you're done.  The pan is ready for next time.

Sound complicated?  Maybe a little.  But with practice, it's easy.  As an example, I can in most cases clean and re-oil my pans in the time it takes for my steak/pork chop/burgers to rest properly, soaking up those flavorful juices.  Half the dishes done before you even eat, can't beat that!

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 10:34:23 pm
Advantage #4- Heat retaining properties:

It's big, it's heavy, it's thick.  All true.  Which is why foods stay hot longer in cast iron than other choices.  There's more mass to act as a heat sink, so stews, casseroles, cobblers and breads stay steaming hot longer than the same dishes prepared in pans made from other materials.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 10:42:44 pm
Advantage #5- Durability-

With no screws, bolts, or rivets to back out or loosen over time, a properly seasoned and maintained dutch oven or frying pan will last for generations.  There are several ironware pieces in my family now being used by the 4th generation of owners, with no signs or being used up or worn out at all.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Avenger29 on August 05, 2011, 10:48:54 pm
Quote
Teflon?  Neat stuff.  But it has been linked to reproductive issues in both women and men.

I've never been impressed with coated cookware...it has never worked that well for me and tends to eventually gain scratches.

Cast iron, on the other hand, I can cook with pretty well...

Cast iron is also very affordable. Made in the USA, 100% cast iron Lodge cookware can even be brought at Wal-Mart for reasonable prices. A trip to the jockey lot yields vintage cookware...

I recommend a large, deep skillet if you can only have one piece of cast iron cookware. Frying a steak, making gravy, baking a roast in the oven, frying chicken, cooking french fries, making pancakes are just SOME of the varied things you can do with it. You'll want to get a griddle, other pans, and such later, but I consider the large skillet to be the most versatile.

I use a cast iron pot to deep fry. I have a huge cast iron washpot for making hash and stews in large quantity.

Here in the South cast iron is passed down just like guns and tools...
 

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 05, 2011, 11:11:25 pm
As a footnote to this-
Quote
My seasoning oil of choice...
Bacon Grease.
A side benefit is that you get to eat bacon.
I have had people amazed at how eggs slide around the pan.
It saddens me that people are too lazy to use cast iron.

Two areas of caution

1.  You food will have a very slight bacon/pork flavor.(In most cases a good thing, unless you're cooking a cobbler or delicate bread/cake for instance)

2.  Bacon/pork fat and grease will almost always contain large amounts of salt.  If you use your cast iron on a regular basis, it's not an issue at all.  But if you're the type that gets the dutch oven out once or twice a year if you're lucky, the high salt content can cause issues(think of salted roads during the winter and cars for an example).
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Evil Jim on August 05, 2011, 11:59:57 pm
Mine are used daily... so no issues.
It also turns out a mean pineapple upside down cake.


Jim
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: StevenTing on August 07, 2011, 11:29:12 pm
After reading this thread, I may have to get myself some.


So, I assume you guys are against this kind of stuff.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=116897 (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=116897)
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=16537799 (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=16537799)
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Matthew Mayner on August 07, 2011, 11:49:27 pm
I don't know what that is but the fact that it has a handle bolted to it is heresy.

If you're going to make cornbread do yourself a favor and make it in a cast iron skillet.  Trust me, the crap that comes out of pyrex AINT cornbread. Seriously.

+100 on papa dutch his site is awesome.

When buying a dutch oven consider getting one without legs.  It makes cooking in the oven much easier.  Some people may scream heresy but ya know there's something nice about doing a dutch oven dinner in the oven.  Heck my wife will even do it, forget about getting her to do anything with charcoal.

One last tip.  Keep all METAL objects away from your skillets and dutch ovens. Only let wood or plastic inside them. Invariably someone will scratch the wonderful patina that's been building up inside the skillet or oven and it's just not the same.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 07, 2011, 11:59:28 pm
Steve, yeah, we are talking traditional cast iron cook ware.  Having it enameled,  cast extremely thin to save weight(which defeats the even heating & cooking  benefits, as well as the superior temperature maintenance of traditional cast), or bolted together(durability), rather than a one piece cast are all features inferior to the real thing.  In gun terms it's a 1911 vs a hi-point.  Seriously.

Ya' all be nice to Mr. Ting, as he does have a proper charcoal grill, we just have to get him steered straight on this issue. ;)
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on August 08, 2011, 12:12:25 am
Two very important pointers:

1.  Look for iron ware of even thickness.  Is the material the same thickness throughout?  If not, expect uneven heating/cooking.

2.  Does your ironware have a lid?  Take a dutch oven for example.  Does the lid fit snugly and uniformly?  Or is it sloppy?  It should be the former, as we want all the heat/steam/liquid/flavor to stay inside our cookware.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: dubber308 on August 08, 2011, 12:27:41 am
Three places that I've found quality cast iron cookware has been in the pawn, second-hand and thrift shops. Used, seasoned and ready for years more service. I got my skillets from an auction for $10 takes the whole damn box (I had to throw away a lot of Cool Whip and margarine tubs).
One use you missed, self defense. Family lore has tales of my great-great aunt using a cast iron skillet on non-paying men and mad-as-a-hornet wives trying to sneak into her house of ill repute. 
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Jim147 on August 14, 2011, 11:41:54 pm
All of my good cast iron is old stuff that has already been well seasoned and just needed a clean up and a little bacon cooked in it.

Most of the new stuff I have seen needs a lot of cooking and scrubbing with rough stuff to clean up the rough sand cast they are shipping it out with. I wish I had a steel shot blaster. I would work on a couple of newer pieces I have set aside because I can't make them non stick.

jim
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: coelacanth on August 26, 2011, 12:12:32 am
I actually turned a rough cast piece of crap into a fairly usable pan one week - end.  Started with a sanding head on my electric drill and finished up with an orbital sander and some emery cloth.  Seasoned it with lard ( better than bacon grease - no salt ) and its been good to go ever since.  Old cast iron is the best though - nothing like it.  On a slightly divergent note I have a cousin who made a cowboy wok out of a steel disc blade - yes the kind you pull behind your tractor.  He cut a steel plug to fit the center hole, welded it up, ground and polished the whole thing until it looked like a mirror then brazed four lug nuts on the back side and threaded some re-bar which screwed into the lug nuts for legs about 20" long.  Works great over a camp fire or a single burner camp stove.  Very cool.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on September 28, 2011, 12:35:48 am
Time for a little more here folks-

First off-  Coelacanth-  Your cousin?  Welcome in camp any time. 

Secondly, Harm asked for recipes.  Here's an easy one:

I don't know the cups or pounds here, just the "That looks good" measurements, but I usually make this in a 14 inch dutch oven, which has a capacity of 8 quarts/2 gallons.

You need:
Bacon
red potatoes
spices of choice
Swiss cheese

Figure the number of people you're serving, and use enough bacon for 2 strips each, one good sized potato each, and a couple slices of cheese each as well.

Cook bacon, cut into 1"X1" chunks.  Set aside.
Drain most of the residual bacon grease off, but leave enough to fry the potatoes in.
Cut potatoes into bite size pieces, leaving the skin on.  Cook until almost completely done.
Add spices of choice(in my case I lean towards Italian staples like rosemary, garlic, and basil)
Then add bacon back in to the oven, and stir.  Cook until potatoes are done
Cover with Swiss cheese slices.
Serve.



 
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Harm on September 28, 2011, 12:42:58 am
That sounds great Norse - taking the daughters camping as soon as I can afford the gas.  I'll remember that one.  I might add some onions, carrots and peppers but otherwise that sounds awesome!

A great one we made last weekend:

Quart Jar of Fruit (we used home canned apples) may also use cans
Box Cake
Dust with Cinnamon
5 tablespoons of butter chopped in pads.

Start w fruit, add cake powder, dust add butter and simmer in coals to taste.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on September 28, 2011, 12:57:30 am
Quick cobbler-

Pie filling of choice
Cake mix of choice sprinkled over filling.  If you like, you can sprinkle small pieces of very cold butter over the cake mix as well, for an even flakier crust and a touch richer flavor.
Soda of choice.  Just enough to moisten the cake mix thoroughly.


Cook about 45 minutes, or until cake mix is completely done.

Notes:  

The carbonation in the soda acts similar to yeast in bread, using a non-carbonated beverage will result in an unleaven cake mix on top.

Use your head when choosing cake mix flavors, soda flavors and filling types. Make sure they compliment each other.  Example:  Apple filling, spice cake and root beer soda are great together: but pineapple filling, chocolate cake mix, and kiwi-lime soda?  YIKES!!

Cake mixes without "pudding in the mix" work best.

In a 14" oven this usually works out ratio wise like so: 2 cans filling, one boxed cake mix, and about 2/3rds to 3/4s of a 12 ounce can of soda.

Use more heat ON the oven than UNDER the oven.  You need to cook the cake mix, but you just need to heat up the filling.

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: mwcoleburn on September 28, 2011, 02:48:23 am
I'll have to add a quick and dirty chili recipe that I like to do in my cast iron

2 cans store bought chili
1lbs ground beef
1 can kidney beans
1 can green chili
1 can diced tomatoes
spices to taste.

Cook ground beef with onion and garlic, drain off fat. through everything else into it and simmer till desired thickness is achieved. I have  a family of chilli snobs and I made this up last minute to feed a couple people who decided to stay for dinner. Didnt even have any leftovers.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on October 02, 2011, 10:50:23 pm
Quote
I might add some onions, carrots and peppers

Onions:
Red for sweet.
White for heat.
Yellow for flavor.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Harm on October 03, 2011, 12:29:08 am
Norse - made it on Sat - it was great.  Added Yellow onions and red & green peppers.  Was great.  The wife thinks it'd be an awesome breakfast w more potatoes and eggs. 

MWCOLEBURN - made your quick and dirty chili this weekend too.  Fantastic stuff.  I think if I were making it just for me and the guys I'd add some extra peppers and spices for heat - but as was it was nice & warm (hot hormels) but not so much the wife and kids couldn't enjoy it.  Definetly on the "have again list.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: mwcoleburn on October 03, 2011, 03:51:18 am
I'm glad you liked it. And I fully agree with you on the extra heat, some cayenne and maybe jalapeno would be great .
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: sqlbullet on October 03, 2011, 11:15:03 am
Norse - made it on Sat - it was great.  Added Yellow onions and red & green peppers.  Was great.  The wife thinks it'd be an awesome breakfast w more potatoes and eggs. 


It does.  This is a staple at our house.

1.5-2lbs bacon
8-10 potatoes, diced
2-3 medium onions, chopped
2-3 bell peppers, chopped
1 jalepeƱo pepper, diced (seeds in for extra spicy)
8-12 eggs, beaten
1-2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded cheese of you choice

(as usual with this type of cooking, adjust the ratios to your taste)

Before cooking I slice the bacon in bits about 1/4" wide.  Drop them in a large cast iron skillet and cook them crispy.  Remove half the bacon grease, reserving for later.

Add potatoes and stir in, cover and cook on high for 4 minutes.  Stir, place onions and peppers on top and cover for an additional 4 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, stir and cook covered, stirring every 3-4 minutes until potatoes are done.

If the potatoes do not appear 'greasy' add some reserve bacon fat back.  Add eggs all at once, stir only to combine, turn off heat and cover for 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, stir to combine, add cheese over top and cover until cheese melts.

This recipe is sized to feed my family of 8, so reduce accordingly.  With the potatoes, the goal is to get a really good brown on them.  We dice them quite small (1/4"-3/8" square) and as a result the cook fast.  YYMV.  There is plenty of residual heat in the pan and food to cook the eggs.  Add the salt after the eggs because salting the eggs before/while cooking can make them a little tough.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Kaso on October 03, 2011, 01:33:32 pm
Dumb question: The above recipe ^ specs kosher salt - and bacon.  (Definitely not a kosher recipe.) Is there a side benefit to kosher salt, other than being kosher?  Am I even understanding what kosher salt is?

Kaso
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: JesseL on October 03, 2011, 01:39:51 pm
Dumb question: The above recipe ^ specs kosher salt - and bacon.  (Definitely not a kosher recipe.) Is there a side benefit to kosher salt, other than being kosher?  Am I even understanding what kosher salt is?

Kaso

Kosher salt isn't actually kosher (I think it's actually pareve), it's just that the shapes of the granules (wide and flat) makes it well suited to koshering meat.

That shape also makes it behave differently in some cooking applications than ordinary finely granulated table salt. It doesn't dissolve as readily and tends to leaves small particles of undissolved salt, imparting a different texture and flavor.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: booksmart on October 03, 2011, 01:43:39 pm
Kosher salt isn't actually kosher (I think it's actually pareve), it's just that the shapes of the granules (wide and flat) makes it well suited to koshering meat.

That shape also makes it behave differently in some cooking applications than ordinary finely granulated table salt. It doesn't dissolve as readily and tends to leaves small particles of undissolved salt, imparting a different texture and flavor.

And also makes for awesome pretzels...
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Kaso on October 03, 2011, 01:45:29 pm
Kosher salt isn't actually kosher (I think it's actually pareve), it's just that the shapes of the granules (wide and flat) makes it well suited to koshering meat.

That shape also makes it behave differently in some cooking applications than ordinary finely granulated table salt. It doesn't dissolve as readily and tends to leaves small particles of undissolved salt, imparting a different texture and flavor.
  :hmm I see.  I've been informed.

Kaso
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on October 04, 2011, 01:13:35 am
As sqlbullet notes, it does make an excellent breakfast. If your wife likes potatoes O'Brien, this is it on 'roids!  Add eggs, up the potatoes, switch the cheese to sharp cheddar, add a good dash of Tabasco just before serving.  Even top it with a bit of your favorite salsa and a spoonful of sour cream if you want to get a bit fancy.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: StevenTing on October 05, 2011, 08:41:34 pm
Okay, so here's me being lazy. What cast iron stuff would you buy on Amazon.com?  I just got a $100 gift card there and I can't think of anything better to get right now.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on October 05, 2011, 09:24:38 pm
http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-LCC3-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-Cooker/dp/B0009JKG9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-LCC3-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-Cooker/dp/B0009JKG9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-1)  
http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L5SK3-Pre-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-Skillet/dp/B00008GKDG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-5 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L5SK3-Pre-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-Skillet/dp/B00008GKDG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-5)
Two of these- http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-2-Inch-Skillet/dp/B00063RWT8/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864157&sr=8-18 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-2-Inch-Skillet/dp/B00063RWT8/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864157&sr=8-18)  
And three or 4 of these- http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Temp-Handle-Mitt-Black/dp/B00063RWG6/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864233&sr=8-15 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Temp-Handle-Mitt-Black/dp/B00063RWG6/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864233&sr=8-15)  

EDIT:  This- http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B00063RWG6/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B00063RWG6/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0) ?  Uh, yeah, DON'T do that.  It's a hot pad used for handling the pan, not an accessory meant to be left on the entire time you're cooking.  ESPECIALLY with a gas range on high.  :bash :facepalm


Why the pre-seasoned?  It's what Amazon shows from a maker I like, and that way your wife's kitchen won't get smoked out seasoning them.  The unseasoned iron I see there is from companys I know nothing about, and therefore will not recommend.

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: FMJ on October 05, 2011, 10:59:30 pm
Ahh, so I've found the thread about real American cooking...


Unfortunately, I never had positive experiences with dutch ovens in Boy Scouts.  Ever since, I've stayed the hell away.  :panic  Ashy food and unevenly cooked cobbler come to mind.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Gunnguy on October 05, 2011, 11:37:09 pm
Ahh, so I've found the thread about real American cooking...


Unfortunately, I never had positive experiences with dutch ovens in Boy Scouts.  Ever since, I've stayed the hell away.  :panic  Ashy food and unevenly cooked cobbler come to mind.
Come out to Troop 344's Campout in Fort Wayne, Indiana and see what REAL cast iron cooking can be like.

Ashes? Someone didn't sweep the top of the Dutch Lid correctly.

Uneven Cobbler? Someone didn't place enough coals on top or didn't place the coals evenly.

But then I have never had that problem since my father is A#1 Dutch oven Chef- "Coyote Chef"

Note to all who use animal fats to season or re-season their iron.
If not used shortly it will go rancid very fast on you.
I use Canola, Olive Oil, Peanut oil if in a pinch, or Sesame Oil.
You may also consider using Grape seed Oil, Flax seed oil, Sunflower oil, or Safflower Oil.
I avoid soybean oil as it tends to become filmy and sticky when it dries out.

Heat level is key.
To many people blast the heat and forget to turn it down after a few minutes or when they notice smoke.
By that time its almost too late.

I'll rock you with a link to some good recipes.
My Dad writes articles about outdoor living.
So enjoy.
The link to his articles are down at the bottom.

http://thewaynedalenews.com/author-biographies/ray-mccune.html (http://thewaynedalenews.com/author-biographies/ray-mccune.html)

And one from Midwest Outdoors

http://www.midwestoutdoors.com/magazine/article.cfm?articleID=107 (http://www.midwestoutdoors.com/magazine/article.cfm?articleID=107)

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: FMJ on October 06, 2011, 12:34:00 am
You see, in my troop at the time a DO was more useful as a waste container, at least that's how it seemed to me at the time.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: mnw42 on October 06, 2011, 01:02:58 am
Dutch Oven cooking is a bit of an art.  It isn't complicated, it simply requires an attention to detail and a bit of supervision.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: coelacanth on October 06, 2011, 05:08:24 pm
Another bit about the kosher salt - it is not iodized.  Some folks are sensitive to iodine and most can taste the difference between iodized and plain salt.  There is definitely a bitterness to the iodized stuff.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: StevenTing on October 06, 2011, 06:27:48 pm
http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-LCC3-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-Cooker/dp/B0009JKG9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-LCC3-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-Cooker/dp/B0009JKG9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-1)  
http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L5SK3-Pre-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-Skillet/dp/B00008GKDG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-5 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L5SK3-Pre-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-Skillet/dp/B00008GKDG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1317863699&sr=8-5)
Two of these- http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-2-Inch-Skillet/dp/B00063RWT8/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864157&sr=8-18 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-2-Inch-Skillet/dp/B00063RWT8/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864157&sr=8-18)  
And three or 4 of these- http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Temp-Handle-Mitt-Black/dp/B00063RWG6/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864233&sr=8-15 (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Temp-Handle-Mitt-Black/dp/B00063RWG6/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1317864233&sr=8-15)  


I ordered each of the above in the quantity above except for the pads.  Only did 3 pads instead of 4 pads.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Avenger29 on October 06, 2011, 06:40:45 pm
Okay, so here's me being lazy. What cast iron stuff would you buy on Amazon.com?  I just got a $100 gift card there and I can't think of anything better to get right now.

Get some lodge but not the crap with enamel and get a pair of welding gloves for oven mitts.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Gunnguy on October 06, 2011, 09:04:04 pm
Get some lodge but not the crap with enamel and get a pair of welding gloves for oven mitts.
Got great welding gloves at Menards for cheap!
Heavy Blue ones!

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on October 07, 2011, 02:10:42 am
Another IME post:  

This article nails it pretty well- http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/94658/healthy_cooking_oils_canola_oil_for.html?cat=5 (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/94658/healthy_cooking_oils_canola_oil_for.html?cat=5)  Though I usually skip the middle step oils.  I sear meat with a light touch of canola oil at very high heat, almost everything else is olive oil, mostly for the flavor aspects.

I only use shortening(Crisco as a general rule) when either baking, or when working with a piece of iron that is having a tough time breaking in.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Gunnguy on October 09, 2011, 06:27:31 pm
I only use shortening(Crisco as a general rule) when either baking, or when working with a piece of iron that is having a tough time breaking in.

For those of you having issues with previously used cast iron or new cast iron that seems to be tough to take a seasoning, try this method.

Build a fire in the old BBQ grill or make a campfire.
Place your cast iron upside down on the rack inside or overtop of fire/heat source. Cover grills as they lose heat when open to air. Heat for 15 to 30 minutes on max heat for gas or after the coals are greyed about 10 to 20 minutes for charcoal or open camp fire.
What you are doing is causing a 'quick rust' to form.
This also carbonizes the surface components and looses the debris.
Remove from heat and place upside down on solid heat resistant surface till cooled.
Tap, do not strike hard, with a wooden spoon to knock free any residue in the cast iron.
After cooled, wash cast iron in very hot water.
Dry thoroughly with paper towels and use oil of your choice, canola is good, to re-season.

 ;D
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on October 18, 2011, 10:54:57 pm
Mr. Ting-

Have you received your iron from Amazon yet?  Kitchen full of ironware cooked goodness is what we expect to hear about!!!!
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Gunnguy on October 18, 2011, 10:58:55 pm
Mr. Ting-

Have you received your iron from Amazon yet?  Kitchen full of ironware cooked goodness is what we expect to hear about!!!!
I love it when certain pans become seasoned with onions and ramps or garlic and pepper. You soon realizes certain pans cook better a certain way than others.

Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on October 18, 2011, 11:21:10 pm
My favorite thing to cook in a new piece of iron ware almost always involves good cuts of  heavily marbled beef and onions in one form or another.  After the fist two or three runs, a pork dish or two.  After that?  The sky's the limit.

Just remember- Always pre-heat your iron.  ALWAYS. 
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: StevenTing on October 19, 2011, 12:03:01 am
Mr. Ting-

Have you received your iron from Amazon yet?  Kitchen full of ironware cooked goodness is what we expect to hear about!!!!

I have received but I don't think I'm doing it right.  I've done pan cakes, eggs, and sauteed some other stuff.  I'm still trying to get the hang of it.  The instructions say to wash with only water and a brush.  Doesn't always get things clean.  Then says to make sure to spray oil on the iron after washing, and while it's still hot.

Told my wife that I need to do some hash browns or other stuff so I can use the iron more.  Otherwise, I've been too busy and not home enough to cook.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Evil Jim on October 19, 2011, 09:41:38 am
I always dedicate a new cast iron to fatty foods for a while after I pick it up.
I now have a tub of lard in the fridge, just for wiping them down after washing.
My cast iron has to be well seasoned before I try eggs pancakes.
Most of the time, I can wipe it out with a paper towel after cooking... then just rinse it.


Jim
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on October 19, 2011, 09:04:47 pm
Quote
Just remember- Always pre-heat your iron.  ALWAYS.
 Can't say that often enough.

Especially with new ironware.  To test, flick a drop of water in the pan.  If it doesn't instantly hiss, spit, and turn to steam, the pan isn't hot enough to cook with yet.  

If you are having sticking problems, let the pan cool completely after cooking.  This will usually release the majority of the stuck food particles.  Then rinse and wipe out with VERY hot to the touch water.

Don't worry, it'll come around.  Just use it a time or 2 per week, and within a month you should have all the kinks shook out.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: mnw42 on November 01, 2011, 12:50:34 am
For really stuck on stuff I you can boil water in the pan.  The action of the water will lift much of the stuck bits off and then  poor it off.  Keep the pan hot, dry it out with a paper towel.  Re-oil it immediately and before it has a chance to cool.

If it is really bad then the steel wool (not Brillo) comes out.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: jimbob86 on December 08, 2012, 06:10:31 pm
Quote
With proper care, durability is unsurpassed.

Even with improper care, no care at all, or even outright abuse, all is not lost: my very best pan was salvaged from a scrapyard, and had some pretty serious rust issues.  A couple hours of elbow grease, a wire cup on a drill, and a palm sander ...... seasoned it and it gets used daily now.

So long as it's not cracked or have holes shot in it, it is salvageable.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Ken Brock on December 08, 2012, 09:37:57 pm
I've never been impressed with coated cookware...it has never worked that well for me and tends to eventually gain scratches.

Cast iron, on the other hand, I can cook with pretty well...

Cast iron is also very affordable. Made in the USA, 100% cast iron Lodge cookware can even be brought at Wal-Mart for reasonable prices. A trip to the jockey lot yields vintage cookware...

I recommend a large, deep skillet if you can only have one piece of cast iron cookware. Frying a steak, making gravy, baking a roast in the oven, frying chicken, cooking french fries, making pancakes are just SOME of the varied things you can do with it. You'll want to get a griddle, other pans, and such later, but I consider the large skillet to be the most versatile.

I use a cast iron pot to deep fry. I have a huge cast iron washpot for making hash and stews in large quantity.

Here in the South cast iron is passed down just like guns and tools...

dude! you mentioned the Jockey Lot! I live like 20 minutes from there

on topic, all I cook with anymore is cast iron

I initially seasoned mine with flaxseed oil but maintain it with bacon grease or coconut oil
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Evil Jim on December 08, 2012, 09:47:31 pm
Gotta love the Jockey Lot, next time I am home... Caryn and I need to make a run into town.


Jim
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: webeable on January 03, 2016, 11:26:56 am
Always and do mean always when curing or seasoning cast iorn use lard not anything else as this is what has been used for them since first used
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: GeorgeHill on January 03, 2016, 11:33:08 am
Peanut Oil works well too.  Lard is traditionally used because of availability, not superiority.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: webeable on January 03, 2016, 01:22:58 pm
Peanut Oil works well too.  Lard is traditionally used because of availability, not superiority.

Most veggy oils turn stick where LARD turns to carbon.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Gunnguy on January 03, 2016, 10:30:47 pm
Read up on a scientific article about using Food Grade Flax Seed Oil to season the cast iron.
You don't cook with it. Just use it to season the pan and the steps are as follows:

Prep- Wash the cast iron to remove any grease, oils, debris, or rust.

1)Take a clean cloth and wipe the cast iron with a light coat of food grade Flax Seed oil.
2)Wait five minutes and wipe as much excess off as you can.
3)Heat the cast iron to 500 degrees for six hours.
4)Let cool for about two hours.

Repeat steps 1 through 4 until you have done this for 6 to 8 times.

What this does in causes the oil to embed itself into the cast iron. Changes the structure of the oil to a hard carbonized material.
When cooking just wipe with a normal cooking oil and use as you usually do.
Clean with hot water. Wipe dry. Should remain seasoned and rust free for years.
So far my one Griswold seems to be doing rather well even after just three treatments. Will report later on this and find that article.

 


 Tried it.
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Gunnguy on January 03, 2016, 10:31:57 pm
Found it!

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: coelacanth on January 04, 2016, 11:18:24 pm
Good article.  Thanks for posting it.   :cool   
Title: Re: Cooking with cast iron, pointers and tips.
Post by: Gunnguy on January 10, 2016, 03:03:59 am
Your welcome!