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Old 09-11-2014, 11:10 AM   #1
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Thinking about Cast Iron

I am strongly considering getting a cast iron skillet because they're inexpensive, last a lifetime, and apparently have great flavoring qualities.

Now, I have never cooked with cast iron before.

I've been looking up some things about them on google, but everyone has a different opinion on everything.

So I have a few questions.

1.Lodge seems like a leading brand, so what do you recommend between the pre-seasoned pan and un-seasoned pan.
-What would be the process to start for one of these pans out of the package?

2.How long does it take to preheat on a stove top? Any heat to stay consistent with or not go above?

3. Washing ? What are proper techniques to get rid of residue + bacteria? Also how soon after I cook something should I clean it. Does it have to be immediately. Can I eat my meal first. Can I wait a day?

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Old 09-11-2014, 11:46 AM   #2
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First of all, CI doesn't add flavor to anything unless it's not properly seasoned. Then you'd get a metallic flavor in your food.

1. There is no good reason to buy unseasoned. The factory seasoning is a great place to start.

2. It will take longer to heat to any temp when compared to SS or alum. However, it holds that heat longer than either of the others. CI is safe at any temperature you would cook at.

3. Once it's fully seasoned, a quick wipe with a paper towel is often all that's needed. Otherwise, wipe out any residual fat and solid particles and rinse under hot water. Use a blue scrub sponge (safe for Teflon) to remove any stubborn residue. If that doesn't work, boil some water in it for a couple of minutes to loosen residue. Always dry it off by reheating it on a burner and wiping a very light coating of cooking oil on it.

Start using it right away. Take it out of the package, wash is lightly and heat it up. In the beginning, cook things that use or generate a lot of fat to add to the seasoning. Bacon is a good starter.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:19 PM   #3
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Make sure you oil the pan every time before cooking. My biggest goof when I was first learning was just throwing the bacon on a hot pan with no oil "because it was greasy enough". That was a mess.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:22 PM   #4
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Great advice from Andy. I would just add that if you wait overnight or longer to wash cast iron, it will be harder to clean, just because the residue will have hardened, and you will be tempted to scrub more than necessary to get it clean. This might not be good for the seasoning.

They're great pans. I love mine.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:39 PM   #5
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Couldn't live without our cast iron cookware. We have lots of different pieces, each with its own assigned task...my preference.

One of the ones I love the most is a huge, deep (at least 4 inches) skillet that is to-die-for when it comes to frying chicken. That's its primary task.

Another one is a standard skillet, no high sides, that is probably about 9 inches in diameter and is my go-to pan for cornbread. Actually, I think it's a federal law that requires that cornbread be made in a cast iron skillet. The subsection of that law is that cornbread be made with lard or bacon fat.

Those two pieces are well over 100-years-old and I wouldn't part with them for anything.

We have many other pieces that are newer and, over time, have become nicely seasoned and perform much like any Teflon-coated piece of cookware.

Andy's advice is spot on, along with GotGarlic's comment about waiting to clean cast iron. Most of the time, especially with well-seasoned pieces, cleaning is just about as easy as cleaning commercially-made nonstick pots/pans.

Go out and get your first piece and enjoy it. If you fall in love with it like most of us, you'll soon be looking for more.

P.S. I see you live in NYC. Well, then, cast iron can do double duty...it can also serve as an effective weapon. One slug with a cast iron skillet and the recipient will have a headache to remember.
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danbuter View Post
Make sure you oil the pan every time before cooking. My biggest goof when I was first learning was just throwing the bacon on a hot pan with no oil "because it was greasy enough". That was a mess.
I always start bacon in a cold pan so the fat starts to render as the pan warms up. No need to add oil
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:25 PM   #7
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So one thing I guess I have a misconception of or lack of info is....

Lets say I cook a burger with ground beef. Afterwards I wash the cast iron out with hot water and scrub. Is that safe to use? or do I need to clean, dry, and put over stove again on a certain heat to kill bacteria
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I always start bacon in a cold pan so the fat starts to render as the pan warms up. No need to add oil
Same here.
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc2123 View Post
So one thing I guess I have a misconception of or lack of info is....

Lets say I cook a burger with ground beef. Afterwards I wash the cast iron out with hot water and scrub. Is that safe to use? or do I need to clean, dry, and put over stove again on a certain heat to kill bacteria
Reheating is more to ensure the pan is completely dry. Once your CI pan is well seasoned, you can use dish soap if you feel it's necessary, though it seldom is.

If you've cooked the burger so that it's safe to eat, the residue should be safe too. Unless you leave the dirty pan at room temperature for several days, bacteria shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Reheating is more to ensure the pan is completely dry. Once your CI pan is well seasoned, you can use dish soap if you feel it's necessary, though it seldom is.

If you've cooked the burger so that it's safe to eat, the residue should be safe too. Unless you leave the dirty pan at room temperature for several days, bacteria shouldn't be a problem.
My mum just set on the stove and let the pilot light dry it out. I can't do that because I have an electric stove.
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