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Old 09-11-2014, 10:10 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, 10:46 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, 11:19 AM   #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, 11:22 AM   #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, 11:39 AM   #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, 12:06 PM   #6
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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.
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, 12:25 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, 12:27 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, 12:30 PM   #9
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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, 12:33 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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Old 09-11-2014, 12:36 PM   #11
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I just wipe mine out too. One thing I like about CI is that it's so multipurpose. Stovetop, oven, grill, heck, you can even serve from it. Just don't forget the pot holder!
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:36 PM   #12
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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.

Current day gas stoves don't have a gas pilot either.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Current day gas stoves don't have a gas pilot either.
Forgot about that.
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Old 09-11-2014, 02:19 PM   #14
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Current day gas stoves don't have a gas pilot either.
Some do, the apartment I was in about 2 years ago had a stove less than a year old when moving in, had a gas pilot light. It was some odd brand I have never heard of (and can't remember now though)
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Old 09-11-2014, 02:30 PM   #15
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Cast iron is really simple to care for and easy to use. Personally I prefer the older stuff with the machined cooking surface, they seem to be much quicker to get "non stick" than new stuff with the rougher casting (for ease of adding the pre-seasoning in the factories). I cook 90% of our food in cast iron, and sometimes forget we have some teflon stuff!

If you buy one that is used and needs to be seasoned, or just feel like adding to the pre-seasoning, it's quite easy! Just put on a layer of Crisco, wipe it off with a cotton towel like you're trying to get it all off (you want a VERY thin layer), then place it in the oven upside-down at 450 for an hour or two. Let it stay in the oven over night, and you're done!

It does take a bit to pre-heat, about 2 minutes on medium heat on my stove

Cleaning is easy too, I usually wait until the pan is back to room temp and wipe it out with a paper towel. If there is a lot of oil left, I will rinse it out with hot water and run a nylon brush over it and dry it on the stove on low heat for about 5 minutes to make sure it is 100% dry. I've never used soap on any of mine and never had an issue. All but 2 pieces in our collection were inherited and have all been cleaned the same way for decades! We even have a griddle from the Civil War era.
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Old 09-11-2014, 03:43 PM   #16
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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.
I still store my cast iron pans in the oven, a holdover from the days of the pilot light!
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:06 PM   #17
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...they seem to be much quicker to get "non stick" than new stuff with the rougher casting (for ease of adding the pre-seasoning in the factories)...

I don't think the rougher casting is for factory 'pre-seasoning'. I bought my first Lodge CI pan before the Logic line was introduced and it has the same finish.

The manufacturer uses the same process as you would at home to season the CI.

Regardless, It's reliably non-stick. The grainier finish doesn't seem to effect that at all.
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:18 PM   #18
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I just wipe mine out too. One thing I like about CI is that it's so multipurpose. Stovetop, oven, grill, heck, you can even serve from it. Just don't forget the pot holder!
I run the water from tap as hot as I can get it, then use a regular handled dishwasher brush that has stiffer bristles than some and scour it out. Also, it's one of those without soap in the handle. Never use dishwashing soap as it will degrade the seasoning.

When seasoning, I can't stress enough to keep the coating thin. After initial seasoning, besides cooking lots of bacon, I set it on the burner on high with about 1/4" of vegetable oil in it and let it get smoking hot, then turn the heat off. This creates a nice sheen in the pan and makes water practically jump off when rinsing it.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:15 PM   #19
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I don't think the rougher casting is for factory 'pre-seasoning'. I bought my first Lodge CI pan before the Logic line was introduced and it has the same finish.

The manufacturer uses the same process as you would at home to season the CI.

Regardless, It's reliably non-stick. The grainier finish doesn't seem to effect that at all.
I thought it had to do with making sure the oil sticks in the spraying process, I have no idea where I read it now and can't find it in a search. Lodge does have some nice stuff :)
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:31 PM   #20
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I thought it had to do with making sure the oil sticks in the spraying process, I have no idea where I read it now and can't find it in a search. Lodge does have some nice stuff :)

If the oil used in seasoning is supposed to be a super thin coating, it should cling and not run.

I bought one CI pan unseasoned and did it all myself, and another one was pre-seasoned. I noticed no difference except the pre-seasoned one was easier on me. Now, you can't tell them apart.
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