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Old 12-29-2008, 07:04 PM   #1
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Newbie cook with some Cast Iron questions:

So I just bought a 10 pc. Anolon Advanced non-stick set and, a 10 inch All Clad SS pan.
Ive been hearing/reading about Cast iron everywhere but because I am quite new to all this, I dont really know where the CI excels as opposed to SS, Anodized Aluminum, etc.

So in what areas would you recommend I try a CI skillet?
They are so cheap so I figured i'd try one; any particular brand to look at?
Can someone explain the seasoning process?

Thanks!

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel
So in what areas would you recommend I try a CI skillet?
They are so cheap so I figured i'd try one; any particular brand to look at?
Can someone explain the seasoning process?

I use cast iron daily. It can be used for anything --It excels at heat retention.
I like Lodge Brand...Made in the USA...There is a lot of stuff out there that is imported.
Follow the directions that Lodge provides for seasoning. It's simple and easy.

Have Fun & Enjoy!
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:31 PM   #3
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Wondering if anyone uses cast iron on a glass top stove? And if so what type of results compared to gas or electric burners?
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:26 AM   #4
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Kwitel... if you search you will find alot of useful discussion for Cast Iron cookware on this site.

I would recommend starting out with a medium sized skillet like a size 8 use it often and it may quickly become indispensable.

CI is great for any high heat cooking that would damage your non-stick cookware. It is a great tool for frying anything, for searing and browning meats. It is also nice because you can take it from the stove top to the oven so you can brown and roast in the same pan. You can also use it on a grill or campfire. Unlike your other cookware It is virtually impossible to destroy.

If you are going to buy new go with Lodge (avoid made in china stuff). I prefer the older pans with the machined finish inside you can get these on ebay or at flea markets etc. Wagner and Griswold are the name brands for the old stuff but I have some non marked pans that are great quality too and will be cheaper.. just inspect the casting there are great variations in quality. I need to take pictures and post the two I am restoring right now because they are a great example. They look very similar at first glance and are both unbranded but one is a really nice pan and the other is quite poor casting.

Dont get frustrated with cast iron if it does not cooperate at first. It takes awhile to get your seasoning perfect. Be patient and use it often. At first use it for fattier dishes to build up the seasoning then it will be all purpose. Avoid acidic foods use your AC for that stuff. Good Luck
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:30 AM   #5
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I agree about using Cast Iron, especially for a skillet. After it gets seasoned, it becomes natural non stick. It also adds some good flavor IMHO.

AC

I don't know about the glass top stove, I do not have an electric stove.
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:34 AM   #6
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I have two very old China pans, 8 & 10". They have a smooth cooking surface which works great, I even use them directly on the grill. I bought a Lodge square grill pan that I can't stand, but the regular pans are pretty good. Don't trust the Lodge "pre-seasoniong" though. You still need to season the pan yourself.
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:51 AM   #7
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Wondering if anyone uses cast iron on a glass top stove? And if so what type of results compared to gas or electric burners?
Yes. All the time. Works great.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:13 AM   #8
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I bought a Lodge square grill pan that I can't stand,
I 'borrowed' mums a few years ago.... We had a rocky start but are starting to become one. I will never try to cook fish on it again though that turned out poorly.

for awhile I avoided it and used my LC enamel one instead but I have returned to the lodge now and found it to be great for some things as long as I am patient with it.

What is your problem with the grill pan?
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:29 AM   #9
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What is your problem with the grill pan?
The "grates" are very thin and pointed so you get very little contact with the food. And it's a pain to clean. I used it once....maybe twice. I'd give it to someone that wanted it, it just takes up space.

I just fire up one of my grills. Down ye' ol' road, I plan on a 48 inch'er with a grill.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:34 AM   #10
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Related Question:

I've got a kind of related question to the cast iron question. I've got two cast iron pans that belonged to my grandmother. They are older than I am and quite well seasoned. Unfortunately, the exterior of the pan has been covered in this kind of... substance, I can't really identify it... but it has an unpleasant tendency of catching fire whenever I try to use it. It's not rust. It's black. Can anyone identify it and (hopefully) tell me how to get rid of it? I'd hate to have to abandon these pans.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:45 AM   #11
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FK

Dont worry your pans are fine (and probably very good quality). It is probably just a grease build up.

You cant hurt the pan but you can damage the seasoning.

You could bring the whole pan down to bare metal and re-season entirely. There are many methods for this from oven cleaner to throwing it in a fire etc. I usually do this with pans I acquire but my grandmothers dutch oven I did not want to loose that lovely seasoning that she had carefully built for decades.

If you want to save the seasoning inside and clean the outside you could do a few things. Try BKF and steel wool. If it wont budge you could try sanding it off. If you dont mind chemicals you could apply oven cleaner CAREFULLY to the outside only and try to dissolve it.

in the event that it is not grease and paint or melted plastic instead oven cleaner wont cut it paint can be removed with naval jelly and plastic you could sand or file off.

Once you get it off the pan will probably look a bit scruffy just re season the outside and with use it will return to uniform black...

Of course if you don't want to do this I am sure many of us here at DC would be happy to take them off your hands
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:50 AM   #12
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Yeah, I would totally clean that off and reseason. You won't take away all the seasoning, but you'll be better off with the crud removed.

I always wash my CI pans out with soap and hot water after I use them, then set them over a medium burner to dry. I finish with a thin coat of vegetable oil and let them cool on the stove, wipe off any excess oil. The seasoning is perfect every time and completely non-stick.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:26 PM   #13
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Welcome kwitel.
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:23 AM   #14
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Thank you so much! I'll try the steel wool first. You're right, I really don't want to wreck the seasoning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PanchoHambre View Post
FK

Dont worry your pans are fine (and probably very good quality). It is probably just a grease build up.

You cant hurt the pan but you can damage the seasoning.

You could bring the whole pan down to bare metal and re-season entirely. There are many methods for this from oven cleaner to throwing it in a fire etc. I usually do this with pans I acquire but my grandmothers dutch oven I did not want to loose that lovely seasoning that she had carefully built for decades.

If you want to save the seasoning inside and clean the outside you could do a few things. Try BKF and steel wool. If it wont budge you could try sanding it off. If you dont mind chemicals you could apply oven cleaner CAREFULLY to the outside only and try to dissolve it.

in the event that it is not grease and paint or melted plastic instead oven cleaner wont cut it paint can be removed with naval jelly and plastic you could sand or file off.

Once you get it off the pan will probably look a bit scruffy just re season the outside and with use it will return to uniform black...

Of course if you don't want to do this I am sure many of us here at DC would be happy to take them off your hands
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:18 AM   #15
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Good Luck. I am very fond of CI cookware both for its usefulness as well as for its physical qualities. I like that each pan has "personality" and the history involved. I also enjoy the fact that you cant really damage them. I am rough on things so I ruin alot of stuff.

For a long time I was intimidated by CI. The person I lived with had a bunch but I was afraid to use it as it was her moms and she was a very fussy and particular individual so I really never touched it. Once I got my own though I fell in love with the stuff.

I hope you find yourself enjoying your grandmothers pans
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:09 PM   #16
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I use cast iron on my glass top stove, but had to severely reduce my collection. Most of my skillets are hand-me-downs from grandmothers and great grandmothers and have ridges around the bottom which I've read can damage ceramic cooktops, and they also won't heat properly due to there being no contact with the burner. What I have found is that with my stove (it's white!!!) they make a huge mess on the burner because there's always some amount of stuff on the bottom that cooks back onto the burner. I still use them every day though, I just clean the stove after I'm done.
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:27 PM   #17
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Seasoning cast iron USE SPECTRUM NON-Hydrogenated Shortining

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel View Post
So I just bought a 10 pc. Anolon Advanced non-stick set and, a 10 inch All Clad SS pan.
Ive been hearing/reading about Cast iron everywhere but because I am quite new to all this, I dont really know where the CI excels as opposed to SS, Anodized Aluminum, etc.

So in what areas would you recommend I try a CI skillet?
They are so cheap so I figured i'd try one; any particular brand to look at?
Can someone explain the seasoning process?

Thanks!
Hi Laurel, (That happens to be my mom's name, too!)


I think cast iron for cooking meats and birds, just tastes better. The iron seems to flavor it somewhat for the better. The heat is also steady, and if you have the patience to wait till it heats, and cook on LOW-MED and not higher, you will never burn anything. It will always be wonderful. (a few things need higher heat, and I prefer not to use my good cast iron for that. I have stainless steel for higher heats!)

The enamel covered cast iron cooks great but doesn't change the flavors like old black cast iron. I have much enamel covered, and when I cook most things or anything that has tomato sauce or fruits in it, I use them-- because the acidic foods or fruit acids will remove seasoning on the plain cast iron.

Cast Iron that requires seasoning is easy to do. Make sure it is clean, and not rusty. I prefer SPECTRUM PALM OIL SHORTENING because it has no hydrogenated oil in it, and I happen to be very highly allergic to hydrogenated oil. I get the Spectrum brand at Whole Foods, and it has no smell and no taste. It works great as a shortening. (When cooking or baking with it, I may add butter to it, like with pie crust for some added flavor.) For seasoning cast iron it is the best.

First take out a large cookie pan and cover it with aluminum foil, so you can throw away the mess at the end with no problems....

Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Towel Dry the cast iron pot or pan and coat it with a light to medium coating of the shortening all over, inside and out and the handles. Put this in the oven on the foiled pan for about an hour and a half, the first time. Later when reseasoning, about an hour after that.

Let it cool and wipe it so it isn't gooey or drippy, and leave it. I put a paper towel between my stacked pans so they don't get dinged. Then use the pan as often as you can. Cook burgers, bacon, steaks and don't use soap detergent unless you are going to reseason again. If it seems dirty or smelly, you can use some diluted Ivory Soap dishwashing liquid, but dilute it. DO NOT SOAK ANY CAST IRON it will rust!

If you do over-clean a pan, just re-season it. I season my cast iron about every three months, or if I haven't used it. I also coat it with a bit of vegetable oil in between uses, but don't do that if you plan on not using the pan often, vegie oils will go rancid on a pan. If that should happen wash it well with dish soap and RE- SEASON it.

If you never let it rust it will last forever!!!!

The enamel covered ones do have some visible black cast iron peaking through, and those areas need seasoning now and then too.

ENJOY!

Candy
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:11 PM   #18
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I've personally had better luck seasoning with animal fats. When I cook bacon, I just save the grease and use it to cook things in the pan til it's seasoned, or to fry eggs. It has worked best for me, but I've read of others that prefer to use vegetable oil.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:05 PM   #19
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Welcome to DC, kwitel.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:20 PM   #20
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I stumbled onto these forums and I am hooked! My first question of many to come. How can I remove rust from a cast iron pan?
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