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 Post subject: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:11 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Okay, let's say I buy a cast iron skillet. Then what do I do?

I have tried to figure it out a million times but the internet has so much conflicting information. I got one for my wedding but hardly ever used it and it got all weird with big rusty flakes and we were moving across the country so we threw it away.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:24 pm 
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You have to season it. You can look up the instructions online and I use crisco. Never wash it with soap, just use a brush if you get stuck bits and water. Be sure to put a spritz of oil and rub it in with a paper towel after you wash/dry it and you should be set. You can scrub the rust out with steel wool, season it and start over again. Cast iron never goes "bad".

I still do use a bit of spray when I'm cooking with it but it is getting less and less over time. I cook 90% with cast iron.

Welcome to the world of cast iron. It is amazeballs. Think pizza, casseroles, bread, and so much more!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:25 pm 
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Do you know if your pans are pre-seasoned? I bought a couple of Lodge brand cast iron skillets a few weeks ago and absolutely love them. Since they were pre-seasoned, all I did was wipe down the pans with a wet paper towel, dry them, and they were ready to use. Food stuck a little bit the first time, but it wasn't too bad and the end results were definitely worth it. I made a skillet pie in one of those pans and I thought for sure it would stick like crazy, but it didn't at all. So yeah, pans that are already pre-seasoned are super easy.

Unfortunately I have no advice on seasoning a pan that isn't preseasoned. I tried to do it once about ten years ago and it was kind of a disaster.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:26 pm 
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doncherryfan wrote:
Do you know if your pans are pre-seasoned? I bought a couple of Lodge brand cast iron skillets a few weeks ago and absolutely love them. Since they were pre-seasoned, all I did was wipe down the pans with a wet paper towel, dry them, and they were ready to use. Food stuck a little bit the first time, but it wasn't too bad and the end results were definitely worth it. I made a skillet pie in one of those pans and I thought for sure it would stick like crazy, but it didn't at all. So yeah, pans that are already pre-seasoned are super easy.

Unfortunately I have no advice on seasoning a pan that isn't preseasoned. I tried to do it once about ten years ago and it was kind of a disaster.


I even preseason my Lodge stuff. It isn't that hard. A hot oven and Crisco really do make things easy!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:32 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I haven't bought any pans yet, so let me know if you have specific recs!

So I don't wash them with soap ever, but I can get it wet, and after every use spray it with oil. Is that it? We were seriously so confused trying to figure this out before. It was ten years ago so there was not much internet information yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:35 pm 
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I printed out the "Using Cast Iron Cookware" section of this article and keep it on my fridge:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/ ... 7001.story


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:41 pm 
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I was a total fail with regular cast iron - it always got rusty on me, and I couldn't handle not washing it with soap and hot water. I also never did the re-seasoning correctly, so I wound up with sticky gross baked oil on the sides of my pans. Finally I caved and bought a Creuset enameled cast iron skillet and have been incredibly happy with it. It was expensive, but worth it for me. I don't know why I could never get the hang of cast iron...just lame, I guess.

Good luck and happy fryin'! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:43 pm 
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molly wrote:
I haven't bought any pans yet, so let me know if you have specific recs!

So I don't wash them with soap ever, but I can get it wet, and after every use spray it with oil. Is that it? We were seriously so confused trying to figure this out before. It was ten years ago so there was not much internet information yet.


Yup, you can get them totally wet, you just need to dry them. Some people let them sit on a warm burner or in the oven to dry, but I just use a paper towel and then oil lightly.

Lodge is pretty darn cheap and makes some good stuff. I have the wok, the double dutch oven (the one where you can use the lid as a casserole, brilliant) and a mini skillet from them. I have a bread loaf pan from another brand it is works fab too. Most of my larger skillets were hand-me-downs.

Just remember, no acidy stuff like tomatoes and you should be fine!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:53 pm 
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i have a preseasoned lodge and the surface isn't really perfectly flat, and though i love it to pieces, some things (like pancakes) stick like the dickens while other things don't at all. it's different from my father's cast iron pans, which were perfectly flat and you could cook a crepe on them with no oil and they would slide right off (probably partially because of generations of meatball fat impregnated in the metal, which is why i bought my own....ecka.)

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:56 pm 
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torque wrote:
i have a preseasoned lodge and the surface isn't really perfectly flat, and though i love it to pieces, some things (like pancakes) stick like the dickens while other things don't at all. it's different from my father's cast iron pans, which were perfectly flat and you could cook a crepe on them with no oil and they would slide right off (probably partially because of generations of meatball fat impregnated in the metal, which is why i bought my own....ecka.)


If you season them a few times (or more *sigh*) they start to lose the divits. It takes patience but you can get there!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:32 pm 
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I eat food's tutorial for seasoning cast iron skillets is one of the best I've found.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:50 pm 
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I started a thread a while back about making a cast iron pan totally nonstick and BluePlasticStraw posted this amazing tutorial:

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/ ... cast-iron/

Apparently flax oil is the way to go. This is top on my list of stuff to do since I finally moved to a place with an oven again.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:53 pm 
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So why might I season a pan that is already preseasoned? What benefit does it provide? My husband just bought a Lodge skillet, and I'd like to get a grill pan.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:56 pm 
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This thread makes me so happy. I am a cast iron ignoramus and I just moved into my first place with a gas stove--my last place only had a hot plate! Cast iron would've been an exercise in futility. But now I can start trying to learn cast iron!

This is so exciting.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Quarantined wrote:
I started a thread a while back about making a cast iron pan totally nonstick and BluePlasticStraw posted this amazing tutorial:

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/ ... cast-iron/

Apparently flax oil is the way to go. This is top on my list of stuff to do since I finally moved to a place with an oven again.


I did this with my skillets and dutch oven. It's totally worth the time. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING sticks to my pans.
We used Crisco growing up, so when I got my own pans I thought it would be fine, but I always had stickage.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:08 pm 
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I bought cast iron stuff a few years back and didn't know anything about seasoning -- I used them and they got rusty/gross. Is there any cure for rust?

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:28 pm 
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terri_to wrote:
So why might I season a pan that is already preseasoned? What benefit does it provide? My husband just bought a Lodge skillet, and I'd like to get a grill pan.

Stuff will still stick to those "preseasoned" pans. I read about the flax seasoning, that sounds pretty stellar!

RandiJM wrote:
I bought cast iron stuff a few years back and didn't know anything about seasoning -- I used them and they got rusty/gross. Is there any cure for rust?


Yep, use some elbow grease and a steel wool pad and scrub the rust out. Then season it in the oven and you should be good as new!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:32 pm 
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xanthia wrote:
RandiJM wrote:
I bought cast iron stuff a few years back and didn't know anything about seasoning -- I used them and they got rusty/gross. Is there any cure for rust?


Yep, use some elbow grease and a steel wool pad and scrub the rust out. Then season it in the oven and you should be good as new!


Thanks! I was concerned that steel wool shouldn't be used on cast iron. Glad to hear it.
So flaxseed oil huh.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:26 pm 
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RandiJM wrote:
xanthia wrote:
RandiJM wrote:
I bought cast iron stuff a few years back and didn't know anything about seasoning -- I used them and they got rusty/gross. Is there any cure for rust?


Yep, use some elbow grease and a steel wool pad and scrub the rust out. Then season it in the oven and you should be good as new!


Thanks! I was concerned that steel wool shouldn't be used on cast iron. Glad to hear it.
So flaxseed oil huh.

Steel wool should only be used on a cast iron if you are planning on re-seasoning it, otherwise it will un-season your pans.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:30 pm 
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Yeah I never seasoned them! So definitely will be seasoning at least 2x. Why don't unseasoned pans come with a warning!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:04 pm 
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RandiJM wrote:
So flaxseed oil huh.


It's a slight pain in the asparagus, but it's really worth it. If you do it, don't get impatient, or you'll end up with drips and weird uneven spots. You might want to do the flax thing on a cold day, if you can--my oven heated up my small apartment. It also smells a little, so ventilate :)


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:37 am 
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I'll have to try that flax business. Thanks for the info!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:31 am 
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For those of you interested in flaxseed oil-seasoned skillets, check out this Kickstarter-funded company: http://boroughfurnace.com/

It looks like they'll be selling them next month. You can sign up for their email list to be notified.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:58 am 
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Oh, good. "Chemistry of Cast-Iron Seasoning" has already been posted.

A lot of old skillets from brands like Griswold had their surfaces machine-ground so they had a extremely smooth, slinky, non-stick surface. If you can find one of those at a garage sale, get it. They're amazing, and I don't think anyone is manufacturing polished cast iron any more. You can come close to the same effect by getting a new unseasoned pan and polishing the surface with sandpaper, but if you don't have power tools it'll take a long time.

Still. My seasoned Lodge will do most things well, but just isn't smooth enough for delicate things. It mangles Kittee's injera fakeouts, for example.

Also, the ultimate 'reset' button on a badly seasoned cast iron skillet: put it through your oven's self-cleaning cycle. It'll burn away everything and basically turn it into a new, unseasoned skillet.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:09 am 
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Sir Brancis Facon wrote:
Also, the ultimate 'reset' button on a badly seasoned cast iron skillet: put it through your oven's self-cleaning cycle. It'll burn away everything and basically turn it into a new, unseasoned skillet.


I must try this! I have a cast-iron, but I just keep staring at it and using non-stick skillets instead.

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