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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:08 pm 
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I bought a Lodge skillet a few months ago, and am totally scared of it. I did that "i eat food" tutorial with EB shortening, but only recently worked up the nerve to use it. (Why? No idea.) Anyway I made the mistake of trying to cook slabs of tofu- that sticky bastard- and my pan was just not ready for that.

Sooo, I'll season again and start with something easier, I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:33 pm 
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im resurrecting this thread because i have some really basic questions.

is there any reason that i should really get an unseasoned cast iron pan versus an enameled one that sounds like i dont need to ever season it? im just going for the easier option here. with so many people having crepe luck with seasoning i can only imagine i will stink at it too.

if i get a unseasoned one how often do i need to season it?

what happens if i accidently wash it with soap? (something i am bound to do) it just unseasons it?

does it always feel greasy since you dont wash it with soap? that might gross me out. i have a cleaning problem ;-)

so when you use a cast iron skillet you dont ever need to put oil in the pan? can you saute veggies with no oil and they dont stick?

what kind of voodoo is a cast iron pan made out of that you can do this? ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:44 pm 
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LIsa,

I really don't know why you would go for an unseasoned pan. I mean, I'm sure there may be some good reason out there since I assume they still make them, but I don't know what it is. Lodge is awesome, so my vote is with them. I really don't know if there is a good answer for how often you need to reseason. I think your pans will tell you by sticking or looking wrong.

If you accidentally wash with soap, no biggie. Just rub some shortening (I keep crisco around for this; spectrum is too expensive) and pop it in the warm oven for a bit. I wash mine with a hint of soap fairly often and have no ill effects. Even when I don't use soap, they don't feel greasy, though.

I do put a quick spray of oil in the pan. Not much, but I mainly do it because I like the texture and flavor it provides. I'm pretty sure that in a well-seasoned pan you could get by without it, but I'm not vouching for it.

I'm not sure what voodoo is cast for these pans (bad pun alert!) but I get annoyed on the rare occasion I have to use some other sort of pan. I use mine for pretty much everything, from pancakes to tofu to cornbread.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:56 pm 
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from the gist of the thread it sounds like people still need to season their preseasoned pans anyways and that from soemthing else i read an unseasoned pan would be cheaper.

that's just based on a teeny bit of research though.

someone in my Xmas thread mentioned enameled cast iron pans that dont need seasoning. that sounds like the way to go for me unless im missing an important piece of info

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:58 pm 
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I think the reason to get an unseasoned one is that you don't know what they are seasoning it with. It could be they use flax oil, it could be that they use something akin to teflon or other chemical that is questionable. I'm not suggesting to get one unseasoned, just proposing a reason why.

It's really not a big deal to clean it. I thought it would be at first too, ew no soap, but you can get it very clean with water and a scrubber and since it's always getting heated up germs are not going to live there. If you have stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan before you even take it off the heat put some water in there and it will loosen everything up.

Another thing to consider if you get the non-enamled kind (that's what I got just because the enameled are way expensive and I have other pans where the enamel came off) is that the first things you make in it should be something greasy. Like frying onions or other vegetables. Don't try to make something like crepes until it's been used quite a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:00 pm 
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Yeah, I have an enameled pan and I can tell you how annoyed I am that it chipped. VERY. I also have regular cast iron pans as well. Funny though, I mostly use stainless steel pans.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:39 pm 
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Whenever I buy Lodge I have to season it myself. I don't think the pre-seasoning is very effective. (Or maybe I'm cooking wrong? We don't use a lot of oil so that's probably part of the problem, like LazySmurf mentioned).


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:54 pm 
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Yeah I agree, I'd season it again if you got Lodge but I don't think it is harmful or has any concerns of other pre-seasoned cookware.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:13 pm 
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i have a pre-seasoned lodge and it looked seasoned, but everything stuck like crazy for the first few weeks. i used lecithin and oil and it was fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:33 pm 
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I got a pre-seasoned one and I still had to season it because everything stuck like crazy. Now it's not too bad, but it still doesn't compare to the beauty I found at a thrift store. It was so grimy and sad on the shelf at goodwill and I bought it, de-seasoned it in a self-cleaning oven, and re-seasoned it with shortening. It's my favorite now.
-I use oil sometimes and find that when I don't, things stick a little, but in a good way. I love to scrape up those little burnt bits. Especially in scrambled tofu. I have a flat metal cookie spatula that I always use with my cast iron pan.
-If things stick, I just wait for it to cool and scrub the stuck bits with some coarse salt. Then wipe it off and it's all clean.
-If I cooked something juicy/saucy, I'll rinse it out and sometimes even use soap (gasp!) but once it's well seasoned, the soap doesn't matter that much. As long as it's once in a while, there's no way it's going to eliminate all the seasoning I've built up.

I was nervous at first, but I think people make a bigger deal than necessary about the rules. I just kind of figure it out as I went along. As long as you don't leave it wet for a long time, you should be fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:40 pm 
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I love my pans, but to be honest I do use a little soap and water now they're well seasoned (duck). I don't soak or scrub but it just takes the top layer off. I dry carefully and oil if necessary. I only mention it because people tend talk about them as if they're really delicate, but it's a big lump of metal. You can always re-season and once you've had them a while they can take most of what you can throw at them!

Now what I want is a sheet iron skillet like my father has. Just like cast iron but light. He's had it longer than I've been alive and they don't seem to sell them anywhere!


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:00 pm 
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sound it basically sounds like you keep seasoning it until you get it to the amount of "stick" you want.
so for example if you are cooking stuff and it keeps sticking bad you just season it more.

i think i may go for a Lodge unseasoned (if that is a thing) because it sounds like the preseasoned ones still need to be seasoned and are way more expensive.

great info everyone. thanks!!!

what i really want to do is raid my relatives houses. i know my inlaws have some but they use them soooooo that's a bust. i dont know if my parents do ill have to ask.
i only have one living grandparent and he has moved out of his house, originally into assisted living, and then in with a relative so i dont know how much actual cooking stuff he has.
maybe ill hit up some thrift stores.
i want to find one of those really super old ones pre-1958 with the super smooth surface ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:28 pm 
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I don't think the preseasoned ones are more expensive, its the enamel coated ones that are expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:30 pm 
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mine was under $20 at a chef supply store, and Amazon tells me the prices are about the same. really, it's worth it!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Mine always feels gunky and when I make cornbread in it, it does not stick but the cornbread has greasy black spots underneath. Can anyone tell me why that is? Is it dirty?


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Huh - unseasoned pans seemed to be less expensive than pre-seasoned, last I looked. But they're tough to find, I think.

I actually always use soap/hot water on my cast iron pans, which I know is verboten. But I make sure to dry them on the stove (using a burner until all the water is evaporated), turn off the burner and put a splash of canola oil and use a paper towel to cover all the internal surfaces and wipe out any excess oil, and then leave it until the next use. Works just fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:35 pm 
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I think my dad has found most of his Griswold pans at yard sales or flea markets, LisaPunk. Worth a shot if the relatives route runs dry.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:41 pm 
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maybe i was thinking of the enamel ones that are more expensive

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:34 pm 
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I'm a little scared of my cast iron skillet ever since I burned myself on the handle. Those things stay really hot for a really long time after you take them out of the oven. At some point I would like to get over it and start using it again, and it's definitely due for a re-seasoning.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:08 pm 
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parkerk wrote:
I'm a little scared of my cast iron skillet ever since I burned myself on the handle. Those things stay really hot for a really long time after you take them out of the oven. At some point I would like to get over it and start using it again, and it's definitely due for a re-seasoning.



This is what makes cast iron so great to cook in, it holds heat for so long. When you add food to most pans the temperature of the pan plummets. Cast iron holds much more heat for searing and quick cooking. Also cast iron heats evenly. Most other pans have hot spots.

I am not positive but believe some of the iron leaches out into your cooked food. Yay iron!

The trick with cast iron is to use it often. You should add some fat each time you cook with it. It helps keep it seasoned and clean. You don't have to add a lot, a dab will do you. I would rather put a bit (less than a tsp in my 10 inch skillet) than use some aerosol canned oil with gosh only knows what as the propellant. Cleaning it while it is warm helps also. By cleaning I mean scrape any bits up with a spatula and then wipe with towel. Done.

At work when I make roux I always use our cast iron skillet. It browns it up like a champ and seasons the pan at the same time.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:25 pm 
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I was surprised to see my name on this thread because I am a cast iron pro these days! I love mine. I got a pre-seasoned Lodge. My only problem with it is that it's too heavy for me to easily pick up with one hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:28 pm 
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With regard to cleaning your cast iron, I haven't gotten one of these yet, but the folks at America's Test Kitchen love it:

http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/ ... -cookware/

And it looks like chainmail.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:32 pm 
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I have a paranoia about using my cast iron skillet on the stove. It's pretty new, I bought a cheap pre-seasoned 12" skillet and I've seasoned it myself twice now and have used it to make cornbread in the oven. But it always seems to be greasy on the bottom when I take it out of the oven after seasoning.

So tell me, is there a chance that if I heat it up over a flame that the residual oil in the pan will drip off and start a huge fire in my kitchen?

I seasoned it with coconut oil. Placed it into a cold oven with lots of aluminum foil to catch drips. Turned the oven on 350 and let the skillet heat up with the oven, then baked it for an hour, and then turned the oven off and let it cool in the oven. This has been done twice and each time I had to wipe off a little bit of oil on the bottom. Am I doing something wrong?

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:37 pm 
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I almost only use mine on the stove. However, I only oil the inside (quick wipe, paper towel) now when I'm done using it. When I seasoned it I did do the whole thing the first time and placed it in the oven upside down. The second time I just did the inside again upside down. I did mine at 500 degrees for an hour, I don't know if 350 is hot enough but I'm not an expert.

I'm pretty sure you won't start a fire by using it on the stove top.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet: Talk to me like I'm an idiot
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:42 pm 
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Hmmmm, maybe I will just do the inside from now on and on a higher heat. I actually used coconut oil on purpose because it is ok for high temp cooking. So maybe 350 wasn't high enough! Hopefully the next time I season it the bottom won't look oily and the extra oil will have baked in.

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