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(Art of Manliness)   Seasoning a cast-iron skillet. Bacon grease, Crisco, flaxseed oil? High heat or low and slow? The hell with it and buy a non-stick pan? Ready to die rather than change your opinion? Let the civil war begin   (artofmanliness.com) divider line 52
    More: Misc, Crisco, kosher salt, still lives, Swiss Army, cooking oils, seasons, skillet  
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437 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 05 Dec 2013 at 1:41 PM (45 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-05 09:53:28 AM  
Find someone with a "big green egg" in your area, oil up the pan and put it into the egg. Rather high temps.

Some steakhouses also will do the same thing before a general cleaning/pm on their very high temp ovens. You will have to pay something for it as it does add to the cleaning time. However, you will never reach such temps at home. One owner I know has a waiting list for this....

One of my software devs' came in one day asking for the afternoon off to see a divorce lawyer. It seems that his wife put his handed down cast iron into the dishwasher. I diffused it by offering to let him season things in my egg.
 
2013-12-05 10:10:51 AM  
Quit being a pretentious snob and microwave everything like the rest of us.
 
2013-12-05 10:13:23 AM  
I love my cast-iron cookware almost as much as I hate the tiresome people who are constantly evangelizing about them.
 
2013-12-05 10:14:46 AM  
We've got pans going back 3 generations.  It's great stuff. Don't put it in the microwave though.
 
2013-12-05 10:14:56 AM  
 
2013-12-05 10:23:56 AM  
This is why you have different pans for every occasion. Life is all about choices when cooking. Non-stick, cast-iron, enameled cast-iron, stainless steel... all good for certain things. Just don't buy the cheap stuff.

/my fav for most eggs dishes is a very well seasoned cast-iron I inherited from my grandmother.
 
2013-12-05 10:25:49 AM  
nonstick pans are for people who don't know how to cook (and for the occasional very delicate piece of fish).

season your skillet and treasure it. it will give you many years of faithful service.
 
2013-12-05 10:27:57 AM  
I love my girlfriend. She's pretty, smart, funny, and all-around adorable.

But.

One day I came home and she was making au gratin potatoes in my old, ancient, seasoned cornbread pan. I had to soak that thing for about two days, and then use a Brillo pad on it, to clean it out.

I used lard to season it again, and the highest temperature setting on my oven. It took a couple sessions, but it turned out fine. My first pone of cornbread after that didn't even stick.

I never make anything but cornbread in that pan, and I never wash it. I just wipe it out with a paper towel while it's still hot.
 
2013-12-05 10:31:16 AM  

AlwaysRightBoy: Just don't buy the cheap stuff.


Agreed, with the exception of non-stick cookware (and knives, but that's another discussion).

If you cook a lot, there's really no reason to spend money for "good" non-stick cookware. They all sh*t the bed around the same time anyway. I buy the cheapest non-stick stuff I can find. It's all pretty much the same.
 
2013-12-05 10:43:31 AM  
I have a cast iron fry pan set that I got from my grandmother, so it's at least 90 years old. I also have a set of copper bottom stainless steel cookware that sits in a cupboard unless I have company that wants to cook. Nobody uses the cast iron but me and my niece since I taught her how to cook on it and care for it. I bought her a set that she has seasoned for use. She also has a set of cookware for use by everyone else except her son, he likes to use the cast iron as well. Maybe some day I'll let him have my cast iron set.
 
2013-12-05 11:22:03 AM  
I have my great-grandmother's pans.  But I needed another size, so I seasoned it with lard, in the oven's cleaning cycle.  Worked like a charm.
 
2013-12-05 11:23:49 AM  
Peanut oil and 450 F.  Make sure to turn the pan upside down when seasoning it.
 
2013-12-05 11:25:01 AM  

FlashHarry: nonstick pans are for people who don't know how to cook


They're extremely useful for cooking eggs.
 
2013-12-05 11:29:38 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: FlashHarry: nonstick pans are for people who don't know how to cook

They're extremely useful for cooking eggs.


Grilled cheese, too. I prefer my cast iron for a lot of jobs, but when I want to just cook up some quick eggs or grilled cheese for the kids, I've got a couple of pans for that, too.
 
2013-12-05 11:30:18 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: FlashHarry: nonstick pans are for people who don't know how to cook

They're extremely useful for cooking eggs.


And caramel.  And fudge.  And cream-based sauces.  And stir-fried noodles.  And cheesy things that you expect to ooze into the pan.
 
2013-12-05 11:31:46 AM  

Marcus Aurelius: FlashHarry: nonstick pans are for people who don't know how to cook

They're extremely useful for cooking eggs.


they can be. but you can cook eggs just fine in an iron skillet or in a stainless steel pan. scrambled eggs, though - you're right about that. i use my nonstick pan about once or twice a year.

the key is to never, EVER use a spray oil on it like Pam or whatever. the propellants will gum up the surface of your pan, eventually destroying it.
 
2013-12-05 11:35:05 AM  

FlashHarry: nonstick pans are for people who don't know how to cook (and for the occasional very delicate piece of fish).

season your skillet and treasure it. it will give you many years of faithful service.


I have a cast iron fajita skillet someone gave me a while ago. When I have a particularly delicate piece of fish, I heat the skillet on the stove top while preheating the broiler on high. I put the fish on the skillet with a touch of canola or other high-heat oil and then put it under the broiler. No muss, no fuss, and the only time the spatula touches it is to remove it from the skillet.
 
2013-12-05 11:36:45 AM  
I use my Lodge almost daily for eggs. It does scrambled, fried, whatever.  I put a little bacon grease in it to start and then just wipe it out with the back (scrubby) side of a sponge while its still warm.

Damned thing is way slicker than a nonstick pan and works flawlessly.
 
2013-12-05 12:00:49 PM  
I would argue that Cast Iron and nonstick pans are for different things - each has strengths and weaknesses. Any claim that you must choose only one type is just silly.
 
2013-12-05 12:19:45 PM  

LasersHurt: I would argue that Cast Iron and nonstick pans are for different things - each has strengths and weaknesses. Any claim that you must choose only one type is just silly.


THATS INSANE YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE
 
2013-12-05 12:25:22 PM  

sigdiamond2000: LasersHurt: I would argue that Cast Iron and nonstick pans are for different things - each has strengths and weaknesses. Any claim that you must choose only one type is just silly.

THATS INSANE YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE


If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
 
2013-12-05 12:29:27 PM  
Lard or suet.
 
2013-12-05 12:44:44 PM  

Nabb1: sigdiamond2000: LasersHurt: I would argue that Cast Iron and nonstick pans are for different things - each has strengths and weaknesses. Any claim that you must choose only one type is just silly.

THATS INSANE YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.


I will be shown little mercy in the coming Skillet Wars.
 
2013-12-05 01:26:33 PM  
Whatever you choose subby, you want a fat with a high smoke point.

I've also read that people who accidentally f*ck up their cast iron cookware and want to repair it will build a fire and then put the pan into the fire... like among the coals so as to drive it to extremely high heat as it once was upon its birth at the Lodge factory.

exvaxman: Some steakhouses also will do the same thing before a general cleaning/pm on their very high temp ovens. You will have to pay something for it as it does add to the cleaning time. However, you will never reach such temps at home. One owner I know has a waiting list for this....


Or you could do this.  The serious steakhouses have ovens that get up above 1500F.
 
2013-12-05 01:35:31 PM  
I scrub my cast iron with a brillo pad and some comet cleanser, then put it in the dishwasher.

Before I start, I usually like to pour myself a nice single malt scotch and mountain dew.
 
2013-12-05 01:39:56 PM  
Its actually the lecithin in the cooking spray. You can rejuvenate the nonstick coating by giving it a good scrubbing with Soft Scrub. You can't do this too often, obviously, but it works like a charm.
 
2013-12-05 01:48:48 PM  
uh...I just bought a new made-in-America cast-iron grill pan. it arrived pre-seasoned and IT WORKS AWESOME!!1!

It works fine on my Nuwave PIC induction plate.

Except the Nuwave PIC doesn't get anywhere near the temperature on the settings.
 
2013-12-05 01:48:55 PM  
Low heat seasoning for me.  Grease that bastid up well, put it in a 400 (F) oven, turn off the oven.  Leave it, overnight is fine.  Wipe it out.  Repeat, this time turning it over onto a cookie sheet or something.

Wipe out.

Done.

My chicken fryer* goes back past my gramma's days.

*18" X 4.5" skillet
 
2013-12-05 01:49:23 PM  

AlwaysRightBoy: This is why you have different pans for every occasion. Life is all about choices when cooking. Non-stick, cast-iron, enameled cast-iron, stainless steel... all good for certain things. Just don't buy the cheap stuff.

/my fav for most eggs dishes is a very well seasoned cast-iron I inherited from my grandmother.


This... I have bought all of those, plus a ceramic pan for my wife, and we use each for different uses. One place cast iron comes in  nice is that once it's up to temp, it holds that temp very well.. This is also a problem, so like you said, certain cookware for certain things. If we need quick temp control, we use something other than cast iron.
 
2013-12-05 01:50:06 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: I scrub my cast iron with a brillo pad and some comet cleanser, then put it in the dishwasher.

Before I start, I usually like to pour myself a nice single malt scotch and mountain dew.


...which you drink through a soda straw, while eating a nice well-done filet mignon that's liberally smothered in A1?
 
2013-12-05 02:01:58 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Peanut Palm oil and 450 F.  Make sure to turn the pan upside down when seasoning it.


FTFY
 
2013-12-05 02:30:12 PM  
OK, time to weigh in...I've bought several cast iron skillets of my own, and inherited a couple more. The Lodge skillets I purchased myself seem to be of a bit better quality than those I inherited, but then I didn't inherit them from my own family, so I don't mind slighting them (they were my wife's Grandfather's pans...he was a little biatcheap.) Granted, that may be because I just haven't finished repairing her Grandfather's pans...when I got them they were in pretty sorry shape.

I've found that, for repairing a pan that's exceedingly damaged (i.e. scrubbed too hard, had an acid-based sauce left in it too long, rusted, etc.) it's best to scrub it out with a good soapy brillo pad until all the rust is gone, then thoroughly rinse and dry it. At that point, for a first coating, I'll use Flaxseed oil. Good liberal coating, upside down on a rack in a 400 degree oven, leave it for an hour at temp. Turn off the oven, let it cool slowly. Wipe off any excess oil, Repeat.

After that though, if it's minor issues like a bad cook on something made it stick, I'll usually scrub out the stuck food with kosher salt and paper towel, then heat the pan hot on the stove, wipe in some Crisco or bacon grease, and let it air cool. Best seasoning is just to cook good oily food in it, repeatedly.

I have 12" and 10" Lodge skillets I swear by as all-purpose pans, except for when I need quick temp control. But especially for stovetop-to-oven cooking, you can't beat cast iron, IMO.

In general, though, I agree with AlwaysRightBoy.Different pans for different purposes, and none of them better or worse than the others in the scheme of things.

/Still haven't had the budget room to buy the set of good Allclad I've been coveting...
 
2013-12-05 02:33:45 PM  

slapmastered: OK, time to weigh in...I've bought several cast iron skillets of my own, and inherited a couple more. The Lodge skillets I purchased myself seem to be of a bit better quality than those I inherited, but then I didn't inherit them from my own family, so I don't mind slighting them (they were my wife's Grandfather's pans...he was a little biatcheap.) Granted, that may be because I just haven't finished repairing her Grandfather's pans...when I got them they were in pretty sorry shape.

I've found that, for repairing a pan that's exceedingly damaged (i.e. scrubbed too hard, had an acid-based sauce left in it too long, rusted, etc.) it's best to scrub it out with a good soapy brillo pad until all the rust is gone, then thoroughly rinse and dry it. At that point, for a first coating, I'll use Flaxseed oil. Good liberal coating, upside down on a rack in a 400 degree oven, leave it for an hour at temp. Turn off the oven, let it cool slowly. Wipe off any excess oil, Repeat.

After that though, if it's minor issues like a bad cook on something made it stick, I'll usually scrub out the stuck food with kosher salt and paper towel, then heat the pan hot on the stove, wipe in some Crisco or bacon grease, and let it air cool. Best seasoning is just to cook good oily food in it, repeatedly.

I have 12" and 10" Lodge skillets I swear by as all-purpose pans, except for when I need quick temp control. But especially for stovetop-to-oven cooking, you can't beat cast iron, IMO.

In general, though, I agree with AlwaysRightBoy.Different pans for different purposes, and none of them better or worse than the others in the scheme of things.

/Still haven't had the budget room to buy the set of good Allclad I've been coveting...


Agree with this.

For seriously farked up (rust and crud), try spraying with oven cleaner, sealing in an airtight bag for a week or so, then vigorous clean, oil, heat, etc.  I have a friend who has restored cast iron that's been left in a barn in Maine for decades with that method.
 
2013-12-05 02:43:39 PM  

whistleridge: Eddie Adams from Torrance: I scrub my cast iron with a brillo pad and some comet cleanser, then put it in the dishwasher.

Before I start, I usually like to pour myself a nice single malt scotch and mountain dew.

...which you drink through a soda straw, while eating a nice well-done filet mignon that's liberally smothered in A1?


A-1??? I'm not a Philistine... I only put ketchup on my Kobe beef filet.
 
2013-12-05 02:51:03 PM  
I've successfully stripped old seasoning & crud by putting pans into a self-cleaning oven on the self-cleaning cycle.
 
2013-12-05 02:51:19 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: whistleridge: Eddie Adams from Torrance: I scrub my cast iron with a brillo pad and some comet cleanser, then put it in the dishwasher.

Before I start, I usually like to pour myself a nice single malt scotch and mountain dew.

...which you drink through a soda straw, while eating a nice well-done filet mignon that's liberally smothered in A1?

A-1??? I'm not a Philistine... I only put ketchup on my Kobe beef filet.


As long as you cook it in a microwave as God intended, I suppose I can accept that.

I hear it tastes great when topped with a nice slab of well-done toro.
 
2013-12-05 03:01:06 PM  
Aaah, the troll has gotten thick in this thread...
 
2013-12-05 03:18:27 PM  

SquiggsIN: FrancoFile: For seriously farked up (rust and crud), try spraying with oven cleaner, sealing in an airtight bag for a week or so, then vigorous clean, oil, heat, etc.  I have a friend who has restored cast iron that's been left in a barn in Main ...

Most people probably don't have access to my method.... My father has a sand-blasting cabinet in his barn.  You can't beat it for restoring cast iron.  I had an uncle that had a leak issue in a hunting cabin and had a few cast iron pieces that he thought were unrecoverable.  We blasted every bit of rust right off quickly, re-seasoned them, and they are as good as new.


If you don't have access to sand blasting equipment, just use a drill mounted wire wheel to get it down to bare. I helped my dad restore several ancient cast iron pans (basically rust piles) that we salvaged from my grandparent's tool shed after they passed away. After seasoning they were as good as new. Actually, many people prefer the old pans because they used a different grade of casting and have slightly different properties.
 
2013-12-05 03:31:08 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: I scrub my cast iron with a brillo pad and some comet cleanser, then put it in the dishwasher.

Before I start, I usually like to pour myself a nice single malt scotch and mountain dew.


i like your style. you should try my recipe for beluga ranch dip.
 
2013-12-05 03:53:38 PM  

SquiggsIN: FrancoFile: For seriously farked up (rust and crud), try spraying with oven cleaner, sealing in an airtight bag for a week or so, then vigorous clean, oil, heat, etc.  I have a friend who has restored cast iron that's been left in a barn in Main ...

Most people probably don't have access to my method.... My father has a sand-blasting cabinet in his barn.  You can't beat it for restoring cast iron.  I had an uncle that had a leak issue in a hunting cabin and had a few cast iron pieces that he thought were unrecoverable.  We blasted every bit of rust right off quickly, re-seasoned them, and they are as good as new.


I think you just made me a happy man.  My wife has been complaining about the sorry state that she inherited her grandmothers cast iron but just cannot bring herself to sit and crank on the pans for days..... dumby my pops has a sandblast cabinet.  This might bring me happyness for a week, two if I play my cards right.
 
2013-12-05 04:57:29 PM  

sigdiamond2000: AlwaysRightBoy: Just don't buy the cheap stuff.

Agreed, with the exception of non-stick cookware (and knives, but that's another discussion).

If you cook a lot, there's really no reason to spend money for "good" non-stick cookware. They all sh*t the bed around the same time anyway. I buy the cheapest non-stick stuff I can find. It's all pretty much the same.


Ain't that the truth. My biggest screw up purchase of all time was an All-Clad nonstick pan. What a freakin waste.
 
2013-12-05 05:02:40 PM  

slapmastered: OK, time to weigh in...I've bought several cast iron skillets of my own, and inherited a couple more. The Lodge skillets I purchased myself seem to be of a bit better quality than those I inherited, but then I didn't inherit them from my own family, so I don't mind slighting them (they were my wife's Grandfather's pans...he was a little biatcheap.) Granted, that may be because I just haven't finished repairing her Grandfather's pans...when I got them they were in pretty sorry shape.

I've found that, for repairing a pan that's exceedingly damaged (i.e. scrubbed too hard, had an acid-based sauce left in it too long, rusted, etc.) it's best to scrub it out with a good soapy brillo pad until all the rust is gone, then thoroughly rinse and dry it. At that point, for a first coating, I'll use Flaxseed oil. Good liberal coating, upside down on a rack in a 400 degree oven, leave it for an hour at temp. Turn off the oven, let it cool slowly. Wipe off any excess oil, Repeat.

After that though, if it's minor issues like a bad cook on something made it stick, I'll usually scrub out the stuck food with kosher salt and paper towel, then heat the pan hot on the stove, wipe in some Crisco or bacon grease, and let it air cool. Best seasoning is just to cook good oily food in it, repeatedly.

I have 12" and 10" Lodge skillets I swear by as all-purpose pans, except for when I need quick temp control. But especially for stovetop-to-oven cooking, you can't beat cast iron, IMO.

In general, though, I agree with AlwaysRightBoy.Different pans for different purposes, and none of them better or worse than the others in the scheme of things.

/Still haven't had the budget room to buy the set of good Allclad I've been coveting...


Chris Kimball, is that you?

Serious question now...I'm not a bad cook by any stretch, but I'm having a hell of a time perfecting pancakes in my iron skillet. The issue is that the iron is TOO efficient for pancakes. It holds the heat so well and the pancakes are so delicate that I can't seem to heat the skillet to a temperature low enough to not scorch them and high enough to cook them the same day I make the batter.

Do I just slowly pre-heat on the stove on a very low setting for a long time?
 
2013-12-05 05:26:15 PM  

Girl Sailor: slapmastered: OK, time to weigh in...I've bought several cast iron skillets of my own, and inherited a couple more. The Lodge skillets I purchased myself seem to be of a bit better quality than those I inherited, but then I didn't inherit them from my own family, so I don't mind slighting them (they were my wife's Grandfather's pans...he was a little biatcheap.) Granted, that may be because I just haven't finished repairing her Grandfather's pans...when I got them they were in pretty sorry shape.

I've found that, for repairing a pan that's exceedingly damaged (i.e. scrubbed too hard, had an acid-based sauce left in it too long, rusted, etc.) it's best to scrub it out with a good soapy brillo pad until all the rust is gone, then thoroughly rinse and dry it. At that point, for a first coating, I'll use Flaxseed oil. Good liberal coating, upside down on a rack in a 400 degree oven, leave it for an hour at temp. Turn off the oven, let it cool slowly. Wipe off any excess oil, Repeat.

After that though, if it's minor issues like a bad cook on something made it stick, I'll usually scrub out the stuck food with kosher salt and paper towel, then heat the pan hot on the stove, wipe in some Crisco or bacon grease, and let it air cool. Best seasoning is just to cook good oily food in it, repeatedly.

I have 12" and 10" Lodge skillets I swear by as all-purpose pans, except for when I need quick temp control. But especially for stovetop-to-oven cooking, you can't beat cast iron, IMO.

In general, though, I agree with AlwaysRightBoy.Different pans for different purposes, and none of them better or worse than the others in the scheme of things.

/Still haven't had the budget room to buy the set of good Allclad I've been coveting...

Chris Kimball, is that you?

Serious question now...I'm not a bad cook by any stretch, but I'm having a hell of a time perfecting pancakes in my iron skillet. The issue is that the iron is TOO efficient for pancakes. It holds the heat so well and the ...


I have no problem.  Heat on medium until a water droplet skates across the surface on its own steam.  Then turn down the heat one notch.

The first pancake will be ugly.  It always is. That one is for the chef to eat while making the others.

Oil very lightly every other pancake.

When you notice scorching, turn the heat down a little more.
 
2013-12-05 05:29:06 PM  

Girl Sailor: Do I just slowly pre-heat on the stove on a very low setting for a long time?


Your first pancake (in any pan) is a throwaway. The first side will be raw and the second half will be a nice brown as you judge the heat. You have to hold the heat at the second level, where it's hot enough to brown but not scorch (too much sugar in the mix can also make it taste burnt). Cast iron absorbs and radiates heat which makes it great to cook with, but you have to allow a lot m,ore time for it to cool from 'too hot' or 'too low' to just right than you would a regular pan.
 
2013-12-05 08:52:25 PM  
Interesting article in Sporting Classics magazine a couple months ago.
Link
 
2013-12-05 09:23:16 PM  
My 53 yo spider disappeared last move, so I was forced to start over: grape seed oil and 450F. All I use it for is bacon and panfrying steaks. For everything else, non-stick is better. Cast iron has too much thermal mass to cook eggs properly and an electric griddle is best for pancakes.
 
2013-12-05 10:57:26 PM  
I've come across several rusted skillets. First I scrub the sucker, rinse thoroughly and dry it out on the stove burner. then I throw a tablespoon or so of salt in there and use it to scour the skillet. I do this until the rust is totally gone. then I smear some bacon fat all over it. Then I stick the skillet in the oven, set it to 200 degrees and drink beer until I remember that I forgot about the skillet in the oven.

It works pretty well, I usually just have to either wipe the skillet out with a paper towel or rinse it with some water to clean it.

My friends mother-in-law will scrub and rinse the skillet out, fill it with canola oil and stick it in the oven on high heat for an hour before and after every time she cooks with it. She is certainly a person.
 
2013-12-05 11:33:25 PM  
I love cast iron.  I love enameled cast iron even more.  About the only thing I'll break the old stuff out for is very high temp stuff.  For slow cooking, hell even cooking rice, the Staub pots we have are flippling awesome.  They we're cheap, but I'm certain they one of thing looted from my house when the Fallout becomes real life.
 
2013-12-06 04:05:00 AM  
Why is everyone's first pancake a mess? When I make pancakes it's sometimes the best one of the lot, or near enough. I use a non-stick pan and light coating of coconut oil-butter mix. I have a cast iron pot sitting in the garden, it would be good to get it up and running...any ideas?
 
2013-12-06 01:28:11 PM  
lh3.ggpht.com

Why are you bothering to season your skillet yourself?

/made in the USA
 
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