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Cast iron cookware

Old 04-12-20, 04:35 PM
  #1  
Dirt Farmer
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Cast iron cookware

Is anyone into cooking with cast iron? I finally jumped on the wagon, and could hardly be more pleased with the success.

What are your prized pans, skillets, etc.? How old are they? Share your favorite things to cook in them.

I've had mine two weeks, and have THOROUGHLY ENJOYED several steaks, pork chops, chicken thighs, beer brats, cornbread, and homemade pizza.

I'm open to to new cast iron recipes suggestions.
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Old 04-12-20, 04:41 PM
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I use a cast iron pan for smoking chips in my propane smoker. The cast iron keeps the temperature down. Sounds like would do the opposite but it works.
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Old 04-12-20, 04:48 PM
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Not very much, lately. I do have a Dutch oven somewhere that I need to find. However, if you watch Alton Brown on his newer shows, he is now using carbon steel cookware from Lodge. I want to give that a try. I have a few other steel things, like a wok. They pick up a seasoning like cast-iron but they just seem a lot easier to deal with .
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Old 04-12-20, 05:10 PM
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Cast iron griddle that is well seasoned on my propane cooktop. I toast corn tortillas on high heat with no oil. I then lower the heat, fry some pre-cooked rice, crack a couple eggs over top and cover with a cast iron skillet making a makeshift Dutch oven. Once warm, you turn off the flame, flip the eggs & rice & let it finish. I wind up with a super tasty breakfast taco!
I also have a cast iron muffin pan (Lodge branded) that is pre-seasoned in which I have been making baked falafels in.
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Old 04-12-20, 05:32 PM
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I use cast iron frying pans all the time. Grew up on those pans. I love the even cooking and how easy they are to clean. (And how long lasting ans durable they are.) And I like how a company has made popular and available a heavy frying pan. For a while, manufacturers seemed top be into really nicely finished and light pans. But lightweight missed the point entirely and the finish matters zero once it is broken in. Good frying pans are heavy because it is the weight and thickness of the bottom of the pan that is the secret to their wonderful cooking. (That and the grease you didn't clean out!) While the light, thin ones were the deal, I searched Goodwill and garage sales ofr old,heavy ones. Now Lodge (?) makes a heavy pan. Thank you.. Not cheap, but not a house payment either. And they're keepers.

Made an omelet this morning on mine.

Ben
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Old 04-12-20, 05:43 PM
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I cook mostly in cast iron including cakes and cornbread, Crustier crust when you rub some margarine in a frying pan and dust it with flour before pouring the batter. Pour any grease from your meat in a can and hit it with the steel pads or scotchbrite while it's still hot, before you eat so you can relax after. Meatloaf, casseroles, stir fry, gumbo, potatoes O'Brian, fried okra . . . It's all good in cast iron. Doesn't get hot too fast and stays hot on a cycling-power hot plate.

I'll use stainless pans for quicker tea or grits or hot cereal and large portions of chili, beans or whatever but that's probably more weight and cost factors for the most part.

I've got a square bacon cast pan with drain ribs on the bottom but lately I've been cooking bacon very quickly in the oven in stamped pans and using the square cast pan to set a deep cast frying pan into and hanging deep fried corn taco shells over the walls of the tall pan to drip the grease off into the bacon pan, lol.

Last edited by Zinger; 04-12-20 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 04-12-20, 05:44 PM
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Swear by mine oven stove top or bbq
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Old 04-12-20, 06:20 PM
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I have big and little cast iron pans from my mother who got them from my paternal grandmother. I use the little one the most; today I caramelized onions in it. I also grill and smoke with a Lodge Camp Stove. I've been using their camp stoves (essentially a cast iron hibachi) for around 30 years. To smoke or slow cook I have a blue enamel roasting pan that fits over the grill exactly. It's great for 2 or 3 people but cooking for 4 or more becomes a bit challenging. It leaves a beautiful finish to the food is economical with the charcoal and easy to control the temperature when you get to know it.

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Old 04-12-20, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirt Farmer View Post
Is anyone into cooking with cast iron?

... What are your prized pans, skillets, etc.? How old are they?
Would love to have a set of various pans of the "old grandma's vintage" sort. Alas, no such luck. From what I've heard, one of my grandmothers was a fine cook, back in the day, and had all cast-iron stuff. It was, of course, heavily used, exceptionally smooth and non-stick, and helped in providing good results.

My own pans are newer sorts (Lodge), and nowhere near smooth yet. Probably won't ever be, with how much I cook. I've got a ~12in pot with lid (aka, a "Dutch Oven"), and it handles the majority of my cooking and what little baking I do.

It's hard to beat how the heat evenly covers the food, and how it holds the heat so well. Plus, there's not the poisonous, flaking Teflon coating crap to deal with. Always a plus.

I'm a fan of chicken, with a rub and oil, served with cut vegetables that get added with 15mins left in the cooking. A wonderful one-pot combination. Occasionally, I do up a corn bread. Occasionally, I've done a whole (smaller) pork shoulder. A decent flat pan does better for roasting vegetables, IMO, but the Dutch Oven's not bad for smaller amounts.

I've done a variety of dishes in the cast-iron pot. Such as: Oven-Braised Lentils @ Martha Stewart. Basically, heating up bacon, onions, garlic, a few vegetables, adding a good stock, lentils, plus whatever aromatic spices you prefer, then transferring to the oven (covered) for about 1hr to braise. Add a well-seasoned meat and side salad, and you've got a decent meal.

On a good cast-iron flat pan, you can cook a whole meal at once, too, in the oven. Get the oven and pan to temperature. Lay out several pieces of a meat (ie, chicken thighs) onto the pan along with a couple of small red potatoes cut into quarters. Drizzle a good olive oil over the chicken and potatoes. Leave to cook for ~25-30mins, turning as needed to evenly brown. In a bowl, toss a variety of vegetables in a bit of olive oil, with herbs and spices. Add the vegetables to the pan, spreading out so all get the heat evenly. After another 15-20mins, everything should be well-cooked and nicely browned. Time depends on the temp and your oven. But a good pan can help.

You can make a decent chicken stock in a big pot with lid. Get several of those smaller whole chickens, and after cooking each, save the carcass and bones, along with the drippings/juices (in the freezer) until you're ready to cook them down for stock. When "stock" day comes, place all the carcasses and the juices into the pot, along with a whole onion finely-diced, several minced cloves of garlic, a couple of ribs of diced celery, and a couple of diced carrots. Add several dashes of good aromatic spices you prefer (such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, fennel, black pepper, all freshly ground). Add water, if needed, to cover everything. Cook at ~350deg or so, for ~5-6hrs, occasionally adding water if needed. When done, strain the contents, then "bottle" it up into smaller portions. Either in Mason jars or RubberMaid-type freezer containers. Every time you're wanting to add some good homemade stock, just grab a container and go. A good project for a day when you're puttering around the house doing other things. Doesn't require a lot of time, other than occasionally checking things to see if you need to add a few cups of water.
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Old 04-12-20, 10:06 PM
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In the past two days, I've used the same cast iron skillet to fry eggs, reduce a sauce, sear ahi steaks, and make a grilled cheese sandwich. It's awesome.
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Old 04-12-20, 10:38 PM
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I’ve used two Field Company skillets for a few years now, mostly for sautéing and for roasts. They’re lighter and smoother than Lodges...and far more expensive. Made in WI & IN, started by two brothers in OH.
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Old 04-13-20, 12:55 AM
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I did for years, from skillets to Dutch ovens, baking pans, etc. When I lived on a rural lakefront I'd bury the Dutch oven in the garden burn pile to slow roast all kinds of stuff.

But after a wreck busted up my back and neck I could hardly lift the darned cast iron pots and pans. And I moved to a smaller place in the city. So I sold most of the kitchen stuff including the well seasoned cast iron cookware I'd inherited from my grandparents.

Nowadays I cook with stainless steel and just recently got a Farberware ceramic coated skillet that may be the first genuinely no-stick skillet I've tried that really cooks well, with or without oil or butter. It'll be interesting to see whether it lasts longer than most "Teflon" type no-stick skillets -- those usually last only a year or so before they need to be replaced, even if we're careful to use plastic utensils and avoid overheating.
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Old 04-13-20, 05:01 AM
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We use a Lodge frying pan and bridle. The bridle works great on the grill for searing salmon skins.
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Old 04-13-20, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
I have big and little cast iron pans from my mother who got them from my paternal grandmother. I use the little one the most; today I caramelized onions in it. I also grill and smoke with a Lodge Camp Stove. I've been using their camp stoves (essentially a cast iron hibachi) for around 30 years. To smoke or slow cook I have a blue enamel roasting pan that fits over the grill exactly. It's great for 2 or 3 people but cooking for 4 or more becomes a bit challenging. It leaves a beautiful finish to the food is economical with the charcoal and easy to control the temperature when you get to know it.

I wanted to get one if those but couldn't justify the cost at my age.
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Old 04-13-20, 07:16 AM
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When I was a teenager I worked in a wholesale hardware warehouse that had been in existence for a hundred years. They only sold quality items. One of the things they sold was a full-line of cast iron cook Ware. The stuff look more suited for outdoor camp cooking than anything else. Although 40 years ago the one that sticks out in my mind is the individual corn shaped pan. I'm not sure what it was used for...maybe corn bread.
We sold and delivered within a 100 mile radius to lumber yards, country stores, and hardware stores. This was before home Depot and Lowe's put everyone out of business.
My mother used a couple of cast iron skillets. One of the advice tips my father gave me when I got married was Don't buy cast iron skillets. I didn't get the joke at the Time.
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Old 04-13-20, 08:54 AM
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I have a little one. I don't love it.
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Old 04-13-20, 09:12 AM
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We use cast iron a lot. I would advise a cast iron pizza we like. You Tube "Jenny Can Cook" does a great fast cast Iron cooked pizza. Her crusty bread came out great in our Lodge Enamel Dutch oven.
It is a mystery to me that Lodge will take the time and trouble to give a smooth grind inside the pot for enamel but not on the raw pieces. ??? Perhaps the enamel is filling the gaps in the rough surface .
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Old 04-13-20, 11:35 AM
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We only use a cast iron skillet and stove top cast iron dutch oven. The dutch oven is used in place of the crock pot that gathers dust in a cabinet.
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Old 04-13-20, 11:46 AM
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I have a cast iron skillet, a grill pan and a cooking pot, for stews. That last one was very expensive for an impulse purchase, and when I got I realized it took too long to make a stew, but I'm happy to own it because it's very good.

But for me it's more about the surface than heat retention, so I use carbon steel pans more. I learned about those when I had a job as 'plongeur' in quite a fancy restaurant, and I learned very quickly from the cooks that they should not go anywhere near soap. I also learned they were actually quite cheap, especially when you buy them from a restaurant supplier and not in regular retail, because consumers believe good pans have to be expensive. If you season them correctly and treat them right, they are great allthoug a bit heavy, but not as heavy as cast iron of the same size. A friend managed to pull a huge dent in the bottom though, just throug heat. His parents are from China and had a fancy Chinese restaurant while he has a PhD in physics, he has a trick with gas stoves that makes the flame concentrated at one part of the pan so he could use it as a wok without the special powerful burner. Butt that one still works and with normal use they are trouble free.
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Old 04-13-20, 03:28 PM
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We had to abandon our cast iron cookware when I found out my iron levels were off the chart...
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Old 04-13-20, 04:28 PM
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I have a half dozen of so cast iron skillets of various sizes, some very old. When I had coil burners on my stove I used them regularly. Then I got a stove with glass top which is not ideal for cast iron as it may not lie flat and/or risk to damage stove top. Some of my pans are flatter than others and some have bumps. I do still use them in the oven for making things like cornbread.
I also weekly use both Le Cruset enameled cast iron dutch oven and braising pan.
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Old 04-13-20, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by skijor View Post
I’ve used two Field Company skillets for a few years now, mostly for sautéing and for roasts. They’re lighter and smoother than Lodges...and far more expensive. Made in WI & IN, started by two brothers in OH.
Here's their web page: https://fieldcompany.com/pages/about

I saw a really cool video from them once about the extra work that goes into creating a very smooth cooking surface, vs the nubbly/unfinished surface in regular cast iron, but I can't find it now.
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Old 04-13-20, 04:57 PM
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Used cast iron yesterday to cook ribeye steaks for Easter, according to Alton Brown's method, it worked out pretty good:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/...recipe-2131274

Did 30s + 30s on the stove and 3m + 3m in the oven, the steaks came out medium rare to rare, when I was aiming for medium. Maybe I wasn't able to get things as blazing hot as Alton requires.

Another thing I've been doing lately is pan-toasted quesadillas:

Turn the heat on high until it gets the skillet hot, then turn it down lower.
Meanwhile put a flour tortilla in the dry skillet (optional: use some kind of fat for pan-fried instead of pan-toasted)
Sprinkle cheese and other desired fillings (diced jalapeno, chipotle powder, red/green onions, shredded chicken, any good stuff you have around)
Put other tortilla on top
Once cheese is melted enough the top can stick, and stuff won't fall out, flip it.
Repeatedly flip it until both tortillas are a nice toasty brown.

Serve onto a plate, smear the top with sour cream and salsa. Eat with knife and fork.

SOOO much better than just a tortilla and a handful of cheese in the microwave
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Old 04-13-20, 04:59 PM
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Also here's this:

https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/...cast-iron.html

Myth #4 : Never wash with soap
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Old 04-13-20, 04:59 PM
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But note a well seasoned nubby surface is no more (or less) sticky than a well seasoned smooth surface.
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