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Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Food Preps => The Recipe Board => Topic started by: ScottK on November 27, 2011, 12:06:42 AM

Title: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ScottK on November 27, 2011, 12:06:42 AM
I asked the question in the show notes, but never got a response from anyone.  Paul and Jack talk about cast iron skillets, the ins-and-outs, and why Lodge cookware is supposedly terrible.  But they didn't mention the enameled stuff out of France (Stuab and Le Creuset).  From everything I have researched this stuff seems to give you the best of both worlds if you can handle the price tag.  I went and checked the link that Jack had to Paul's site, but still nothing directly talking about these enameled products versus the 'pre-seasoned' products from Lodge.  I wouldn't trust the French for anything other than cooking, so I am willing to give their cookware the benefit of the doubt unless somebody has good data saying otherwise.  That being the case I would only trust the stuff made directly in France versus companies making enameled products in Asia.  It could be just as good; you just hear too many quality control stories and such coming from Asia.  Anyway, any opinions?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 27, 2011, 01:40:02 AM
I wouldn't trust the French for anything other than cooking,

:rofl:  quoted for truth!  +1

in all seriousness, this is a great question.  I have just started using cast iron - I found 3 skillets at an antique store in June, and they are the best!  I think they are wagner.  I recently got a waffle iron too, and that is quickly becoming a favorite.  I want to start using cast iron for deep frying and general sauce pan type duties, but am unsure about going an enameled route.

still laughing, btw  :rofl:
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Alan Georges on November 27, 2011, 07:27:04 AM
If I remember correctly, the point Paul and Jack were making was that any coating is going to come off, either as scraped-up bits or in microscopic amounts absorbed into food, so you’re better off having it be some compound of iron and cooking grease, rather than teflon or other non-stick coating.  Ultimately, you end up with a worn and now sticky pan, and those bits of coating end up being eaten.  For either reason, I’d steer clear of anything but iron.

Now about Lodge, it’s not that terrible, and they discussed its shortcoming – a rough cooking surface – and how it smooths down with use.  That’s what happened to my frying pans (both Lodges), and they are beautifully smooth now.  I think what Paul was saying is that it’s worthwhile to go get a nice old machined pan on Ebay or at the flea market, if you can find one.  BTW, there are nice pictures at Paul’s site (http://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp) of an old but unused griddle which shows the machining marks as they came from the factory.

I wonder how much it would cost for a local machine shop to mill a few quick swipes over the inside of a new Lodge?  At $18–$35 retail for the pan as-is, it’d be a quick $20 add-on I’d be happy to pay.  (Were I in the market for a new frying pan, which I’m not.  These things last ‘bout forever.)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on November 27, 2011, 09:31:42 AM
I have used cast iron since 1996 and I love it. When it is seasoned correctly, it is better than any other non-stick out there and in fact was the original non-stick. I have NO Teflon in my house other than one cupcake pan. I quit using Teflon when I was working in the vet clinics due to reports coming in that it was killing housebirds. I only use stainless steel and cast iron now.

Try not to get the 'pre-seasoned' cast iron ones, if you do, grab the steel wool and some elbow grease.
That stuff is YUCK!

The best way to season your cast pots and pans? Cook a whole chicken in them. NEVER use soap, just hot water and a plastic scrubbie or a dish scrubber. Takes a bit to wrap your brain around not using soap, but after your pans darken, fill in the micro-holes and become non-stick you don't mind anymore. I used to season them with oil and heat in the oven and all that.. SMOKEY! Like fill the whole house with smoke where the alarm is going off and you have to open all your house windows. Just cook the whole chicken with skin. If you can find a fairly fat chicken, all the better.

After you wash them, put them on a hot burner for a minute and then turn off the heat to dry them. I then also put in a splash of cooking oil (olive) and then leave it in my oven so it doesn't collect dust.

My brother was going to toss their cast iron as it got rusty on a camping trip. No!!!!!!!!!!! So salvageable! Light scrubbing with steel wool... ugh.. sandblast if severe, and cook your whole chicken.

The porcelain coated ones are awesome, but they can chip and DO NOT use harsh abrasives on them, you will take the porcelain coating off.  I have  Le Creuset dutch oven.

The non-porcelain coated ones, the ORIGINAL, does have particles that come off and are actually good for you. Over time bits of iron get into your diet. Especially good for women.

They say something can happen with cooking foods like tomatoes in cast iron, but I have never had a problem. I use them from cooking pretty much anything, including breads, pineapple upside down cake... the chicken and such.

Yeah, you can take off the seasoning (that you created, not the manufacturers icky stuff) if you don't follow the rules, but it is pretty easy to make right again. When it is seasoned correctly, it is NOT sticky as someone suggested. Just a nice flat, smooth black surface.

If you can find it, Griswold makes the best I am told, but I do perfectly fine with my older Lodge. DO NOT get the wooden handled ones.

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 27, 2011, 10:23:42 AM
NICE...

Here is a thread I can definitely throw down some knowledge on.

I started using cast iron a few years ago and KNEW NOTHING about it. And went through all the stuff the newbies go through trying to figure it out.

For starters — my first cast iron pan was a Lodge. And YES — THEY SUCK — but the pan itself is great, the pre-seasoning coating SUCKS BALLS. I can see people lined up in some factory with respirators and smocks, spray painting them with this garbage as they come down the line!!! And yes — the cooking surface is terribly rough.

Put it this way — if you try and cook an egg on a new Lodge cast iron pan GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! Unless you like em burned and scrambled hahaha...

The quality of steel is fine, it is the coating that makes them horrible. I see friends of mine with pans of such poor steel quality they bought at discount shops that eh… I think they would look like a Nestle Bar if you cracked one in half and saw all the air bubbles inside LOL.

If your pan does NOT make a nice "BOOOOooooooooong" sound (like a gong) with a little bit of reverb when you hit it and instead makes a dull THUD with no reverb then the steel is some chinese bubble-filled garbage that probably will not last very long before it just cracks from stress.

OK NOW — I have several cast iron pans and stainless and egad... a couple of teflon based ones (one very high quality and one flat grill my girlfriend loves to death that her grandma gave her). Otherwise I am stainless and cast iron all the way (or pyrex etc).

The ABSOLUTE BEST cast iron you can possibly get is the Griswold cast iron pans. The company is no longer in business but I see them on Craigslist ALL THE TIME (and a regular #9 frying pan will sell for $50 - $100 on there). I live in Pittsburgh and Griswold was based in Erie so they are easy to find here. Griswold machined the surfaces of their pans to a superb smoothness which helps greatly. However, in time and lots of use, any pan will eventually become smooth if you use it correctly.

THE VERY FIRST THING YOU WANT TO DO whenever you get a cast iron pan is completely remove all seasoning and get it down to the bare metal. I bought 2 RUSTY Griswold pans at thrift stores for about $5 each and it is rare that a pan will have so much rust it cannot be cleaned off.

EZ-OFF oven cleaner is the number one easiest way to clean off a pan. SOAK it in oven cleaner, and leave it inside of a plastic bag overnight. Wipe off all the cleaner, dissolved seasoning, and rust. You might need to repeat this process 3 or 4 times before you get it all. However you won't get it 100% this way.

The next step is to take steel wool and elbow grease to remove whatever bits of seasoning are left on the pan. Then — once you do this IMMEDIATELY — and I mean IMMEDIATELY throw it on a hot gas burner of your stove to dry it. You will see that it will almost start to rust immediately after taking it out of the sink! This helps stop that process.

Wipe as much iron dust as you can from the pan and then the next part is up to you. THE ABSOLUTE BEST OIL to use for seasoning is bacon grease. Whenever I cook bacon and I know I am going to re-season some pans I save the grease. When you use bacon grease, it forms the hardest, slickest cooking surface in the carbonization process.

You can also use Crisco (any LARD based oil which is solidified at room temperature is better than an oil that does not solidify at room temperature). The thicker the oil the better…

As soon as the pan is dry, (I use a rubberized basting brush to do this, but you can use anything that works) — coat the entire pan with oil. You do not want to leave a coating so thick that it lumps up, but it should not be super thin either. You want an EVEN coating, and you want to make sure any excess drips off the pan. Once you carbonize the oil, any place where the oil was too thick is going to peel right off the pan. It is a bit of an art form getting the perfect thickness.

After coating the pan with grease and giving it a shake or two to make sure to get any excess off the pan, you should already have your oven pre-heated to 500 degrees. Place a layer of foil on the BOTTOM oven rack to catch oil drippings from the pan. Place the pan on the top rack upside down (important) and let it bake in there for at least an hour. When the smoke stops filling my kitchen — I usually let it bake for another half hour or so and then turn off the oven and let it cool gradually.

When it is cool enough to pull out of the oven with your bare hands — you have a BRAND NEW freshly seasoned pan MUCH MUCH MUCH better than that spray-paint garbage they throw on the Lodge cookware.

MAINTENANCE

You may notice that the non-stick properties are not quite where you think it should be at this point — especially if you just re-seasoned a new Lodge pan. No big deal, USE THE PAN and USE IT A LOT.

NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER use ANYTHING but a METAL SPATULA (preferably stainless) on that pan (or metal utensils). SCRAPE THE HELL OUT OF IT while you cook.

If something DOES stick, SCRAPE it off with the spatula. Unlike a teflon pan, cast iron is the opposite as you WANT TO scrape up the surface as you cook.

What this accomplishes is 2 things — it forces food particles into the small "holes" of the pan, AND scrapes off the iron "ridges" at the same time. The constant scraping with a spatula over time smooths out the surface of your pan DRAMATICALLY.

In fact — because I have used my LODGE pan more than the Griswold I own the LODGE pan actually works better for eggs and sticky things! I have gotten my Lodge pan worn so smooth and with so many layers of seasoning that nothing really sticks to it anymore… But it took over a YEAR of constantly using it before it got this good!

Which leads me to part 2 of maintenance.

NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER clean your pan with soap. EVER.

If food is stuck on the pan which happens sometimes, SCRAPE it off with a METAL spatula. If it is REALLY BAD, heat up a pan of water to boiling on the stove and then scrape away once the water is hot and the food starts to loosen. Then make sure you dump out the water and set it on the hot burner until all the water is evaporated. Standing water on your cast iron is a big no-no.

Not much out there will destroy your pan — but any mistakes you make like that will cause you to have to re-season it.

Never drop a pan into cold water if it is hot, that COULD destroy your pan from the temperature change and warping of the iron which will break before it flexes.

Now at some point you will start to wear off seasoning, or you can scrape off a chunk of seasoning here and there… OR you can take the pan camping and leave it in a box with too much moisture and seasoning wears off with rust showing up etc.

If it is just a spot of rust on the handle you can scour that area off, coat the ENTIRE pan with oil, and bake it at 500 degrees again. The NEW layer of seasoning will just build on top of what is there, and that rusty spot will be protected. My handles typically get worn off and I end up scouring them down and seasoning the pan. Every time you season the pan without removing the existing layer your pan will get better and better. Make sure you cook a bunch with it between seasonings though.

If your pan gets neglected and turns to RUST on the cooking surface then unfortunately you need to take it down to bare metal and re-do the whole process again. But no worries, the pan will still be better than when it was new because the surface will be smoother to begin with (especially a Lodge pan).

One more item of note. ALWAYS wipe your pan clean when you are done cooking… AS SOON as you are done cooking.

Keep a few dish towels SPECIFICALLY FOR CAST IRON (as they will turn black with crud) and use them to wipe the pans. Wash these in the washing machine as necessary and just keep those towels specifically for cast iron wipe-downs. I typically scrape as much as I can out of the pan with the spatula and then use a towel for the rest. However, depending on what you cooked, you could completely gunk up a towel in one meal clean-up (i.e., biscuits and gravy LOL).

If you use a paper towel EVER — you will be sorry as paper fibers will cover your entire pan. It must be a cloth and terry-cloth is not very good. Use dish towels that are not terry-cloth and won't leave fibers all over the pan.

ALSO — take a spot of olive oil and coat your entire pan with just a touch of oil when you are done. This keeps any exposed areas like the handle and such getting rusty between uses. Trust me, cast iron rusts so fast you can literally watch it with your eyes without a time lapse camera. That is the main battle you fight with cast iron. Olive oil is fine for that but even though you can use olive oil to season a pan, the low smoke point and thin-ness of the oil does not make a good surface.

I've taught several friends how to use cast iron who had no clue (one was WASHING their pan CLEAN with soap and water down to the bare metal and then wondering why it rusted so fast LOL… Others had bought the Lodge garbage and just started using it out of the box, wondering why everything sticks to it and then gave up).

I typically season my cast iron stuff every few months as the seasoning wears down with heavy use. And I almost ALWAYS need to season my pans after a camping trip because cooking over an open flame tends to burn the seasoning right off on the bottom of the pans or handles. The harsher environment and moisture of a camp trip they get exposed to means that if I keep them in my kitchen box too long upon return they need a good deal of maintenance.

However, the Griswold company went out of business in 1957! And my best pan is a Griswold, so my FRYING pan is MUCH older than ME.

I assume my great great grandchildren will be using my cast iron pans if they don't turn out to be complete morons (or if we still have a society by then).
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 27, 2011, 10:33:13 AM
Also, while CHUNKS of metal in your food is obviously undesirable. Doctors recommend that anemic patients cook on cast iron because it introduces more iron into their bloodstream.

Therefore any particles of metal that do end up in your food are desirable and not TOXIC like Teflon. And I've NEVER had "metal taste" to my food no matter how hard I have to scrape something that might get stuck LOL. In fact NOTHING tastes better than when I use my cast iron pan. The only thing we use our stainless steel high quality teflon coated pan for are things like hamburger helper etc and we NEVER touch it with anything but a rubber spatula. There is not a scratch on that thing after 4 years of use. Not to say I haven't eaten some Teflon but alas I eat enough fast food that THAT will kill me long before microscopic Teflon particles ever will haha.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 27, 2011, 10:45:41 AM
A cast iron dutch oven would be a good bet for deep frying (looking at that one post). I cook a lot of stuff in the dutch oven, using it as a big stock pot, or even baking biscuits over a campfire in it. A friend of mine has a tripod with a chain on it to hang a grill from, and hanging the dutch oven that way over the fire gives you a lot of control, but unless you are willing to go to the trouble of putting coals on the upside down lid expect your grands biscuits on a camp trip to get blacker on the bottom hahaha.

There are so many things I could cook in the dutch oven (and not by pulling the blankets over my girlfriends head) — that I haven't really even begun to use that thing to its potential.

I think the enameled stuff would be OK, especially for things in the oven etc. It is the even heat distribution of cast iron which makes it so good for cooking.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: 4bull on November 27, 2011, 10:50:25 AM
I have bought truck loads of cast iron , the worst ones look like lumpy clubs. To start over i through them in a big brush pile and burn it . the next day i dig them out of the cold ashes. wash and oil ,you can put them through a self cleaning oven cycle.
  They are magic to cook in , and i have sold 1 grizwold skilet 279. book value ,yes there is a book on skilets .
The new skilets look green to me, and don't sound right when you ring on them. All those cargo ships ,haul our scrap iron back to asia as balist ? Cheeply.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 27, 2011, 11:26:23 AM
Yup those crappy green ones are exactly what im taking about. If the pan does not ring when scraped with a metal spatula and instead sounds like a dull scrape then that's made from that world trade center steel we sent to China while some slaves blow bubbles into it while being cast to further reduce the steel costs.

The lodge pan I have seems to be good quality steel just has a rough surface.

They sell those mummy green ones which are probably just barely coated with enougb oil to keep from rusting at the camping section of the department stores for stupid ass yuppies to buy like my friends.

It's hard to find good camp equipment at the camping section of those stores lol but good deals can be found.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ScottK on November 27, 2011, 12:26:39 PM
Thanks for all the replies, good info and support for much of what Paul and Jack talked about.  However, as I have seen some answer, good working knowledge with enameled cast iron and enamels possible issues seems to be elusive.

The problem with getting the old stuff is that there is only so much of it out in the world these days, and many people don't go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.  Many people would gladly plunk down the money for a very expensive pan they can 1-click and buy on Amazon versus hunting the web for the pans in many of the discussions about cast iron cooking.  Jack even mention this phenomenon in one of his "5 minutes with Jack" posting.  You can get people to give you 15 bucks before they will give 15 minutes.  That is the issue I feel as preppers we need to make to the rest of the world, solutions that anybody can pickup almost instantly if they want a new condition product.  We are not some type of elitist with knowledge/items the rest of the world can't get their hands on because of whatever reason.  We can find high quality products that will get people using better products in their everyday life.

Many of the stories of people hunting for the right pan, getting it re-seasoned, and such almost takes on this epic storytelling ability; when what you are really wanting to accomplish is better cooking, not really hardware prepping and care that has you constantly watching to make sure the kids don't put soap on your pans.  My house uses all stainless steel cookware, no non-stick anything.  It is full proof in many aspects, and people that have problem getting things like eggs and potatoes from sticking simply need to pay attention to their cooking technique; it isn't the pan!

So, as far as my knowledge of enameled iron, it is the exact opposite of using metal spatulas.  You use only wood utensils to keep from chipping.  Most of enameled iron cookware that I have seen chips in are on the outside where they get dings from encountering the rest of the world not your food.  So no big deals in my mind.  That brings me back to the original question, does the enamel really have any risk just short of sounding like a tinfoil hatter?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on November 27, 2011, 12:30:24 PM
That brings me back to the original question, does the enamel really have any risk just short of sounding like a tinfoil hatter?

I know the old clawfoot tubs can have lead in the porcelain. So depends on where they are made I guess?

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: LdMorgan on November 27, 2011, 03:55:29 PM
I know the old clawfoot tubs can have lead in the porcelain. So depends on where they are made I guess?

Cedar

Don't worry at all about lead in the porcelain of old clawfoot bathtubs. If there was any lead there in the first place, every atom of it that could be leached out of the surface has probably been long since leached.

If a few atoms remain, diluting them in 40 gallons of bathwater will make sure you don't absorb enough through your skin to be detectable, much less grossly harmful.

In fact, you could probably drink all that bathwater for forty years and still not get enough lead to show up in a lock of hair.

(Bien boire!)

Back to cast iron, etc.

Skip the enamel ware unless pack weight is a major concern. One little chip, and it starts rusting. Pretty soon you have a hole in your cookware.

Never use teflon cookware. Never. If you have some in your house, eliminate the temptation to use it by bashing it with a sledge and tossing it out the door.

Teflon breaks down at normal cooking temperatures (and above!) into very dangerous compounds. The little bits that scrap off into your food can wind up in your kidneys and do all kinds of harm.

The fact that you only get a little at a time means you don't feel the damage--but it's there, and it will get steadily worse.

Scrap out all your Aluminum cookware. Light metal poisoning can be just as bad as heavy metal poisoning.

Cook in cast iron or Stainless Steel.

Oh yeah: And don't microwave your food in plastic dishes. In fact, get rid of your plastic dishes, and dine in a civilized manner.

Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on November 27, 2011, 05:28:03 PM
Never use teflon cookware. Never. If you have some in your house, eliminate the temptation to use it by bashing it with a sledge and tossing it out the door.

Scrap out all your Aluminum cookware.

Yeppers, in total agreement. Mom thinks I am ridiculous for thinking that, but that is fine, let her.

Oh yeah: And don't microwave your food in plastic dishes. In fact, get rid of your plastic dishes, and dine in a civilized manner.

She also thinks I am ridiculous for refusing to own a microwave.

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 27, 2011, 06:13:46 PM
I go through that with my girlfriend. She gets pissed off when I reheat pizza in the oven... On my um... PIZZA STONE... And even though I have a couple Teflon pieces left I will never buy another one.

ONE Teflon piece -- the high end stainless sauteed pan I was extremely angry when the example on the shelf was stainless inside and out -- and the box underneath said stainless then I get home after getting it as a gift and did not have the receipt and open it up and it is covered in Teflon. It is a very high end sauteed pan though and no scratches or visible wear like the old Tfal stuff I used to have.

If it did not have Teflon on it this would be a lifetime saute pan and probably multigenerational.

No way would I ever buy one of these aluminum pots or pans they just look nasty.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexGuy on November 27, 2011, 11:23:11 PM
Griswold was bought out by Wagner, which was bought out by American Culinary (http://www.wagnerware.com/ProductDetail.asp?Filter=PL&PCat=1&PLine=4&Prod=102&PSub=38).
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: LdMorgan on November 28, 2011, 01:43:00 AM

....ONE Teflon piece -- the high end stainless sauteed pan I was extremely angry when the example on the shelf was stainless inside and out -- and the box underneath said stainless then I get home after getting it as a gift and did not have the receipt and open it up and it is covered in Teflon. It is a very high end sauteed pan though and no scratches or visible wear like the old Tfal stuff I used to have. ....


I think there is a solution to your problem.

Sand all the Teflon off.

Then you'll have the pan you wanted in the first place. Either have it sandblasted, or have it buffed bright with a steel wool pad on a orbital buffer (car polisher).

If you do it yourself (which shouldn't be hard) just make sure you keep it wet. You don't want a lot of Teflon dust getting in your lungs.

It's impossible for the Teflon to penetrate the surface of the Stainless Steel--and it's much softer than the steel as well. So all it can do, at most, is adhere. Which means it can be cut/worn away by anything harder than it is--like steel wool.



Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 28, 2011, 07:14:52 AM
I thought of that. It is not that cheap-ass teflon junk you see on the cheap-end "non-stick" pans that just flakes off as soon as you start using it. I've been using this thing for probably 3 years now and it looks and cooks as if it were brand new (the cooking surface anyway). Other non-stick pans I owned in the past, even ones considered decent quality showed wear within a year.

It still has the slickness where nothing whatsoever will stick to it as if it were brand new.

To be honest, it is the least of my concerns anyway considering there are so many poisons in our environment and my poor diet is going to kill me off way before some Teflon will LOL.

I will eventually replace it with a nice good quality stainless saute pan like I thought this was going to be and get rid of it. I definitely won't be buying another "non-stick" surface and I tend to use my cast iron for most of what I cook anyway. The stuff I do end up cooking in the non-stick pan tends to be crappy food that will kill me anyway LOL.

Gotta pick your battles this day and age, if I spent 100% of my time worried about everything I did detrimental to my health — that would be detrimental to my health in and of itself.

We just keep making steps toward the way we want to and should live but it is not something most people can do or afford to do all at once. When I look at how we are now compared to 10 years ago, I am amazed I lived as long as I have LOL.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: annestacey on November 28, 2011, 05:39:13 PM
I just recently bought a Lodge cast iron skillet and now I'm overwhelmed by all this information.  I have to go back and read this all again but if someone can provide the short version of how to get this thing ready to use, that would be helpful.  I just emailed my Mom to tell her to please leave her cast iron skillet to MEEEEEE and not my sister.  I'm her favorite.  :)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Thox Spuddy on November 28, 2011, 08:01:56 PM
I have a hand-me-down dutch oven from the 1800's, we use it weekly.
We season our dutch oven with beeswax instead of lard.
Chinese cast iron cookware might contain lead.
Women who eat food cooked in cast iron do not need iron supplements.
Makes an incredible self-defense weapon.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexGuy on November 28, 2011, 08:43:45 PM
We season our dutch oven with beeswax instead of lard.

Bingo! I'm glad someone finally said this. My best two skillets are from China but they were coated in wax. Most people have no clue about wax ... which melts each time heated and proves most theories about seasoning cast iron as being wrong!!!

Sorry "Adam B.", but metal utensils or a 'machined surface' is not the best way to go. OK, you seem fine with it, and I know others who are fine with it ... FINE :-) It seems some prefer it that way.

I just recently bought a Lodge cast iron skillet and now I'm overwhelmed by all this information.  I have to go back and read this all again but if someone can provide the short version of how to get this thing ready to use, that would be helpful.  I just emailed my Mom to tell her to please leave her cast iron skillet to MEEEEEE and not my sister.  I'm her favorite.  :)

Cover it in oil (any kind is fine) and bake it in the oven upside down at over 400* for over an hour. Then let it cool until you can touch it. Yes it will smoke up the house. After that the rest can be done on the stove top (although repeating the process in the oven is the best). Use the large burner, heat your pan on 2.5 to 3, low heat but enough to get it hot. You want to still be able to touch the handle. Cover the bottom in oil (any fat), then turn the burner to high (setting 9 or 10) until the fat has burned off. Turn the exhaust fan on to draw the smoke out. Electric burners have a cool spot in the middle, gas burners have a hot spot in the middle, so move the pan around every once in a while so hot heat gets to all of it (this can also be done on a "fish" cooker outside). Then let the pan cool until you can touch it. This needs to be repeated over and over until about 1/16 inch of burnt oil is built up. I think it takes about 20 times. Then you will have a smooth non stick surface on your skillet (I personally think only the skillets need to be non-stick, the rest {pots, dutch ovens} only need one coat to stop them from rusting).

If you can't do it 20 times, then only cook bacon or sausage the first month and when you clean just wipe your skillet with a paper towel then heat it up on the burner to burn the fat off. Before a month is up doing this daily you will have a non-stick surface.

Lodge is the best seller in the US, it only has a bad rap because people do not know how to put the non-stick surface on it. It takes a little time but if it is done right it lasts forever. You can even use metal on it after the non-stick surface is there if you are careful.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ncjeeper on November 28, 2011, 11:37:18 PM
All this talk made me go buy a used griswold off of ebay. :)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 29, 2011, 12:14:47 AM
That beeswax idea — I've never heard of people doing that, but I am not an expert. I just read a lot and followed what I read and over the few years I've been using them I came up with what seems to work best for me.

The metal spatula on the surface worked good with a Lodge cast iron pan that had a very rough cooking surface. It is quite smooth now compared to when it was new and it takes a lot for food to stick to it now.

Heaven forbid you ever use those "egg beaters" "fake" eggs LOL — my god those things stick to everything but my teflon saute pan LOL. REAL eggs don't stick at all, but here and there I use the egg beaters for whatever reason and I have yet to get any of my cast iron to the point where those things slide off. I think that is the ultimate test of whether you have a true non-stick surface formulated.

I am going to look up this whole beeswax thing though. Since it is natural wax I can see that being a good idea. Bacon grease or a thick lard-like solidified oil seems to work very well when I bake it at 400+ for an hour or so. Any lighter weight oil seems to not form as hard of a surface when it carbonizes in the oven.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexasGirl on November 29, 2011, 10:27:38 AM
Wow!  Thanks for this thread.  I have one old 10" cast iron chicken fryer skillet from my folks but would like to get a few other sizes.  Thanks to this thread, I will be a more educated shopper while browsing thrifts.

My "go to" pan for several years has been a 12" Titanium bonded cast aluminum skillet from Germany.  Titanium is naturally non-stick (much better than Teflon) and cannot be scratched with standard metal utensils.  Does anyone else have experience with those, or info on them?  The only place you can see bare aluminum is the milled bottom surface that sits on the burner.  Four years of daily use and still not a single scratch.

I'd like to find a 12" cast iron just like it.

~TG
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 29, 2011, 10:51:32 AM
The only titanium cookware I've known about is the stuff the yuppies buy at REI to go car camping for a weekend (that was meant for ultra-light backpacking hahaha).

I wonder if a set of titanium backpacking gear would have good non-stick properties in addition to weighing almost nothing after reading that. I won't be buying any though any time soon to find out as I already have more good backpacking cookware than I need. Those dang REI garage sales where you can get a $70 set for $15... LOL.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: 4bull on November 29, 2011, 11:03:08 AM
I see good skillets in the junk yards, beside dumpsters, yard sales there everywhere.
I have a kettle that is rusty on the in side, bad. So i decided to just use it for water on the wood stove.
Thanks for the bees wax fact ,ill try it out ,i have lots of wax.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 29, 2011, 12:48:57 PM
How rusty is it? Is it cast iron? You can take it down to bare metal with steel wool, and if it is really bad a wire brush on a buffing tool would work if it is worse than surface rust.

Then seasoning it will seal the surface up to prevent it from happening again.

I've picked up cast iron pans that were VERY rusty (still surface rust though) — literally red and crusty — and gotten them down to bare metal, and seasoned them — they turned out fine.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: 4bull on November 29, 2011, 05:03:27 PM
I may clean it up ,but its pretty bad rust. its a humitaphier for now , if i clean it up ill use bees wax on it for shure.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ttubravesrock on November 29, 2011, 05:10:34 PM
After reading this, I need to go go take an inventory of all my cast iron.  We are about to get a warm front where I could open all the windows long enough to reseason them.  I can't do that when it is -30F.  And since I live in a one-room cabin, I can't just smoke out the kitchen and keep it seperate from all the other rooms.

If I had an outdoor fire going, do you think I could season it using that?  Put it upside down on a rack just above the embers for an hour, then raise the rack to do the seasonings?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: annestacey on November 29, 2011, 06:08:50 PM
If you can't do it 20 times, then only cook bacon or sausage the first month and when you clean just wipe your skillet with a paper towel then heat it up on the burner to burn the fat off. Before a month is up doing this daily you will have a non-stick surface.

Yeah first of all, if I smoke up the apartment, the smoke alarms will go off and that's not a good option.  Doing it 20 times would take me forever so I need to use the shortcut version.  I cook bacon maybe 1-3 times per week so if I just do that, I can probably get the surface done in about 2-3 months maybe.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on November 29, 2011, 10:35:45 PM
Yeah it definitely makes the smoke alarms go off. I always pulled the batteries out whenever I cook my pans, but I tend to do everything at once, and even take the pans that don't need it and give them a coating just so that it all happens together.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 30, 2011, 02:35:21 AM
we had a fire in my fire pit after I bought my pans, and just threw them in there.  burned all the crud on the handles (and everywhere else) to nice and smooth, and then I rubbed everything with some homegrown lard (from a neighbor).
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Thox Spuddy on November 30, 2011, 09:15:51 PM
I rubbed everything with some homegrown lard (from a neighbor).

I rendered lard and it is better than anything you can get in a store.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on December 01, 2011, 06:24:00 AM
Ok, since the thread started this last week or so, has anyone seasoned their new pans??? or their abused ones?

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ncjeeper on December 01, 2011, 09:32:58 AM
Still waiting to receive mine. should be here anytime.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Docwatmo on December 01, 2011, 10:07:49 AM
I brought home a dutch oven from the back of the boy scout shed where it had been long forgotten. Its got some good surface rust but not a whole lot of it but I'm hoping this weekend to clean and cure it.  However I'll be doing it inside my charcoal grill rather than inside the house.  I have seasoned both of our other dutch ovens like this and it works great.  I can get the grill up to about 350 normally which is plenty hot. 

Getting the rust off is the thing I'm most concerned with and I'm going to try the suggestions above.

This is a GREAT thread.

Thanks
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: annestacey on December 01, 2011, 11:33:16 AM
Ok, since the thread started this last week or so, has anyone seasoned their new pans??? or their abused ones?

Cedar

No.  Too busy working, cooking, cleaning, taking care of dog and other flaming hoops to jump through.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on December 01, 2011, 12:04:55 PM
It's probably about time to do some pan maintenance myself while we still might have a few days of warmth where opening a window won't be a problem. I think I have some rust on the cooking surface of a pan I use to cook with (that has been sitting around) and I have neglected my camp kitchen since the last trip where I used it so I am not looking forward to opening up the box where those stay (I always clean the food etc off and wash them, but being stored with too much moisture reeks havoc on the inside of the box and I typically have to scrub down everything really well when/if that is the case). I believe the lid to the box has been off for a long time though so I may just need some cast iron love there too.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: fritz_monroe on December 09, 2011, 09:37:32 AM
How do I keep from smoking up the house when I fry?  I made up some pea burgers last night and while frying them up in the cast iron skillet, I smoked up the house pretty good.  I had plenty of oil in there, but any time the oil would not be on a section of the pan, it would smoke.  Was I too hot?  Am I just not using enough oil?  Will it smoke up like this every time I fry?  Will the amount of smoke diminish as the seasoning builds up? 

No, I did not season the pan.  It is a Lodge 13.25" pan.  It is preseasoned, and I know there are lots of folks out there that say to get rid of that seasoning.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on December 09, 2011, 10:24:56 AM
How do I keep from smoking up the house when I fry?  I made up some pea burgers last night and while frying them up in the cast iron skillet, I smoked up the house pretty good.  I had plenty of oil in there, but any time the oil would not be on a section of the pan, it would smoke.  Was I too hot?  Am I just not using enough oil?  Will it smoke up like this every time I fry?  Will the amount of smoke diminish as the seasoning builds up? 

No, I did not season the pan.  It is a Lodge 13.25" pan.  It is preseasoned, and I know there are lots of folks out there that say to get rid of that seasoning.

Get rid of that crap seasoning it came with.. and yes it was probably too hot.

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Orion53 on December 09, 2011, 03:13:41 PM
I brought home a dutch oven from the back of the boy scout shed where it had been long forgotten. Its got some good surface rust but not a whole lot of it but I'm hoping this weekend to clean and cure it.  However I'll be doing it inside my charcoal grill rather than inside the house.  I have seasoned both of our other dutch ovens like this and it works great.  I can get the grill up to about 350 normally which is plenty hot. 

Getting the rust off is the thing I'm most concerned with and I'm going to try the suggestions above.

This is a GREAT thread.

Thanks

Doc,

I also have re-seasoned my lodge pan on indirect heat on my gas grill and it worked like a charm.  I wonder if you couldn't get your grill up to 800 degrees + and clean off the old crud and rust off the pans, much like a self cleaning oven.  May have to experiment on that in the near future.  It would be much better to have that smoke and smell outside the house.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Docwatmo on December 09, 2011, 03:26:45 PM
I can get it to 385 (at least before the temperature gage died LOL) and I'm sure I could get it hotter with more charcoal but that seems to be plenty hot enough to seal it.   I thought about putting the vacume blower on it like a forge but figured I'd melt the grill in half  :o ;D
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: chickchoc on December 20, 2011, 11:02:19 PM
I have several cast iron pots I received from my mother and grandmother.  I don't know the brand, but when I got them they had been unused for quite some time.  The outside of each one was black and a little lumpy and the insides were fairly smooth.  There was some rust on all of them, but not much.  The best way I got them rehabbed was to wipe them down with a little veg oil to get the majority of the rust off.  Then I filled them with cooking oil (one at a time) and fried chicken, fish, whatever.  I left the pans filled with oil for a week or so until I fried something again, then I dumped the oil and baked them in the oven.  I think because my pans were "antiques" that it only took a little bit of reseasoning to get them back in shape. 

I have also received a new Lodge Dutch Oven as a gift.  It was a total mess when I first got it, but using the above method helped tremendously to quickly get a little seasoning on it.  Over time I've cooked about everything imaginable in that pot, including spaghetti sauce, without problems.  I've never had to recondition any of my cast iron (including the "new" one) since I use them once or twice a month here in Michigan.  In Houston's humid climate where we used to live, I'd use them weekly to keep the rust off and the seasoning up to date.

My Dad still has quite a lot of cast iron that he uses daily in Galveston's salty humid climate.  He barely drains the bacon fat of each day's breakfast and just places the pans in the oven to keep them out of the way.  No problems ever!  At one time he decided to clean the black crust off the outside of the pans.  He just put them on the grill outside with as hot a fire as he could manage and let them burn.  You can't get a charcoal fire like that hot enough to damage good cast iron.  After the fire died down, he took a wire brush and simply de-scaled the outside.  Of course then he had to re-season the inside, but since he eats bacon every day, that was no big deal.

Cast iron is absolutely the best cookware on the planet.  As the third generation to be using some of the items, I can attest that they last a verrrry LONG time with minimal care.  I plan to will my pans to my son.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: mrdan on December 21, 2011, 05:06:56 AM
First, You asked about french enameled cast iron. I've known people who owned the cookware you are talking about. Their universal opinion was absolutely do not buy it. I knew one housewife who did like hers but she wasn't the best cook I've ever known. She cooked more for show than for real, if you know what I mean. Enamel is an expensive solution to a non-existent problem. People don't want all "the work" of cast iron so Le Crueset puts enamel over it. Viola, no more seasoning, just wash up in the dishwasher, etc. Problem solved! Enamel chips and cracks. You chip the cook surface of the pan and it's effectively ruined. It's also horribly expensive. If you want a no muss, no fuss pan then just use your stainless steel pans you have now. They are fantastic. If you want cast, buy a Lodge at the hardware store. Is it bad? Well compared to Granny's Wagner, sure it is. Can you cook just fine with it? Yes. It just takes more work. 

Second, Texguy is spot on. I appreciate all the people who love cast iron, as I do. However, all the work that goes into these things that some people do, it's like buying another pet. I've used cast iron for many years. I've adopted the Alton Brown method which Texguy states, basically.

"Cover it in oil (any kind is fine) and bake it in the oven upside down at over 400* for over an hour. Then let it cool until you can touch it. Yes it will smoke up the house."

However, I use 350, and not "any oil." I use lard preferably. As for smoking on the fat. Not sure where that's coming from. You are cooking on the fat, not burning it on. You burn fat/seasoning/rust OFF and  cook seasoning ON. So just bake some fat on, below it's smoke point. I know Jack's guest said the oven thing was silly but it sure works well for me and has for 20 years. It just kick starts the seasoning. After seasoning you are 85% of the way there. It's not "non-stick" but it's usable. Then just cook high fat items like bacon for a while, or put a bit more butter in with your eggs for a while. Before long you'll realize that stuff just isn't sticking. My aha moment was when I was going to season someone else's pan and put it beside mine. I had no idea just how black mine had gotten. Really amazing difference side by side. 

Cleaning cast isn't harder, it's just different.

How to clean
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z3c3_CB-2s

If you don't own another cast iron pan, own it for this one recipe. Haven't touched a grill in MANY years.

steak cooking
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yX1Q3x9Cs4

Yeah first of all, if I smoke up the apartment, the smoke alarms will go off and that's not a good option.  Doing it 20 times would take me forever so I need to use the shortcut version.  I cook bacon maybe 1-3 times per week so if I just do that, I can probably get the surface done in about 2-3 months maybe.

More like a week and a half.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on December 21, 2011, 11:21:46 AM
Quote
However, I use 350, and not "any oil." I use lard preferably. As for smoking on the fat. Not sure where that's coming from. You are cooking on the fat, not burning it on. You burn fat/seasoning/rust OFF and  cook seasoning ON. So just bake some fat on, below it's smoke point. I know Jack's guest said the oven thing was silly but it sure works well for me and has for 20 years. It just kick starts the seasoning.

If you have a pan coated in oil, placed upside down on the oven rack at a higher temperature than the smoke point, there is a chemical change to the oil (preferably lard or an "oil" that solidifies near room temperature) where it carbonizes and becomes an almost "plastic-like" surface. Cooking on a pan over and over and over again will still build up a layer of seasoning over time, but cooking it in the oven really hot where it smokes up the house is good for taking a new pan or one that you scrubbed down to the bare metal and "sealing" it this way. It will help prevent further rust, and its obvious to the touch when it cools and you pull it out that it is indeed coated with oil (it will turn very dark or black) yet you can touch it without getting oil on your fingers or any of it coming off the pan.

I always set my oven to "broil" when I do this so it gives off the maximum heat (around 500 degrees) when I re-season my pans, and I only really do that once or twice a year depending on how camping and leaving them in my camp kitchen totes affects them. Sometimes there's so much moisture in the air when I camp that I pack everything away and even though I cleaned everything before packing it away, moisture trapped inside of the storage totes causes bad things to happen.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: mrdan on December 21, 2011, 05:10:40 PM
If you have a pan coated in oil, placed upside down on the oven rack at a higher temperature than the smoke point, there is a chemical change to the oil (preferably lard or an "oil" that solidifies near room temperature) where it carbonizes and becomes an almost "plastic-like" surface. Cooking on a pan over and over and over again will still build up a layer of seasoning over time, but cooking it in the oven really hot where it smokes up the house is good for taking a new pan or one that you scrubbed down to the bare metal and "sealing" it this way. It will help prevent further rust, and its obvious to the touch when it cools and you pull it out that it is indeed coated with oil (it will turn very dark or black) yet you can touch it without getting oil on your fingers or any of it coming off the pan.

I always set my oven to "broil" when I do this so it gives off the maximum heat (around 500 degrees) when I re-season my pans, and I only really do that once or twice a year depending on how camping and leaving them in my camp kitchen totes affects them. Sometimes there's so much moisture in the air when I camp that I pack everything away and even though I cleaned everything before packing it away, moisture trapped inside of the storage totes causes bad things to happen.

To quote Alton (who is my go to guy on cooking):

AltonBrown: I'm going to guess that you mean seasoning a cast-iron pan. I use Crisco shortening. It is very highly refined, and I drop a small spoonful of it into said skillet. I stick it in a 350-degree oven until the shortening melts. I then extract said vessel, and implement a paper towel to smear the fat all over the pan, handle and everything. I then pick up the pan and return it to the 350-degree oven for an hour. Do not drop it at any point during this process! Turn the oven off, let the pan cool down, wipe off the excess oil, and put it away.

Can't find the video for his instruction but the video notes that you should place the pan upside down as commented on elsewhere here already.

I won't argue chemical structures with you as frankly I'm not a chemist but the method as described by Alton does work from many moons of personal experience and most importantly, doesn't smoke the apartment of the original poster which is a concern of his and my reason for taking exception to the various "smoke it up" suggestions.

If I bought a brand new pan today, I'd scrub it with soap, rinse clean. Follow the above method, and have bacon for breakfast for a week. After that, it's just a matter of using the pan over the years to continue to build the surface. Never once in all this have I done anything that is wasteful of time or will piss the Mrs. off other than the one session in the oven to season which produced no smoke. The original poster seems to be questioning whether he wants cast iron or not. My effort here is to assure him that it really isn't all that difficult. Does your way work better? Dunno, don't care since my minimalist method does work to some acceptable level. My effort is towards establishing that cast is worth the MINIMAL effort required for someone who may be unsure and has heard horror stories.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: KittyF on December 29, 2011, 08:37:28 AM

They say something can happen with cooking foods like tomatoes in cast iron, but I have never had a problem. I use them from cooking pretty much anything, including breads, pineapple upside down cake... the chicken and such.

Cedar

In the Seventies it was often suggested to cook your tomato sauce in your cast iron cookware in order to add iron to the diet.  the acid in the tomato dissolves some of the iron.  Now, this will also darken the left overs if allowed to remain in the cookware (I was lazy), and the acid will also cause you to need to reoil the pan before you can use it again since it removes the top layer of seasoning, but that's the only problem.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: SteveandTracyinKY on December 29, 2011, 10:05:52 AM
My main cast Iron belonged to my great grandmother. I never re-season it, just wipe it down with crisco after each cooking session and pop it back into the oven to keep the dust down.

Thanks you Adam B. You have provided a wealth of knowledge. +1 my friend.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on December 29, 2011, 12:04:17 PM
I just inherited another 3 pans.  :):)  could have grabbed more, but didn't want to seem greedy.

My parents good friends and neighbors were moving, downsizing from a 'burb house to a condo in a warmer place.  so they were getting rid of all sorts of stuff - canning jars (wish I needed any more, wish I had a place for them anyway...  would have taken them!) and cast iron.  could not believe that a woman would get rid of her good pans just cuz she was downsizing, but turns out, these were not her pans.  they found them in the house when they moved in some 20 years ago.
which makes me think back to the original owners of that house: they were homesteaders, I realize with hindsight now.  I was too little to really care about anything except the cute baby chicks my friends showed me.  I remember they had chickens in the backyard that they slaughtered, and rabbits too.  I wonder when poor Mrs. B realized that her cast iron - some 8 or 9 pieces - were missing!  Poor lady....
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Docwatmo on December 29, 2011, 02:04:41 PM
I received a Boy Scout Cast Iron skillet as a Christmas gift to add to my growing collection.   We are going to cook bacon in it this weekend and the next couple weekends until its seasons really good.  (This one came pre-seasoned, but it wasn't the wax preseason it was actually oil pre-seasoned.  So I'm not going to strip it.


Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ncjeeper on December 29, 2011, 11:57:34 PM
I too scored. Got two cast iron hot water tea pots? I guess thats what you would call them. There pretty rough inside. Not much room to get my hand in there with some steel wool. This may take some doing to get it clean enough to boil water in.
(http://i978.photobucket.com/albums/ae266/ncjeeper-1/DSCF0607.jpg)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on December 30, 2011, 01:20:02 AM
I too scored. Got two cast iron hot water tea pots? I guess thats what you would call them. There pretty rough inside. Not much room to get my hand in there with some steel wool. This may take some doing to get it clean enough to boil water in.
(http://i978.photobucket.com/albums/ae266/ncjeeper-1/DSCF0607.jpg)

oh, I want one.  you don't REALLY need two, do you?  maybe use FSW's apple cider vinegar trick?

gonna be hard to get the mouth/funnel pour spout of the thing

found the link for you: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=16967.msg337577#msg337577

there was also a link for using electrolysis?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on December 30, 2011, 10:34:14 AM
Go get some nasty trim pork fat from the butcher. Stuff it in there after scouring it the best that you can and toss it in your oven on on top of the woodstove. You can also lightly sandblast them, but I would think I would try the fat trick first. Don't worry about the outside at first. Take a fork and reapply the fat to the inside without burning yourself. This is going to take a LONG time and it may not work at all.. and you have to use it as a humidifier for the top of your woodstove.

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ncjeeper on December 30, 2011, 10:38:46 AM
Thanks MS and Cedar for info. I do have a sandblaster so I may try that first with some elbow grease. ;)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Jonathon January on December 31, 2011, 12:59:46 PM
Is there anywhere I can get a decent idea of pricing for cast iron. I was at a local antique mall and there where three small lodge pans maybe six inches for ten bucks  and a small griddle for twenty and I found one large Griswold in what i precieve as good condition roughly twelves inches for eighty five  dollars...


Also I was talking to my gramparents on christmas about cast iron cause they go to a lot of auctions and my gramother came out from the kitchen with two pots {from the french company} handed them to me and said "merry christmas"
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ncjeeper on January 01, 2012, 02:16:52 AM
I found one large Griswold in what i precieve as good condition roughly twelves inches for eighty five  dollars...
Ouch thats high. In rough condition the griswold 8s and 9s seem to go for anything from free to 20 bucks. Nicer ones go up to around 40-50 bucks. Check out ebay and see what stuff sells for to get a good idea.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: KellyAnn on January 01, 2012, 04:33:12 PM
Everytime this thread shows up in my "view unread posts" I get to reading it and then want to make either bacon or fried chicken (I'm trying to season one of those %@*#! lodge "preseasoned" skillets.)
Hubby doesn't realize why we had bacon this morning, but I think he's appreciative nonetheless.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Jonathon January on January 01, 2012, 05:27:57 PM
Everytime this thread shows up in my "view unread posts" I get to reading it and then want to make either bacon or fried chicken (I'm trying to season one of those %@*#! lodge "preseasoned" skillets.)
Hubby doesn't realize why we had bacon this morning, but I think he's appreciative nonetheless.



hahaha
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ncjeeper on January 01, 2012, 11:47:55 PM
Yeah just cooked 2 steaks in my pan for the first time. :)
I got it hot first and seered both sides then put the pan in the hot oven. Came out pretty tasty. Did smoke up the kitchen tho. :o
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Dangerous Dan on January 02, 2012, 12:09:17 AM
In college my metal casting class took a tour of the Lodge foundry.   Basically they have a line set up where they hang pieces of ware on racks and use "paint" equipment to spray them with oil. I can't remember what combination this was about 7 years ago when I went. Then they run through an oven and come back out and run through the oil sprayers again and back through the oven again and that is there seasoning process.

The point is not to make a perfectly seasoned piece of ware but to make something can pick up off the shelf and start cooking with it right away.

Hope that clears a few things up.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: SteveandTracyinKY on January 02, 2012, 02:38:42 AM
Searing something off in the cast iron and then throwing it into the oven is one of the best cooking methods anyone has ever taught me. Makes a mean steak, and some nice chicken, or even a good pork chop. Its pretty much just awesome.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ScottK on April 02, 2012, 07:44:32 PM
OK, finally got around to tinkering in the kitchen again.  I think I told everyone before I have stainless steel stuff, but we had an 'event' that got me reevaluating the situation.  (The event, the wife couldn't fry an egg in the stainless for enchiladas, and needless to say the rest of the evening wasn't very relaxing.)

Doing some research into what it actually takes to fry an egg on stainless without it sticking brought me full circle to the cast iron question.  After trying out pointers on stainless (they did work, the right amount of oil is tricky), I started looking at some iron videos on youtube.  The wife has an old pan from her grandmother, so I whipped it out this evening, and made a dam near perfect fried egg.  I am now a full convert.  Time to get rid of the stainless!

I am sure I will have more questions as time goes on.  I remember some talk about acidic stuff and iron, what is all that about if you mind me asking.

As for the question I started this topic off with, I think from the research, videos, and now my own cooking is showing me.  The enameled stuff is completely unnecessary if you take the time to understand what the cooking process is, and how to care for the cookware.  Live and learn...
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on April 02, 2012, 08:04:21 PM
Don't get rid of the stainless, they are a non-reactive metal but YES, use your cast iron as much as possible. And don't use soap. And cook a whole chicken in it as much as possible.

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ScottK on April 02, 2012, 08:23:46 PM
Fair enough, but what size stainless do you keep?  I don't have an infinite amount of space in the kitchen.  I can pull off one or two special pieces of cookware, but I can't hold on to item that don't get used on a somewhat regular basis.  I figure keeping the stainless pots makes sense for boiling water and sauces, but the pans?!?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on April 02, 2012, 08:27:13 PM
Fair enough, but what size stainless do you keep?  I don't have an infinite amount of space in the kitchen.  I can pull off one or two special pieces of cookware, but I can't hold on to item that don't get used on a somewhat regular basis.  I figure keeping the stainless pots makes sense for boiling water and sauces, but the pans?!?

I have one moderate sized cast iron pan, I have 2 cast iron dutch ovens. I have 2 SS frying pans, 4-5 SS pots, 3 large SS kettles and one SS roaster pan. The cast iron lives in the oven, the rest in one cupboard.

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: nelson96 on April 05, 2012, 05:20:26 PM
Don't get rid of the stainless, they are a non-reactive metal but YES, use your cast iron as much as possible. And don't use soap. And cook a whole chicken in it as much as possible.

Yes, NEVER use soap.  After a meal (or the next day) we simply add water to the pan/pot and bring it to a light boil.  Letting it simmer for a few minutes while scraping the sides and bottom with a spatula.  Toss the water out the back porch (dog loves to eat the drippings).  Run the pan/pot under hot water in the sink and scrub it the rest of the way clean with a brush (no detergent).  If you are worried about germs, simply throw it in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes.

We use our cast iron for nearly every meal (EVERY meal if I'm cooking).  The only other skillets, pans or pots we have are SS.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ScottK on April 09, 2012, 11:28:39 PM
So has anybody actually dealt with American Culinary, and tired to order new cookware?

I know it sounds silly with all the used stuff out there, but for the prices listed, I was contemplating ordering a pan.  I find I don't have enough time to get out hunting down garage sales, and seems all the pans on ebay people talk about have wobble, which means they will not sit very flat on a glasstop stove.  I am wanting to get the big 13.5" skillet.

I looked at the website, and it is kind of bare bones.  They don't even give you a phone number for customer service inquiries and such.  I also found these other sites that are complaining about the company:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596966

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=282914981719539

This is a complete bummer if this is truly the situation.  Has anybody here had a good experience with American Culinary?  Is it possible for TSP to have a pinned topic at the top of one these boards that is a "whitelist/blacklist" of companies to do or not do business with?  Those list could be compiled based purely on crowd-sourcing user experiences here at TSP and across the web without users having to sift through massive amounts of info.  I know, could be an almost impossible task.... :'(
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: nelson96 on April 09, 2012, 11:40:18 PM
seems all the pans on ebay people talk about have wobble, which means they will not sit very flat on a glasstop stove.

Why go on ebay or hit garage sales?  We have a few that have been passed down by family members, a few that we've found at garage sales, but we have also purchased new ones (Lodge).  They are pretty easy to find in stores in our area and they don't break the bank.  We also have a glasstop stove and have no problems with any of our cast iron cookware.  The Lodge cookware we've purchased have been good to us too.

https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefront/product1_new.asp?menu=logic&idProduct=3924
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ScottK on April 09, 2012, 11:58:11 PM
Yeah, seems like Lodge might be the fallback.  I was hoping that A.C. was the real deal, and you could supposedly still get Wagner pans that were from the factory smooth.  They show a machine polished skillet that would seem to be exactly like what Paul was telling people to do to Lodge skillets in the episode with Jack.  Lodge definitely has many options.  Still interested to hear if anyone has actually dealt with A.C.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexasGirl on April 10, 2012, 12:54:19 AM
Yes, NEVER use soap.  After a meal (or the next day) we simply add water to the pan/pot and bring it to a light boil.  Letting it simmer for a few minutes while scraping the sides and bottom with a spatula.  Toss the water out the back porch (dog loves to eat the drippings).  Run the pan/pot under hot water in the sink and scrub it the rest of the way clean with a brush (no detergent).  If you are worried about germs, simply throw it in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes.

We use our cast iron for nearly every meal (EVERY meal if I'm cooking).  The only other skillets, pans or pots we have are SS.

I just scrape and wipe clean, can't remember even using water.

Interestingly, this "new" (to me) Griswold #12 is so smooth on the bottom the seasoning stays blotchy looking.  I even tried the upside-down-turbo-bake method.  The rest of the pan is seasoned well, but I have to admit, nothing sticks, and even the splotches don't show any signs of rust.

Can they get to a point of being so smooth that the pores aren't grabbing the seasoning?

~TG
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Sister Wolf on April 10, 2012, 02:16:01 AM
Is it possible for TSP to have a pinned topic at the top of one these boards that is a "whitelist/blacklist" of companies to do or not do business with?  Those list could be compiled based purely on crowd-sourcing user experiences here at TSP and across the web without users having to sift through massive amounts of info.  I know, could be an almost impossible task.... :'(

Sounds like something the admins here could be conned into for the right number of donations (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?action=treasury). ;)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: nelson96 on April 10, 2012, 07:18:16 AM
I just scrape and wipe clean, can't remember even using water.

Interestingly, this "new" (to me) Griswold #12 is so smooth on the bottom the seasoning stays blotchy looking.  I even tried the upside-down-turbo-bake method.  The rest of the pan is seasoned well, but I have to admit, nothing sticks, and even the splotches don't show any signs of rust.

Can they get to a point of being so smooth that the pores aren't grabbing the seasoning?

The water trick works great when I've been lazy and let it sit too long.  I don't like to soak my cast iron in water so this speeds up the progress for dried on drippings.

I've got an old pan that is blotchy too.  Mine seems to work okay as well.

Yeah, seems like Lodge might be the fallback.  I was hoping that A.C. was the real deal, and you could supposedly still get Wagner pans that were from the factory smooth.  They show a machine polished skillet that would seem to be exactly like what Paul was telling people to do to Lodge skillets in the episode with Jack.  Lodge definitely has many options.  Still interested to hear if anyone has actually dealt with A.C.

My newer Lodge (that does not have a smooth finish) seems to have less of a tendency to stick than my other old skillets (Wagner & Griswold) that have been worked to a smooth finish over time.  Not sure why you would want/need to spend more money or a lot of time to get a smooth one.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on April 10, 2012, 07:31:54 AM
people talk about have wobble, which means they will not sit very flat on a glasstop stove.

Be careful using them on a glass top stove. Some range manufacturers include warnings against using cast iron and canners.

Cedar
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Mr. Bill on April 10, 2012, 08:51:19 AM
...Has anybody here had a good experience with American Culinary?  Is it possible for TSP to have a pinned topic at the top of one these boards that is a "whitelist/blacklist" of companies to do or not do business with?  Those list could be compiled based purely on crowd-sourcing user experiences here at TSP and across the web without users having to sift through massive amounts of info.  I know, could be an almost impossible task.... :'(

That would be sorta tricky.  How often do you see reviews of any product or company that are overwhelmingly white or black?  This happens all the time with electronics: 80% of the reviewers raving about the wonderful features and ease of use, and 20% ranting about equipment failures and customer disservice.  Is that a whitelist or a blacklist product?

But, there's nothing stopping any of you from starting a topic like that, and compiling your own white/blacklist recommendations.  Best place for most such reviews would be The Gear and Tool Review Board (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?board=32.0).

Sounds like something the admins here could be conned into for the right number of donations (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?action=treasury). ;)

:rofl:  Or there's that option too. :)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: nelson96 on April 10, 2012, 08:55:29 AM
That would be sorta tricky.  How often do you see reviews of any product or company that are overwhelmingly white or black? 

Ya think?. . . Here's an example. . . How many people do you think will post how awesome their Ford truck is?. . . Probably as many as would say they suck.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexasGirl on April 10, 2012, 09:08:01 AM
Be careful using them on a glass top stove. Some range manufacturers include warnings against using cast iron and canners.

Cedar

Do you think it's a weight issue?  I've canned and "cast iron-ed" on my glass electric stove tops for years.  I make soup in a 20-something quart pot, too.  I've never had an issue with cracking or failure to provide enough heat to can.

I worry more about dropping a skillet on it than anything (but I know they are fairly tough).

~TG
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: nelson96 on April 10, 2012, 09:11:53 AM
Do you think it's a weight issue?  I've canned and "cast iron-ed" on my glass electric stove tops for years.  I make soup in a 20-something quart pot, too.  I've never had an issue with cracking or failure to provide enough heat to can.

I worry more about dropping a skillet on it than anything (but I know they are fairly tough).

Ditto here . . . .  I chip my porcelain sink with them more than anything else.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ncjeeper on April 10, 2012, 09:22:30 AM
and seems all the pans on ebay people talk about have wobble,
I bought my Griswold #8 off of e-bay. I paid alittle more for it but i was assured by the seller it was in great shape and not warped. I have been pleased with it.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cedar on April 10, 2012, 09:26:48 AM
Do you think it's a weight issue?  I've canned and "cast iron-ed" on my glass electric stove tops for years. 

No idea. I have never cooked on a glasstop before. I am not even sure I have seen one before actually. I just remember reading that disclaimer about glass tops somewhere.

Cedar

Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Hootie on April 10, 2012, 10:10:12 AM
From one forum to another. here is an answer about the "cast iron and glasstop stoves"

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cookware/msg0318154214697.html (http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cookware/msg0318154214697.html)
Quote
Fri, Mar 16, 07 at 18:15
I was wanting to use Cast iron fry pans on My GE glass top stove , Well GE says not to...
1) the Cast iron might have a Burr or rust on it and Scratch the Glass....

2) They Say that cast iron heats slower and then when it gets hot it stays hot and that might shut off the burner....

Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexasGirl on April 10, 2012, 10:42:22 AM
From one forum to another. here is an answer about the "cast iron and glasstop stoves"

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cookware/msg0318154214697.html (http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cookware/msg0318154214697.html)

Thanks!

One thing I found interesting, it said many tops will shut off the burner if a pot is used that's 1" larger than the element size.  Must mean 1" on all sides.

I've not run into any issues with shut down, but the largest element on this stove is 11" while my 28 qt stock pot and canners are only about 12" across the bottom.  While none of the pots and pans have any burrs or sharp edges, I have had rogue salt grains run across the top while cooking.   

Weight?  Well...  Granted, 24 qts of Turkey soup will weigh a good 50 lbs!

~TG
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: fritz_monroe on April 10, 2012, 10:53:48 AM
My co-worker had to get a new brew pot because the bottom of the pot was not flat.  There was a 1" ring around the outside that was flush on the glass top, but the rest was raised about 1/8"  The water would take over an hour to come to a boil because of it.  Got the new pot and the same amount of water boils in about 15 minutes.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on May 29, 2012, 09:02:57 AM
we have recently discovered aebleskivers at a Farmer's market booth.  now, the whole family has gone mad for them - we have to get a small dish every time we go.  So, it is time to get our own pan.  Ebay has Griswold pans from $9.99 - 99.99.  they all look exactly the same, and well, I am liking that cheaper one.  but any ideas on what a good price to offer?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexasGirl on May 29, 2012, 09:45:48 AM
I wouldn't spend my life savings on one, I heard someone talking about these awhile back, she said Target sells a more modern version of the pan. 

It sounds fun, even though the TexasGirl household isn't much on bread-ish foods (please ignore the pan of four-chocolate brownies in the kitchen, they are medicinal)

For those curious now, here is a quick recipe for aebleskivers from my "collection" (no author available)...

Quote
2 Large Eggs - Separated (or 3 Medium Eggs)
1 tsp Sugar
2 cups of Buttermilk
3 TB Melted Butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Cups AP-Flour
1 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Mace
1/4 tsp Cardamom
1/2 tsp Cream of Tarter

In a bowl or large glass pouring pitcher, beat yolks until light in color, add sugar and beat until thick.

Add buttermilk, Melted Butter and Salt, stirring until well combined

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and spices with a whisk.

Add flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and stir well.

In another clean bowl, beat egg whites with 1/4 tsp cream of tarter until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg whites into batter in two batches.

Warm aebleskiver pan on medium heat (You will probably have to adjust heat after the first batch, I always burn the first batch)

Add a small amount of vegetable oil, butter or lard to each one of the seven indentions.

Fill each indention only about 2/3 full.

Cook until bubbly on top, just like regular pancakes, then, utilizing the traditional knitting needle, or a bamboo skewer, turn the dough balls over to obtain a round shape.

Serve with traditional Raspberry preserves and powdered sugar.

Makes 3 dozen.

~TG
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on May 29, 2012, 11:17:12 AM
I love my Griswold #9 pan much more than the Lodge pan I have the same size. However, I cook just as much in either pan.

Last weekend I decided I needed to take both #9 pans camping with me and they had been sitting neglected all winter and accumulated some rust on the cooking surfaces due to seasoning being stripped off (who knows by now what I cooked that did that, but it does happen occasionally).

Normally I would strip ALL the seasoning off them and start again with bare metal pans, but this time I used an SOS pad to scour the rust off the cooking surfaces and anywhere else I could see it — doing that a few times just to make sure I got all of it off and the water was no longer rust colored — then I rinsed the pans vigorously with water making sure to keep the entire pan wet the whole time and making sure there would be no soap left over from the SOS pad. It was not enough to remove ALL the seasoning but any bare metal parts were that nice deep blueish grey once again.

IMMEDIATELY drop that pan onto your stove already lit (gas stove, I hate all electric range tops) — and heat it up so all the water evaporates.

Then I brush a liberal amount of vegetable oil (because I had no lard or bacon grease handy) and threw it in a 500+ degree oven (the thermometer went up to 600 at some point) and bake em for an hour.

BOTH pans came out GREAT, HOWEVER I was in a hurry and pulled them out of the oven before they cooled off using a towell as an oven mit and part of the towell had nylon embroidery so one of my pans got a series of blue streaks on the side where the plastic melted into it. I scraped the one I noticed back down to the bare metal with a metal spatula, and re-seasoned it again, but noticed later another set of blue lines from where my other hand had held the pan LOL...

I used them camping all weekend and no — no plastic was in my food (the melt was on the outside of the pan near the bottom — but I can easily scrape that off and re-season it again.

The moral of the story here is to LEAVE your pans in the oven after you bake them for a few hours until you can pick it up with your bare hand.

Not only is it going to be so hot that you can melt your oven mitt the seasoning is not going to be rock hard yet and will come off on your oven mitt as well (I had some silvery handles on my pans all weekend).

However, if you end up with bare spots from the pans being shoved into a backpack together, or whatever other reason, cooking over a campfire and then wiping it all down with your cast iron rag when done will result in a fully coated pan ready to rock the next meal with.

As much of a pain as it can be to season pans sometimes (or more accurately, how much of a pain it can be to maintain your pans if you neglect them) — it is SO MUCH EASIER to clean up after cooking on a cast iron pan than even a "non-stick" in my opinion.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on June 06, 2012, 10:47:20 AM
I bought a Griswold aebleskiver pan from ebay this week.  got it on Monday.  it was, in general, more silver than black, and the round wells had small tiny spots of rust in the bottom, and a few on the rim.  so I grabbed a steel wool pad and went to town.  I managed to get the rusty bits off, but it was still orange in there.  I do not know if that is just coloration or actual rust remaining.  I also scrubbed off a lot of black stuff as well.  then I grabbed my lard and rubbed it well, bottom and top, in and out.  I threw it in the oven at 500, with a cookie sheet below, and opened the windows.

after about 15 min, I checked on it and turned it over so the excess oil could run out of the wells.  after about 30 min that way, I turned it again and let it cook for another 30.

it is beautiful and black all over.  the surface areas are not smooth, but that looks more like a casting problem than a seasoning problem.  I would imagine it is very hard to smooth out the wells of an aebleskiver pan.  :-\

we look forward to playing with it!
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on June 06, 2012, 11:16:41 AM
Did you rinse out the rust dust before you coated it in oil?

It is fine to wash that off your pan but you IMMEDIATELY have to put it on the burner of your stove so that the water evaporates quickly. You can almost watch the rust start to form in real-time if you sit there and stare after you get a raw cast iron pan wet.

When I had scrubbed mine down with steel wool a couple weeks ago, I only had room in the oven for one at a time, so the second one stayed in the sink after I first scrubbed it down, and when I came back an hour later it was covered in surface rust again, and I sat there scrubbing it down to bare metal again.

Then putting it on the stove burner, it evaporates so fast it doesn't have time to rust (especially when I am right there with vegetable oil and a basting brush to start coating it right away).

I've taken pans camping where the campfire has removed seasoning and a day later get it home to see rust has formed already. That is really the only "enemy" of your cast iron pans. Keep them oiled up!
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on June 06, 2012, 11:48:28 AM
I did rinse the rust dust.  but first I took a dry cloth and brushed it out.  then I rinsed, then I dried at the table with a paper towel, and another paper towel sitting right there next to the lard.

when I am not using my pans, they hang on my pan rack.  that helps a lot with the drying, since water naturally falls downward, and there are few-no places in my pans that form a puddle while hanging up.  now, maybe one of my bigger stock pots, but they are not cast iron, so I am ok with that.  they do evaporate eventually in my hot arid desert house.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on June 15, 2012, 08:50:27 PM
So, today I used my CI frying pan over my emberlit stove.  cooked beautifully.  my problem: my pan turned everything that touched it black and sooty.  how do you deal with cast iron over an open flame?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: TexasGirl on June 15, 2012, 11:00:06 PM
Interesting.

I've not tried CI over a flame like that.  We have used them over coals, and just wipe them down good afterwards.  If they get too hot, they tend to need re-seasoning, though. 

So, with the emberlit, do you keep feeding it "fresh" tinder?  I'm guessing that would be the soot source?

~TG
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Docwatmo on June 18, 2012, 06:47:33 AM
I just keep a cleaning sponge (the type with the acrylic scrub pad on one side.  I use it with an old butter dish with just plain water.  I wipe down the cast iron, or the stainless pots and stuff with it really good, then wipe them off with an old rag, then hang them close enough to the fire to dry out good, then put them away.

Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Adam B. on June 18, 2012, 08:29:11 AM
My pans also get sooty whenever I use them over an open fire. Plus I find that I need to re-season them after most camping trips because cooking over an open flame is rather harsh on the seasoning.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Cryptozoic on November 23, 2013, 03:02:04 AM
When I buy a neglected cast iron pan or pot at a garage sale I chuck a wire wheel into a drill motor and remove all the baked-on gunk, rust, etc.  80 grit sandpaper if necessary.  Then the seasoning.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: SnoHam13 on January 08, 2014, 08:46:55 PM
we have several cast iron pan's,dutch ovens,lodge  Bar bq

one favorite is a lodge wok
still getting it to the condition of well used [smoothing it out]
everything from stir fry to deep fry to popcorn goes in it
sense lodge does  not grind the cook finish any more like they use to ya got to do it your self
in the old days the women would take their cast down to the creek and use sand to clean their cast after use
heat dry and grease it

another ''fun'' 20.00 joke played on me was DW and youngest bought a dutch oven that would do a 20# turkey or 180 serving of German goulash its at least 5 gallons

SnoHam13
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 09, 2014, 04:25:20 AM
another ''fun'' 20.00 joke played on me was DW and youngest bought a dutch oven that would do a 20# turkey or 180 serving of German goulash its at least 5 gallons

SnoHam13
You mean something like this?
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/GJr0_6HURTUeqeDjSFi73zdRc9fVuogzumT0JzgInrYFgpLV6NTB83UL_ZMjkbtpmECtrsTRAZZ9otwe9HCYDYu9G4WpvXklXdHDIaM5Y_yuoO-elCzEgmlZ0wY_g0wD_h2lCCCm08mI3jtPzIvwy0RRV7NJdFBc0G8-XKLcmY3gPAvqr_kj63esDMEqG_85VHSkhnQpaeDc89Tg9y73F7NdL5FotPC2mzvaDdvDP-uwGicwsnCW_drWpc-QJmPW1M6xYwL6s00ldbTbJTxbdWDl3UD2mA79ixsSekg7CFQRpGJTEmbgXTwANvvnyKvdcTTNmRItudqL7hVyorRV6SE0hkj6xVlfGJ6ME4_o0nwT5VQfhfU7fmIl3uTjqUHD8nqfEAmbCtYR3_ksqHT8s7GwsmKtO-QucXKp3an5fJ0_P9fUHAPSU7zF3QTw-Lm2psBy5OtGPaelNzdjlpM6XgdYr-5pWBehPazeITULb7rERZv9MAnblB-V76lo5Apkp2_CcpvlyDJqut1PwDnxsZlAwk45Vz-Vzp49mRoj-8AVqEIe4u1yGNe6njZCh1TQArgIPpAfky2R65kVkTkxsdZEgOpHis12rKBAbcL0nmXAQJTd2LEu=w800-h600-no-tmp.jpg)
I bought this when I found out that MACA was going to stop making dutch ovens.  I seasoned it and haven't cooked in it yet.

Seasoning it was fun, I basically had to make an oven outside since there's no way this would fit in the oven.  If anyone's interested, I wrote up how I did this.  Seasoning a new dutch oven (http://fritzmonroe.com/camping/seasoning-a-new-dutch-oven/)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: SnoHam13 on January 09, 2014, 07:04:21 AM
You mean something like this?
(http://fritzmonroe.com/camping/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/20131006_dutch_oven.jpg)
I bought this when I found out that MACA was going to stop making dutch ovens.  I seasoned it and haven't cooked in it yet.

Seasoning it was fun, I basically had to make an oven outside since there's no way this would fit in the oven.  If anyone's interested, I wrote up how I did this.  Seasoning a new dutch oven (http://fritzmonroe.com/camping/seasoning-a-new-dutch-oven/)

now that there is a real nice one
ours is a cheap and round but it works fine with wood coals for turkeys

gota dig out the cook stand for cooking with cast iron [don't have to kneel down that way]

SnoHam13
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Crazy Fox on January 14, 2014, 07:56:37 AM
I saw some beeswax at the Honeyville factory store in Durango, CO yesterday and was thinking about what I could use the stuff for.

Eventually I thought "hey, what about seasoning cast iron with bees wax?" I thought I was either a genius or a lunatic for that idea, so I decided to do some research to see if anybody had tried anything similar. Funnily enough, a Google search lead me here and it turns out some people have a high opinion of beeswax as a seasoning for cast iron.

I'd love to hear follow ups from Adam B or 4bull about their results.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: atherts on January 15, 2014, 10:26:07 AM
I didn't see this posted to date. There is some interesting information here about seasoning and what oil to use from a scientific perspective.
I tried it with good results on both an old skillet and a new Lodge skillet.

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/ (http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/)

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/02/black-rust-and-cast-iron-seasoning/ (http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/02/black-rust-and-cast-iron-seasoning/)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Mr. Bill on October 20, 2017, 12:41:33 PM
(https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/cast_iron_pans.png) (https://www.xkcd.com/1905/)
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Alan Georges on October 20, 2017, 10:17:08 PM
 :clap:
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: David in MN on October 21, 2017, 06:24:37 AM
Had a friend up to the cabin this summer. We try to share the cooking so he volunteered to make his grandma's bean recipe. The only problem was how heavy the pot is to make it all in.

When he showed up with a Griswold #9 my eyes almost fell out of my head. He was happy to learn his old clunker of a pot was likely worth $250.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Black November on October 23, 2017, 11:56:35 AM
We use some Le Creuset dutch ovens and they work great but they are expensive. My wife swears by them. I am not sure I could tell the difference.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: fritz_monroe on October 23, 2017, 07:57:03 PM
Those Le Creuset are really nice, but to me they are way too expensive.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Hootie on April 14, 2018, 10:11:42 PM
after moving I now use a glasstop stove when cooking with my cast iron (12in). I can now address the following questions.

people talk about have wobble, which means they will not sit very flat on a glasstop stove.  I am wanting to get the big 13.5" skillet.
no wobble issues, unless the underside if wet (like after wiping it with wet paper towel to get the dust off. if it last for only 2min, not a big deal)

Be careful using them on a glass top stove. Some range manufacturers include warnings against using cast iron and canners.
I don't have an issue, but maybe older stoves do (maybe they auto shutoff because of residual heat...) I don't have scratching issues. but i do notices a very thin ring where the oil from the bottom of the pan, seem to be baking in a coating layer. not an cooking issue but slightly visible.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 15, 2018, 08:02:27 AM
I didn't see this posted to date. There is some interesting information here about seasoning and what oil to use from a scientific perspective.
I tried it with good results on both an old skillet and a new Lodge skillet.

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/ (http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/)

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/02/black-rust-and-cast-iron-seasoning/ (http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/02/black-rust-and-cast-iron-seasoning/)

woh, I know this is an old post, and I do not know how I missed it, but WOW!  This is solid information.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Chemsoldier on April 15, 2018, 09:31:34 AM
woh, I know this is an old post, and I do not know how I missed it, but WOW!  This is solid information.
Indeed

The combination of "must use mongosso uber organic flaxseed oil" and a process that takes 12 plus hours is kinda weird. Sets off my crazidar a bit. She could be right though and my crazidar a little miscalibrated.

But she obviously can be crazy and right at the same time.  It definitely is a new approach. Obviously the vast majority of succesfully cast iron users throughout history who set the idea in our heads that cast iron is great didn't do this method. Wrong oil, wrong times, wrong temps.

This adds a new theory to me. That wrong seasoning contributes to the perception that cast iron is hard to cook with.  This adds to the theory of this episode  (if this is the one I am thinking of) that how modern cast iron is made is not as good as some older cast iron, which is smoother.

I wonder if both are true and you could make a really dynamite set with right pan and right seasoning.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: CharlesH on April 15, 2018, 10:00:54 AM
Thanks for bringing those articles back to the top MS.  I don’t remember them either.  Everything old is new again, I guess...
 
We are heavy users of cast iron and use it “wrong” all the time.  My big error according to conventional wisdom is using it for tomato based sauces (which are said to be too acidic for non-enameled cast iron).  I have not reseasoned any of it in years, but I may give this method a try the next time I bring in something I find used at a garage sale (although cast iron has become so popular around me good stuff is getting hard to run across!). 
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: LvsChant on April 15, 2018, 07:52:48 PM
Thanks from me, too. I hadn't seen the articles. I have a favorite cast-iron skillet... at some point I'll strip it down and try this method...
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: ttubravesrock on November 27, 2018, 02:01:28 PM
Thanks for bringing those articles back to the top MS.  I don’t remember them either.  Everything old is new again, I guess...
 
We are heavy users of cast iron and use it “wrong” all the time.  My big error according to conventional wisdom is using it for tomato based sauces (which are said to be too acidic for non-enameled cast iron).  I have not reseasoned any of it in years, but I may give this method a try the next time I bring in something I find used at a garage sale (although cast iron has become so popular around me good stuff is getting hard to run across!).

I've determined through trial and error that the 'tomato-based sauce' thing really only applies to baking in your cast iron. If you cook a tomato based dish and only cook it on the stovetop there aren't any issues with the seasoning. Once you fill it up and throw it in the oven for 45 minutes to bake a lasagna or cabbage rolls, you bake off your seasoning. I don't know why the bottom flame vs. oven would make that kind of difference, but for me it does.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: CharlesH on November 27, 2018, 05:12:39 PM
I've determined through trial and error that the 'tomato-based sauce' thing really only applies to baking in your cast iron. If you cook a tomato based dish and only cook it on the stovetop there aren't any issues with the seasoning. Once you fill it up and throw it in the oven for 45 minutes to bake a lasagna or cabbage rolls, you bake off your seasoning. I don't know why the bottom flame vs. oven would make that kind of difference, but for me it does.

Interesting.  Maybe it’s the longer amount of time the seasoning is in contact with the hot acidic tomato sauce?
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: David in MN on November 27, 2018, 05:41:52 PM
On Sunday I made lasagna. I like making a long cooked traditional Italian "gravy" meat sauce. Yes, I boiled a tomato based sauce for 6.5 hours in my cast iron pan. Was it hard on the pan? Yes. Not the same as frying a couple eggs. But I want a glass smooth cast iron and banging it up with long hard cooks actually does that. If it came to it I'd reseason it and be fine.

I don't know who put the fear in us with cast iron. You can do anything you want. I've used mine as a griddle over a campfire and reseasoned. I put acids in mine. I've left it on the grill overnight and had a rust situation. It bounces back.

I've got my grandmother's Griswold hanging as decoration. My Lodge is glass and tucked away. Right now I'm beating up 2 Camp Chefs that will go to my daughter in 15 years. After I've abused it to glass.

We're talking about the pans that Civil War soldiers used over campfires. My grandmother didn't use a Griswold because it needed to be babied and cared for. She was dirt poor and starving in the Depression. I currently own 6. I use them for everything. I invert them in the oven and bake pizzas on them. It's a workhorse and needs to be used as such. If you do the very worst some steel wool and oil fixes all maladies.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: fritz_monroe on November 27, 2018, 06:45:07 PM
I've determined through trial and error that the 'tomato-based sauce' thing really only applies to baking in your cast iron. If you cook a tomato based dish and only cook it on the stovetop there aren't any issues with the seasoning. Once you fill it up and throw it in the oven for 45 minutes to bake a lasagna or cabbage rolls, you bake off your seasoning. I don't know why the bottom flame vs. oven would make that kind of difference, but for me it does.
I don't avoid cooking anything in particular in my cast iron.  I cook tomato sauces often.  I cook lasagna in my cast iron Dutch ovens every time we camp.  A pot full of tomato based sauce and noodles in the fire ring.  Charcoal briquettes under and on the lid.  Never had a problem.

My Dutch ovens aren't as smooth as my skillets, but they don't get quite as much use as the skillets.
Title: Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
Post by: Docwatmo on November 28, 2018, 06:17:19 AM
I don't avoid cooking anything in particular in my cast iron.  I cook tomato sauces often.  I cook lasagna in my cast iron Dutch ovens every time we camp.  A pot full of tomato based sauce and noodles in the fire ring.  Charcoal briquettes under and on the lid.  Never had a problem.

My Dutch ovens aren't as smooth as my skillets, but they don't get quite as much use as the skillets.

That's been my experience also.  My skillet gets the most use and is smooth.  My dutch ovens (I have about 5 now in various sizes) get cycled around and at any given time 1 is rusty, 2 are good, 1 is fresh from getting re-seasoned and another 1 or in use.   I've done lots of lasagna and I make a tomato basil garlic chicken and noodles dish that seems to do the most damage.  I can see some pits in the coating after cooking that for a couple hours, but I've never had a meal do enough damage that I had to re-season the oven again before using it.