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Cast Iron Dishes & Cleaning

So I finally bought a nice cast iron this weekend. I had one before but it rusted to shit and I didn’t want to go through the process of renewing it. Now I have a nice gas oven so the cast iron will work really well.

I’ve been watching videos on how to take care of it.

Any advice from anyone that uses them a lot?

What type of dishes have you made that are great in a cast iron?

I’ve been into making “one pan” dishes recently because I’m getting sick of using multiple dishes lol. Any recipes would be highly appreciated!

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Advice… um enjoy I guess. I use mine exclusively for steak and clean it + dry it + apply a light coat of oil each use

Is this necessary? I have just been cleaning it off, and then throwing it back on the burner to get rid of the water,

Nah not necessary to do it every time if you dry properly but every once in a while to keep the cast iron going strong. Though if you already got it on the burner a quick wipe with oil only takes 10 seconds

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Ok easy enough. I have one more question for ya. When I am drying it on the burner, sometimes it starts smoking, did I leave it on too long?

Probably lol or too hot.

If you’ve chucked a coat of oil on it then got it up to smoking a bit this means like chemically it’s gotten hot enough that the seasoning has been renewed or reinforced so you can turn off the heat at that point.

Without oil (or if you didn’t use a lot of oil cooking) it’s just smoking up the place for no benefit

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Same as @guineapig, I’ve got one big nice cast iron skillet, and I don’t do much with it except sear steaks. Which it does amazingly well.

Mainly, just don’t throw it in a sink full of soapy water and leave it to soak.

I try to clean mine promptly after use, and dry it well.

Occasionally, I’ll grease it up and throw it in a hot oven to renew the seasoning. It isn’t complicated.

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I agree with above posts mostly on cleaning. Probably the stuff you’ve been reading/watching about cast iron care suggests to carefully craft this fragile patina by following strict rules, never ever using soap, etc. I tried that for a while but it got so I never wanted to use the thing because I was afraid to mess it up. Then I came across this article which kinda changed my thinking:

I don’t really ever season it anymore, just because I don’t have time. I try not to use a ton of soap but sometimes you cook something real messy and you gotta get in there with the soap. I haven’t noticed a difference. The only hard rule I have is after I clean it, it goes back on the burner on low until it’s bone dry.

One tip for cooking with cast iron: it has a higher heat capacity so it will get hotter than your other pans and stay hotter after you put the relatively cold hunk of meat on there. That’s what makes it great for searing. But it can also catch you off guard because it won’t cool down quickly when you turn the burner down, so you might burn a few things until you figure out how it works on your stove. I’ve ruined a couple steaks. Now I usually go a couple notches lower on the heat to start when using the cast iron.

Favorite thing to do in the cast iron skillet: butterfly a chicken (cut out the backbone and unfold it so it lays flat). You will have basically a meat side and a bone side. Season however you want. Heat the oven to like 400F and heat the pan on the stove, sear the meat side / skin in a little fat. If you have a heavy pot or something to press the bird down into the slillet you will get better browning on more of the skin. When it seems browned enough flip it bone side down and stick it in the oven. Should be up to temp after like 20-30 min in the oven and usually has nice crispy skin.

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Yes the Spatchcock method. My new favorite way to roast a bird. Cooks better, faster and more evenly. I don’t even bother with the sear, I just brush a light coat of olive oil across all the skin, season and cook at 425 in the cast iron for 40-50 min, depending on bird size. 45 min usually works fine for your typical grocery store bird. Skin crisps up wonderfully this way.

Regarding care, remember that cast iron loves fat, so use fat when you cook whenever possible and just build that seasoning up even more.

For cleaning, I use a stiff-bristled brush and warm (not scalding hot) water to clean off debris, then apply a very light coat of olive (or whatever oil you have on hand) with a rag. Clean the brush off in the dishwasher so it doesn’t get funky.

If I haven’t used it in a while (which is rare), I always make sure to heat it up to smoking before I cook anything on it, although most of what I cook on cast iron involves high heat anyway.

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Just got one myself and used for the first time this morning. I will be using mainly for omelettes, and using it to cook my salmon once a week.

I just plan to clean it by wiping it with paper towel and then giving it a quick wipe down with a touch of oil, and then place it in a preheated oven at 110C. Once I put it in the oven I will turn the oven off. My intention here is to dry the pan out and keep it well seasoned.

Im reluctantly using canola oil to season and wipe the pan down, only because I heard olive oil smoking point is too low and does not do the job. I also considered lard, but in a thread I had made recently a few members have said that whatever oil you choose to season the pan with is not that important, as long as the pan is seasoned.

tweet

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Bah, been using olive oil as my go-to for years and my pan works great, even when it’s pumping out a bunch of smoke. Luckily I have a powerful hood vent over my stove, otherwise I might re-think the olive oil approach. Canola does have a higher smoke point and I’ve used it for higher heat cooking to good effect.

I don’t think the choice of oil matters too much as long as you preserve and continue to build up the seasoning layer. Don’t scrape it off cleaning with a metal spatula or metal scouring pad. Don’t burn it off with super-high heat cooking without any oil. Those two combined to make my first foray into cast iron cooking unsuccessful.

Keep giving it love with fats and oils when you cook and the debris should knock off very easily with a normal plastic-bristled brush you get at the grocery store, especially if you clean it before anything cools down completely and hardens. It really should clean off easily no matter what you cook on it.

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I see some people saying to dry it off. Do you go from washing it off to oil application and that’s it?

Are you guys using towels to dry it? I tried a paper towel and that was not good.

Almost all the water should bead right off the pan by just turning it upside down. Any little bits left just soak up with the towel before you put the oil down.

Paper towels can work fine but if your pan has a coarser surface (like an out of the box Lodge brand) it can leave little bits of oily paper towels stuck. A sturdier cloth towel might be a better bet.

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You guys are doing a lot of work here. I just use enough butter that it doesn’t get stuff stuck to it. If it does I just throw water in the pan and put it on the burner. Once the water is boiling I scrape it. The boiling water has low surface tension, so no soap is necessary. I empty the dirty water, and put it on the burner to dry.

I really only wash mine every 5-10 uses. Mine is WW2 era Griswold, and has been used like this by my family for about 30 years. Looks like new.

Edit - I think mine is pre WW2, because it has the lid. They stopped producing the lids during WW2, and I don’t think that brand brought them back until a few years after the war.

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For the longest time, my pans weren’t keeping their seasoning. I finally stopped cooking tomato sauces and vinegar-based pan sauces in there and boom, problem solved.

I mainly use it for bacon, eggs, roasting chickens, and baked pancakes. The stove-top (or grill) to oven versatility is a key benefit.

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My favorite thing to do with the cast iron is similar, and I actually got it from the same site you linked. Brown both sides of whatever chicken cut you prefer (I like bone-in thighs), remove them and throw in as many veggies you’d like (carrots, brussels, onion, celery, potatoes, anything really but you may need to parboil some of the harder veggies), give them a minute on the stove then lay the chicken on top and throw the pan in the oven. You can let the chicken rest while you finish off the veg. Its a go-to meal for my wife and I! The juices and seasoning you put on the chicken drips down and gives everything a great flavor.

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That’s what I do. But you have to season it every so often.