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Fosgate

Newfound love for Cast Iron

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Couple months ago I had to replace my non-stick pans as they were pretty worn. Picked up a set of All Clad non stick pans. I thought to myself though. Why the hell am I replacing these things at probably the worst possible time and started looking at my whole cookware setup. looked at ceramic, copper, stainless steel etc and then I stumbled across Cast Iron. Now, I'm not really a complete blank piece of paper when it comes to cast iron. My grandparents used them along with the old Corning ware but Cast Iron never really fit my idea of healthy cooking or so I thought. My thought was it was only used to cook fatty comfort foods using lard etc. My mother used to rave about cast iron by if it was so good why does no one use it. I started looking into cast Iron and found I was wrong on so many levels about it. 
1.    Cooking with Lard: I found out it really is not necessary as I found out that I do not need to cook with lard in cast iron. I have yet to use any. I use Flax Seed Oil for the initial 6 seasoning layers after that I use Olive oil. I learned lard or saturated fat may give a pan a bit of a rancid smell. 
2.    Cast Iron does not evenly heat: This was a surprise to me and it appeared from looking at cast iron reviews a lot of other people were clueless also. Cast iron is actually the worst at evenly heating. However, the ability of cast iron to retain, hold and radiate that heat beyond the contact layer of food is what gives it the desired cooking quality. Great read here. http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/02/16/heavy-metal-the-science-of-cast-iron-cooking/
3.    Difficult to care for: Not really, when I am done cooking I take a hot pan and run it under HOT water with a plastic scraper, wipe it out, return to the burner and once the water is gone and the pan is warmed up again I wipe a thin layer of olive oil on it and turn off the heat to let it cool. The routine took me maybe a week and I don’t even think about it anymore. Never let cast iron soak or use soap, use salt if you need an abrasive to scour it. 
4.    Cast Iron is not non-stick: No way is this true. I quickly found out that cast iron is the original non-stick. My new set of lodge skillets I bought were pretty good but I took it a step further by taking a 60grit air sanding disk to the cooking surface and re-seasoned them all.  I also scored a Wagner 12’inch in an Antique store that is phenomenally slick once I cleaned and re-seasoned it. Better yet I don’t have to worry about what utensils I use. Is there a technique involved? Yes. You need to know your temp affect on keeping non-stick. 
I picked up a set and found that Lodge seems to make about every cast iron pan in the US and they do not polish the cooking surface like the old manufacturers Wagner, Griswold etc used to. There are companies like The Field Co, or other Australian companies that offer them polished at about $200 for a 12’ skillet. But really, for how it opened up my cooking and the versatility of cast iron (you can finish food in an oven, bake pies, pizza etc. ) that price is still worth it if you don't have the hardware or time to smooth the cooking surface. After reading about how to overcome problems people had with cast iron and found that by avoiding those things (using High heat, cooking acidic foods etc). I just wish I had figured out cast iron 20 years ago and bought a set then. Since I added 4 various size skillets I find I am using them dominantly from my other cookware and my food is turning out better. I only use non stick pans for maybe pancakes and use pots etc for boiling water or cooking acidic sauces in them. 

Anyone else have a love for the iron?
 

 

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We have a cabinet full, from 8 in skillets to dutch ovens, some of them are over 50 years old.

My fave is a 10 x 10 griddle used  almost daily ,it is quick and easy to use, and  never touches soap.

We  keep a stack of pot holders nearby, I find myself using them on pans with heat proof handles.

best cookware you can use.

 

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My lovely Dutch oven comes on every camping trip and is used for everything. It's also drafted in at home for chilli.20bbb73f3d471314ca889493399cd7e4.jpg

Thunder & Lightening '75 - '15

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I, too, love my cast iron cookware. I still can't convince my family, though! Even though, the husband has to throw out his stupid Teflon pans every couple years! The older Griswold and Wagner's are the best. My dad is starting to give away some of his "treasures" in his old age....so I scored a collective Wagner pans!!! Lots of good info out there on the 'net about Cast Iron.
Thanks.

Sent from my P008 using Tapatalk

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I love my cast iron as well, but I do use soap to clean them if they are really dirty/crusty.  Have no fear, your common dish soaps will not harm the polymerized layer on the pan with just a quick scrub. Heck, even steel wool on occasion, of course I dry and re-oil immediately. There is also a "chain mail" rag that is supposed to work well. 

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment_reviews/1689-chain-mail-scrubbers

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Found a couple startup companies that recently got their start on kickstarter. After seeing several positive reviews I decided to order them. Going to hold on to my vintage Wagners but my new Lodge that I sanded the inside smooth are going to be given away to friends. 

 

First Up, I ordered both the 8 and 10 from field Company https://fieldcompany.com/

 

Third one I ordered was a little less known but just as new and getting good reviews. 

http://www.stargazercastiron.com/

 

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On 12/27/2017 at 3:40 PM, Fosgate said:

Anyone else have a love for the iron?

About 80% of the cooking in my house is done on cast iron.  We have several different ones to choose from.

I try not to go crazy with soap; if my scrubby sponge has some soap on it no big deal.  I do use soap on the backside of the pans.  A metal scraper like a paint scraper makes for easy cleaning on the non enamel pans.  If you do use enamel cast iron, try not to cook above medium hot.

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I’ve got a couple of enamelled Le Creuset cooking pots, roasting dish, griddle and frying pan.

I absolutely love cooking with them. Everything tastes so much better.

1 hour ago, BrightonCorgi said:

If you do use enamel cast iron, try not to cook above medium hot.

This is very important to remember. I burnt out my first griddle pan by not following this advice.

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I also have a Le Creuset dutch oven but cook frequently using my 10" and 12" Lodge skillets.  Would love to hear more about your favorite seasoning techniques and what you use these for.  I do intend to look for older models at antique stores, "soon".  

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We have been making these quite a bit lately :)

castpizza.jpg.1a6e4d5696a35a3f12ec02a64125a2c4.jpg

John

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If I am cooking with cast iron on the stove be it enameled or not, I like to put them in the oven first at 350 to ensure there will be not hot spots when they go on the stove.  I am been doing paella a wide shallow Le Creuset that works great, but for even heat it needs some time to get there.  Oven helps big time.

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I like using cast iron in the smoker.  It also works as heat exchanger so no water pan is needed.  I like to crank the WSM when doing yardbirds or roasts either way...

chicken_smoked_on_easter_2.jpg 

That was a yellow Le Creuset a one point.

chicken_smoked_on_easter.jpg

 

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I use my Field skillet all the time.  Making steaks with it is great. Have to disable the fire alarms though.

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