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Cast Iron Man Cooking

Cast Iron Header

By Robert Fure

Despite being as old as sin, Cast Iron still has a place in every man’s kitchen. Heavy and metal, oft requiring two hands to heft, these relics continue to prove their use, and their value, to this day.

What & Why?

Cast iron cookware is about as simple as it comes – iron that has been cast to skillet shape. The cooking properties of cast iron make it unlike anything else in the modern kitchen. The heavy metal has a high melting point and will hold its shape even when subjected to the most damning infernos. Many recipes even make allowance for the iron to be put directly onto a bed of hot coals or sat on a campfire.

Iron also heats, and more importantly, retains heat, evenly. No matter where the flame, or electric stove top, touches the pan, when it has been preheated, the entire surface is the same temperature. There are no cold or hot spots, making for perfectly even cooking. The heat is also well retained – tossing on a steak won’t drop the temperature like a rock, it will instead remain hot for a perfect sear.

Cast iron is very versatile and is perfect for a wide range of food:

  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Burgers
  • Pizza
  • Pie
  • Eggs

How?

All is not perfect in the iron age. Unless you buy it pre-seasoned, each cast iron item must be seasoned. This seals in a layer of fat that acts as a lubricant and a protective agent. Further, if you let it sit in water, rust will set in quite quickly. Treat your pan like it deserves, though, and it will serve you to no end.

Because of the high heat retention, often times it is best to cook at a lower temperature setting than you’re used to. These skillets get hot and stay hot. Good time to mention – a good oven mit, or a welder’s glove, should be used to handle the hot iron. With low heat, stews can simmer all day long. On medium heat, chicken strips for fajitas cook up in a flash. Turn to medium-high and after six minutes on each side, the most delicious burger is at your fingertips. Set to high, cast iron skillets and dutch ovens are excellent at traditional deep oil frying. The high heat is most often used to sear meat, some say sealing in its juices. After the sear is completed, the entire skillet can be transferred to the oven to finish cooking. This method is a staple of steak and tuna creations.

Welder's Mit

Lest it not be forgotten, cast iron is famous for its cornbread. The outsides get a delicious crisp to them, while the soft inside remains moist. When you first pick up your cast iron, get a good recipe book as well – you’re going to love working with iron.

Tips

  • Use a lower heat than what you would normally select.
  • Use an ample amount of lubricant (butter, grease, cooking spray, oil).
  • Do not use soap to clean, as it will eat away at the seasoning.
  • Hot water and a stiff bristled brush will chip away any stuckons, and the heat of cooking will keep it sanitary.

Burger

The Perfect Burger

  1. Gather your meat, 1/3lb per burger. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and to taste.
  2. Preheat the cast iron skillet on medium-high. Liberally spray with a neutral cooking oil (Peanut oil).
    Form patties, then season to taste once more. Apply a thin coat of olive oil to each burger.
  3. Place into the cast iron, cooking six minutes per side. If your skillet has a lid, place it on to lock in the heat and moisture.
  4. Enjoy.
 
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  • tom

    Cast iron skillets make the best eggs, hands down.

  • JR

    Definitely need one those welders gloves. Those suckers get hot…

  • Nick

    If I can’t grill, I always cook my steak, burgers, or chicken breast in my cast iron.

  • Paul

    The best part is they’re really cheap compared to their “nonstick” alternatives. Except Cast iron is way easier to clean up if it’s seasoned correctly.

  • Dylan

    watch out for the acidic sauces when cooking, otherwise nothing beats it

  • http://virilitas.com Virilitas

    One of my favorite things about cast iron is that there’s no plastic in it, which means it’s not adding delicious non-stick flakes to my food, and as you pointed out, cast iron can go in the oven.

  • Heather

    OK, I’ve read many articles about how great cast iron is to cook with, and every single article says “it must be seasoned.” And then completely skips over this part. And this article does the same thing.

    So, how do you season a cast iron skillet?

    • URKiddinMee

      Great advice from “seasonedskillet” above. However, he forgot to suggest that you temorarily disconnect your smoke alarms and turn on your “Vent-A-Hood” on HIGH. (If it vents to the outside) Otherwise you may want to open a couple of windows.

  • seasonedskillet

    Im a 23 year old guy that loves cooking with this manly skillet. I was replying to Heather’s comment because i too found it difficult to find directions on seasoning a skillet. Heather its real easy. Grab a container of Crisco. Lightly cover your whole pan with it. You just need enough to be able to see a little bit of white all around it. Then throw that bad boy in the oven for an hour at 350 and snatch it out. do that 2 or 3 times and you’ll be ready to go.

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  • http://www.learnhowfromvideo.com learnhowfromvideo

    Nice Share robert… i really enjoy it..
    hope other great info in the future
    thanks

  • http://www.ironman2movie.com/ Iron Man 2

    This really is the perfect burger. I can actually taste it
    .-= Iron Man 2´s last blog ..Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 2 =-.

  • http://watchmakeitorbreakit.com/ Make It or Break It

    I really like the page thanks for sharing !

  • http://www.bearscabindecor.com/ Cabin Decor

    I have always wanted cast iron to cook with, but all the seasoning it needs has deterred me. My grandmother always made the best blackberry cobbler in her cast iron skillet.
    .-= Cabin Decor´s last blog ..Timeless Country Small Nightstand =-.

  • http://www.cooktopreviews.com Micah

    Oh wow, I have those same gloves – except in red. Our cast iron is probably the most used pan in our kitchen. It cooks very evenly.
    .-= Micah´s last blog ..Electrolux ICON Designer E36GC75GSS Cooktop Review =-.

  • http://heavydutyblender.blogspot.com Walter

    I have been meaning to get a cast iron skillet for the purpose of cooking eggs while camping. For some reason I am under the impression that conventional kitchen skillets will not work out on a grill. Not sure if I am correct or not though.

    • URKiddinMee

      If you are placing a “conventional” skillet directly ove a wood fire, it helps the clean up to coat the OUTSIDE with a dishwashing detergent first. Don’t do this with cast iron. [And of course, don't coat the INSIDE unless you like farting soap bubbles. ;-) ]

  • Steve

    I’m a 58 year old guy just really getting back into cooking. I am SOLD on cast iron. The seasoning is easy..see above.. cleaning is a snap and everything cooks better. I suggest a 10 inch dutch oven from lodge that comes with a lid. The lid is a great skillet and the bottom makes things that need a deeper pan. I just made a chicken pot pie to die for from Cast Iron Cooking.

  • Lisa

    Thanks Seasoned Skillet.
    I’m new to iron, and was never quite sure about the seasoning part.
    Now if I can just get past the part of not using soap to wash after use.

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  • Delta

    Cast Iron is best, hands down. I use detergent to wash my cast Iron. Just rub the inside with some cooking oil after washing. No big deal!

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  • GtotheB

    Adding olive oil to your burger and adding to a medium-high skillet will burn the oil. You need a higher burning point oil if you’re going to do that. I’d recommend safflower, sunflower, grape seed or peanut oil…depending upon the flavor you want.

  • URKiddinMee

    While I applaud the fact that advice is given to “never use soap” on a cast iron skillet, I would also never use water. Instead I use the old fashioned method of using a rag or even several folded paper towels to scrub salt around to work any food particles off of the surface. When clean and smooth, dust the (now greasy) salt out and re-season the pan with fresh grease, Crisco or corn oil.
    I would also never use one of the poisonous “cooking sprays.” It is counter to the healthy aspects of food cooked in cast iron, plus it coats the surface with a sticky gunk. Olive oil or coconut oil are great for frying. My skillets are slicker than a non-stick coated surface after years of proper use.
    A friend of mine cracked two modern day cast iron skillets when attempting to blacken some Redfish. I had mercy and gave her an ancient 12″ Wagner skillet and I made a friend for life.

    • night_fate

      This is good advice, but don’t let it shy you away from using cast iron. It’s not always a ton of work.
      You can get away with using salty water and a rag instead of soapy water and a sponge and it’ll clean just fine. After getting most the water out, just toss it back on the stove for a little bit till it dries, and once it cools, put it away.

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