Quite simply put you will NOT see me cook with any other type of cookware than cast iron. When it comes to cooking on fire thats my go to type of cookware!
WHY CAST IRON?
There’s a reason why cowboys and our grandmothers love cast iron casseroles and pans. Cast iron is almost indestructible if you take good care of it.
You will be able to go from cooking on gas to cooking on fire (or even in the fire) no worries. It provides heat distribution and retains heat much longer than any other type of cooking vessel.
TWO FLAWS OF CAST IRON
Ask anybody who uses cast iron pans on a regular basis, what is the downside of cast iron? The same answer will alwasy be repeated: I love my cats iron but the weight is insane!!
The weight is a huge problem. Especially if you do a lot of camping. If you camp, first rule in a trailer is keep it as light as possible!
It’s not a problem at home but then again when you have such an extensive collection of cast iron cookware as I do you need those Home Depot type shelves just to store them.
The other flaw is in order to keep your cookware for ever you need to take great care of them. So the cleaning process is complicated.
The cleaning of cast iron kitchen tools. There seems to be two schools of thought: with soap and without soap. Personally, we have a brush to clean our cast iron tools and we do not use soap.
Heat is usually enough to wipe out the residue. It is not advisable to soak the cast iron for hours in order to unstick the food. Ideally, add a little salt and rub with a soft sponge. This technique does not damage the finish of your cast iron. Never use steel wool!
I also use a chainmail scrubber and clean my pan under some warm water. That’s usually enough!
After washing the pan, wipe it to prevent rust from forming. Do not let your cast iron tools hang out for days, as they may rust quickly. If you notice rust on your cast iron, simply do a few successive oil treatments as indicated below.
Note: If your cast iron skillet is relatively new and is not treated by years of cooking and successive layers of oil, it is best not to put acidic foods in it, such as tomato sauce or citrus juice. The metal could react, discoloring food and giving it a metallic taste.
HOW TO TREAT A CAST IRON PAN
Most commercial cast iron pans are now pre-oiled, which means they have been coated with oil and then heated a few times. This procedure forms a layer that prevents food from sticking and protecting your pan.
Although a cast iron pan will never be as non-stick as a Teflon covered pan, it has the advantage of being a source of iron rather than Teflon which remains a more than questionable finish for your health.
Otherwise, by following a few guidelines to oil and clean your pans, you will prevent most foods from sticking to it.
SEASONING CAST IRON IN A BBQ
The best way to season a new cast iron is undoubtedly the BBQ.
First, preheat the BBQ or oven to 350℉. Using a paper towel, rub the inside and outside of the pan with a neutral edible oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, light olive oil, shortening or canola oil.
Place your cast iron cookware upside down on the grill, if you use your home oven, turn the hood on maximum power – there will be a lot of smoke during this process.
After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and let it cool. Doing this process once is enough to make the pan ready for cooking. But feel free to repeat it a few times if you want to create a thick protective layer quickly.
STORING CAST IRON PANS
Once your cast iron is nicely seasoned I like to store them in the garage. I have a rack on a sturdy shelf where I put them.
Ultimately, the best way to preserve cast iron for generations is to cook with it often. Every time you fry, sear or sauté food, you add layers of oil and thus protecting your cast iron cookware.
WHICH CAST IRON SET SHOULD YOU GET?
If I only had to choose one cast iron set I would choose my Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 2-in-1 Multi Cooker – 3-Quart Dutch Oven and Skillet. One part serves as a skillet or lid to the other.
You can cook a lasagne for 6 people, make bread, make a pizza on the campfire, a chili, green chilaquiles or simply fry your eggs in the morning.
I like that the bottom and top of this unit is flat, which is useful for cooking, as in an oven, with heat from below and top using briquettes.
I also love my comal or griddle in cast iron which is often useful to warm tortillas, to cook burgers and other meats without worrying about flare-ups.
I also have some small cast iron pans that I love serving dishes. Less cumbersome, they are very useful to me and I have at least two in our RV.
If you take good care of your cast iron tools whether it be a pan, casserole, skillets, comal or dutch oven just to name a few you will be able to put those puppies in your will! They will most definitely outlast you!