What is Cast Iron Good For?


I missed that thread when it was first posted, so I just found it and responded. FWIW, I agree with you! :smiley:


Gold. Pure gold.

It took me a long time to get to the point where I clean my carbon steel or CI with just water and wipe dry. I don’t know if my cooking has improved, I just didnt have faith before, or finally there’s a good seasoning layer on my pans, but now it’s just feels right to rinse and dry. I always had to scrape food off before and I felt the pans weren’t clean until I used soap.

(Robert Sacilotto) #83

Actually, a seasoned pan can take a little soap and gentle brushing, depending on the seasoning method/material. Hot water is best, but the best seasoning I’ve found is Flax seed oil, the edible counterpart of Linseed, which can often survive a dishwasher! Cooks Illustrated had an article on this and I switched to the Flax seed oil, after experiencing its properties.
1.The pan must be scrubbed clean, bare metal is fine, dry it immediately.
2.Heat the iron, to open the grain up. Wipe generously with flax seed oil.
3.You’ll do best with an exterior- vented oven for this part: heat the CI in a very hot oven, 450-500 degrees F. You want to smoke the volatiles off and cause a cross-linked varnish to form. Once the pan has stopped smoking, turn off the oven, let things cool and wipe any remaining residue away.
4.Repeat steps# 2-3 about three times for best results.

The above produces a durable non-stick coating, which was described in Cook’s as being able to survive a dishwashing machine. I often use a less durable shortcut by smoking the flax oil on a vented or outdoor stove top; again, you need to vent the fumes. Canola oil is often used and can be a good, short-term coating, since it polymerizes and varnishes. Flax seed oil can make a very hard seasoning, much better than anything else I’ve tried. Very nonstick stuff.

I usually use a stainless, chain mail scrubber for the CI; think I got it from Lehman’s.


Use of flax seed oil was discussed on Chowhound a number of years ago. Most of those who tried it found that the “seasoning” flaked off. This was my experience, too. One wise poster, I don’t remember who it was, wrote that the stains that bake on to your baking tins are what you want for seasoning. And those stains bake on at temperatures of about 350 F / 180 C.


Many moons ago I used flaxseed oil on a cast iron pan (not the ones I have now) and to me, it imparted a slightly fish odor. Maybe my olfactory senses are bizarre. But that happened.


Well, the trick I learned from the Mom was to use the pan for one Dish.
We had separate fried chicken, fish, and pork/beef CI frying pans.
And I love my drip lids.


I wonder if in his research @meatn3 is finding cast iron recommendations for fried chicken…? The astonishingly rare occasion my mom made fried chicken i remember the cast iron skillet had to be found in the extra storage cupboard in the garage. It had been her mother’s and was probably 12” or so, kind of a beast.


Do you mean emglow? He is researching how to fry chicken.

I’m just searching from a great local place to eat it!

meatn3 = she!

(For the Horde!) #89

How would you know?


'Cos I write so pretty? :blush:

(For the Horde!) #91

Same as " I think, therefore I am"?

(Robert Sacilotto) #92

My guess is, if the flax oil had a fishy taste, it wasn’t burned off enough. It really needs an aggressive heating to form a hardened seasoning. To me Canola is more fishy tasting. I’ve not noticed a flax oil flavor in the food cooked in a seasoned pan/skillet.

One cautionary note, since the oil is burned off, it could ignite briefly. Since the oil is wiped, not poured into the unseasoned pan, there’s not enough fuel for a fire. I’ve done this many times and never had a flash, but any oil heated hot enough could ignite. Keep other flammables away or perform this in an oven.

I’ve never had it flake off, but it’s usually applied to clean, bare (sometimes sanded), hot iron.


Shoot! Yes… @emglow101

(Eileen Schwab) #94

I have. I used a cast iron skillet on the grill for Chilean sea bass and the next couple of times I used it I could smell the sea bass, but didn’t notice any flavor difference.


Walloping an intruder (?):grinning:


Searing stuff, 'cause it gets good and hot and stays there. And also walloping.


Also good if you want to experience tendonitis in your wrists, because it’s so freakin’ heavy it’ll ruin your wrists if you use it a lot. I like to break out the cast iron when I make burgers – gets a nice crispy layer on the patty.

(DeMarko) #98

Flat sideless pan is great for tortillas, especially homemade flour ones. Also good for making quesadillas. I would imagine it’s good for other types of flatbread as well. Grilled cheese of course too.


I guess that depends on what you’re doing with the pan. This is not a problem I’ve ever had. I don’t lift the skillet or the fry pan up and down much when using them, I guess - more sliding over the flame, but mostly just staying in place. For stir frying and sauteeing larger amounts of vegetables I tend to use a (Chinese) cast iron wok, which is not very heavy at all.


I’m just lifting it on and off the oven and into the sink for a cleaning afterwards. I’m fairly short so everything requires an upward lift motion. I also can’t stand the sound of the cast iron scraping against the iron burner grates.