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TDG: Regarding Lodge's Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron


Fat Guy
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I just bought the 12" unseasoned Lodge, rubbed it all over with Crisco, put it in the oven, and THEN I found this thread. Now I wish I'd gone with the pre-seasoned! But since I've made the commitment, I want to benefit from others' experiences. Suzanne F, what was it that made your pan finally work out so well for you? Should I go get some bacon and give my pan a nightly rub-down & bake for a week? And then cook lots of bacon in it? I'm happy to make bacon every weekend for the sake of the pan, if that's what it takes.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Many compliments to Dave--a fine article illuminating an (ideally) dark-as-night subject.

The idea that cast iron 'heats evenly,' though, requires some clarification. Cast iron is actually a fairly poor conductor of heat--about a third of the conductivity of aluminum and a fifth of the conductivity of copper. Indeed, my 12 inch skillet has a big old hot spot right in the middle.

This can be countered, I've found, by ample preheating: 10 minutes on the stove top, or just toss it into a hot oven, where it is blasted on all sides. Once you give the entire cooking surface time to come up to heat, however, Dave is right: it will hold onto that heat and scorching is generalized minimized, at least in my experience.

Jh

Cast iron in gastronomy is a lot like wooden brakes on cars. Just buy the kevlar composites and move on!

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

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Seth --- you can use bacon drippings or just rub a half strip of bacon all over the skillet and heat it in the oven at 300 - 350 degrees for several hours --- I usually leave it in for three hours. Let it cool and do it again, about three times total. Then fry fish or chicken in it a couple of times before trying a steak or anything too liquid. Cooking sausage or bacon in it from time to time is a good thing.

I have not tried the pre-seasoned, but have too many oven hours in seasoning five dutch ovens and four skillets over a couple of winters. Lodge made a smart move with the pre-seasoned.

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Hi all,

I recently bought Lodge's 12-Inch skillet to try as a change of pace from my All-Clad one. I do get a kick out of the difference especially when it comes to such things as searing at high heat. The temperature of the surface doesn't drop as much as with the aluminum pan so I don't have to wait as long for the heat to come back or need to boost the heat to try to compensate. The end result is somewhat different and I like it in many cases as I'm sure many of you do too. Seasoning and clean-up is no big deal once you get the hang of it. I can even cook eggs in mine with little problem.

The question I have is how does one toss food in one of these beasts? I'm learning how to do it with the All-Clad and, despite the miserable handle (couldn't they shape it better?), I'm able to toss Cheerios pretty well. Yet with the Lodge, I find it to be a lot of trouble. That stubby handle keeps one from getting decent leverage to help deal with the weight and using a kitchen towel to keep from getting burned doesn't help much with the dexterity.

How is everyone doing it with the Lodge? Or do you use spatulas and other implements with cast-iron and avoid the tossing? I'll practice my tossing [ahem] if this approach isn't ridiculous!

I also see some other significantly more expensive cast-iron skillets out there that might work better for this such as the Staub 11-Inch Frying Pan and the Hackman Tools (iittala) Dahlstrom 98 12-Inch Fry Pan. Both appear to have long, stay-cool handles. The Staub is enameled, with its tradeoffs, but the Hackman isn't. Le Creuset doesn't seem to make a large (11-inch or greater) skillet with long handle.

BTW, I just found out about this web site. It's by far the best I've found for a serious or aspiring serious cook. I'll do my best to contribute!

-Ed

Edited by esvoboda (log)
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Welcome to eGullet esvoboda.

As I am about to explain in my eGCI unit on cookware, you really can't toss food (i.e., sauté -- the French verb sauter meaning "to jump" as in "to jump around in the pan") effectively in a cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets are not designed for it. The sides are too low (around 14% - 20% as tall as the diameter of the pan as opposed to 25% for a sauté pan) and the handle is both short and parallel to the cooking surface as opposed to long and angled upward like the handle of a sauté pan. Both the higher sides and the long angled handle of the sauté pan make it easier to sauté effectively -- not surprisingly, since it is, after all, called the sauté pan.

--

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Thank you very much for the explanation.

I think one thing that has thrown me off on choosing the best pan for a particular technique is that different people use different terms for the same thing, probably incorrectly. I think I'm now clear on what a skillet is, as opposed to a "sauté" pan. However, I've also seen references to "straight-sided sauté" and "slope-sided sauté" pans. I know I'm opening up a whole can of worms, or escargot, here, ha. I'm thinkng that the slope-sided pans would be best for making the food jump due to the angle the pieces would bounce off the sides while a straight-sided pan would work best with tongs or a spatula because the food would otherwise slam into ä "wall" when it hits the sides. Yet, I can also see how a slope-sided pan would be less likely to trap steam while a straight-sided pan trades that advantage off for more flat surface area for the same diameter pan. I get more usable area for the same diameter in a straight-sided sauté pan, so it seems best to use this type of pan, often referred to just as a "sauté" pan, when I don't want to sauté (jump) my food. I hope I'm not being overly neurotic about this! :wacko:

Tying this all back to the main subject of this thread, I've noticed that the Lodge skillets, with the exception of the 10-Inch Chef Skillet, have nearly vertical sides. That makes sense now that I can see that their handle configuration and short sides don't make for a good sauté pan, as you have explained. By the way, note that Lodge says the Chef Skillet is "great for sautéing". That seems unlikely.

By the way, I saw that Hackman cast-iron pan with a long-handle at a local shop this afternoon. I don't think anyone other than Chewbacca could sauté anything in that. It's quite heavy!

The heck with this. Maybe I should just get a wok. Let's see, flat-bottomed or curved, carbon steel, cast-iron, or.... :biggrin:

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I think one thing that has thrown me off on choosing the best pan for a particular technique is that different people use different terms for the same thing, probably incorrectly. I think I'm now clear on what a skillet is, as opposed to a "sauté" pan. However, I've also seen references to "straight-sided sauté" and "slope-sided sauté" pans.

I hope to clarify all this and more in my "Understanding stovetop cookware" class in the eGCI.

--

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I think one thing that has thrown me off on choosing the best pan for a particular technique is that different people use different terms for the same thing, probably incorrectly. I think I'm now clear on what a skillet is, as opposed to a "sauté" pan. However, I've also seen references to "straight-sided sauté" and "slope-sided sauté" pans.

I hope to clarify all this and more in my "Understanding stovetop cookware" class in the eGCI.

Thank you for your help and pointing me to the eGCI courses too. This is an impressive community!

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  • 2 years later...

Hi all,

I'm thinking of buying a lodge pre seasoned cast iron pan and had a question. Can I make pan sauces in one? I heard that you can't deglaze cast iron with acidic ingredients like wine and wondered if this held true with the pre seasoned pan as well. Anyone try this?

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Go to the cast iron and cookware threads, particularly the EGCI course on pots and pans.

In summary, the verdict is that Lodge's pre-seasoning is not very good and has to be redone, so you might as well save your money and start from scratch.

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Coca cola will remove the rust. Soak for a few hours. Do not try to substitute other colas, they don't work.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Coca cola will remove the rust. Soak for a few hours. Do not try to substitute other colas, they don't work.

That's really a frightening thought. If coke can remove rust from a cast-iron pan, think of what it can do to your stomach lining. I also heard it'll make your enamel sink sparkling clean. Yet, I drink it.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Coca cola will remove the rust. Soak for a few hours. Do not try to substitute other colas, they don't work.

That's really a frightening thought. If coke can remove rust from a cast-iron pan, think of what it can do to your stomach lining. I also heard it'll make your enamel sink sparkling clean. Yet, I drink it.

http://members.tripod.com/~Barefoot_Lass/cola.html :laugh: Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Coca cola will remove the rust. Soak for a few hours. Do not try to substitute other colas, they don't work.

That's really a frightening thought. If coke can remove rust from a cast-iron pan, think of what it can do to your stomach lining. I also heard it'll make your enamel sink sparkling clean. Yet, I drink it.

http://members.tripod.com/~Barefoot_Lass/cola.html :laugh:

Now I don't know what scares me more, the fact that Coke can be used for all this or the fact that people sat around thinking of uses for it other than drinking. Now I think about it, my bathroom grout needs cleaning...

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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I would look around - yard sales, auctions, .. - for an old one. The Griswold brand is highly regarded. There's always several on eBay, but you don't have the option of visually inspecting. The Griswold #8 is the best chicken fryer ever made.

Old or new, Crisco is best for seasoning.

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Just speaking for myself, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Lodge preseason - as long as you treat it as the initial seasoning on the cast iron, and not consider it a completely seasoned piece.

In fact, it is superior to what you will get with new, raw iron and lard and a slow oven, which is the usual starting point. Just treat the preseason as a head start, and you will be fine. Steel wool, or a Kurly Kate, and elbow grease will do a more effective job of getting rid of rust than a coke bath on used and rusted cast iron.

Use it. Use and time is the only way to get a decent season, regardless of wether the cast iron is new, in a state suitable for reconditioning, or scrubbed back down to raw iron. Even a few of the peices I have that aren't used as often as others and were stored with a decent season, may need a little initial use when I pull them back out again.

Use it. Cast iron needs to be needed. I prefer to fry chicken, and more chicken, and more. Others have suggested frying up batch after batch of bacon, and that sounds like a great method to me.

I've rescued a few pots and pans in my day, from conditions that would probably make some shudder. Have some very, very nice old pieces purchased for pennies that some others would probably have passed on as unsalvagable. I haven't seen a piece of cast iron yet that SOMETHING couldn't be done to save it.

I am wondering why you would want to use a cast iron piece for sauces. Maybe you have something in mind that I am not understanding. To me, there are much more suitable tools out there for that type of thing. Lighter, and heats faster than cast iron. Once cast iron is heated, though, you can't beat it for uniformity. Very good for anything fried, simmered, or if you are into dutch oven cooking, just fantastic. Then there is cornbread. I own and use enamel on cast iron for braising, and that is what I use for creamed corn and some other applications. I also have copper bottom, stainless steel, cephaon, blah, blah, and on and on and various other implements for different applications. After all, you don't want to drive a screw with a hammer. And you can't possibly have too many pots and pans.

:wink:

Anyway, just MOO, take it for what it is worth.

Annie

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Coca cola will remove the rust. Soak for a few hours. Do not try to substitute other colas, they don't work.

That's really a frightening thought. If coke can remove rust from a cast-iron pan, think of what it can do to your stomach lining. I also heard it'll make your enamel sink sparkling clean. Yet, I drink it.

http://members.tripod.com/~Barefoot_Lass/cola.html :laugh:

Don't be scared. Emitrol, one of the best anti-emetics out there, is an actual one on one equivalent to cola syrup. Glucose, fructose, and phosphoric acid. Add the carbonation, and you have a cola. Phosophoric acid is milder than the natural acids in your stomach. HCL can produce a pretty nasty chemical burn. When it is needed, it works very well.

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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I am wondering why you would want to use a cast iron piece for sauces. Maybe you have something in mind that I am not understanding.

well, there's using it for a pan sauce after searing a steak in it--add shallots, deglaze with wine, add a little stock, mount with butter.

and for whoever upthread asked about using it for this purpose, i can assure you that a well-seasoned cast iron pan won't be wrecked by deglazing with wine. and neither will your sauce, as long as you're not sitting there simmering it for a long time.

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I put the cast iron pan in the self-cleaning cycle of the oven. Removed the rust, baked-on crud, etc., down to bare metal. Works like a charm. Then seasoned it in the usual way.

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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While we're on the subject, does anyone have fail-safe, idiot-proof instructions for seasoning an old, rusty cast-iron pan?

To remove burnt-on crud, put it on the stove, half-filled with water and bring it to a simmer, pour out the water while whisking it with a straw wok cleaning brush.

Remove rust from old cast iron by baking in a self-cleaning oven or scrubbing with steel wool. Barkeep's Friend also works. Scouring powder with a halved raw potato works for stubborn spots, or use a slurry of vinegar and salt. For otherwise unremoveable heavy rust, CLR works very well, but smells awful. Others recommend Carbon-Off, http://www.discoveryproducts.com/index_carbon_off.html

For pitted cast iron, have everything ground and polished out at a metalworking or cast iron shop

A detailed recipe:

1. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection while cleaning cast iron since the methods require using caustic chemicals.

2. Begin by spraying the pan with oven cleaner and putting it in a plastic bag.

3. After a day or two, take it out of the bag and scrub it down with a brass brush.

4. If all the grease doesn't loosen up right away, repeat the process concentrating cleaner on stubborn spots.

5. If you have several dirty items, soak them in a solution of one and a half gallons of water to one can of lye mixed in a plastic container.

6. Allow them to soak for about five days, then remove the pieces and use the same brass brush method to scrub them clean.

7. Removing mild rust should be done with a fine wire wheel on an electric drill.

8. Crusted rust can be dissolved by soaking the piece in a 50 percent solution of white vinegar and water for a few hours.

9. Once the pan's clean, begin the seasoning process by warming it in the oven for a few minutes then applying a little shortening, vegetable cooking spray, lard or bacon fat.

10. Put the skillet back into a 225 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and wipe it almost dry to eliminate any pooled grease.

11. Place the pan in the oven for another half hour or so, completing the initial seasoning.

12. The seasoning process will continue with use, especially if you use it to cook fatty foods (bacon, sausage, fried foods, etc.) the first few times it hits the stove.

13. To clean after cooking, boil hot water in the pan. Let it soak for several minutes and then wipe dry with a paper towel.

14. Reheat the pan and apply just enough grease to wet the surface before storing.

Tips:

Use the methods above only for cleaning iron.

Don't soak pans in a vinegar solution more than overnight without checking them because the solution will eventually eat the iron.

After cooking, do not use detergent or scouring pads to clean a cast iron pan since this will destroy the seasoning.

What You Need:

Rubber gloves

Eye protection

Spray oven cleaner

Large plastic zip bag

Brass brush

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Cast Iron is so cheap you can just buy a new one. A lot less work.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Cast Iron is so cheap you can just buy a new one. A lot less work.

This can be true, but is highly dependent on the provenance of the cast iron. I have many inherited Griswolds and other pieces of cast iron that are 100+ years old. Those can't just be replaced.

--

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I put the cast iron pan in the self-cleaning cycle of the oven. Removed the rust, baked-on crud, etc., down to bare metal. Works like a charm. Then seasoned it in the usual way.

I've done this, too. It works great to restore a pot down to its base metal.

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