Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cast Iron

I've been wanting to do some cooking with cast iron and this week I finally got around to it. My father dug around in his basement and found an old 10" skillet. Other than some light rusting it looked to be in pretty good shape but it was very light in color, not the usual black you would expect to see on an older piece.

I applied a liberal dose of steel wool and elbow grease to remove the rust, then scrubbed it well with a mild detergent and hot water; towel dried it and put in on the stove to make sure it was completely dry. From information I gleaned on the web, I decided to apply some cooking oil (Canola) and put it in a 250 degree oven for two hours. It came out a bit darker but not much. My eggs were sticking. I tried it a couple more times and it just wasn't doing it for me so, after more web research I fired up my GrillDome got it up to 500-600 degrees, spread the coals out and just laid the pan on the coals and closed the lid. After an hour I closed the vents so the fire would go out and let it cool down for the rest of the afternoon.

The pan came out very clean and shiny. I scrubbed it again with mild soap and hot water, towel dried and finished on the stove.

This time I used a good coating of Crisco and put the pan upside down in a 350 oven with some foil on the rack below to catch any excess oil. After one hour I turned off the oven and left the pan in there with the door shut.

BIG difference! It came out nice and black and it works like a champ now. My inaugural cook was cornbread and it turned out great. Crisp, not only on the top but the sides and bottom as well and "just right" on the inside. Two rib eye steaks tonight weren't too hard to eat either.

I have my eye on a 6qt Dutch Oven (pictured at the top of the page) and maybe even a 3qt enameled Dutch Oven... if I can only find some space to store them!

BTW, those pictures show the same skillet in the same condition. The change in color is from outsdie lighting vs. inside lighting.

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