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How to Cook With Cast Iron


we use cast-iron skillets all the time in the tasty kitchen for a million different reasons they’re virtually indestructible they last forever and unlike a lot of things you’re gonna have in your kitchen I actually tend to get better at age people are often a little bit intimidated by cast-iron thinking it’s you know very hard to deal with or hard to clean it’s actually really easy you just have to know what you’re looking for so seasoning is a process you want to go through even if it’s new or you have an old cast iron that was passed down to you often when you have a new cast iron and there’s been any water that’s left on they’re really susceptible to rust we’re gonna help you figure out how to prevent that from happening and how to clean that off so we’re gonna start by getting some steel wool whether it’s new or has a bunch of rust on it we’re just gonna scrub it down with steel wool with a mild dish soap and just get it down to its kind of base layer the way that cast irons are made it’s all kind of one piece and you can’t just season the part that you cook with you want to season the entire thing while we’re here we’re just gonna keep scrubbing along all of the sides on the back of it turn it over get the handle once you’re happy you got all the rust and our guns off there you can go give it a rinse under hot water and either use one of those mount abrasive scouring pads or the tough side of a sponge you just do another little quick go around making sure you got every myth and cranny a good rule to remember whenever you’re dealing with cast iron is water will make it rust we always want to get it as dry as possible before we store or move on to the next step so because of that you’re gonna dry it off with a towel and then you’re gonna put it onto your stove and turn it on and let all of that excess water any extra moisture boil off once you’re happy your skillet is bone-dry we’re gonna take it off the heat and start our seasoning process with a thin layer of oil the new standard is that flaxseed oil is the best oil for the job it actually dries the hardest and creates the best nonstick longest lasting seasoning the only downfall is it is pretty offensive and if you don’t want to spend that much money or frankly just don’t have it in your pantry canola oil will work just fine a little background on your skillet the surface is actually porous which just means there’s kind of small holes or pores even that we kind of want to fill up to make a nice smooth cooking surface so once we have this thin layer of oil all over the skillet we’re actually going to do our best to wipe it all off there’s enough oil that has soaked into those open pores so take the clean side of your paper towel and rub off as much of the oil as you can one of the biggest problems people have is they don’t wipe off enough oil and they have too thick of the layer and then it comes out of the oven very sticky still and not giving them the result that they want so you’re gonna put your cast iron and your oven on the highest temperature to go between 450 and 500 degrees so this process is gonna take about an hour the reason why we need our ovens so high is we actually want to take the oil past its smoking point so that the oil actually starts to break down and bond with the cast iron so if you ever taken out your skillet and it’s still kind of brown and sticky it’s probably because your oven wasn’t hot enough so after an hour you can turn off your oven let it cool in there the result is a hard glassy layer that we’re looking for that helps make our cast iron nonstick so intro to cooking with cast iron you actually really do have to preheat it it doesn’t necessarily heat evenly but it keeps the heat really well so just take your time heat it on the low to medium heat this may take 5 to 10 minutes because cast iron is such a great conductor of heat if you actually just carefully hover your hand over the bottom of the skillet you can feel when the pans ready to go a lot of people are confused you know they did all the seasoning and their food is sticking to the pan usually that’s because they’re putting cold food in a cold cast iron pan one reason to get a cast iron skillet really is to sear things like me so another thing that people are maybe confused about when they’re cooking with the cast iron they tend to want to just move the food around a lot and actually what we’re trying to do here is build up a nice caramelized crust so when you put any meat in your hot skillet just leave it let it cook and when you see the kind of brown crust forming on the outside that’s when you know it’s ready to flip so if you’re trying to lift up your steak and it just will not give it’s probably believed it’s not ready yet the meat will self release when that crust is formed why we love using cast-iron skillet to taste you to is because we can start something on the stove and finish it in the oven so you often hear that you can’t cook acidic foods and in cast-iron skillets however if you have a good layer of seasoning on there that’s totally fine you don’t want to do a ton of no big tomato sauce or a bunch of wine or vinegar but a little bits not really gonna kill your seasoning don’t be afraid to roast things like tomatoes in your cast-iron skillet the great thing about being able to cook with something on the stovetop and finish it in the oven is you just have a lot more control you can get a nice layer of carmelization from a high heat on the stove and then finish something cooking in the oven on a much gentler radiant heat so when you’re cleaning your cast-iron you want to hit a sweet spot if it’s cooled down too much the food will adhere and really stick to the pan if it’s too hot and you put it under cold water you can risk it cracking so you want to wash the pan pretty soon after you use it the most gentle way to clean your skillet is with hot water and salt and a nonmetal scouring pad or the rough side of your sponge the salt works is an abrasive and helps to scrub off any food that’s on there without damaging the seasoning at all once you’re happy that your paint is clean give it another towel dry and then let it completely dry off either on the stove or in a warm oven just to make sure there’s no lingering moisture and that’s going to protect it from rusting in the future so lastly we’re gonna put a protective layer of oil on a skillet before we store it carefully with the paper towel rub that all along the in I’d turn off the heat until the oil smoking then turn it off and let it cool on the stove the reason why we want to take it after the smoking point is so that the oil doesn’t turn Branson cast iron skillets may seem like a lot of work but follow these simple rules of seasoning and cleaning and these pans will last your lifetime it’s like loving a good woman the more you give the more you cook.