Cast Iron

Discussion in 'General Dutch Oven Information' started by berninga87, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. berninga87

    berninga87 Smoking Fanatic

    I wasn't sure which category to post this in, but I figured a lot of you using dutch ovens are also using cast iron. So basically I've become disgusted with the thought of nonstick coated cookware, too many chemicals I can't pronounce and more side effects than the latest miracle drug. I want to leave that trend and pursue a healthier future. I have never read a bad thing about cast iron cookware, and it's time to convert. I have a few questions though.

    Is pre-seasoned cast iron really seasoned? or should it be done again?

    What is the best way to season and how often should it be re-seasoned?

    Stainless steel....worth the $?
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If your going to use it on your stove I would go with SS.
  3. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  5. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    They say pre seasoned.  OK?  I would still season it again and again.  The first non-stick cookware.

    My 80 year old dutch oven is a go to on the stove, in the oven or elsewhere.

    There is something magical about that old black thing that has been touched by so many loving hands!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  6. I collect old cast iron frying pans. If you're going to go with cast iron, I would definitely consider buying one of the older pans....from Griswold or Piqua or Wagner...for the simple fact that they are superior. Back in the 40's and earlier cast iron pans were made out of much higher grade iron ore and milled after they were cast giving them a glass-like smooth surface that makes them fundamentally more non-stick. They are markedly thinner and lighter, yet counter-intuitively hold heat much better and longer than contemporary cast iron. Here, take a look. Contemporary Lodge frying pan on the left, a Griswold on the right:


    Look on eBay. Make sure that the seller says it sits flat on a counter with no wobble as that means it has not been warped from being left sitting on a high flame. Keep an eye out at flea markets and country antique stores, yard sales, etc.  I find them all the time and the ones I don't keep I clean up through electrolysis and refinish and then give to friends as gifts.

    As far as seasoning goes, there are as many methods as there are cooks. Essentially, any sort of fat will do. Many swear by Crisco or lard. Cover it well with fat/oil/lard whatever and then wipe as much of it off as you can, throw it in a @400 degree oven for an hour, turn off and let cool in the oven, and you have your start. Then, simply never use soap on it. Wash it out with warm water or do as I do...throw a table spoon of kosher salt into it and scour it out with a paper towel, then wipe it clean and you are done. Over  time the oils will build up a perfect non-stick surface. Seasoning is actually a continual process. It's filling the pores/imperfections of the metal with carbonized oil, building it up a bit, and then maintaining it. For  that reason it's good to use a flat-edged flexible steel spatula on cast iron (contrary to non-stick stuff) which wears against the seasoned pan surface, maintaining that polished surface.

    As far as stainless steel goes, it's main fact it's only advantage is that it's...stainless. It's easy to clean, relatively speaking. It's not a particularly effective heat conductor. Most of the expensive stainless steel cookware, like All-clad, is actually stainless steel sandwiched around a better conducting metal like aluminum or cooper.

    Most of my pots are old commercial Calphalon from the 80's that I got at a restaurant supply. They are 1/4" anodized aluminum although much of the anodizing is worn off the inside of the saucepans. They are ugly but they heat fast and evenly and it's pretty hard to burn something in them. So my answer to your question would be "It depends". Depends on what you want...ease of use, or even heating. If the latter, buy thicker cookware. If you want something that is bulletproof, get the stainless.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  7. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Got mostly stainless, but have lodge "pre-seasoned" cast iron pan, and one that has the ridges to leave the "grill marks".  go to the cast iron with stir fry kind of stuff and sometimes scrambled eggs. not quite a true non stick, but I think it also gives a subtle extra flavor.
  8. berninga87

    berninga87 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks, everyone! I'll be picking up a mix of both most likely
  9. I remember my Mom and both grandmothers (as well as many of my great aunts) using cast iron as I was growing up.  As soon as I moved out on my own I bought my first piece of cast iron, an old small griswold .  In the 80s I started going to antique auctions and decided I would start collecting something and that was Griswold.  They quit making it the year I was born (1953) so every piece I could find would be older than me.  I was able to find a few at antique stores lucked on a couple at some estate sales.  My best finds were at antique auctions where I was bidding against dealers and not collectors.  The dealers are only willing to go so high (approx wholesale) and I could outbid them and get it for less than I would have to pay in a shop.

    The quality of Griswold is so superior to what you'll find on present day products there's no comparison.  I have about 3 dozen pieces and have used all of them.  I get most of my use out of different frying pans (truly non-stick), a couple of dutch ovens and griddles and a commercial cast aluminum roaster that I love.
  10. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

  11. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


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