Cast iron skillett

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ShadowsDad
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ShadowsDad » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:46 pm

GA Russell wrote:I came across something the other day which is new to me, but perhaps is well known to you cast iron experts. It's a stainless steel chainmail patch, to scrub your cast iron skillet with.

http://www.amazon.com/Hudson-Cleaner-St ... n+scrubber
I use stainless steel sponges from my local food service supplier. They last a very long time and I can buy them for about $1 each.
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ThePossum
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ThePossum » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:31 am

The stainless chain mail thingy will work but it is a big bit of overkill for what you want to accomplish. I have cleaned and re-seasoned plenty of CI cookware and even a few stove pipe dampers and all I use to get the gunk off the piece is a cheap stainless steel scrubby that can be bought at you local grocery store, Target, Kmart, etc.

The key to getting CI cookware clean when restoring it is to soak in a bath of lye and water for a couple days. Loosens the gunk on the pan and it will just wipe right off with the scrubby.

Once I get the piece seasoned and I do get something to stick on the pan all I usually need to do is put a bit of water in the pan and heat it for like a minute and then used a cheap nylon scrubby to wipe the stuck on gunk off the pan.
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Squire
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by Squire » Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:01 am

It's got 451 reviews on Amazon, Squire, so a lot of folks are using it.



No doubt they are Jim, a lot of people bought beanie babies as well. If cleaning cast iron is the goal they could also buy a packet of scrub pads for $1.00 at DollarTree but I suppose that lacks cachet.
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by Kyle76 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:52 am

Regarding the use of lye, or sodium hydroxide, to clean cast iron on a far larger scale, my wife and I were in Charleston, SC, over the weekend celebrating our 40th anniversary and visited the conservation laboratory where the HL Hunley is being restored. The Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, as it took out a Union blockade ship in Charleston harbor during the Civil War. It is about 40 feet long and made almost entirely of cast iron. After being discovered and raised several years ago, it now sits in a bath of 55,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide, which has stripped away much of the "concretion" on the vessel. We were told it is far cleaner now than a year ago.
Jim

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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by kronos9 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:25 am

The chain mail cleaner is on my wishlist. At first I was skeptical but it looks like a time-saver compared to scrubby pads.

Edit: It was on my wishlist. Went with the stainless steel scrubbies, pack of three for $2.50. Not only for use on the cast iron but also cleaning the grill. I've been using a brass wire brush for years but I see occasional reports of someone ingesting a bristle and requiring medical attention lest it perforate something. A surefire way to ruin your barbecue.
Ed

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GA Russell
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by GA Russell » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:33 pm

Amazon today is offering this Kindle eBook for free...

20 Easy Recipes for Cast Iron Cooking
http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Recipes-Cast ... 00BIW9ABO/
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ShadowsDad
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ShadowsDad » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:25 pm

We may be phasing out our CI and moving to carbon steel. I dropped the hammer today on an 11 5/8" skillet and a 9 7/8" crepe pan today to test them. Supposedly all the benefits of CI but 1/2 the weight and even more non stick, and immediately super non stick after seasoning.
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by Squire » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:32 pm

I can vouch for carbon steel, particularly for crepes or omelets.
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:42 am

What prompted it for me Squire was a recent interest on the BBQ forum that I'm on. That lit the flame of my interest. Then the latest Cooks Illustrated did a test and review of a slew of them. They gushed over them. I'd been wanting to drop the hammer and that article just told me which brand to buy. I'd been wanting more information and the time was right.

The wife won't be happy when they arrive, but the plan is to swap out the cast iron and Teflon coated for the carbon steel. They won't replace the SS pan for certain things though. I expect it to be an upgrade on a few levels.

FWIW, the brand I bought, and CIs best pick, is Metfer B........ something or other. It's a pan for commercial use so it should survive my use. Reasonably priced and top in their testing... such a deal!
Brian

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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by fallingwickets » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:42 am

finding out that carbon steel makes for a better chefs knife too :D

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fallingwickets
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by fallingwickets » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:48 am

Looks good...will have to get one too!

http://www.amazon.com/Matfer-Bourgeat-0 ... 322&sr=1-1
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:03 am

If you go to the Matfer site you can buy it for $44. Sorry, I just realized that I didn't compare shipping cost. What is saved in purchase price may be eaten up in shipping. Too, they have the entire line of pans on that site.

http://www.culinarycookware.com/
Brian

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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by rsp1202 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:07 am

Had a couple of Matfer ss/alum pots at one time and they were pretty industrial grade -- just what I like. I've had many brands and don't recall if these were the ones that came with chintzy-cheap lids -- the pots themselves were first-class and heavy, but whoever the manufacturer was claimed the lids weren't that important, or words to that effect. I've seen better ones on supermarket brands. It was extremely lame of them.

How did the Matfer skillet compare to the De Buyer Mineral brand in the CI test? De Buyer is what the folks at some of the cooking forums gush over.
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:45 am

Matfer came in tops. It even beat out a $230 hand made pan from Seattle, but that was on price only, both pans worked identically. The $230 pan had rivets though and that was one of the things that the Matfer didn't have and that they liked the absence of. The deBuyers was somewhere in the middle (beaten by 4 with 3 pans beneath it) and it did that at twice the price of the Matfer. It got scored down in ease of use due to the high angled handle and the weight, both making it hard to use.

You didn't ask, but Lodge didn't do well at all. It was too thin and had hot spots, plus the seasoning degraded in use. Maybe because of the hot spots?

FWIW, no lids for these pans, but they aren't for long simmers, that's what SS pans are for IMO. A long simmer, especially of tomatoes will strip the seasoning. It's not hard to re-season, but it sets one back to the beginning. They get better the more they're used.

My goal here is to not have to buy another non-stick pan because they aren't inexpensive and their life is finite no matter what one spends. Too, I really would like lighter weight than our present cast iron pans. Our one SS pan will remain and that does have a lid. Oh, and the cast iron dutch oven will stay; just the fry pans will go. I haven't looked for one yet since it would be premature, but if I like the CS Matfers I want to find a long CS griddle for the stove top. If they work as I suspect they will, I'll also want a much larger one than the 11". I presently use a 16" CI for stir frying and that would need to be replaced. As you can imagine it weighs just short of a ton.
Brian

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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by Squire » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:17 pm

For the cook who values purpose first. I'm also a believer in carbon steel knives.
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:24 pm

Me too Squire. My go to knives are Forschner Victorinox. Except for my 14" slicer, but that's still CS (Mundial brand).
Brian

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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by CMur12 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:06 pm

I, too, prefer carbon steel for cutlery, whenever I can get it.

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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by Sam » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:09 pm

The two, three times I have cooked chicken in CI, seems that it sears it really good. But other than soaking it in a marinade and then putting a little oil in the CI and then cooking it that way on the stove top, seems sorta bland. I guess throw in some chicken mushroom soup and sorta make a gravy? ANy other ways to cook it? I guess turn the heat down to medium or even lower, as it took five minutes?

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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by Squire » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:36 pm

Sure, you can flatten out boneless chicken and use the result in any way you would cook veal. Stitzel, Parmigiana, or any other style. Or brown off the chicken than make a sauce/gravy with onions, garlic, mushrooms, wine, or other vegetables/seasonings. You can make a much better sauce than you can buy in a can, or so I tell my son who insists on going the mushroom soup route anyway.
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Re: Cast iron skillett

Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:37 pm

Sam, if it's factory chicken yes, it'll be bland. You need to do something to it as you realize.

You can add flavors, but it still won't taste like chicken. I like to enhance the flavor by slow searing the chicken pieces, you want to brown the skin and meat to caramelize it in good shape. The goal is not only to cook it, but to allow the chicken flavor to develop. If you're only doing one piece do that in a pot. Once you have the caramelization complete, and don't be in a hurry, add a bit of water to the pot, put a lid on it, and bring it to a low simmer. Don't let the pot run out of water, but don't use too much or you'll dilute the gravy you're about to make too much. Simmer the chicken for as long as you like, 15 minutes is OK, longer is better. The flavor you developed in the chicken is infusing into the liquid. When you say it's done, add some flour/water mix to it to thicken. Go easy and add a little bit at a time with the heat turned up under the pot (chicken removed). Be sure to stir to prevent scorching. The gravy should thicken instantly if it's above a simmer stop when it's thick enough. Serve it over rice, or some such. You can add no sodium chicken bouillon to it to goose the flavor some if you wish. I always add some chicken base (bouillon) for factory chicken.

Make the flour/water slurry by putting some water in a bowl. Use a decent amount, maybe 1/4 of a cup. Add flour to it and stir to remove any lumps and mix it in. It shouldn't be lumpy or thick. You'll need to make more or less depending on the amount of chicken you're making. You might need to make more. You could also use corn or potato starch instead of the flour.

What I just walked you through is called "Fricasse chicken", and it's pretty tasty. I prefer thighs for it since they have more flavor and the meat is foolproof. Ficasse chicken was designed to turn an old layer into something edible but for the hen you'd want to simmer it all day. Factory chicken doesn't need that long of a simmer to tenderize it.

If you have access to heritage chicken that is slow raised I guarantee that you won't complain about no flavor. Most folks love the taste once they get some. It's like the flavor of factory chicken times 5 or more.

You could add a smidgeon of garlic to enhance the flavor a bit, and don't forget salt and pepper.
Brian

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