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cast iron pan help

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tried to make turkey burgers in my cast iron pan tonight (lodge pan with ridges to catch fat) and the burgers stuck to the pan. i sprayed it with pam first. same thing happened another time with olive oil. i preheated it for 5 min or so, so it was pretty hot. what am i doing wrong? thanks for any help.

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  1. Is it properly seasoned? There are a lot of post regarding this on "Cookware"

    1. If your pan is well seasoned the burgers should not have stuck. Sometimes they stick until they are "ready to let go", that may be after you want to turn them and more done than you prefer. My mother always salted the skillet well before pan browning to prevent sticking.

      1. The only way to be sure to get your food off a non-nonstick pan is to turn off the heat, cover the pan, and leave it for 5 minutes at least. This will allow slight cooling to create condensation of moistue, which will loosen the stuck on particles on the surface of the food.

        Personally, I have the same problem because I am loath to always use non-stick now that I've heard about the chemicals migrating into the food. So I just turn off the stove when the food is not quite done, cover it and do something else for a few minutes. By then the food is loose and you can just lift it out with a spat.

        1. The Lodge grill pan is a different sort of beast from the cast-iron skillet in many ways, as I am finding out. I have in fact cooked fish on mine, and yes, you do need to let the food cook until it's good and ready to release. I had marinated the fish in an oil, rather than a citrus marinade - I think if I were trying to cook ceviche here I'd still be trying to pry it loose!

          What you have to remember is that the pores in an iron pan open when the metal is hot, and that's when you need to add fat. Spray grease is NOT supposed to be added under these circumstances, so some oil/bacon grease/whatever put on with a brush is probably the better option. Cook the flesh until some serious jiggling with a spatula encourages it to move, and then flip it over.

          The cleanup procedure is where the grill pan truly parts company with its iron counterparts. The only way I've found to clean mine is to scrub it with a brush, hot water and a dash of detergent. My father-in-law has refused to do that with his; as a result, his pan has hardly any ribbing anymore: it's grunge to the gun'ls. Although I admire his sticking to Principles, and his pan-grilled steaks are uniformly delicious, I'd rather have mine swept clean.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Will Owen

            well said, and the poster never said anything about a pre-seasoned/or non-stick pan

          2. I agree... Pam will do nothing for a cast iron.Sounds to me as if it needs to be reseasoned.

            1. If seasoning a cast iron pan is too difficult, then try using Le Creuset's frying pan with the black enamel inside surface, and use an oil that doesn't have a low flashpoint like peanut oil or grapenut oil.

              You can also use a stainless steel pan like AllClad, oiling it the same way. I did some lamb burgers tonight that way and they turned out wonderfully; they had a crisp brown exterior and a medium rare interior. Tasted wonderful. Turkey would have turned out similarly.

              The ridges generally don't help much to let the fat drip down, and often make it difficult for meats or fish to cook properly. Sure, they make ridge marks but the browned surface, sometimes crispy, really trumps that. Often the meat sticks to the ridges unless it's a steak or a thick fish fillet that's been dipped in some kind of oil.

              Turkey is generally awfully lean, leaner than hamburger or lamburger so my suggestion is you'll have to use some kind of oil, even if you wipe the pan with it. Pam, for that kind of very hot grilling, isn't effective - has been my experience.

              Hope this helps.

              1. Just for the record, I'm going to pass along the method I use to prepare meat, fish or fowl for the grill pan. I use a good bit of olive oil, with or without the addition of some chile-infused macadamia nut oil I picked up in Hawaii. I do NOT use any acidic water-based stuff, with the occasional exception of a dash or three of Tabasco. I do add Kosher or sea salt, pepper, and relevant dried herbs. I put all of this into a large bowl and then put the meat into it, and then turn it over and massage it periodically at room temperature for an hour or two before it's to be cooked. I have done codfish, salmon, lamb, and pork chops by this method. Burgers and a glorious 2-lb. bone-in ribeye steak were done with no greasing ahead of time, nor did they need any, but then I'm careful to ensure that such things as these will not be so lean as to require it.

                1. My guess is also that turkey doesn't have enough fat to compensate for a poorly/inadequately seasoned pan with ridges. Have you tried making them in a properly and recently seasoned regular cast iron frying pan?