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My brand new LODGE cast iron pan

Hi All. I just got a pre seasoned Lodge 12 inch skillet yesterday (mostly because of all the raves of cast iron from all of you). Whats a great FIRST DISH to make using it that will start me down the road of loving this pan??

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  1. Bacon!

    Seriously, though. I know it's pre-seasoned, but frying up a bunch of bacon just seasons it that much more. And plus, well... it's bacon. What other excuse do you need? :)

    A couple of good steaks would be next on my list. Steaks brought to room temp and seasoned with kosher salt and cracked pepper. Hot, hot pan, drop in the steaks (turn your fan on!) and give them about 4 minutes a side. That will give you about medium rare, depending on the thickness of your steak. If you want it cooked more, transfer the pan to a 475 - 500 degree oven for another 5 minutes. Let the steaks rest for another 5 minutes before cutting into them. You should get a gorgeous seared crust. Yum!

    1 Reply
    1. re: TorontoJo

      This is the best ever way to prepare steak. I have taken over steak duty from my husband and his grill because they are so much better this way. Make sure you preheat the pan for a ridiculous amount of time, I usually do 5-8 minutes on high.

    2. Congrats! Mine is now my go-to pan for just about everything, even stirfrys. My suggestions:

      Skillet cornbread. The recipe in "Once Upon a Tart" is my favorite.

      And how about the Zuni chicken? Really great use of the pan.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Mandymac

        Hi Mandymac, I tried looking for the skillet cornbread recipe on the internet and cant find it. Can you share it with me please? Also do you think it is OK to try the cornbread first or should I use the skillet for a while and fry some bacon for a couple of weeks before I attempt cornbread?
        Thanks

        1. re: buzz t

          Cornbread will season the skillet better, more evenly, and quicker than anything else.

          1. re: GrillMaster

            OK! So can anyone reccomend a corbread recipe. I ajve never made it (either in CI or otherwise). Thanks in advance

            1. re: buzz t

              I'd try one on the back of a bag of cornmeal. That's where mine comes from. I'll try to remember to dig it out tonight and post it just in case.

          2. re: buzz t

            have you used this yet? Honestly, I didn't look for anything special to cook in my cast irons pieces, just started using the heck out of them instead of the non stick stuff. You will see how fast they season.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              I did. I wound up making pork chops (by default only bc it was what I ahd in the house). I dont think i heated up the pan enough because it definitely didnt get the sear on the outside I was looking for. I also have been putting a very thin layer of bacon fat on it and leaving it in the oven so I dont know if that is what is making it look like it is "dirty". I heard bacon fat was good for it but the pan does smell like bacon all the time/

              1. re: buzz t

                If you put the bacon fat on the pan, you did heat the oven up?
                Salt the heck out of it with the fat, put it in the oven and turn the heat up high. Let it bake for about 30 minutes. Don't just rub the grease on it and not heat it. You have to heat the pan to season it properly.
                And no, it does not or should not "smell" like bacon fat all the time, only after cooking bacon!

                Ok, don't be afraid of the high heat with this cast iron pan. Kick the heat up, put some oil in the pan. Do a water dance test - the drops dance, then put your chops down and leave them for a few minutes. When they are ready to be moved they will lift easily, too soon they will tear or be weird colored and not cooked. These pans NEED high heat to sear.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  I do heat it up after a rub a thin layer of bacon fat on t. I alsousually leave it in the oven so it gets heated up whenever i use the oven (even when there is no food in the skillet). I heard/read that was OK to do..?? Also thank you for the advice of the high heat. I suspect I am not letting it heat up high enough. I am thinking i should leave it on a high flame when I am about to sear a chop for about 3 minutes before even thinking about putting food on it. Thanks again

                  1. re: buzz t

                    I have no way of telling what your stove is like, I just heat mine so that if I drop water into the pan, it dances. That is hot enough to sear any meat.

                    Adequate amounts of oil/fat to sear the meats is also necessary. Good luck, these pans are fool proof, so you will enjoy them many many years.

                    As far as the pan in the oven, to season this pan you need to heat, rub fat and salt it seveal times over, heat the oven to 350 rub it with fat, salt, and let it heat up x 6. You will soon notice a wonderful black patina developing, which means, your pan is seasoned. What does that mean? Nothing more than you have created a thin layer between the food and the cast iron that is raw. Don't wash it too often and me I don't cook fish in mine. I need a deeper skillet if I were to do that. These pans hold onto flavorings as you found out, so if it were ME I'd cook all but fish in there.

        2. Oh my! I bought one about a month ago. It besides my cast iron griddle/grill is my favorite new cooking tool. I seriously want to toss my non-stick stuff!

          But I made chicken cacciatore, I was going to switch pans and transfer the chicken to a baking dish when I was done browning it. I made the whole meal in it! It was one of my best, covered the top to hold the splatter and let it go. Was just great!

          1. Not a dish, but Torontojo nailed it. Fry! Fry! Fry!! Cast iron loves fried foods. Bacon, fish, french fries, chicken, etc. The more you fry the better the seasoning will get. In the early stages avoid braising, and dishes with acid content...tomatoes etc.

            Enjoy!!!

            8 Replies
            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. Frying seems great perhaps some bacon WITH some STEAK! And I have been thinking of trying the ZUNI Chicken recipe (again b/c of the raves from all of you on this site) so that might be my second meal.

              Also I was wondering what utensils should i use on it? I have only been using my rubber spatulae and spoons since i have been using non stick but now should i get some metal spatulas and wooden sppons? What is the preferable tool(s) for cast iron? Thanks again everyone

              1. re: buzz t

                Hey Buzz t,
                Congrats!! Cast iron is a dream come true. Along with a good metal slotted spatula, you'll want a whisk, a good pair of metal tongs, and a wooden spoon. With the spoon, try to find one that isn't perfectly rounded at the bottom, but one where one side of the bottom is rounded, and the other side is kind of squared off. This makes getting all the drippings and other flavorful goodness around the bottom edge of the pan sooo much easier.

                And, probably the most important tool will be a heavy-duty oven mitt and/or pot holder(s). The handles are extremely efficient conductors of heat!

                Yoroshiku,
                Andy

                1. re: AndyP

                  Hi Ansy So it seems like metal is OK to use in with cast iton, so i will definitely invest in some metal utensils. In the interim can I use my rubber spatulas or will the plastic/rubber not be good with the cast iron?
                  Also thanks for the headsup about the HANDLES??

                  1. re: buzz t

                    I have a silicon sleeve that I leave on my skillet all the time when it isn't in the oven. Otherwise I would probably forget and grab the handle ( I have the scars to prove it).
                    My favorite tool to use with my skillet is a bamboo stirrer with the point on one side.
                    Oh yeah, recipes! Make an upside down cake!

                2. re: buzz t

                  Well seasoned cast iron is very durable and forgiving. Use any utensil you want. Metal, wood, rubber/plastic etc is fine. Try to find a good roux spoon (wooden)..You'll need one pretty soon..

                  Have Fun!

                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                    Don't you think it might melt a rubber/plastic utensil? I stick to wood and metal for this reason.

                    1. re: yamalam

                      But of course! But ya ain't gonna leave it laying in the skillet while you answer the telephone are ya? The comment was to say it want hurt the cast iron skillet..Which was the question.

                      Enjoy!!

                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                        Yes I was always worried obviously using metal on non stick so I pretty much only have plastic right now. But since I have the cast iron now, if for some reason i couldnt use plastic in it. Thanks again for clarifying

              2. This is slightly off-topic, but I also have the Lodge dutch oven, which is great. And an added bonus is that its lid fits the 12" pan perfectly which is nice when you want to bake or shallow braise in your skillet. Have fun with it! If you make cornbread be sure to heat the pan first and swirl it with a bunch of butter before adding the batter. I love to do seared steak finished in the oven in mine, then deglaze to make a pan sauce with wine or balsamic vinegar (once its seasoned enough). If you start out building up the seasoning with some fried/fatty foods soon you'll be able to make really flavorful acidic dishes like tomato sauce in it with no problems.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Procrastibaker

                  Got any ideas how much that dutch oven weighs? I'm struggling with the frying pan, but want one (dutch oven) anyway because I am so loving the results.

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    I just bought the dutch oven and had it shipped (I wasn't going to carry it home from the store!) and I believe the UPS label said the package weighed about 15 lbs. it's a beautiful thing, though. I have to admit, I haven't made much in it yet, but I'm looking forward to all sorts of stuff.

                    1. re: Sophia.

                      Wow, I thought the griddle was heavy, oh well! They cook like a dream!
                      It takes NO time at all to season these if you do it right.
                      I'm impressed! Can't wait to try the pineapple upsidedown cake.

                    2. re: chef chicklet

                      The dutch oven is heavy. I am not a 98-pound weakling but when mine is full of food I can barely lift if out of the oven. But it's a great item. I do re-season it after I use it for braising. The most recent thing I made in it was Hoppin' John from the yellow Gourmet cookbook. Yum!