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Any tips for new cast iron skillet user?

Just got a Lodge 12" pre-seasoned skillet. I've read their tips on further seasoning and taking care of it. Seems kind of a pain, but they're supposed to get better over time from what I've read.

I used it once tonight, made some bacon in it like they recommend for the first few uses, or to use some other fatty meats to aid in seasoning the pan.

I got a stiff nylon brush for it. You're not supposed to use soap, so after cooking my bacon I took it off the stovetop (extremely hot, smoking up the house hot even though I had the heat on medium. Then I rinsed it with hot water and scrubbed it with the brush.

Finally I dried it with a towel, recoated it with a bit of crisco on the inside and outside and wiped the excess oil off. Pan is still very hot!

Hopefully I'm doing it right, and does anyone have a recommendation for a potholder that can withstand the heat this thing puts off? It seems to have burned my cotton one a bit.

Also, are cast iron pieces very sanitary, being that you're not really supposed to use any soap on them? I guess the heat takes care of all that?

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  1. We use either silicone potholders or those silicon gloves when needing a better grip. But basically I don't mess with the pan until it's cooled off. I'm sure it's some kind of cardinal sin but there are occasions where I don't do the pans from dinner til the next morning. We usually put all the dishes and stuff in the dishwasher, but sometimes I leave the pans go til the next day.

    I have spray olive oil and the only thing I use it for is my wok and my iron skillet. Easier and quicker than actually wiping oil on the thing, and we've had no problems with rust or whatever.

    1. I've had my cast iron skillet for many years now. It's pretty well seasoned, and I have to confess that I do wash it in soapy hot water every once in a while. I always put the pan on a low burner or still-warm oven to dry.

      1. The best advice I can give you is to follow their instructions. They're good for keeping good care of it.

        Try some fried chicken or something like that in it soon. What a difference.

        DT

        1. Really, don't obsess over it too terribly much. There's a lot of advice out there, some of it conflicting, but if you follow Lodge's advice, I don't think you should have too many problems (and the pre-seasoning really helps from what I can tell). As long as you don't blatantly do something horrible (washing it with soap without re-seasoning, letting it sit in water for a long time, cooking too much acidic food in it right away), you should be Ok. And even if you screw it up, you can always strip it and start all over.

          You don't really need to do the brush / hot water thing unless you've got bits of food stuck on the pan. Cook with lots of oil to start with. Deep frying is definitely good.

          Sanitary-ness is overrated. Cast iron makes things taste good (AND gives you extra iron)! And over time, I think you'll find yourself forming some sort of emotional connection to it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: will47

            I made breakfast today again with bacon and eggs in it. I brush it down in hot water after it has a chance to cool down enough to handle comfortably, and then dry and re-oil it, this time I used olive oil Pam. I'm gonna get fat with the bacon, but it sure comes out crispy!

          2. We have a couple of cast iron skillets and we just had to buy another one since we're undergoing renovation and my husband volunteered to make fried chicken at a friend's house. Guess what? We wash our skillets if they need it We don't obsess over all these cast iron pan bugaboos, and we're never had a problem. One of the best ways to season a new cast iron skillet is to make fried chicken, I can tell you that. Frying in the pan for an hour goes a long way towards seasoning it.