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How to prevent stuff from sticking to my "well seasoned" cast iron skillet

a
asiajason Jun 30, 2011 09:15 PM

I have been using my #10 Wagner (60's) for about a year (it was cleaned up a year ago) and have good seasoning layer. I use mostly lard, but also olive oil and coconut oil for cooking. Mostly I use it for breakfast, eggs and toast with no problems of sticking (if I use oil)

When I cook some items, like pork chops, or fry bananas, for instance, the surface gets really sticky - so I have to use salt method or boil water method to clean it before next use. Otherwise, eggs will be torn apart!

However, if I want to cook, say my bananas before my eggs, a real sticky surface develops, and really makes it hard to cook the eggs.

Any suggestions on how to prevent the surface from getting sticky so I can cook several things without having to do major cleaning between items?

Thanks!
Jason

  1. kaleokahu Jun 30, 2011 09:35 PM

    Hi, jason:

    I'll leave it for the CI afficianados to opine (I'm kinda known here as a CI hater), but my two cents' worth based on a lot of CI cooking is that you want more than one pan. High-heat searing of your porkchops is going to leave some crustos regardless (fried banannas likewise), and then your eggs are going to stick. You could start with the eggs, but you'll still have to do a major clean after each meal anyway.

    I'll suggest to you what my mom did. She had one barenaked CI skillet for searing/heavy browning ( a really cute rectangular one with a nice thumbrest on the handle), and others for other things for *less* stick. If you have a dedicated sear pan, "seasoning" is less of an issue, and it kinda gets this grainy texture that doesn't require regular maintenance. It allows you to baby your egg pan however you want.

    Fair warning, though: [IMO-IMO-IMO, CI-lovers!] eggs in barenaked CI without a lot of fat are gonna stick some regardless (Mom snuck in a few PTFE pans for eggs when I wasn't looking).

    The responses you get to this--or the silence--will be telling.

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    5 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu
      Chemicalkinetics Jun 30, 2011 10:57 PM

      "I'm kinda known here as a CI hater"

      Is that you code name? Well, I am known as Darth Revan or you can call me Magneto.

      Your suggestion of two pans are very sound. I don't think there is a simple way to cook one sticky foods after another. The pan has to be cleaned and the question is really how to clean it without wasting significant time. The salt method works. A quick scrub with a plastic brush or plastic scraper will also work.

      Now, there is another practical method which is to add small amount of water to the cookware when it was still hot from the cooking and then just scrub the cookware with the cooking utensil, like scrubbing the pan with a spatula. The Chinese chefs use a bamboo brush, but the idea is the same. Add water to the hot cookware, so the water is hot, and then just scrub with a hard object (not too hard).

      Many cast iron cookware owners do not like this because it takes some seasoning off, but it works and it is fast.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        d
        dixiegal Jul 9, 2011 07:23 AM

        "Your suggestion of two pans are very sound. I don't think there is a simple way to cook one sticky foods after another."

        Agreed. sticky residue left from cooking will just have to be cleaned off before using again. Just like the Japanese cooks clean their grills after cooking each meal. (talking about the ones at the Japanese restaurants that cook in front of you)

        With that said. It is much easier to just have a separate pan for your eggs. I disagree with eggs always sticking some in bare CI. Not true. I cook eggs all the time without them sticking at all. Unless you want to count a few piecses that are left behind that can be wiped out with some running water.. They are more like clinging to the pan. Not really stuck.

        Chems idea about using water in a hot skillet and then scraping with the spatula is a quick way. I do it all the time. Works even better if you put a lid on the skillet and let it simmer a while. I sometimes still have some residue left, so I just then clean it with a SS steel pad if I am impatient. If not the salt and oil will do the trick.
        Oh, and I pour off any left over fats or oils and sometimes will wipe quickly with a paper towel to absorbe some more, before I pour the water in to clean it.

      2. re: kaleokahu
        cowboyardee Jul 1, 2011 01:21 PM

        "Fair warning, though: [IMO-IMO-IMO, CI-lovers!] eggs in barenaked CI without a lot of fat are gonna stick some regardless (Mom snuck in a few PTFE pans for eggs when I wasn't looking)."
        ____
        They'll stick in a teflon pan too, if you don't use ANY fat.

        I suspect the people claiming they can fry an egg fatless in CI are conveniently forgetting the fat they generously rubbed onto their pan after its last use. And even that thin layer alone is iffy - you're really better off with an extra tablespoon of butter or fat of your choice.

        1. re: cowboyardee
          d
          dixiegal Jul 9, 2011 07:26 AM

          "I suspect the people claiming they can fry an egg fatless in CI are conveniently forgetting the fat they generously rubbed onto their pan after its last use. "

          Totaly agree. But I disagree with needing "alot" of fat. Just enough to coat the bottom works for me.
          The skillet also needs to be hot enough that those eggs start cooking the split second they hit the pan. But not too hot, or the yolks will break. Definately a skill to frying the perfect egg in a CI skillet. But it can be done and the taste wonderful.

        2. re: kaleokahu
          r
          rasputina Jul 1, 2011 02:45 PM

          Nope I cook omelets and tons of other eggs without any fat or if I feel like it a tiny amount of butter and it never sticks, the pan is perfectly clean when I'm done.

        3. tanuki soup Jun 30, 2011 11:03 PM

          I agree with the other guys -- two skillets. Another possibility is to get a cast iron griddle. That way, you can cook different foods on different areas of the griddle.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tanuki soup
            k
            knet Jul 1, 2011 12:46 PM

            two skillets would work. I would do that if I was cooking two 'sticky' foods. But I also use CK's method of hot water and a brushing. My skillets are well seasoned and I don't honestly believe much of the seasoning - if any - is lost that way. Even if it's not a particularly sticky food I do the hot water or the kosher salt method anyway to clean and never had any issues

          2. r
            rasputina Jul 1, 2011 02:42 PM

            Cook different foods in the right order, IE I'd cook the eggs before bananas. Or resign yourself to the fact that sometimes you do have to wash a pan between cooking. I just wash in hot water with a brush and if needed a little dish detergent. I don't bother with boiling water or salt. My stuff rarely if ever sticks. I'm cooking on 1920s Griswold.

            1. a
              asiajason Jul 1, 2011 08:08 PM

              Thanks everyone! good info...
              Jason

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