New to Cast Iron Grill/Griddle -- Need Advice
I just bought a Bobby Flay FN Cast Iron Grill/Griddle. I see everyone on FN cooking with them, but I've never used one. I have a gas burner stove, but know nothing about how to heat it, or even use it. Any and all suggestions and input would be appreciated.
Cast iron cookware are usually heavy. They tend to heat up slow and cool down slow. So there is a lag time. Otherwise, you can heat it just like any other cookware. The challenging aspect for new user is: seasoning. There are tons of information on CHOWHOUNDS:
and on other internet sites. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to post them here.
Another thing to remember is they can get really hot so it's better to keep the heat lower until you get used to using it.
My step daughter set one to nuclear and as soon as I smelled the hot metal I heard the scrambled eggs go in. I think she mixed 6 eggs up but only 2 came out of the pan. That took forever to clean!
They are very prone to being nice and hot right over the burner and a good bit colder a few inches away; so heat them slowly for a good while and avoid the temptation to over them with pancakes. I have learned that a lot of things need to be rotated as the heat is that variable from spot to spot. If you burn something I'd heat it more (after dinner) and brush it off rather than soaking and scrubbing.
If it can span 2 burners, you can achieve a little more even heating with both burners going than just one. I use a medium setting for most cooking (we have the Lodge) and have found that very sufficient. On occasion, a medium high. A lot depends upon the Btu output of your burners. Adjust accordingly. Eventually though, the grill/griddle will get hot.
Apart from getting used to heating up a cast iron and cooking in it, you'll also have to learn to keep it well-seasoned and clean it properly. A well-seasoned cast iron pan has a nice layer of non-stick to it, so when you cook something in it, it won't get stuck on it. Otherwise you'll only receive half of what you cook and the other half will get stuck/burned on the pan.
Once you're done cooking with on a cast iron pan, try to clean the pan as it is still hot/warm. Use hot water and a soft scrubber or cloth to lift up anything that might be stuck on the pan. If need be, use salt to scrub your pan. Salt will help to scrub off stuck on stuff. Don't allow the pan to air dry, because that will encourage rusting of the pan. Towel dry the pan, apply a thin layer of oil using a paper towel, and it'll be ready for your next use. I personally simply wipe of pan clean as much as possible. If it looks extremely dirty, I wash it with hot water, cloth, and very little mild soap maybe once every two months. I follow that with a proper seasoning procedure to gain back any lost non-stick coating.
To season a cast iron pan: oil your pan inside out. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line the bottom of the oven with a piece of foil or a baking sheet. Bake the oiled pan upside down for 2 hours. Turn the stove off, leave the pan inside, and allow it to cool down as the oven cools down. Take your seasoned pan out and investigate the beautiful shiny layer of non-stick.
I have a CI grill pan that I use constantly, and I never worry about seasoning. But I do advise that you should heat a grill pan on medium. I cook turkey bacon on mine (and other things) and I've learned when to place food on it. So, you'll have some trial and error time. But the most important thing is to allow it time to heat, using medium heat. If it heats too slowly that way, you might try med-high, but you might want to lower the heat at a certain point. As others have said, the pan will cool slowly after use. I like my stove top CI grill pan. I hope you enjoy using yours.