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Cast Iron Pans

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craigcep Feb 2, 2012 07:07 AM

I know most cast iron pans come pre-seasoned in some kind of fat or another. Are there brands that are kosher-friendly? I would prefer not having to season a new pan myself.

Thanks.

  1. s
    shaytmg Feb 2, 2012 07:29 AM

    I have a Lodge cast iron skillet. They are preseasoned with a soy-based fat. http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-help...

    Is this your first cast iron pan? It will change your life. :)

    11 Replies
    1. re: shaytmg
      c
      cheesecake17 Feb 2, 2012 08:14 AM

      Every time I go to Target, I pick up a Lodge skillet and put it back down. Not sure how I would use it and it seems sooo heavy. Do you use it for meat or dairy? Any suggestions?

      1. re: cheesecake17
        s
        shaytmg Feb 2, 2012 12:37 PM

        The question is what can't you cook in cast iron. Once your skillet is well seasoned you pretty much have a non-stick pan.

        The weight of cast iron is where the magic happens. The pan holds on to so much heat that even when you put in cold food the temperature stays high allowing you to get a great sear on the food. Also since a cast iron pan is oven safe (pretty much indestructible) you can sear off some protein and then finish it off in the oven.

        The best things I have cooked in my cast iron are hamburgers, chicken cutlets, sausages, london broil, corn bread, and eggs. I actually just made Thomas Keller's roast chicken in my cast iron the other night on a base of root vegetables which got amazingly caramelized because of all the heat the pan can soak up and dish out.

        1. re: shaytmg
          c
          CanadianINaustin Feb 6, 2012 09:04 PM

          I made his chicken last night, such a simple and tasty recipe. Next time I'm going to try it in my Lodge skillet what a great idea.

        2. re: cheesecake17
          c
          craigcep Feb 2, 2012 12:58 PM

          I plan on meat. I know cast iron is good for grilled cheese and maybe dairy egg "pies" (quiches, fritattas), but I think the potential uses for meats are much greater.

          1. re: craigcep
            d
            DeisCane Feb 2, 2012 01:05 PM

            It's great for making heartier fish too.

            1. re: DeisCane
              c
              craigcep Feb 2, 2012 01:25 PM

              Right, but I can do that in a meat pan (which I certainly would). The opportunity cast for meat is higher than dairy.

              1. re: craigcep
                s
                shaytmg Feb 2, 2012 01:32 PM

                Totally agree. Although they are so cheap so why not buy two.

            2. re: craigcep
              c
              cheesecake17 Feb 3, 2012 05:26 AM

              ok, you convinced me! moving soon, where I will have a bbq (dont have one now). Am I better off still with a skillet? I've seen a lot of cast iron grill pans... but I'm guessing those don't go into the oven?

              1. re: cheesecake17
                d
                DeisCane Feb 3, 2012 05:29 AM

                I don't see why cast iron grill pans couldn't go in the oven.

                1. re: cheesecake17
                  s
                  shaytmg Feb 3, 2012 08:31 AM

                  Any cast iron cookware can in the oven. In fact cast iron dutch ovens are designed to go into the middle of fire to cook, well maybe not the le creuset ones that are coated in enamel, but the can definitely go in the oven. You can also use a skillet on the grill or even nestled in the coals of a charcoal fire.

                  I have both a grill pan and a flat skillet and find myself using the skillet way more than the grill pan. Hamburgers are way better in the skillet since they develop a full crust rather than just grill marks.

                  Best hamburger you will ever eat - Salt and pepper in the meat. Preheat cast iron skillet on high. Drop in the hamburger and don't touch it until its ready to flip and don't dare smash it with a spatula. Toasted bun with a smear of mayo. The outside sear becomes crispy while the interior stays moist and almost creamy. Heaven.

                  Let us know how it goes.

                  1. re: cheesecake17
                    r
                    rockycat Feb 7, 2012 06:45 AM

                    I've got
                    a small cast iron -great for eggs
                    2 large skillets - either 10 or 12-inches, I can't remember
                    a chicken fryer with a lid - great for, what else, frying chicken
                    my favorite and most used - the grill pan.

                    When it's too cold/wet/miserable/etc. to fire up the grill, use the grill pan. Will the thin skirt steak incinerate in the broiler? Use the grill pan. Grill the veggies to go with the meat in the same pan, too.

                    All cast irons can go from cooktop to oven. Perfect for searing thick cuts of meat and finishing off in the oven. Cast iron pans last forever, too. Take care of the pan properly and your grandchildren may using the same pan one day. That means no soap and dry immediately after washing to prevent rust. The pan is definitely a good investment.

            3. r
              regp03 Feb 2, 2012 07:37 AM

              I thought that Lodge used a wax coating of some sort. I don't care for it, as I like to season my own, so their preseasoning gets brillo-ed off. With this in mind, I gave it a quick Google search and found this: Lodge pre-season their cookware with a proprietary vegetable oil which is soy-based and has been certified as Orthodox Union Kosher.

              Lodge is commonly available and fairly cheap, so they may be the way to go. But I bet that most pre-seasoned cast iron has taken the same consideration.

              2 Replies
              1. re: regp03
                c
                chicago maven Feb 2, 2012 08:17 AM

                It is my understanding that all pre-seasoned cast iron pots and pans must be kashered before use. This even applies to Lodge pans. Even though they claim that they only use kosher oils, there is no way to guarantee it so it would require kosher certification just like any other product.

                1. re: chicago maven
                  n
                  NYCFoodster Feb 2, 2012 12:35 PM

                  Just stick it into your oven and set the two hour self clean. It will smoke at first, but will be totally good to go once done. Season and enjoy. Shaytmg is right, there is no turning back.

              2. v
                vallevin Feb 2, 2012 02:09 PM

                This really sounds like question for your local orthodox Rabbi, in lieu of that you should call the Star-K, whoever answers, tell them you have a kasrus question and it will probably get answered right away.

                1 Reply
                1. re: vallevin
                  c
                  chicago maven Feb 3, 2012 07:30 AM

                  I asked the crc in Chicago and got an answer right away. In fact, i learned that it can also be kashered with boiling water as any similar pot. The self cleaning oven is still my choice as NYC suggested.

                2. h
                  helou Feb 5, 2012 04:01 PM

                  So you never, ever wash it with soap? That's the part I don't get. Let's say you make those hamburgers Shaytmg suggested, isn't there meat residue still in the pan? Or if you do chicken or fish? You just wipe it out and that's it? Nothing ever burns on?
                  I'm game to try it, but it seems very strange not to wash it.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: helou
                    k
                    koshergastronome Feb 5, 2012 05:48 PM

                    The whole don't wash with soap isn't true anymore...its from a time when soap used to be made with lye, which was rough on the iron, but now that soap is much weaker and wont harm ur pots...clean with soap, but dont scrub with any rough sponges, or use any metal utensils on it to not scratch the seasoning off...although you can and need to re season the pan every once in a while

                    1. re: helou
                      s
                      shaytmg Feb 5, 2012 05:49 PM

                      If you wash it with soap you can lose the season layer which is essentially carbonized (burnt) fat. It is the residue from the cooking that builds up to become the non-stick layer. All you need is some water and paper towels to clean it once you have a good season going. If there is any baked on grit, just sprinkle kosher salt on it and scrub away.

                      1. re: shaytmg
                        c
                        craigcep Feb 5, 2012 07:08 PM

                        How does that work with the fish and then meat or vice versa concerns?

                        1. re: shaytmg
                          k
                          koshergastronome Feb 5, 2012 07:15 PM

                          The soap nowadays won't do that...I've cleaned my cast iron pan without an issue..."seasoned pans" will need to be re-seasoned anyway, to maintain the non-stick layer, which is like you said a layer of carbon...in order to make the non-stick layer, you basically smear oil on it, and heat it up, which will burn off all of the hydrogen, and leave a layer of carbon (since fat is essentially a bunch of hydrogen and carbon atoms), so you can do that whenever you so desire...

                          @craigcep - in regards to fish and meat, if you're asking halachically, i have no idea, but from what I understand, as long as there aren't visible pieces of fish on there, you can use it with meat, but then again, I ain't no rabbi

                          1. re: koshergastronome
                            k
                            koshergastronome Feb 5, 2012 07:21 PM

                            here's a link for cast iron care if you want - http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/02/...
                            and they say like i said, that it was the lye based soaps that would ruin the seasoning, but not the soap we use nowadays

                            1. re: koshergastronome
                              s
                              shaytmg Feb 6, 2012 02:21 PM

                              Well, call me old school then. :)

                              I always seem to lose my season if I wash it with soap. Maybe I don't let it build up enough.

                              1. re: shaytmg
                                s
                                SoCal Mother Feb 7, 2012 10:53 AM

                                My first reaction was "EWWWWW." Then I thought about my barbecue. I never clean the grill. I do very much hate burgers made in the oven. Worth a try!

                                1. re: SoCal Mother
                                  s
                                  shaytmg Feb 7, 2012 11:50 AM

                                  Absolutely. Burgers in the oven are pretty much meatloaf.

                        2. m
                          mrogovin Mar 5, 2012 05:02 AM

                          Lodge no longer claims anything about their seasoning being kosher. Best to buy unseasoned and DIY. It is not that hard to do.

                          1. m
                            ML914 May 23, 2012 09:09 AM

                            I just looked into this topic 2 days ago and found out that Lodge no longer uses kosher certified oil. I called the company twice and got the same response both times. When I mentioned the FAQ page that states they use kosher oil I was told that the page is old information and they now use a soy based oil that is not certified.

                            I do not know when they made the switch, but I think anyone who has bought one of their items within the last few years should call to find out. The info on the page states that it was modified last on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 11:39:05 PM.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ML914
                              c
                              chicago maven May 23, 2012 10:28 AM

                              As I stated before, even if they say that they only use kosher oils, you still must kasher the pots since there is no way to be sure that they are correct without a kosher certification on the pots.

                            2. g
                              GibsonGirl55 Dec 25, 2012 05:59 PM

                              Lodge cast iron skillets have a kosher seasoning. It's the only brand that does. Source: http://the-cookingpot.com/2012/04/04/...

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: GibsonGirl55
                                m
                                ML914 Dec 25, 2012 06:36 PM

                                As I stated in my post above, as of May 21, 2012, Lodge themselves told me on two occasions that they no longer use kosher certified oil.

                                Also, as Chicago Maven stated, even if they claim to use vegetable based oils, without certification one can't believe them.

                                Additionally, since my post I have purchased three different Lodge items and I did not see any certification anywhere on the boxes or papers that came along with the products.

                                As such, I stripped the original seasoning and re-seasoned the cookware myself using kosher oils.

                                If the products have some kind of certification, we would all love to see it.
                                It would have saved me a lot of time...

                                1. re: ML914
                                  g
                                  GibsonGirl55 Dec 27, 2012 10:41 PM

                                  Well, since reading your post as well as the one by queenscook, I wrote to www.ou.org to ask them whether or not Lodge's cast iron preseasoned cookware is indeed certified kosher.

                                  And queenscook is right in stating that you'd think that Lodge's website would have a statement or two attesting to the kosher certification of their preseasoned cookware.

                                  1. re: GibsonGirl55
                                    a
                                    AdinaA Dec 28, 2012 03:31 AM

                                    Thank you for checking, and for sharing the info in the first place. it would have been great if it was true. The web is a constant frustration because there's a ot of info like the post on kosher seasoned pans that you came across that looks reliable, but is outdated, or otherwise incorrect.

                                    1. re: AdinaA
                                      g
                                      GibsonGirl55 Jan 5, 2013 08:13 PM

                                      The Orthodox Union responded to my inquiry:

                                      Webbe Rebbe, Jan 02 15:41 (EST):
                                      Dear Sharon Gibson,

                                      Thank you for contacting the OU.

                                      Pre-seasoned cookware is treated with oil, which can be kosher or non-kosher, depending on whether the oil is animal or vegetable derived. The Lodge company maintains that they preseason with kosher vegetable oil, but we are unable to verify that without plant inspections.

                                      It is possible to kasher cast iron cookware by placing the cookware in an oven and running a self-cleaning cycle. Once koshered, the cookware can again be seasoned by the consumer.

                                      Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you have any further questions.

                                      Sincerely,

                                      The Web(be) Rebbe
                                      Orthodox Union Kashruth Division

                                      Visit us online at: www.oukosher.org<http://www.oukosh...>

                                      So, apparently, since Lodge does not have any kosher certification the OU.com can vouch for, Lodge customers who keep kosher can run their skillets, etc. through the self-clean cycle of their electric oven and re-season it.

                                2. re: GibsonGirl55
                                  queenscook Dec 25, 2012 06:43 PM

                                  @ GibsonGirl :
                                  You'd think that their own website would have this info, if it were the case.

                                3. b
                                  bethanyshondark Jan 7, 2013 07:39 PM

                                  Sigh. I never realized a cast iron pan couldn't be Kosher. Just sent an email to my LOR. I had a Lodge pan.

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