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Bacon sticks to my Lodge cast iron skillet

My Lodge pan is about 6 months old. Although it came pre-seasoned, I added seasoning to it before using it--wiped oil on it and put it in a hot oven. Also, each time I've used it, I've only used hot water and a green scrubbie to clean the pan--no soap, and then I dry it with a towel, wipe a thin layer of Crisco on it, and put it on the stovetop over high heat for about 15 minutes. I've cooked about three or four packages of bacon since the beginning of the year. I usually leave the bacon out about 10 minutes before cooking and I preheat the pan on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. If I don't also coat the bottom of the pan with a bit of oil, the bacon sticks like crazy to the pan.

Am I doing something wrong? Or is it normal to cook bacon in more grease? Bacon is the one thing I thought I should be able to cook without having to add oil.

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  1. I put my bacon into a cold pan and heat a smidge over medium. Once I get a sizzle I reduce to medium or even lower. I turn frequently. I put no oil in it to cook. When I wash it, which I do, I put the somewhat wet pan on a burner and turn to high. Once it's close to smoking, I add some oil, turn off the heat and use a paper towel to coat the pan with the oil. I'm NOT looking for nonstick.

    1. I think you are preheating and cooking over too high a temp. Cast iron gets hotter than steel pans, and faster. You can skip preheating if you want, and should cook on the low side of medium. Don't fight with the strips to turn them. When they are ready, they will loosen and turn easily.

      1. Don't clean with the green scrubbie, mine can actually remove all the seasoning from cast iron. Use a stiff nylon brush instead.

        Medium may be too hot, things will stick if the pan is too hot. Try low heat for the same amount of time.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sirrith

          Or use a chain mail scrubber. There are several on Amazon, virtually all of them made by small companies in the U.S. I use the Ringer XL; it's a little larger than most others. Note that they're not just for cast iron. I use mine on carbon steel pans, glass baking pans and stainless steel cookware. It's also great for grill grates.


          1. re: DuffyH

            I also have the ringer XL, I prefer my brush though.

        2. After reading about it on CH, I have started making bacon in this way: Put bacon in cold CI pan, add water to cover, and turn on to medium. Let the water boil off, then turn down to medium-low. Turn bacon over when desired amount of brownness has occurred. Remove bacon and drain off fat. Put pan back on now off burner. If there is residue on the pan bottom, I wait 5 or 10 minutes and then add a little water to the pan. When I'm ready to clean up, rinse the pan and scrub a bit if needed. Dry and, perhaps, lightly oil before storing.

          1. I find that Chinese bacon and salt pork fry with less sticking and burnt fond. I think American bacon has too much sugar to fry cleanly.

            1. First, like many has said, try to avoid using the green scrubbie. The green scouring pads are very harsh. You are better off using a plastic or even a metal scraper than a green scouring pad.

              Second, bacon sticking to a pan is pretty common because most bacon you find in supermarket has high content of sugar, and sugar easily burn and stick to a pan.

              <Bacon is the one thing I thought I should be able to cook without having to add oil.>

              Bacon without sugar: yes. Bacon with sugar: not necessary.

              1. Did you season with vegetable oil? If so... Oops. Vegetable oil is notorious for sticking. Hopefully, you seasoned with plain Crisco shortening.

                Don't use a green scrubby. Use hot tap water and a nylon brush.

                15 minutes on high heat? That's a lot of smoke. All that's necessary is medium heat until just starting to smoke. You're going to warp your pan doing it your way.

                I've never used oil for frying bacon. It does well on its own.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Muddirtt

                  Crisco is saturated vegetable oil. They used to use hydrogenated oil, now it is more likely to be palm oil.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Yes, but it still cooks different from "liquid" vegetable oil. No stickiness with plain unflavored Crisco shortening.

                    There's two reasons I don't use vegetable oil -- stickiness and taste. It's disgusting to me. I use canola or olive or shortening or lard or unsalted butter -- But, again, no need for anything when frying up some bacon (unless the stovetop is way off level, then compensating more frying oil may be wanted which would preferably be bacon grease itself).

                2. No preheating pan. I even throw frozen bacon directly onto the cold pan. Use medium heat to gently "melt" the bacon. Do not use anything higher than medium. Turn frequently. Once the water content goes away and the bacon shrinks, turn it down to medium low and fry till all the fat is rendered and crispy. Perfectly straight crispy bacon each and every single time.

                  Yes it takes a long time, maybe 30mins or so. I start the bacon before I start anything else. By the time I'm ready to fry eggs and potatoes, bacon grease is ready.

                  1. don't preheat the pan
                    put the bacon in cold
                    buy a brand that isn't too high in sugar
                    don't cook over too high of heat
                    there is no reason to add oil or other fats when cooking bacon

                    I always wash my pan with detergent and the scrubby side of the sponge when I've cooked greasy foods and then dry the pan. I don't even bother with a small amount of fat while drying unless the pan is newer.

                    1. Thank you all for your replies. I always thought a hot pan kept meat from sticking! I will try cooking bacon with a much lower heat.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: brandygirl

                        Even with searing a steak, there's no need for going past Medium on the dial when cooking with cast iron. I cook on Low-Medium with bacon on my natural gas stove, usually turning it to Low when it's hot and cooking a pound in batches. Hamburgers are also Low-Medium. Fried eggs are Medium. Scrambled eggs are Low. Most steaks are cooked on Medium after preheating the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Potatoes are usually at Medium too.

                        1. re: brandygirl

                          < I always thought a hot pan kept meat from sticking!>

                          I think it really depends. In some cases, you are correct. If the temperature is too low, then the meat will readily stick to the pan (especially stainless steel). However, bacon and eggs are most notable for sticking to the cookware at high temperature. I can think of a couple of reasons for bacon. First, most bacon slides are MUCH thinner than your average ribeye steak. As such, a bacon can easily get over heated and stick compare to a thick steak. Second, most bacon you buy from supermarkets have sugar in them. In fact, quiet a bit of sugar. Sugar get burned and sticks at a very low temperature compare to meat. Try it. Next time, put a tablespoon of sugar in a pan, and you will see it quickly turn brown and stick to the pan at high heat.

                          1. re: brandygirl

                            Yeah, I also thought that high heat would mean nice crisp bacon, rather than greasy limp bacon. What it really meant was bacon that was both burnt and raw. Medium heat starting with the bacon in a cold pan works best for me.

                            1. re: tanuki soup

                              As time goes on, I'm finding that there is almost nothing that should be cooked on high heat. Water and stir fry being notable exceptions. Medium is my default setting to heat most any pan and I usually turn it down at some point.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                I've found the same and I think because of induction we're thinking in terms of concrete numbers. I'll start bacon on 7 until I just start to get the smallest amount of sizzle and then I turn it down to 5.5.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Agree, although my 5 is just shy of med-high, kind of like 6.5 of 10 (where 5 is med).

                                  On my radiant range, which you know I never did adjust to, I didn't dare to start anything above med. Kiss of death and burnt dinner.

                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                    I think you and I and other induction folks have the ability to judge these things absolutely rather than flames which are imprecise.