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using a cast iron skillet ain't so hard!

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
This article has been rolling around inside of me for a very long time.  I keep feeling like I need more info before putting it up, but now I think I should go ahead, put up what I have so far, and I'll add more info as I have it.

This thread is for discussion of the article!

It can be found at http://www.richsoil.com/castiron/

Thanks!




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Joined: Jul 23, 2006
Posts: 17
Location: Central New York
What is proper storage?  I figure that you don't want to hang it anywhere so the thin layer of oil is even.  Cast iron is also dense so it keeps it's heat for a long time.  Should you have anything special under it when you put it away to prevent burning the surface?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I don't put it away until it is cooled.  If I put it away at all.

                                  


Joined: Jun 27, 2006
Posts: 5
We have a cast iron skillet as well as a two burner griddle.  We keep the drawer under the over reserved for both.  We used to keep them in the oven.  I've been thinking of throwing away all of the coated pans we have because I've heard that even if the coating doesn't flake off into your food it can outgas when using too high a temperature.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I've heard those "non-stick" pans offgas a lot!  Even when the temp isn't all that high.  I think the important thing to note is that within a few weeks of use they are discolored and might already have scratches or bits coming off.  And where do the bits go?

Norm Deplume


Joined: Apr 04, 2006
Posts: 3
paul wheaton wrote:
And where do the bits go?

They are "extra" pepper in your scrambled eggs, lol. (And if you heat an empty nonstick skillet too much, you can kill your parakeet. Really-- the fumes that can give humans flulike symptoms will kill small birds. ooky stuff.)


I have an old Wagner Ware cast iron skillet, and I wipe it out and re oil it after every use. Then I let it sit on the stove. I live in an old house, and it adds to the charm of the place, I think. Not to mention it is easier to cook when you're not digging a 4-lb pan out of the copboard for every meal.

I popped on to thank you for writing your piece on cast iron. I enjoyed it.


Robin, mama of two, and owner of a house full of old and a yard full of weeds.

Earth-friendly homeaintenance? Come share your experience!
Paul Jenny


Joined: Jun 05, 2006
Posts: 35
Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
You gotta be kidding ! I had no idea that non stick pans were that bad. I guess I will stop using mine. Thanks for the info. Yet another reason I love this website !
                        


Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Posts: 3
Having read your article, I would offer a few observations:

~ I have a problem with your use of the term oil/grease throughout the article. Our grandparents used lard, bacon grease, cooking oil, and butter. Today we might use butter for frying eggs and canola/safflower/sunflower/olive oil in place of the lard and bacon grease.

~ a quality cast iron pan can be heated quite hot on a stove top with no problem - i.e. Cajun blackened fish or pan seared steaks can be cooked at high temperatures in cast iron

~ the best way to season a new cast iron pan is not to cook cornbread, but to fry French Fried potatoes in as much oil as the pan can safely hold; by heating the oil to the proper temperature for making fries, you will start the process of sealing the pores in the untreated, raw iron pan

~ another way to clean cast iron after use is to sprinkle some coarse salt in the pan and scrub with dish cloth or brush; the abrasive action of the salt will help to loosen any remaining food particles

~ it is possible to take an old cruddy cast iron pan (that bargain you found at a flea market!) and remove the old seasoning that might be rough and flaking: spray the pan well with oven cleaner - do this outside as the fumes can be harmful!; put the sprayed pan in a plastic garbage bag, close and tie the top of the bag and let it sit overnight outside; the next day or the day after that, scrub the pan well and see if more of the same treatment is needed; repeat this process until you have reached the bare (grayish) iron. Wash well with soap and water, scrubbing hard. Dry completely, then start the seasoning process: rub the entire pan inside and out with shortening, such as Crisco brand. Line a baking sheet with foil, lay pan on bottom up, bake in a slow oven (250 to 300 degrees) for several hours, let cool. Repeat the seasoning process several more times until the pores are sealed and the seasoned pan has a nice, smooth, black, glossy look to it. I reconditioned my grandmother's skillet and it is ready for the next 50 years. It was hard work and took several days, but it was worth it!
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Teresa,

I debated with myself an awful lot about the "oil/grease" thing.  I even changed it throughout the document a few times, but never could settle on anything I was completely comfortable with.  What do you suggest?

It is true that cast iron can be heated to a very high temp.  And, it is also true that you can get it too hot at a higher temp.

Aha!  A "best way to season" standoff!!!  Well!  My first response is "oh yeah!!!"  My response to your french fry technique has to do with how I think the whole seasoning thing works.  I could be completely wrong about this, but I think that the seasoning is cumulative.  Many very thin layers.  And that the layers are made from an oil/grease/whatever that starts thin and gets baked hard.  So the deep fat fry technique would not work with this scenario.  Your other technique (with the upside down pan) works excellently.

I've heard about the salt abrasion technique.  But I worry that it will also scratch off seasoning more than the techniques that I listed.  How do you feel about the salt taking the seasoning?

I would prefer to avoid the use of oven cleaner if at all possible.


                        


Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Posts: 3
Paul,

The term "grease" brings to mind axle grease/grease monkey - lol! Perhaps the use of oil/fat might be another term to use in the discussion of cast iron cooking? Fat can be bacon grease, beef suet, lard, or butter.

Any cooking pan/pot can get too hot if you set the temp at high and go off and forget it. The point I wanted to make was that for some uses, such as Cajun blackened recipes, a cast iron pan is the best pan to use when cooking at high temperatures.

I agree with you that thin layers of accumulated seasoning is what is desired for sealing up the pores of raw cast iron. That process can be *started* by frying potatoes or fish in deep fat and then continued over time through use and seasoning by the method I listed in my first post.

The use of salt in cleaning could not remove the seasoning unless you scrubbed the pan for hours or days at a time, I would think. A main point in cleaning cast iron is to quickly clean the pan by whatever means you are using. A small amount of mild kitchen soap, hot water, and a dish scrubbing brush are what I use after first wiping out the pan with paper towels - or sometimes just hot water and the brush. The point being not to let water/soap stand in the pan for any longer than necessary. I always end the cleaning by heating my pans on a low burner to completely dry them or put them in the still warm oven if I had it on, then wiping down the pan with a little oil on a paper towel.

Believe me, I wanted to avoid the use of oven cleaner when cleaning up my grandmother's skillet - and I tried other things, ammonia for one, chipping away with a putty knife and screw driver for another - but in the end the oven cleaner cut through the rough, aged coating down to the bare metal. I was able to remove all the old chipped seasoning with this method.

At present I have 3 cast iron skillets, 1 round griddle, round grill pan, 1 corn stick pan and 1 heart-shaped muffin/shortbread pan - and years of experience cooking outdoors on family and Girl Scout camping trips. IMHO cast iron is the cookware of choice!

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
If one had a cast iron skillet with gunk on it that the chisel couldn't get out, I wonder if a person could use a self cleaning oven?  Just put it in there during the cleaning?  That seems far less toxic.

Anybody ever tried this?



                                


Joined: Mar 07, 2006
Posts: 16
I switched from aluminum to cast iron a couple of years ago.  I have a variety of skillet sizes and a small griddle.  I purchased the griddle and a small skillet new & both had the pitting that you described. 

I'm happy to say that much use & a little time and the pitting is gone from both pans.

Thanks for the email!  I love reading your articles.  Keep up the good work.

Nancy
                        


Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Posts: 3
I have heard of people putting their cast iron pans in their self-cleaning oven to remove the old seasoning. Since I do not have a self-cleaning oven, this option was not available to me. An outside grill with a lid that can obtain very high heat might also work.

Perhaps you have heard of putting cast iron pans into a roaring fire and letting the seasoning burn off that way. It may work.......then again......it may crack your treasured cast iron pan. I won't be pulling that stunt.

Teresa
                      


Joined: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 27
Can you season cast iron with coconut oil? I read one site that said not to because it will ruin the finish but other sites say it's ok!
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I don't know about coconut oil.  I've never used it. 

Did those people say why they thought coconut oil would ruin it?

                      


Joined: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 27
I can't remember the site it was but it just said an "ingrediant" in coconut oil would ruin the finish.
              


Joined: Oct 16, 2006
Posts: 2
I have several old cast iron pieces that I love to use.  I store my cast iron inside the oven or in the drawer under the oven.  I usually rinse & wipe my cast iron after use, sometimes as mentioned before in the forum, I may boil water to clean off any stuck on material.  Sometimes wiping it lightly with shortening after boiling.  I preheat the oven on a low temperature before placing my cast iron in after I wash it to make sure that it gets thoroughly dry. 

I have purchased pieces at yard sales., etc that were in very bad shape, rust, dry, etc.  I have thoroughly scrubbed these pieces using ( I know) dawn dishwashing detergent to clean them.  heating and wiping with bacon fat or vegetable shortening, then reheating.  You may have to use steel wool to remove rust.  Patience and time are the best way to deal with these pieces, they do become re-seasoned with time.  I was always told growing up that under no circumstances, use detergent but be assured an occasional detergent, especially as mild as dawn, will not hurt the cast iron.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I updated the page quite a lot.  Whew!

                                    


Joined: Feb 03, 2007
Posts: 4
A rank noobie here - really enjoying your site & forum.  Good, practical, advice.
Regarding cast iron:  In the past, when encountering a well-used pan, thickly encrusted with the residue of too many past meals on the outside, I've placed it into a bed of glowing coals in a fireplace, or a large fire outside as it is dying down. 
Leaving the pan in the ashes 'til they've cooled down, it has to be washed, and then reseasoned just as a brand new pan would be.  This needs to be done right away, as the super dry cast iron will develop a patina of rust quickly if not oiled.  If the pan has had a lot of use in the past, it won't take as long to have it back in good working order as with a new pan.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
This is actually a question for somebody that has not posted here (yet):  Dan posted so much excellent info at gardenweb I'm now thinking that my page needs a complete overhaul.  But the forum software over there is tripping me up a lot.  Today I tried to ask another question and the forum told me I posted too much and banned me from the thread until others post more.  Plus it seems to have lost some of my posts.

Dan,

What do you think about baking cornbread as a way to season a skillet?  Based on some of what you have said and some of my own thinking on this matter, it seems that the oil in the pan would be too thick in some places and too thin in others.  It seems it wouldn't work.  Plus, I suspect that the oil would not get hot enough.  Your thoughts?




                          


Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 7
Location: Ipswich Ma
To season a skillet for corn bread should not be a problem at all. If the pan is new or reconditioned, I do a pre heat with crisco {the only thing I use crisco for} Then wipe out with a paper towel. Place pan back in hot oven and heat to desired temp add leaf lard or bacon grease to hot pan pour in the batter and bake. This will season up nicely in time. After turning out the corn bread just wipe out with paper towel and repeat the above. Jim
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I have gobs of new info I need to work into that page.  Maybe today.

Personally, I avoid crisco.  I read something somewhere about how it is super scary stuff.  I have found something similar that is organic that I use sometimes.

                          


Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 7
Location: Ipswich Ma
I agree, that Crisco is indeed scarry stuff. Smart Balance has an alternitive product thats very good, but rather expensive.
My prefered lipid of cooking oil is pure leaf lard.
I know most people are terrified of useing lard but it is actually healthier than any hydogenated oils. Also try to stay away from commercial lard, another questionable product. You can obtain good lard in a Spanish type market or make your own, thats what I do.
Lard is an exelent choice in seasoning cast iron. It has a fairly high smoke point and imparts flavor to the pans.
Jim 
Dan Abadie


Joined: May 05, 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Louisiana Cajun Land
Paul,

Sorry I took so long to get to posting here........

FYI, to get around the issue you had when trying to post back to back posts on Garden Web's forum you just need to make a minor change in the subject field. If you change just one letter in the subject field, it will allow you to post many consecutive posts in a row.

Regarding your question on corn bread cooking to build patina:  anytime one cooks anything where oil is in contact with the iron at a high temperature you will build patina.  However, if your is goal to build up a good patina quickly, it is much better to season without any ingredients other than the seasoning oil in the pan.  Multiple bakings of thin coats of seasoning oil heated to its smoke point is the fastest way to achieve a durable non-stick patina.

The trans fats in Crisco are the results of hydrotreating of vegetable oil.  Trans fats are bad for human consumption.  However, its this same hydrotreating that converts some of the unsaturated fats into saturates that make Crisco a good choice for seasoning cast iron.  IMO "THE" preferred oil (really fat) of choice for seasoning cast iron is purchased (meaning hydrotreated) lard.  Worldwide more cast iron is seasoned by lard than any other oil/fat.........and for good reason.....it has a low smoke point and a good carbon residue laydown at its smoke point.

Dan
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Dan,

I read all of your stuff out at gardenweb, and now here.  And, as with so many fascinating topics, just when you think you have the last bit of information, ten more unknowns pop up!

You mentioned that polymerization happens at different speeds on different materials:  polymerization on cast iron is slower than on stainless steel.  If one is attempting to add a layer of "seasoning" to an already seasoned pan, I would guess that this would be an attempt to polymerize a layer of oil on top of a layer of carbon?

Forgive me as I struggle to get all of this information to fit in my head .....  it sounds like the smoke point is key to laying down a carbon layer and laying down a polymerized oil layer ....  I think what you are saying is that the recipe for each is the same, but with the polymerized oil, there is more time (higher temp?).  So whenever you get oil to a smoke point, you get some carbon layer, and if you push the heat a little higher and for a few hours, you get the polymerized oil layer - is that correct?

What would be  a recipe for a griswold #10 skillet for a polymerized oil layer using lard? 

I bought a griswold #9 griddle that was brand new.  Raw cast iron.  I never did the oven thing.  My thinking (probably errant) was that just cooking with it seasons it plenty.  But now I'm thinking that I've just built up a pretty good carbon layer:  pretty tough and slick, but not as tough and slick as carbon on top of polymerized oil.  True?

On the topic of the soap ....  I think I'm just echoing what you said to make sure I have it right ....  it sounds like there are several issues here.  1) soap does get water and oil to mix (or, perhaps more accurately, to get them to not repel each other any more) - so then oils can be rinsed away.  2) the polymerized oil layer and the carbon layer on the pan will not repel water as much when soap is around - but these are solids that are bonded to the pan - they will not rinse away - even a little.  3) the worries about soap and cast iron have a history of attempts to make soap (using lye) in seasoned cast iron and the lye removing the seasoning.  4) Detrgent reduces the surface tension of water so that water can then rinse away liquid oils.  But again, no effect on the carbon layer or the polymerized oil layer on the pan.  ----  does this sound accurate?

On lard:  so folks that make their own lard at home (because they raise pigs) - their lard won't be as good as store bought lard for seasoning cast iron?



paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Dan,

I took my favorite skillet, cleaned it pretty good, put a layer of organic shortening on and baked it upside down at 500 degrees for two hours. 

The surface ended up with a layer of polymerized oil in the center, but it got kinda mottled on the edges - kinda spider-web-ish looking.  What's up with that?

Dan Abadie


Joined: May 05, 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Louisiana Cajun Land
Paul, you will need to continue putting a thin layer of shortening and baking........repeat this several times and the seasoning layer will fill in with a good carbon layer.  Just keep in mind that seasoning is not a one step process. Fry some potatoes or fish in between....this will add more of a polymerized layer.....reuse the oil.....keep it in the pan between fryings if possible.

The quickest way of all to get a new skillet to a perfect non-stick patina is to make Cajun roux in it.......do that several times too.  FYI, a Cajun roux is made with equal parts by volume of all purpose flour and oil.  To make a Cajun roux in your skillet.........heat 3/4 cup of oil in your skillet......after the oil gets hot, sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon continuously  such that the flour browns but does not burn.  Keep scraping all areas on skillet continuously until the flour turns to a dark brown color. After it turns dark brown put the skillet aside to let it cool off.  Add warm water to cool roux to remove it if you do not plan to use it in a cooking dish. 

This roux making procedure occurs near the smoke point of the oil and occurs in a carbon rich environment.  The polymers produced when making roux will quickly combine to form a good patina.

How you clean your pan is important too. Make sure that after you clean your pan that you dry your pan on the stove burner.......DO NOT SKIP THIS IMPORTANT STEP.  I went into details as to why this is so important on the Garden Web forum site. After heating your pan to remove all traces of water...spray it with Pam WHILE IT IS STILL HOT (helps add a polymer layer) and wipe off excess with a paper towel.  Pam doesn't turn rancid too quickly.........so you're OK if you will use the pan within a month or two and don't leave a thick layer of PAM in the pan.  If the pan won't be used for a longer time, I would coat it Crisco or lard.


In answer to some of your earlier questions:

The key to understanding seasoning is to understand how the type of oil/fat  and temperature affects the final result.  What you cook and how you cook it in your pans also affects the type patina that develops.  At low temperatures sticky polymers are produced, at higher temperatures dry polymers are produced, at temperatures near the smoke point of the oil/fat carbon black is formed and gets into the patina matrix.  The smoke point varies by oil/fat type and its age. The amount of carbon black that forms at the smoke point is a function of the conradson carbon content of the oil/fat used for seasoning......oils and fats have different carbon residues. Do not worry about this too much.  Both lard and Crisco work great.

You are correct in your understanding of what I have written on the soap topic.    Bottom line  is ........soaps and/or detergents will not remove the seasoning from a PROPERLY CLEANED AND SEASONED cast iron pan. And that my friend is based on science and not folklore.

Store bought lard is hydrogenated (hydrotreated) which converts some of the unsaturates into saturates......this has the effect of making the product stable and much less likely to oxidize (turn rancid) when exposed to air.  If you coat your pans with lard prior to storage.......store bought lard is less likely to turn rancid.  FYI,  I cook in 30 gallon cast iron cauldrons so this issue is very important to me.  I coat these large vessels with store bought lard after cleaning....it doesn't turn rancid or get sticky after months of storage.  Crisco is good too.  It is a hydrogenated vegetable oil that has a stable shelf life at room temperature for two years.  The hydrogenation process lowers the unsaturates to the point where it won't even get sticky when applied to raw cast iron for several months.  Make the mistake of putting plain vegetable oil (high in unsaturated oils) on cast iron and you will have a sticky mess that's nearly impossible to clean off.

Dan

Charles A. Burger


Joined: May 19, 2007
Posts: 26
Has anyone heard of the Wagner and Griswold society.  The members of the society are friendly and knowlegable about cast iron.  Also, I would be willing to bet that they have the mindset to really enjoy this site as much as the people who are interested in cast iron would be in theirs.

Anyway, the name of the society indicates what the main focus is with regards to cast iron, but all cast iron is discussed along with other topics that may not even be related. 

If people are interested just google, 'WAGS, cast iron' and you should be there or if you want I can give the address later.

Chuck

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Dan,

Lots and lots to talk about ....

I have now seasoned a bunch of stuff.  At one point i put an aluminum cookie sheet in the oven to catch drippings.  About ten minutes into it, I noticed some brown puddles on it.  Oh no!  I pulled it out and put foil down instead. 

I spent 15 minutes trying to scrape off the brown puddles.  I had to give up on that.  I'm guessing that this is polymerized oil, right?  You would call it a dry polymer?

These brown puddles were super smooth.  And super hard.  I'm guessing this is what we're going for? 

So then I thought I would go ahead and put a polymerized coating on the whole cookie sheet.  It came out all mottled/spotty.  The first puddles were nice and even.  I wanted the nice even layer over the whole thing but got this .... spotty stuff.  What happened? 

I seasoned my favorite skillet three times.  Organic shortening smeared on in a thin layer with the skillet upside down in the oven.  500 degrees for two hours each time.  Each time, the seasoning was really mottled.  I then used it  a lot hoping for the carbon layer to build up.  But it didn't really - (might be my fault - the stuff I was making sometimes stuck).  In fact, the bottom started to appear gray - the color of the iron underneath.  You could kinda tell where the seasoning had come off in big patches.

So then I tried to make sure to add a carbon layer.  I put about two tablespoons of organic shortening in the pan and kept it smoking for about an hour - moving it around frequently.  It turned yellow, and then brown.  It started getting sticky and thick.  I was moving it around with my stainless steel spatula.  I kept wiping that off periodically because I was worried it might stick.  After an hour I turned off the heat, waited for the smoking to stop, and wiped out the excess goo.

When the pan cooled, the residue that was left behind was sticky.  And you could still see where the seasoning had come off, although the surface was noticeably darker. 

Later I fried a couple of eggs in it.  The surface was so slippery I was having a helluva time getting the eggs onto the spatula! 

So this must be the "sticky polymers"

If I were to put this pan in the oven now, with the sticky polymers, would they turn into dry polymers?

My "Organic Shortening" is apparently "mechanically pressed organic palm oil" - how does this stuff compare to lard or other shortenings? 

How do you feel about using bacon squeezins (collected bacon drippings) for seasoning?  I've read that some folks say it is bad because it will contain a lot of salt.

Is making the roux good because of the flour?  I'm guessing that the flour adds carbon.



paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Charles,

Yeah, I poked around on their site quite a lot when I was getting started with this stuff.  I bet you can still find some posts from me a long time ago there. 

I remember a couple of years ago trying to go back there and something had changed .... I couldn't even read stuff.  I can't remember the details - but I haven't been back since.

Give us some links!

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Dan,

What about cooking bacon?  Does your bacon stick?  My bacon always sticks.  I think it has to do with sugar being used in the curing of the bacon which candies in the heat.

Charles A. Burger


Joined: May 19, 2007
Posts: 26
Paul

The WAGS site was updated and so was the seasoning information.  Apparently the first trick after cleaning to bare iron is to get the piece up to 450°F and carefully bring it out.  Next is to apply a thin layer of Crisco to the piece with a soft cotton rag, like an old undershirt or baby diaper when ever you can physically handle the remaining heat on the piece.  The key is thin layer, so thin it feels as if there is nothing at all.  Once you've removed the excess put it in the cold oven and heat to 400°F once there let it go for one hour and then turn the oven off and let it cool.

Here is where I diverged, the process is supposed to be complete after one pass.  I do it 3 times at 500°F.  Most iron has turn out real well for me.  Everybody has there own feelings on the subject though.  However, the wiping off the excess until it "felt" as if nothing was on was the key.  You'll know that it's still there because you'll smell it when you heat it. 

Also, other oils can be used for seasoning, you just have to know what temp you have to use.  And there is a post that includes may smoking point of oils that people have used to season.

As far as bacon goes, yeah the sugars used to cure are the culprit.  You just have to cook low and slow.  I have found that taking a batch that has just started to cook and put it into a 400°F oven makes the process much smoother.  You have a lot more because the heat is more even.  But, I still have to clean that residue.  Some things are worth the extra effort.

Hope that's helpful.

Chuck
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Chuck,

So you think that if you cook bacon at a lower temp, the sugars won't candy onto the skillet?

Charles A. Burger


Joined: May 19, 2007
Posts: 26
I don't think you'll ever keep it from happening in the pan, but I have noticed that cleanup is easier at lower temperatures. 

Next queation is can you get bacon that has had no sugars used?

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
There is such bacon.  It just isn't very common.
Marilyn Queiroz
steward

Joined: Apr 03, 2005
Posts: 60
Sugar is caramelized when it reaches a temperature from 320 to 356 degrees F.
Marilyn Queiroz
steward

Joined: Apr 03, 2005
Posts: 60
paul wheaton wrote:
So then I tried to make sure to add a carbon layer.  I put about two tablespoons of organic shortening in the pan and kept it smoking for about an hour - moving it around frequently.  It turned yellow, and then brown.  It started getting sticky and thick.  I was moving it around with my stainless steel spatula.  I kept wiping that off periodically because I was worried it might stick.  After an hour I turned off the heat, waited for the smoking to stop, and wiped out the excess goo.

From what I've read, it seems that you should not have enough shortening in the pan to be able to push it around, but rather an extremely thin layer of shortening/oil. Maybe you're trying to get a thick layer rather than several thin layers?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Marilyn Queiroz wrote:

From what I've read, it seems that you should not have enough shortening in the pan to be able to push it around, but rather an extremely thin layer of shortening/oil. Maybe you're trying to get a thick layer rather than several thin layers?


I was trying to build up a carbon layer instead of a polymerized layer. 

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14839
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Here is an interesting link.  The best part is written by "Jimmy Buffet".  Lots of information on different kinds of polymerization ...

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/282431#1505197

              


Joined: Jun 11, 2007
Posts: 1
What causes pitting in cast iron?  Is there a way to remove or smooth out the pitting?

Julie L.
 
 
subject: using a cast iron skillet ain't so hard!
 
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