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Still Avoiding Cast Iron in Your Kitchen? Think Again…

Cast Iron Frying

Maybe you avoid cast iron cookware in your cooking endeavors. It’s heavy, it rusts, it’s hard to keep seasoned, and on and on. We’ll, your partly right.

Or maybe you’re like me and enjoy dragging out the “big iron” to make a meal. It’s versatile, it holds a lot of heat, and you can move it from stovetop to oven and back without any risk (other than maybe dropping it on your toe). You’re right too, cast iron is very useful. You can fry in it; you can slow-cook in it. It’ll become naturally non-stick if you treat it well. You can make everything from steak and eggs for breakfast to great baked desserts, in Dutch ovens. You can use them on gas or electric ranges, or on outdoor fires. If it gets caked and grungy, you can have it sandblasted and then season it again. Try THAT with your Teflon-coated skillet sometime!

You have to pick your battles, though. A cast-iron skillet takes quite a bit of heating to get up to temperature, and if you’re impatient you can easily overheat it and get it smoking right along. Then you have the other problem: It takes a bit to cool out. So the smoke continues for a while. (Don’t ask how I know this. It’s experimentally verified is all I’ll say.)

Here’s an example where I love using cast iron. Pork chops. You can get the skillet up to temperature, just below smoking, and sear and brown the chops quickly, then you simply pop the whole shebang into a 400° oven for a dozen minutes or so to roast the chops the rest of the way to done. A quick transfer of the meat to a holding dish and you’ve got a preheated skillet, complete with flavorful pan juices, which you can then use to make a fine pan sauce in just a few minutes. I add apple juice and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon to get the browned bits up, and once the juice has reduced by about half I add some quality jelly, stir and voila! A tasty topping for the chops and maybe some Stove Top stuffing.

Cast Iron Pots

I can’t think of another kitchen implement that gives me that set of operations as cleanly as my trusty (not rusty!) cast iron skillet.

Maybe you’ve heard you can’t clean your cast iron with soap. Or you think they don’t heat evenly. Or if it rusts you’re done. Some other myth? Well, they’re mostly just that: Myths. Here’s an article to help you get past the myths and misinformation and get to loving the kitchen’s most versatile cookware, cast iron.

Then you can confidently get some pieces that you can hand down to your grandchildren; yes, they’ll easily last that long, with proper care…

(P.S. Today is the Marine Corps’ Birthday. Semper Fi, Marines.)

Bring the (Cast Iron Cookware) Heat!

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