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RLM
I have acquired a few cast iron pieces and have done quite a bit of cooking with them. Everyone always says if they are seasoned right they should be nonstick. I just haven't experienced this. Everytime I fry something in a cast iron skillet, especially meat, I'm left with a burnt carbon residue on the bottom of the pan that must be boiled and scraped off. My father cooks a lot with cast iron, and has just accepted that you must boil the pan after every use to clean it. Is this just how it is, or am I doing something wrong? I usually season 2 or 3 times by coating it in vegetable oil and baking at 400 for an hour at a time, cool, then repeat. I really want to like cast iron, but the performance is lacking.
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SteveRetherford
use some Pam first :-) you need to add some sort of oil or grease first .
[DrSteve2]    Steve , Keeper of the Light !!!
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Keith_PA
preheat your pan
add plenty of oil
cold meat + hot pan can cause sticking, take meat out of fridge a bit before cooking
i clean mine with hot water and a lodge skillet scraper, or just a plastic scubbie
i reheat the pan on the stove and oil again before next use normally.
Keith
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arizonacamper
Keith_PA wrote:
preheat your pan
add plenty of oil
cold meat + hot pan can cause sticking, take meat out of fridge a bit before cooking
i clean mine with hot water and a lodge skillet scraper, or just a plastic scubbie
i reheat the pan on the stove and oil again before next use normally.
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arizonacamper
+1 keith! seasoning does take time and repeated use. I also preheat my pans seems to help prevent sticking.
Vegetable oil or crisco is what i use.
I'm getting ready to cook up some carne asada and some chicken fajitas in both my skillets Yum!
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GCinSC
I’ve got a fair amount and usually it’s used wood fired. My Dutch ovens chili, stews, roast beef, western cut ribs usually no issues. A good skillet light oil between batches making pancakes easy peasy. Certain types of bacon cure leaves a mess best one for me has been Wright.

Something that can help get one going IMHO is to bake something in it, yes bake not bacon. Pizza can be a real winner.

I’m not afraid of a little soap if it’s nasty, just don’t soak in sink get it cleaned ASAP. Lodge says soap is ok it’s on their website. Heat after cleaning and while hot oil it, wipe it out and let it cool.

Watch your heat make it full coverage not a big skillet in a 425 on full rip. That overheats center gets cold edges.

Practice.

Gary, self acclaimed Cast Iron Camp Cook & Tinkerer.
Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate #0154
Mil-SpecOps #0308
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BSAGuy
I agree with a little oil, grease, or butter first and heat it up.  The non-sticking needs some help.  We have all gotten spoiled by Teflon, etc. and have forgotten that cooking requires some liquid, either water, a broth, or grease/oil.  That's the way our grandmothers all did it.
- Courtenay
Be Prepared
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Bob1774
check on the web for seasoning processes.  Seasoning is a carbonized coating, like porcelain, and you need some real heat to get that depending on the smoke point of the oil/fat you are using.  400 degrees sounds a bit low, as most CI websites would probably suggest a little higher, with several layers of build up.  You only need a sheen of oil, not puddles when you season it.  Many say baking some cornbread is the fastest way to season CI, where you heat the greased skillet, and dump in the mix.

As others suggest, CI isn't Teflon, so just add a bit of butter, oil, fat, PAM, etc.

I've been happy with cleaning my CI with the newer blue scrubbies, made for non-stick pans.  The green scrubbies will not only remove CI seasoning, but etch globes for a surprise crack.

The link below has some info that may be helpful.

http://www.castironcollector.com/seasoning.php
Bob
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UncleFred
Bob1774 wrote:
check on the web for seasoning processes.  Seasoning is a carbonized coating, like porcelain, and you need some real heat to get that depending on the smoke point of the oil/fat you are using.  400 degrees sounds a bit low, as most CI websites would probably suggest a little higher, with several layers of build up.  You only need a sheen of oil, not puddles when you season it.  Many say baking some cornbread is the fastest way to season CI, where you heat the greased skillet, and dump in the mix.

As others suggest, CI isn't Teflon, so just add a bit of butter, oil, fat, PAM, etc.

I've been happy with cleaning my CI with the newer blue scrubbies, made for non-stick pans.  The green scrubbies will not only remove CI seasoning, but etch globes for a surprise crack.

The link below has some info that may be helpful.

http://www.castironcollector.com/seasoning.php


 +1 Best information out there on the subject
Everyone's Favorite Uncle
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TallCanuckInSC
1) NEVER USE PAM. PAM contains lecithin which can leave a messy sticky waxy film behind.
2) To cook, use your favorite liquid or solid oils/fats (but not PAM!)
3) To clean, use a paper towel and a little bit of salt + water to remove food bits (if needed).
4) After using and cleaning, use solid fats (lard works especially well) to very lightly coat the pan, and heat until a light smoke is produce. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.

Also, when cooking meats, make sure that meat is thawed and that it's dry - pat it with paper towel if necessary. Water or ice crystal will boil and will likely make the meat taste less than premium.

TC
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Mister Bisley
TallCanuckInSC wrote:
1) NEVER USE PAM. PAM contains lecithin which can leave a messy sticky waxy film behind.
2) To cook, use your favorite liquid or solid oils/fats (but not PAM!)
3) To clean, use a paper towel and a little bit of salt + water to remove food bits (if needed).
4) After using and cleaning, use solid fats (lard works especially well) to very lightly coat the pan, and heat until a light smoke is produce. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.

Also, when cooking meats, make sure that meat is thawed and that it's dry - pat it with paper towel if necessary. Water or ice crystal will boil and will likely make the meat taste less than premium.

TC


+1 on not using PAM or pan spray. Cast Iron is pourous and will always have some sort of bits sticking to it.

Get a non-metallic pan scraper and a stiff nylon bristled brush. They work like a charm and are a staple in my Dutch oven cooking kit.

I have these two items in my traveling DO kit....
http://gsioutdoors.com/compact-scraper.html

https://www.msrgear.com/cookware/alpine-dish-brush-scraper




But these are also a decent option:
https://shop.lodgemfg.com/indoor-accessories/pan-scrapers.asp
https://shop.lodgemfg.com/indoor-accessories/scrub-brush-10.asp


Bradley
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
I have only one burning desire... Let me stand next to your fire!!!🔥


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Majicwrench
I use a Pam-type spray all the time with no issues when doing pancakes, eggs etc.

Keep the heat down too. My wife had a bad habit of grabbing a CI pan, turning the burner to  high, and throwing something in. 

I clean in sink, sometimes soap, sometimes salt, sometimes just wipe out, scrape off with metal spatula ,never takes much, (now that I have got my wife trained)

I usually clean while still hot/warm, then a light coat of oil.

Keep at it, keep heat down!
Keith
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RLM
So hot pan cold oil or hot pan hot oil? Is solid fat like Crisco or lard better in general for seasoning cast iron? I find my seasoning doesn't last terribly long and scratches easily with a metal spatula.
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Majicwrench
I've only used Crisco for seasoning, and usually just do a couple coats. I'm no expert, but it seems like the pans just get better with use, I don't recall ever having to  re-season.
Keith
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sailman
I season cast iron with vegetable oil a very thin light coat. 400 degrees for an hour and then let it completely cool on its own. I repeat this step three more times. Usually the first thing I cook is a pound of bacon which helps with the seasoning. When you season if you have too much oil on the pan when you heat it it will tend to gum up and be sticky. Oh and never any soapy water or metal utensils. Something stuck in the pan I'll put a little water in it and heat it up until what is stuck comes loose so I can be scraped off with a stiff brush. Then the pan is rinsed with warm water and put back on the stove burner to be dried. Then it gets a light coat of vegetable oil and put away until the next use. I've read that if you use lard to season cast iron and you put the lid on tight with no air circulation when you come back to it it may have a rancid smell. As far as oils to season cast iron I know a lot of people use flaxseed oil and even grapeseed oil.
Greg,  KN4JZZ wtb 6/11 grandson
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Stan_D
I use flaxseed oil, but the trick is to use "refined"flaxseed oil.  Both are available, but each has a way different smoke point (430 degrees for refined, 225 for unrefined)  The unrefined will flake off at normal cooking temps. It is my opinion that unrefined is responsible for the bad reputation Flaxseed oil has in some circles.  The only time it was a problem for me was when someone didn't preheat before cooking scrambled eggs.  I no longer take my CI to our group camp kitchen.

It is also MHO that the lack of a truly finished surface on CI made in the last 40 years or so contributes to the issues discussed here. That grainy surface on todays CI isn't "pre-seasoning", it's a lack of smooth surface, because makers have stopped doing it to save money. There are a couple manufacturers trying to bring back the old school style, but they're expensive.  Finex, and Smithey make some nice pieces.

Einstein, when describing radio said "Wire telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull his tail in NY and he meows in LA. And radio works the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."
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mikew
I reseasoned some old CI recently that had belonged to my grandmother.  After electrolysis to remove the old seasoning followed by a thoroughly cleaning, I used Crisco shortening, which has a relatively high smoke point.  Baked the pieces at 450 for an hour, then repeated a couple of times.  Easily cleaned with a plastic scraper and sponge. Recoat with a very light layer of Crisco.   Prior to use, the wife uses butter or pump spray PAM olive oil while preheating.
Mike
"... at evening time, it shall be light." Zechariah 14:7

Slant Saver #05; Milspec Ops 0045
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NWMike
I agree that CI with a ruff surface benefits  from being smoothed out.  Wire brushes and sanding with power tools can be your friend.
Better to use smaller quantities of seasoning applied multiple times than trying to short cut things with more applied fewer times.  The CI gets better over time as the process of applying a light coat of seasoning after cooking and heating it in is repeated.
I'm sold on crisco but it's a personal choice.
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Eel
I use a PAM-like spray from Trader Joe's (canola) to season in a 550F oven.  The higher the smoke point of your oil, the more durable the coating is (ymmv).
Needs some oil on the surface before dropping cold meat, or eggs.
Low heat works well to avoid sticking.  There's a tradeoff between cleanup and crustiness.
Chainmail pan cleaner is the thing!  Removes the debris without screwing up the seasoning.
Fried chicken is an excellent thing to do with your newly prepped pan - it'll put a second, durable layer on your existing season.

EEL Eclectic Lanterns, div.  Doofenshmirtz-EEL Incorporated.

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Cigarguy
Fairly new to cast iron. There are lots of different ways to clean and season cast iron.  All seems to work.  Definitely a lot more maintenance and care with cast iron.
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curtludwig
A lot of people get really wound up about cast iron, they'll tell you all sorts of things, high tech this and that. I've started to revert, just about all I cook in now is butter or lard. I need to get a supply of beef fat so I can try cooking in beef tallow, theres a good episode on cooking steak on the Modern Rouge Youtube channel where the guy sears meat with tallow.

My favorite way to season a new pan is to make tacos, the cooking of taco meat seems to really grease up a pan good, use good fatty beef, it'll taste better too.
The thing I've found with cast iron is to clean it right after cooking, the longer you wait the worse it is, you're not starving, dinner can wait 2 minutes. Get the pan hot but not scalding and pour some water in, you want the water to boil but not to flash to steam. Scrape with a plastic scraper and the leftover food bits will come right out. Rinse good in cool water and scrape out the last of the bits, wipe dry, add some oil or lard or shortening or whatever is closest to hand.

For eggs use half again more butter than you think you need, actually use a little more than that, maybe a little more, you really can't have too much butter... 😉
Curt

2017 ICCC Convention Host

BernzOmatic Appreciation Club #019

http://www.youtube.com/c/lanternlabs
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Cigarguy
^^^^ 100% agree.

Wonder how folks ever used cast iron pre-Internet days.
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JimL
Cigarguy wrote:
^^^^ 100% agree.

Wonder how folks ever used cast iron pre-Internet days.


They cooked with lots of fat until someone spread the word that animal fats in excess weren't healthy.  😉

-Jim

If your hands and under arms are bleeding, your beer bottle might not have a twist off cap.

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Cigarguy
JimL wrote:


They cooked with lots of fat until someone spread the word that animal fats in excess weren't healthy.  😉


True but anything in excess is not healthy.  I can't swim so water in excess is very very unhealthy for me. I know cigars and bacon is not good for me either.  But I'd rather die happy and free than be bound to rabbit food and misery.
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ecblanks
No, cast iron is not completely non-stick.  There are only a few surfaces out there, like teflon, which are truly non-stick.  If you want truly non-stick, then buy teflon and all that comes with it (flaking, fumes, etc).  
That said, cast iron is as close to a non-stick "natural" cooking surface that you will find, but it takes some getting used to, and there are several factors.  

1. Heat.  Low heat sticks much less, if at all, than high heat.  I can put a pat of butter in a skillet and heat it over low heat and fry an egg and it will perform just as well as teflon, in regards to not sticking.  However if I sear a steak or hamburger on high heat then yeah it's going to stick some.  If you properly let it sear and release there will be less sticking and scrubbing.  On the other hand, med-high heat is essential to prevent batter(pancakes, cornbread) from sticking.
2. Seasoning.  A pan well seasoned over the years will stick less than one recently bought or restored and only has a "base coat".
3. Fat.  Always, always , always add fat (butter, oil, bacon grease) etc. before cooking. 

Even in the best executed meal if you find some food has stuck, yes "boiling" (aka deglazing) is the preferred method, for me, for cleaning it.  That said it doesn't have to be a big deal.  Warm the pan then put just enough water to cover surface, then raise the heat until the particles easily slide off with a spatula.  Turn off heat, pour out residue, then wipe pan and it's ready for next use.  Any carbonized remnants add to the seasoning. 
Some folks use a combination of oil and salt, used as an abrasive, to wash the pan.  
Lastly, when you are done, with your pan warm give it a light sheen of vegetable oil to protect it from the elements.

Yes, cast iron takes more work but I think it's worth it.  Just like I'd rather use an old coleman lantern than a simpler LED one.
Carlton - 9/73
Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate # 0176
Slant Saver #29
Mil-Spec Ops #0973

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Cigarguy
ecblanks, great post.

I agree cast iron is worth it for so many reasons.  Over the past year I've been buying more cast irons than Coleman GPA.  All the points that people mention about cooking with cast iron also apply to Teflon, low heat, oil/butter/grease, don't use metal utensils, etc.  I treat my few remaining Teflon pan the same way as cast iron, low heat, no wire mess scrubbing (at least not too hard), same utensils on cast iron as Teflon.  As with any tool learn how to use and care for it and it will reward you.  Abuse it and expect to be abused. 
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NWMike
I would add one thing.  Seasoned CI and tomato sauce don't mix.  Anything acidic will mess up the seasoning on the CI fast.  If you just got to use CI than that's a good reason to have at least one piece with a good enamel finish.
OBTW, where are you guys going to on the dark web to buy your "teflon" coated cookware these days?
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Cigarguy
For tomato sauce or anything acidic nothing beats a stainless steel sauce pan.  In the right application stainless steel is great and will take a lot of abuse.
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ecblanks
I have a variety of cookware for a variety of applications. Mostly these days it's CI.
What do you mean by "where are you guys going to on the dark web to buy your 'teflon' coated cookware these days?
Has it been outlawed or something?  The last coated non-stick I brought home from a store was a Calphalon that I got at BB&B in exchange for my previous one where the finish had flaked off. Yes, they'll do that.  And even then that was like 3 years ago.
And what I was referring to as "teflon" may have not been, but something similar.
Related clip:

Carlton - 9/73
Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate # 0176
Slant Saver #29
Mil-Spec Ops #0973

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Gand28
I'll just add that the quality of the CI is important too.  Not all CI is created equal!  Newer stuff is much more porous and rough than the good old stuff.  Not just Griswold and Wagner.  There is some good unmarked Lodge and BSR to be sure.  I've looked over a lot of CI in my hunting and passed on some that felt too rough.  I've kept the best that I've found and like to use it.  Some of the old stuff is smooth like glass.  And I've stripped and reseasoned all of mine.  But if it's a bad pan, it doesn't matter how you season it, you won't get a non-stick surface!

FWIW, I use peanut oil and after use and cleaning, coat it with a light layer when I put it away.
Greg -- Fiat Lux!
ICCC Member #1273
Seeker of Canadian Nickel!
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Gand28
Cigarguy wrote:
For tomato sauce or anything acidic nothing beats a stainless steel sauce pan.  In the right application stainless steel is great and will take a lot of abuse.


Only thing may be glass Pyrex Flameware.  I use a couple glass pots for tomato sauce.  
Greg -- Fiat Lux!
ICCC Member #1273
Seeker of Canadian Nickel!
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curtludwig
The new bumpy Lodge stuff does get better over time. I've got a couple and it just takes more time for the seasoning to build up (or the bumps to wear down, or both) until its completely non-stick. When we got the last new pan it did taco duty for a few months before it got used to cook anything else...
Curt

2017 ICCC Convention Host

BernzOmatic Appreciation Club #019

http://www.youtube.com/c/lanternlabs
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BSAGuy
I am not really a CI collector, but I do cook in ours regularly.  Last thing I need is another "hobby."  I do have and regularly use several pans from my mother and grandmother.  I cleaned them all up using a lye soak and re-seasoned them a couple of years ago.

With so much thin walled, super smooth stuff out there, I don't see any reason to buy the thick, heavy, cratery Lode stuff.

Lately, I have been interested in the Griswold corn stick pans.  Bought 2 to clean up and have been using them to make some tasty corn sticks. 
- Courtenay
Be Prepared
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SteveRetherford
takes an awful lot of lard to make crispy corn sticks not stick to CI , there goes the diet :-) but boy do they taste good !!! the batter practically needs to float in the lard so they dont stick !!!
[DrSteve2]    Steve , Keeper of the Light !!!
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Flat_twin
You guys with the corn stick pans,  are you preheating the pan?  I just picked up and cleaned a no.22 Griswold corn bread pan.  It's the straight sticks not the one that makes them look like ears of corn.   I'll be trying it out later today for supper.  

When we make cornbread in a skillet,  the skillet gets preheated then a thin coat of butter before the batter goes in.  Never a sticking issue with that method but curious about the stick pans.

Mark __________________________________________
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BSAGuy
Yes, I preheat my corn stick pan.  Set oven on 425° for about 10 minuted to get pan good and hot.

Dab in a bit of Crisco in each "ear" and spread it around to coat the mold.  When I pour the batter, I want it bubbling a little upon contact. 

Be sure to let the sticks cool for a few minutes after you take them out of the oven.  That also helps them to come out whole and with a nice, crunchy crust.
- Courtenay
Be Prepared
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Flat_twin
Ok, here are the results...

This is one box of good ole Jiffy corn bread mix from Chelsea MI.  The pan was preheated 10 min in a 350 degree oven.  We normally use butter when we make it in a skillet.  Just to make things easier I used a quick shot of Pam and not much.  Baked at 350 for 18 minutes on the bottom rack,  chicken breasts were on the top rack.

Here's how they looked when I pulled them out.  As you can see I didn't worry too much about getting the same amount in each slot,  just poured it across the whole thing.



Brown on the bottom,  golden on the top.  They didn't fall out of the pan but came out easily with a metal spatula


A paper towel was all I used for cleanup.  Great way to cook cornbread if you like that crispy crust
Mark __________________________________________
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ecblanks
BSR (Birmingham Stove & Range) is my favorite.  Cheap, easy to find, super smooth surface (on the older stuff) and take a beating.  Much heavier than Griswold or Wagner, but cooks just as well.  BSR and Lodge are usually found unbranded (a few exceptions) but there are ways to identify.  Lot's of web resources on this.  
Most of my cooking is done on my #10 BSR, #7 Griswold, and #5 Lodge.  
The new Lodge stuff is fine for deep frying or dutch oven cooking where food is not coming in contact with the cooking surface "dry", but as Curt said even those will season up nicely over time.
Read an interesting article about how Lodge, the only big CI foundry in the country that survived the glory years, was almost out of business themselves until they introduced their factory-seasoned line (which all of their stuff now is).  So you make not like it as much but if they didn't do it we'd all be buying our new CI from China now.  Personally I like my old flea market stuff.  The new griddles are a good buy, for camping.  The smaller one fits perfectly on a 425 and the bigger ones fit perfectly on a 413.
Carlton - 9/73
Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate # 0176
Slant Saver #29
Mil-Spec Ops #0973

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curtludwig
I bought one of the new griddles and got about halfway through hitting it with a flapper disc to smooth it out when I thought "I wonder how the factory seasoning actually is" so I cooked a steak on the ripple side. Dang thing didn't stick a bit, it worked really well. Felt like a bit of a dope for spending the time to smooth out the flat side. Now a couple years on the flat side is well seasoned and smooth like it should be, I'm not sorry I took the time.
Curt

2017 ICCC Convention Host

BernzOmatic Appreciation Club #019

http://www.youtube.com/c/lanternlabs
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Stan_D
Someone gifted me an old (1960s?) Taiwanese 10.5" pan.  I haven't finished cleaning/seasoning it yet, but it does have a smooth cook surface. I think it will make a fine pizza pan. It's a tad smaller than my #9 Griswald, and shorter as well.

Einstein, when describing radio said "Wire telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull his tail in NY and he meows in LA. And radio works the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."
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mikew
Flat_twin wrote:
Ok, here are the results...

This is one box of good ole Jiffy corn bread mix from Chelsea MI.  The pan was preheated 10 min in a 350 degree oven.  We normally use butter when we make it in a skillet.  Just to make things easier I used a quick shot of Pam and not much.  Baked at 350 for 18 minutes on the bottom rack,  chicken breasts were on the top rack.

Here's how they looked when I pulled them out.  As you can see I didn't worry too much about getting the same amount in each slot,  just poured it across the whole thing.



Brown on the bottom,  golden on the top.  They didn't fall out of the pan but came out easily with a metal spatula


A paper towel was all I used for cleanup.  Great way to cook cornbread if you like that crispy crust


Man, that's making my mouth water!!! Just showed this to my wife and she ORDERED me to find one at the next flea.
Mike
"... at evening time, it shall be light." Zechariah 14:7

Slant Saver #05; Milspec Ops 0045
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Grandpa
You folks are killin me in here with all this cornbread etc...😛
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ecblanks
Not to beat a dead horse, but you ain't doing this with Teflon. And afterwards, clean up was a mild wash.
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Carlton - 9/73
Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate # 0176
Slant Saver #29
Mil-Spec Ops #0973

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sailman
I just couldn't get the picture of the cornbread sticks out of my head. It was made using a Wagner Sidney O number 8.
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Greg,  KN4JZZ wtb 6/11 grandson
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curtludwig
Oh man, guess I gotta go get some cornbread mix tomorrow in advance of the big storm.
Curt

2017 ICCC Convention Host

BernzOmatic Appreciation Club #019

http://www.youtube.com/c/lanternlabs
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Stan_D
You guys gotta stop using that "Teflon" word.  The newer pans work well, and don't flake.  Don't get me wrong, I love my CI.  But when the arthritis in my hands flares up, I can't use CI.  I have both Calphalon and T-Fal.  They stand up to metal utensils as long as you aren't heavy handed.  My T-Fal will wipe up after bacon with paper towel.

Einstein, when describing radio said "Wire telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull his tail in NY and he meows in LA. And radio works the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."
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Flat_twin
We have one or two modern no stick pans too.  Sometimes they're the right tool for the job.  We also like our Lifetime stainless steel pots.  You know,  the ones the salesman used to come to your house and cook you a meal as a demo and then pressure the heck out of your parents until they gave in and paid a ton for the set.   We got a couple pieces from my MIL and the rest we've found at yard sales and second hand stores.  

Mark __________________________________________
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johnb340
My favorite CI piece is one of those Lodge Sportsman Grills and I've always just used spray can oil or whatever we have on hand.  I clean this with an industrial type scraper and it's never hurt anything and it's supposed to be a sin.  The more that I've used the grill the better it's gotten over time and I think that is what really helps.

Eel mentioned the chainmail scrubber and I like them too and that's how we clean our pans.




JB
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Crater Eddie
There are lots of myths about cast iron. 
The truth is that metal utensils are fine for use in cast iron.  I use a metal spatula all the time, even in my newer Lodge skillets, it doesn't harm the seasoning at all.  Get a narrow thin springy one with rounded corners like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002CJNBTO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Best tool you'll find.
Once the iron is seasoned, the occasional tomato based dish doesn't harm it.  I make cavatini and chili occasionally, no problem.
It is perfectly ok to use soap to wash your cast iron if you feel the need to.  Just remember to rub it down with a thin coating of oil before you put it away.
Lodge is not junk.  One of my favorite pieces is the Lodge 10" Chef skillet.  Not as glassy smooth as my Wagners of course, but I like the ergonomics.  Its a great pan.  I fried SPAM and eggs in it just this morning, no stick and no mess.  Easy cleanup. 
If you happen to get a Lodge pan with a defect their customer service is very good.  I got a pan one time with a big blemish and after an email to customer service they sent me a new one and told me to keep the old one or throw it away.  I kept it and now use both.
I have found that there is some variation in the roughness of the new Lodge cast iron.  Go to Walmart or a Lodge outlet and take a good look at all the pans.  Some are smoother than others.  Just pick out the smoothest one and run with it.
The rougher cooking surface really isn't a big deal.  It seasons just fine and can be just as non stick as the older pans.  It does smooth out with use.
The best way to season a cast iron pan is to use it.  I have my favorite oil-and-bake seasoning routine just like most folks do, but that's just a shortcut.  Granny didn't do that, she greased up a new pan and used it.  I like to bake cornbread and biscuits in mine after my initial seasoning routine.  A couple dozen batches will do wonders.
CE
  


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Geoff40
I haven’t read through all the replies to your question about seasoning, so I’ll just put my 2 cents in. If you’re cooking your seasoning coatings of oil at 400 for an hour, I think the problem is that you are over doing it and incinerating the oil instead of cooking it on. I use any of a few different oils but most commonly simple canola, coat the pan, but no running excess of oil, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. I shut the oven off and leave the pan right in there to cool. A couple of coats and you’ll have a glossy, baked-on residue that is as nonstick as Teflon. I put a new coat of oil on almost every time I use a skillet, after washing it with water and a plastic scrubber only. The 350 degree heat will kill all the bacteria on it. And yes I also preheat in the oven, to 300-350, before using.
Coleman Slant Savers #41     1-60 wanted, except US models.

Geoff. Since 1960.
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