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The cast iron thread


Shran

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Who else on TRS is a cast iron user/collector? I am both... more of a serious user, my "collection" is pretty hodgepodge but I've run across quite a few pieces over the years that I just really like using.

I'll start, I usually find cast iron at yard sales and thrift stores. The only piece I've ever bought new is a Camp Chef dutch oven. This is my latest score, a VERY crusty Wagner Ware #10 skillet. I think this is an appropriate place to start given how gross it is... "seasoned" some might call it. I paid a buck for it and another buck for a rusty WW #3 skillet. There was a whole set but they were all in bad shape and the rest were $20 each.




There it is... 3/16" thick layer of burned on grease and a little rust and bird poop thrown in for good measure. Nasty ones like this get hit with a wire wheel on a grinder. Starting to show signs of life:


Ooooo buddy:



After the grinder treatment, I scrub them really well with a stainless steel scrubber, dish soap and hot water. That removes a lot of fine particles and dust.

I season pans on my BBQ grill. I wipe a thin layer of Crisco on, let it heat at 4-500 degrees until it stops smoking, then repeat one or two more times. That's all it takes.


Here it is in all it's glory... turned out really nice, it was cool to bring this one back to life. Gonna fry up some eggs on it tomorrow morning!
 


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Wow! Nice job. I would have passed on that even for a dollar, simply because I didn't know it could clean up like that.

I have a few pieces - 2 medium skillets, 1 small skillet, a round flat griddle and an oval dish shaped thing. All were purchased new. A good Dutch oven is something I need to look out for. I use my cast iron almost daily. Nothing else cooks right for me. And on a Coleman stove, you can't beat cast iron for keeping the temperature right.
 

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I’m not a collector per se but I do prefer cast iron for cooking over other metals. We have a few pans, dutch ovens, mountain pie irons, and a griddle for home and camping use where weight isn’t a concern.
 

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Nice job cleaning that up...

I'm always on the lookout for cast iron cookware. I had many pieces at one point... someone offered me pretty decent money for ALL of it. Down the road they went.

I need to piece together a few pieces again... the old stuff is way better. Around here in the land of antique shops galore... not much to be found on the cheap.
 

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Cleaning up nasty ones is a lot of work, I wouldn't blame anyone for passing them up.

My collection includes, I think:
- #3, #6, #10 Wagner Ware skillets
- #3, #5, #8 x2 Lodge skillets (old ones)
- 14" unmarked flat bottom skillet, warped, sucks to cook on but it was my great grandma's
- 15" Lodge skillet (modern model) this thing is AWESOME for certain meals, cabbage and sausage for example
- #8 nickel plated skillet - think this one is a Wagner too IIRC, it looks cool and is my beater camping tote skillet
- old Lodge double sided griddle
- modern Lodge "combo cooker" which is a chicken fryer deep skillet and #8 skillet that has a lip cast into it for use as a lid
- old Lodge corn muffin pan (no collection is complete without one.)
- Griswold dutch oven with the normal basting lid - this was my grandma's
- Camp Chef 9 quart dutch oven
- modern Lodge dutch oven, a small one, missing the lid, I just use it for melting lead
- Chinesium "wedge" corn bread pan
- big cast iron Wok, I forget the brand
- Mexican Fiesta griddle (tortilla pan)

Might be a few other pieces that I'm forgetting. I'll have to dig them all out for a family pic. I've had about 100 other pieces come and go, the ones above are the keepers. I am really partial to old Lodge cast iron... Griswold and Wagner look a lot nicer but I think the thicker Lodge castings cook better.

I don't cook on cast iron exclusively but I'm just about there... it's just so much more versatile than anything else.
 

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We have quite a few pieces, it's all I like to use really. Most of it is old, some of it is Wagner but you pay a premium for the name. Often you can get pieces that look identical to Wagner but without the name really cheap, and it works great.

Actually one that we use a lot is an 8" Lodge skillet I got at WalMart for $10. It was one of those rough cast jobs, but I put a 3" sanding disk on my drill press and ground the bottom smooth. It's a little thicker on the bottom, but that works well on an electric range top.
 
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I just looked at my Amazon wish list because I put a couple pieces of Lodge cookware for the wife to mull over at gift giving time.

I have the "combo cooker" and a 2qt Dutch oven. Those combo cookers are nice when camping... skillet/griddle/oven in two pieces The small Dutch ovens are nice to make corn bread and cobblers for two.
 

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Oh here we go again, I bought a #5 Wagner Ware skillet. It is really rusty but it matches my set... now I've got #3, 5, 6 and 10.



Very pitted, bottom isn't too bad


All cleaned up and seasoned, I did four coats of Crisco on this one



Family pic
 

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I have a Mainstays #2, a Ozark Trail #5 (both Walmart Chinesium) and a Lodge flat iron (circular) from Meijer (made in the USA) I really love the cast iron for its cooking properties. these three are all in the kitchen and the wife and I use them daily. We have an autistic son and certain things in his diet will increase the issues that he has. teflon is one of the big ones. and as almost all of our pans were well over 15 years old and the teflon was getting sketchy, we tossed them and bought the cast iron ones as a replacement. and the stainless steel lids of the old teflon pans fit perfectly on the cast iron if we need lids.

From Paul Wheaton in the Permaculture fame: You can make cast iron non stick, but you cannot make teflon non poisonous.

Looking at your post on reviving cast iron, I will keep an eye out at garage sales and what not... I love the idea of seasoning them in the gas grill. when I reseason ours, I usually use the oven and both the wife and son are very sensitive to smells...

AJ
 

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I'm sure I'll be mocked for this, but what exactly does seasoning do. My cast iron skillet has been rusty for decades. I just wire brush the crud off it before I cook. :dunno:

This pic is about what my skillet has always looked like...

luA21hS.jpg
 

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Seasoning protects it from rust and if done right makes it nonstick and easier to clean
 

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I'm sure I'll be mocked for this, but what exactly does seasoning do. My cast iron skillet has been rusty for decades. I just wire brush the crud off it before I cook. :dunno:

This pic is about what my skillet has always looked like...

Do you wash it with soap and water? I was told not to wash cast Iron pans, just with wipe them out with a rag.
 

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Prior to the separation I was cooking almost entirely with cast iron for years. At the moment I'm dealing with the nonstick pieces at my parents place but looking forward to switching back whenever I move back out. Definitely a fan of it.
 

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Do you wash it with soap and water? I was told not to wash cast Iron pans, just with wipe them out with a rag.
I wash mine with after every use. Rinse them with hot water. Then throw it on the stove over a medium flame to dry it. Once it’s dry it gets a light coat of oil and cooks for 5-10 minutes. Shut the flame off and let it cool before I put it away.

I picked up 2 cheap pans to add to my camping kitchen... man are they rough. You can’t wipe them down with anything. They rip sponges apart if you try to wash them. I’m going to end up sanding then down a little to knock down the poor casting.
 

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Do you wash it with soap and water? I was told not to wash cast Iron pans, just with wipe them out with a rag.
I do similar to how snoranger does... I use hot water only and an old plastic/ nylon spatula to scrape the food chunks off. Once they are clean, I pat dry with a towel and spray some PAM or other cooking oil on them and they are ready to do battle again.

Once a year or so I will scrub them down with hot soapy water and then reseason them and bake them in an oven to set the oil on them and make them nonstick. going to use the gas grill method next time, never even thought to use that lol

AJ
 


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