One of my favorite kitchen tools is the classic cast iron skillet. My mom and granny both cooked in one religiously. My granny’s cornbread skillet has to be the smoothest and best seasoned skillet I know. My mom has a rare talent for finding old, warped skillets and making them like new again with her seasoning skills.
Seasoning in this instance is not like salt and pepper, for those who don’t know. Seasoning refers to a technique for prepping a cast iron skillet. If you treat a cast iron skillet correctly, you won’t need to season regularly.
Soap should never be used on cast iron skillets.
Trust me on this. The skillet is very porous, so the soap residue will remain, which will seep out into your food. My home economics teacher in high school taught us that the very best way to clean a cast iron skillet is with hot water. One you’ve cleaned it, heat it on the stove to ensure that every droplet of water is removed.
If you find an old skillet (those are my favorite kind), the rare exception to soap maaay be right before you season it. This is incredibly debated, though. If you choose to use soap, make sure you use a heavy duty scrubber with lots of hot water after you do so.
After you dry it, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil all over the interior of the pan. I mean thin. You don’t want build up on your pan. Finally, place your skillet upside down in a 400-degree oven for an hour.
Lard was originally used in place of oil. This is still commonly used by people who regularly use their skillet. Animal fat, though, can go rancid if you don’t use your skillet often, so this will need to be a personal preference.
Once your skillet is seasoned, you can just maintain it. To maintain, sfter you wash your skillet with hot water, add a very, very minute amount of oil to your pan. I also like to place paper towels in between skillets.
If you cook with cast iron, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
Here’s a super, super easy two-ingredient “recipe” for you to try!
Combine an 8-oz brick of cream cheese with a can of Hormel chili (no beans for us Texans). Heat on top of top to melt cheese. Place in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips. Enjoy!