Log Cabin Cooking: Using a Cast Iron Skillet

cast iron skillet photo
Photo by naotakem

What’s a log cabin without a classic cast-iron dinner?

Cooking with cast iron may be one of the most delicious dying arts. There’s nothing quite like the taste of bacon fried in a properly-seasoned cast iron pan, and nothing makes a cabin smell better in the morning like a well-cooked cast-iron breakfast.

It can be hard to properly cultivate and maintain a well-seasoned cast iron skillet

One of the biggest barriers between you and a well-cooked cast iron meal, though, is the know-how you need in order to properly use and care for your cast iron cookware. Cooking with a cast iron skillet right off of the shelf just doesn’t work as well as a well-seasoned one, which is why the team here at TruLog has put together this handy guide to looking after your very own cast iron cookware.

First off, we’ve got to define terms: what does “seasoning” even mean?

A seasoned pan, in this case, means that the cast iron of the cookware has absorbed the fats and oils of the meals you’ve cooked, and turned it into a well-worn and versatile non-stick coating. That’s all! At its heart, it’s not too complicated– all you’re looking for is the conditioning that gives your cookware that tasty and useful edge.

In this world of detergents and disinfectants, however, it can be hard to properly cultivate and maintain a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. That’s why it’s important to treat your skillet properly from the outset: make sure you wash your cast iron skillet with soap only once, once you bring it home from the store. Even then, make sure you use gentle soap, to prevent damage to the iron itself.

From there, you can artificially season your skillet by heating it at 300 degrees in the oven, then rubbing it with a tablespoon of lard or bacon grease. This will help your skillet start building up the proper seasoning without the hassle of cooking in an unseasoned pan (which can be difficult!)

After you season your skillet, knowing how to properly clean it is essential.

Never use soap, and never let it soak– iron will rust, and soap will cut through the grease that you’re trying to keep. Instead, you can use a sponge or brush (not a metal one) to get the bits off. If that doesn’t work, use a cup of salt to soak up the excess grease, and to act as an abrasive. Most importantly, no matter how you clean your cast iron cookware, always dry it completely! Cast iron is more sensitive than stainless steel, and will quickly break down and rust if left damp.

If you’d like more information about cooking with a cast-iron skillet, take a look at this website. There are a lot of resources out there to help keep your cabin cooking tasting great!

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