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Cast Iron

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Old 11-23-2011, 03:54 AM   #41
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The only useful thing I've learned in my chemistry class is the science behind the wisdom of our grandmothers. Granny will tell you that cast iron heats up faster, is more efficient, and distributes the heat more evenly, eliminating hot and cool spots. It has to do with the specific heat capacity of cast iron in comparison to all these other "modern and improved" materials. Cast iron can't hold as much heat as the other metals before it must be transferred, which is what makes it more efficient and heat up to cooking temp faster. Because of the way they're built, with a thicker bottom for durability, they distribute that lesser heat much more evenly.

It takes much more heat energy to get a modern pan up to cooking temp, as steel and aluminum retain much more heat than iron (close to double, but not quite). These pans are usually built using much less material, in the case of steel because it's a more durable material to begin with and extra mass in metal just isn't needed for durability. These thinner pans that retain much more heat, also have a habit of releasing their higher amounts of retained heat very suddenly, sometimes causing accidental burning of a potentially very good meal.

Granny's wisdom explained through science, and retold by a redneck. Who'da thunk it?
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:33 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by lonyaeger View Post
I've had my Wagner cast iron skillet for years. I clean it with hot or boiling water and never lost the season. I would never use soap on it, though.

Actually, I some times clean it by filling it half way with hot water and boiling on the stove for a few minutes.....and it doesn't alter all the work I put in to seasoning it properly.

What brand is yours? I've found that, with the Lodge stuff, I can never get the cooking surface as smooth as it should be.
I agree, Lon. I sometimes boil a little water in my cast iron to get burned chunks out of it but it never ruins the seasoning.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:18 PM   #43
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Been using cast iron for MANY moons....lets see the wife and i have been together for 23 years...i bought our set (el cheapos, learned the hard way that a wooden handle that screws in is NOT advantageous...ALWAYS buy them with CAST my camp skillet) the first year we set up house together.

We (daughter and son before her) wash the skillet in hot water and soap every night. Just put it on the stove top on one of the burners after washing and use heat to dry. When it starts to look a little grey or rusty i soak a piece of paper towel in veggie oil, crank on the burner, dump some veggie oil in the pan and swab the surface for a while and cook that oil into the pan.

Another little "chemistry" lesson....cast iron is porous, when you heat it, those pores open. You actually cook the oils right into the material. That s why it becomes nonstick. Also this is why when new the surface of cast is rough and gets smooth with use/seasoning. Its the oil building up in the pores.
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