Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware

I just love cooking with the old time, cast iron pans.  And, the Dutch ovens are excellent for making stew, soup or for roasting or braising.  They’re tough, rugged, (my favourite word), and once seasoned, cast iron makes an excellent, non-stick cooking surface.  I fry eggs on mine all the time… over easy.

One huge advantage of cooking with cast iron fry pans is when you are roasting something like a roast of moose, pork tenderloin or a chicken.  You can sear the meat in the pan to caramelize it and create more flavour, then finish it in the oven, all in the same vessel.  This style of cookware really handles the heat well, so they work great on the flame, burner or in the oven.  You can’t beat cast iron pans for open-fire cooking either.  I know many professional chefs who just love cast iron pans.

If you go out to your local store and buy new cast irons pans or Dutch ovens, they’ll need to be seasoned.  There should be instructions on the packaging.  But, even after seasoning, they take a while before they get well-seasoned.  I did a fly-in fishing trip a few years back with a friend of mine who is a well-known chef.   As is usually the case, I volunteered to bring the knives, cutting boards and – cast iron pans.  My chef buddy was very impressed with my pans.  “Well-seasoned, aren’t they?”  Then, he asked me if I’d sell them.  Silly man.

I recommend you check out yards sales, second hand stores and antique shops if you are considering buying cast iron pans or Dutch ovens.  Buy new only if you have to, not because they’re expensive because they’re really not.  They just take a while to get to where you really want them.  Well-seasoned.

I have about 15 or so cast iron pans and Dutch ovens and some have been passed down through my family.  I have several Dutch ovens and one them (I call this one the “fat boy” because it weighs a million pounds) was apparently my great-grandmother’s at one time.  I do remember my grandmother cooking with it when I was a kid, baked beans being a staple back then.   So good… and my Grampa’s farts – holy shit!   I remember this one time when I was a little kid, he really let one rip and I swear the whole house nearly fell down.

When you’re finished cooking with your cast iron ware, be careful when cleaning them.  Try not to scrub too hard, if you do at all.  All that work you put into seasoning will be for not if you scratch the surfaces.  Sometimes you can simply wipe them out with a cloth or paper towel, but every now and then you have to scrub them a little bit to get some of the crud off of the bottom.  Just use a soft scrubber of some kind, don’t use steel wool or any kind of abrasive scrubbers.   When you have it clean, dry it and then rub a light coating of oil into it and it’ll be ready for the next use.

You’ll see my old Dutch oven (the “fat boy”) and one of my cast iron pans in action on a new fishing show I’m working on called “Moccasin Trails with RD.”

Check it out on YouTube:

“Pound ‘er down!”

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