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After months of thinking about it I took the plunge a bought a set of cast iron cookware (made in the USA, on sale, with free shipping of course). I recently replaced my dead George Forman grill with a cast iron grill pan from a thrift store. I was so happy with the results of the grill pan I decided to take the plunge on a set. I am hopeful that this is one of those "Buy It For Live" purchases.

Can anyone point me to some good cast iron cookbooks or internet recipe sites? I am looking forward to playing with my new kitchen toys. :)
 

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You can cook almost anything in cast iron. It's excellent for frying, for example fried chicken, pork chops, bacon, hash browns, to name a few.

While it is new you will want to use more oil to keep things from sticking, especially eggs. After a year or two of regular use you will develop that non-stick patina cast iron is famous for. You will still have to use oil, but very little for most things.

You can stew and braise in it, but acidic sauces like tomato can eat away at your "seasoning", so it's not ideal for, say, making spaghetti sauce.
 
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I just bought the Lodge cast iron Dutch oven...I have used it to bake a WONDERFUL loaf of homemade bread. I already had 2 skillets, one I used occasionally, and the larger one I had used when we camped....we haven't camped for years. So I got them out and re seasoned those and I am trying to use them more often. If you are on FB there are several cast iron cooking sites I am following....good luck!
 
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I cook most everything in cast iron, including acidic foods. Just be sure the pans get washed right away as soon as they're cool enough to handle.

Our pizza pan is a 100+ year old round griddle I got at a garage sale for $1.50. It makes a great crisp crust and keeps the pizza warm till we come back for seconds. I bake a lot of other things in cast iron, too. If you want a crispy crust on things, use cast iron. It's especially nice for things like Bisquick Impossibly Easy Pies.

I usually pre-heat over medium heat. I put oil or spray in the pan and when the oil starts to show the pattern of the burner underneath, then it's hot enough. Sort of hard to explain.

Just consider cast iron to be all purpose for baking, frying, roasting, etc, and you'll find all sorts of things to cook in it. There are cookbooks available for Dutch oven cooking over coals, but IMO most are a waste of money, especially since they tend toward fatty, greasy food. I use the same recipes I use at home in my kitchen oven, no special recipes required.

Properly cared for, cast iron will last for generations. Be careful of thermal shock. Don't put a cold pan on a hot burner or put ice cold water into a hot pot. Try not to drop cast iron. It's brittle and it can crack.

If you're in a hurry to get that nice deep black patina, you can add a few layers of seasoning yourself. Just don't do it in the house when you can't open the windows, because it does get smoky.

If you are interested in learning to bake with cast iron over charcoal outside, start here: Outdoor Cooking with Dutch Ovens - Lone Star Dutch Oven Society The ring method of charcoal placement is all you'll ever need to know about charcoal cooking, no math, no counting coals, no turning the pots or lids, etc. Very simple. You can use a Dutch oven without legs or another pot with cast iron lid if you don't have a camp style DO.

Lodge is the only foundry still casting iron cookware in the US and is considered by many to be the Cadillac of cast iron, so congrats on an excellent choice. Which set did you get?

Have fun. You're going to love it!

 

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That's a great deal on a starter set! Once you get used to cooking with cast iron, you run the risk of developing an affliction called cast ironitis, which will result in the burning desire to acquire more and more cast iron in all its assorted wonderful shapes, sizes, styles, and purposes.

Your new griddle would make a nice pizza pan, as would either of the frying pans. The griddle is also nice for making tortillas. As you can see in that picture, cornbread also cooks up wonderfully in cast iron.

Camp Chef sells really nice made in China cast iron, so it's more about the company you deal with than where the stuff is made. It's great to support US industry and workers though. GSI Outdoors makes great cast aluminum camp DO's, which I appreciate more and more the older I get and the heavier cast iron becomes!
 

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You did get a great deal. Some of my favorite recipes are skillet pineapple or peach upside down cake, buttermilk cornbread (no sugar added please), applesauce cake, biscuits & fried chicken. When you grill, put your baked beans in a cast iron skillet & on the grill also. If you want more pieces, shop garage sales or flea markets & be on alert for good buys. Look on ebay, etc., for pieces that you would like to have and note their prices, so you'll have a price in your head that you feel is a good buy, but be careful as some are too high. I did buy my Lodge 14" pizza pan on Amazon with free shipping because I knew that those rarely ever appear anywhere; great for a crunchy crust. My dd has 2 dutch ovens and one lid (one with a bail and one without) that dh found on the roadside after a garage sale. They had so much rust on them they were bright orange and whoever threw them away obviously didn't know anything about cleaning them. DH put a wire brush on his drill, cleaned them up, I washed them, let them dry and redid this procedure several more times. Then we oiled them well and heated them up good, then redid this several times. They are great. I got dd a 12" skillet as part of a 3 minute "supermarket sweep" that I won as a useful "memory". I have the small egg skillet, the 6", 8", 10", (2) 12" skillets, dutch ovens in various sizes, deep chicken fryer, 6 ct muffin pan, corn stick pan, 2 qt. pot, 10" griddle, 10" oval fajita pan, drop biscuit pan, bacon press and more that I can't recall right now. Like SD, I cook anything in cast iron, including chili, spaghetti sauce, greens. Like she said, just wash it before it gets cold (but not too hot) and dry it on the stove just a little. I am on the lookout for a cast iron pie pan as well as anything else unusual or that someone I know might could use. Got two 10" skillets and an 8" skillet at an auction for $10. they were already seasoned. My friend needed a 10" and our IT manager needed the other 10" as well as the 8" for his camper. Always keep your eyes peeled for a good deal. I gave my daughter & nieces skillets as Xmas presents when they were growing up, for their hope chests. I also give the 3 piece sets as shower gifts or housewarming presents.
 

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It's harder to find cast iron secondhand the past few years, at least around here. It's back in style now so demand is up. As soon as the next latest and greatest non-stick stuff that'll either poison you or wear out after the first year or both comes around, then cast iron will be cheap and plentiful again.

I've gotten almost all my household CI secondhand. Sadly, most of the camping stuff I've had to buy new because it just wasn't available. I did, however, score a #12 Lodge DO for $8 once and a #10 Lodge for $2. Those are the only Lodge camp ovens I've seen in fifty years of garage saling though. I've gotten most of my CI that I had to buy new at Amazon. They have the best prices, and prices fluctuate too, so if it's too high, just keep watching and it'll probably come down. With Amazon's free shipping, it's the best place I've found to buy new CI unless you can hit a big sale like on Overstock, but that's hit and miss.
 

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Cornbread and fried potatoes are the absolute best in an iron skillet. No comparison!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yum!!! Now I am hungry. I hope my new pans will be here by the weekend so I can have bacon and potatoes on Sunday morning.
 

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DH loves it when I do the bacon, onions & cubed potato fried thing. Now he wants me to do it with cubed turnip roots instead of potatoes. He'll be eating solo on that one, I love mustard greens & collards, but don't like turnip (greens or roots) in any way, shape or form. ICK!
 

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Instead of 'normal' potatoes, use sweet potatoes. =)

My breakfast bake is sweet potatoes, butternut squash, onion, peppers, sausage, a couple of eggs and cheese on top.

On stove top:
Brown the sausage, add veggies cook until soft, add the eggs and scramble.

In the oven about 350:
Add cheese on top, bake 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is nice and bubbly. Season to taste

Scott
 

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I slice the potatoes instead of making cubes. Husby and I argue over the crispy bits scraped off the bottom of the pan. We're like a couple of ravens vying for the tastiest pieces of roadkill. Natter, natter, natter. LOL.

BTW, when I do cube potatoes, I run them through the French fry cutter for the first cut, then cut crosswise with the chef's knife on a cutting board. It's easy to get nice small uniform cubes that way.
 

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I use my skillets for bacon just like everyone else, but I love the look of something that has been baked in cast iron.

Cornbread and biscuits both look awesome baked in a cast iron skillet, but my favorite is probably this Swedish apple cake. It just looks amazing and it's always gotten rave reviews. I often make it with breakfast when we have company over.
 

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Pork chops cooked in cast iron are hard to beat...sear on pretty high heat on top of stove...finish off in oven for a few mins at 400-450. Every time I make chops my smoke alarm goes off. LOL
 
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