How To Cook With Cast Iron

- [Narrator] We use cast iron skillets all the time in the Tasty Kitchen for a million different reasons. They're virtually indestructible, they last forever, and unlike a lot of things you're gonna have in the kitchen, they actually tend to get better with age. People are often a little bit intimidated by cast iron, thinking it's, you know, very hard to deal with or hard to clean. It's actually really

easy, you just have to know what you're looking for. So, seasoning is a process you want to go through even if it's new or you have an old cast iron that was passed down to you. Often when you have a new cast iron and there's been any water that's left on, they're really susceptible to rust. We're gonna help you figure out how to prevent that from happening and how to clean that

off. So we're gonna start by getting some steel wool. Whether it's knew or has a bunch or rust on it, we're just gonna scrub it down with steel wool with a mild dish soap and just get it down to its kind of base layer. The way that cast irons are made, it's all kinda one piece and you can't just season the part that you cook with. You want to season the entire

thing. While we're here we're just gonna keep scrubbing along all of the sides, on the back of it, turn it over, get the handle. Once you're happy that all the rust and or gunk off there, you can go give it a rinse under hot water. And either use one of those non-abrasive scouring pads or the tough side of a sponge. Just do another quick go around, making sure you got every nook

and cranny. A good rule to remember whenever you're dealing with cast iron is water will make it rust. We always want to get it as dry as possible before we store or move onto the next step. So because of that, we're gonna dry it off with a towel and then you're gonna put it onto your stove and turn it on. And let all of that excess water, any extra moisture, boil off. Once

you're happy your skillet is bone dry, we're gonna take it off the heat and start our seasoning process with a thin layer of oil. The new standard is that flax seed oil is the best oil for the job. It actually drys the hardest and creates the best non-stick, longest lasting seasoning. The only downfall is it is pretty expensive and if you don't want to spend that much money or frankly, you just

don't have it in your pantry, canola oil will work just fine. A little background on your skillet. The surface is actually porous, which just means there's kind of small holes or pores even that we kinda want to fill up to make a nice, smooth cooking surface. So once we have this thin layer of oil all over the skillet, we're actually gonna do our best to wipe it all off. There's enough oil

that has soaked into those open pores. So take the clean side of your paper towel and rub off as much of the oil as you can. One of the biggest problems people have is they don't wipe off enough oil and they have too thick of a layer, and then it comes out of the oven very sticky still and not giving them the result that they want. So you're gonna put

your cast iron in your oven on the highest temperature it can go, between 450 and 500 degrees. So this process is gonna take about an hour. The reason we need our oven so high is that we actually want to take the oil past its smoking point so that the oil actually starts to breakdown and bond with the cast iron. So if you've ever taken our your skillet and it's still kind

of brown and sticky, it's probably because your oven wasn't hot enough. So after an hour, you can turn off your oven and let it cool in there. The result is a hard glassy layer that we're looking for that helps make our cast iron non-stick. So, intro to cooking with cast iron. You actually really do have to pre-heat it. It doesn't necessarily heat evenly, but it keeps the heat really well. So just take

your time, heat it on a low to medium heat. This may take five to ten minutes. Because cast iron is such a great conductor of heat, if you actually just carefully hover your hand over the bottom of the skillet, you can feel when the pan's ready to go. A lot of people are confused. You know, they did all the seasoning and their food is sticking to the pan. Usually that's because they're

putting cold food in a cold cast iron pan. One reason to get a cast iron skillet really is to sear things like meat. So another things that people are maybe confused about when they're cooking with a cast iron is they tend to wanna just move the food around a lot. And actually what we're trying to do here is build up a nice caramelized crust. So when you put any meat in your

hot skillet, just leave it. Let it cook. When you see the kinda brown crust forming on the outside, that's when you know it's ready to flip. So if you're trying to lift up your steak and it just will not give, it's probably just not ready yet. The meat will self release when the crust has formed. Why we love using cast iron skillet for Tasty too is because you can start something on

the stove and finish it in the oven. So you oven here that you can't cook acidic foods in a cast iron skillets. However, if you have a good layer of seasoning on there, that's totally fine. You don't want to do a ton of, you know, a big tomato sauce or a bunch of wine or vinegar, but a little bit's not really gonna kill your seasoning. Don't be afraid to roast things like

tomatoes in your cast iron skillet. The great thing about being able to cook with something on the stove top and finish it in the oven is you just have a lot more control. You can get a nice layer of caramelization from a high heat on the stove and then finish something cooking in the oven on a much gentler, radiant heat. So when you're cleaning your cast iron, you want to hit a

sweet spot. If it's cooled down too much, the food will adhere and really stick to the pan. And if it's too hot and you put it under cold water, you can risk it cracking. So you want to wash the pan pretty soon after you use it. The most gentle way to clean your skillet is with hot water and salt and a non-metal scouring pad or the rough side of your sponge. The

salt works as an abrasive and helps to scrub off any food that's on there without damaging the seasoning at all. Once you're happy that your pan is clean, give it another towel dry and then let it completely dry off either on the stove or in a warm oven just to make sure there's no lingering moisture. And that's gonna protect it from rusting in the future. So last thing, we're gonna put

a protective layer of oil on the skillet before we store it. Carefully with a paper towel, rub that all along the inside. Turn up the heat until the oil is smoking, then turn it off and let it cool on the stove. The reason why we want to take up to the smoking point is so that the oil doesn't turn rancid. Cast iron skillets may seem like a lot of work but just

follow these simple rules of seasoning and cleaning and these pans will last you a lifetime. It's like loving a good woman. The more you give, the more you get back. (laughing)
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- [Narrator] We use cast iron skillets all the time in the Tasty Kitchen for a million different reasons. They're virtually indestructible, they last forever, and unlike a lot of things you're gonna have in the kitchen, they actually tend to get better with age. People are often a little bit intimidated by cast iron, thinking it's, you know, very hard to deal with o...