First, if your pan is brand new, wash it with soap and water. From here on out, you’ll only use hot water to clean your pan. Second, coat the entire surface of the pan with vegetable oil or lard until shiny but not dripping. Third, place your skillet upside down in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for two hours (placing tin foil on the base of the oven under your pan will keep your oven clean from drippings). Fourth, remove skillet and let cool. Fifth, repeat two more times for a natural easy-release surface that will last way longer than any chemically-coated non-stick pan as long as you take the proper care.
Today, many brands of cast iron skillets come already pre-seasoned. This means that you can skip this step altogether, but I found it helpful to do it anyways. In any event, your pan will only improve its seasoned surface with use.
How to clean your cast iron skillet:
As soon as possible after cooking, simply wash with hot water (no soap) and scrub with non-metal scouring pad or scrub brush to remove all food residue. Next, dry the skillet immediately with a dishcloth followed by a rub down of the cooking surface with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. I use my hands to rub the oil in, but if there’s excess oil, I use a paper towel or dish towel to wipe it up.
And most importantly, my favorite way to COOK meat with a cast iron skillet:
The greatest attribute of cast iron cooking in my book is that you can get a great caramelized crisp sear on meat which is the first step to super moist oven roasting.
Whether you’ve got a couple of great steaks, a pork tenderloin, a whole or split quarters of chicken, you can incorporate this cooking technique into many recipes. I even use it for better-than-on-the-grill burgers.
Step One: Make sure you’ve preheated your oven to around 350 degrees.
Step Two: Heat your cast iron skillet on medium-high heat for 2-5 min. Heat two skillets at the same time if you’re cooking for 3 or more people. Overloading a hot skillet will bring the temperature down too low for a good sear.
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