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Cast Iron Cooking

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey I'm new to cast iron cooking, and I recently purchased a double sided griddle/grill pan, and a 12 inch skillet. However, whenever I cook with them, they burn the food. For example, cooking hamburgers the other day on the skillet totally blackened them. Any tips?

Thank You
post #2 of 6
You are cooking at to high of a flame,these pans conduct heat very well and also hold heat for a long time. Use and adjust like you would a griddle.:chef:
post #3 of 6
First off, new cast iron has to be cured, or else food will stick.

There are several approaches, but the simplest way is to coat it well with grease, pop it in the oven, and let it cook for a couple of hours. Let it cool in the oven overnight. Regrease and do it again.

After that, your cast iron should, the first few times, only be used for frying, to assure further development of the cure.

Well cured ironware is as close to being non-stick as you can get. But has none of the drawbacks of, say, teflon coating.

Once the iron is cured, there are two things to consider. One, because it is such a great conductor, it heats up readily, and retains that heat better than other materials. So you want to work on a lower flame than you are used to. High heat leads to burning and sticking. Second, you want to preheat the piece, either over a low flame or in the oven, so that it is evenly heated to the cooking temperature before you add the food.

Once you've achieved a good cure, and are comfortable with the cooking techniques imposed by cast iron, you'll love it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #4 of 6
just as a point of science....

cast iron is not an especially good conductor of heat.
the ability to conduct heat is called "thermal conductivity"
for data & units, see: Thermal Conductivity of Metals

at the top of the scale is silver; a very close second is copper
aluminum is half those, and cast iron about 20% of 'the best'
the exact numbers vary depending on precise composition and alloys.

the ability to "hold" heat is "specific heat" - if you look up those numbers the normalized coefficients can be misleading.
the coeffcients address "heat retention" on a "per mass" basis.
aluminum, for example, can "hold" more heat than cast iron - but in the real world a cast iron pan has a lot more mass than an aluminum one.

if you construct two pans of same size and thickness, the cast iron one will weigh 2.65 times as much as the aluminum.
on a per mass basis, the cast iron will "hold" about one half the amount of heat energy as the aluminum.
however - once hot, the cast iron has a 30%+ advantage in "available BTU" to transfer to the item under cook, once further heat input is eliminated.
note that aluminum pan construction rarely approaches the same thickness of material as cast iron -
in practices, perhaps one quarter to one third the mass of a similar cast iron pan.
with the end effect that "retained heat energy" in cast iron is more like 90% to 120% more than for aluminum.

so why the historical preoccupation with copper?
copper is more dense than cast iron or aluminum, but retains less heat than cast iron or aluminum, and "conducts heat" much faster than either.
that makes copper more 'responsive' to increased / decreased heat input than either.
when you twist the dial, you experience the 'cooking result' faster with copper than when using other materials.
post #5 of 6
I didn't see this mentioned, NEVER wash your cast iron with soap. It will strip all the curing off and you will have to start over. I use a little warm water, salt, and a paper towel to scrub out any stuck on bits, if nothing is stuck a simple wipe with a few paper towels is all that's needed.
post #6 of 6
ditto, you heat is too high...how well seasoned are your pans? Even if you bought "pre seasoned" pans, you need to season them some....assuming you're talking about raw iron rather than enameled cast iron..
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