How I Keep Carbon Steel and Cast Iron Skillets Non-Stick

jman72

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Are those photos of you DO's?

Is that parchment paper on the interior?
Four of them are mine and the others belong to my Boy Scout troop (I'm the Scoutmaster). Our troop has really been doing a lot of Dutch oven cooking lately- a couple of weeks ago we had 10 going at once on a camp out.

Yes, we use either the Lodge DO lines or just regular parchment paper. I know, that goes against the "traditionalist" view. But, even when your cast iron is properly seasoned (and ours is- I spend a couple of hours after each camp out cleaning and taking care of all the ovens), cleaning and oiling 10 ovens take a LOT of time. The parchment paper makes it MUCH more convenient and doesn't detract from the experience (especially for a bunch of Boy Scouts).
 

Nightclub Dwight

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For day to day cleaning I drizzle some oil in and dump a handful of kosher salt. The salt is a great abrasive to take off the gunk, and you end up maintaining the seasoning at the same time.
 

jvin248

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Cast iron is durable and the seasoning process doesn't need to be regimented.
.... If you need to clean the pot then clean it.
I see too many freak out needlessly or get locked into a day-long seasoning process.

Scrub with salt. Rinse. Oil the pan with your favorite oil and heat the pan then put butter in there before cooking. The two oils will create an extra slippery non-stick surface.

I have both antique and modern cast iron, threw out all the coated aluminum ones years ago.

You never heard anyone back in the day fretting about their cast iron other than how heavy it was.

.
 

natec

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I started using coarse 'synthetic steel wool' from 3M on mine - no soap, hot water, dry off and hang up.



Since the thing we can't talk about started 20 months ago - I've cooked my breakfast at home 5+ days a week on cast iron.
 

oldunc

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Really no reason not to wash cast iron with soap and water and I see no reason why carbon steel will be different. The nonstick properties come from a coating of polymerized oil, which is an extremely tough plastic layer, similar to but much stronger than oil finishes for wood.
 

Stanford Guitar

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My carbon steel quiver. 12",10",8"

1E8E1BED-EE9B-45C9-8E53-FAB0E436C75A_1_102_o.jpeg
 

radtz

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grapeseed oil and a chainmail scrubber:

You can also drape the srubber over your rice maker just in case your blender gets any ideas...
 

telemnemonics

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After I guess 55 years of cooking with cast iron (got cooking duty as soon as I was tall enough to look DOWN into the pan) I only use butter and clean with a thin edged flexible SS spatula, which slices off any stuck on stuff. Then wipe excess butter/ oil with a paper towel.
For saute though I use SS All Clad, iron is pretty much for eggs these years.
The pan I use daily is from the 1800s, very thin and very smooth but not really flat bottomed, kind of a hill in the middle so eggs move toward the edges.

My only real obsessive treatment is of idiots who do terrible things with my iron pans!

I've used steel but never liked that material, could be as you suggested @Stanford Guitar that the non porous nature doesn't take a finish as well?
 
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Nightclub Dwight

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Carbon steel seems to be a little more sensitive to losing seasoning with soap and scrubbing as compared with cast iron. Maybe because the pan itself is much less porous and much more slick as compared with cast iron?

Yeah, Cook's Illustrated recommends seasoning carbon steel pans right before cooking, regardless of how much seasoning is already on the pan. For this quick seasoning, just rub an extremely thin, light coat of oil on it, and heat on the stovetop till it smokes. Let it cool, then cook as normal. Repeat the quick seasoning process if you are using the pan for multiple batches.

I used my carbon steel skillet tonight for an udon noodle stir fry. It went great, till I pushed the pan too far. I wanted some chicken in mine, but my partner is a vegetarian. I normally cook two batches, but I took a shortcut and cooked everything in one batch, save for the chicken. I plated her portion, then threw the chicken in the pan with the noodles and veggies. I squirted some oil around the chicken, but I had some of the udon noodles stick. It wasn't a big problem, and it was definitely my fault for not batching the stir fry into two cooks. It was worth it since it cleaned up easily. In the end I saved time, but it was a little embarrassing having food stick in my normally non-stick carbon steel skillet.
 




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