Oct 1, 2020
Here's why a cast-iron skillet is the best thing you'll ever buy for your kitchen and the smartest investment you'll ever make in cookware.
A cast-iron skillet is made from molten metal that is poured into a cast that forms it into a one-piece pan. Cast-iron is made mostly from Iron ore that has a high carbon content. The only company still making cast-iron cookware in the U.S. today is Lodge Manufacturing in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
Until World War II, the term "cast-iron skillet" was redundant, as every skillet was in fact made from cast-iron. In the 1960's, non-stick coatings entered the cookware scene and became all the rage, and by 2006, roughly 85% of skillets sold were "non-stick" Teflon. But concerns of toxicity from some non-stick pans has brought a new love for and appreciation of traditional cast iron. Cook's today now see what cooks long ago already knew~a cast-iron skillet is the best skillet any cook can own.
Although most "rules" say not to use dish soap, I use lightly sudsy water for heavy, fishy smells. An easy way to elminate most unpleasant odors that does not involve soap or suds is simple. Place the skillet in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes. This typically causes the smells to evaporate with the heat.
If you inherit a cast-iron skillet from a family member, it will definitely be seasoned from years of use. I would highly recommend buying a pre-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Lodge pre-seasons all of its skillets, which is a huge plus.
If you buy a cast-iron skillet, the best and only brand that I would recommend is Lodge. I love cast-iron and have an assortment of Lodge skillets in various sizes. I link to the ones I have below as well as a few other options for various cooking needs. Be aware when scrolling on amazon that other brands will pop-up and appear to be Lodge. Make sure you are buying Lodge for the best product.
The size that I use most often is my 12" cast-iron skillet. Whether cooking for two or twenty, this is the skillet I most often use. For one, I like for my pan to be spacious so that food doesn't crowd. Another reason is that I like my cobblers, cornbread and such to be on the thinner side. A 10" skillet is probably the most common size cast-iron skillet, as it will do most large jobs and also be easier to pull out for smaller things like grilled cheese sandwiches.
Although I cook almost everything in my cast-iron skillet, there are a few favorite recipes that I make that are exclusive to a cast-iron skillet. In other words, they just wouldn't be the same cooked in anything else.
I hope this information is helpful in making your cast-iron choices! As always, feel free to reach out with comments or questions. Thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!