I don’t know if I’ve mentioned on here before, but I like cooking with cast iron. If you read homesteading podcasts you’ll see that a lot. I can tell you though, I didn’t come across my love of cast iron through homesteading. It started while camping. Those amazing desserts that came out of a cast iron dutch oven are what started me into looking at cast iron cookware. Then I found the skillets. I have used mine on stovetops, ovens, campfires, grills, wood stoves and any number of other heat sources.
Personally, I enjoy the products put out by Lodge, as they are American made and all, but in the years I’ve used them I have found I can always count on them. Now there are lots of different options available, but I’ve found that the one I use most is my Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet – 12 Inch. I find it a great size and really love being able to take what I’m cooking from the stove and toss it right into the oven to finish it up. These are pans that can be used for years upon years if taken care of (and sometimes even if not).
Reseasoning Your Cast Iron
After most times that I use my cast iron I don’t wash it with soap. I’ll scrape out the extra bits, heat it up and spray a bit of cooking spray in so that it is ready for the next use. If there is a bunch of gunk I’ve at times poured in some regular table salt, used a paper towel to scrub things out and then rinse it clean. Other times I’ll put in some water and put it on the stove on high till the water boils. However, normally about once a year I’ll go through and reseason my cast iron pieces. This normally happens in January.
I’ll start off by scrubbing down each piece with a stiff brush and using soap. The goal is to give them a good scrub. Next, I’ll dry them off completely. Then they get rubbed down, normally I use shortening. It is possible to use your favorite cooking oil if you like, even lard if you prefer. You want to make sure that you get a fairly thin and even layer all the way around your pan (or other pieces). Top, bottom, front, back, handles or even antlers, as the case may be.
Once everything is coated they go into the oven, I normally heat the oven up to 400 F. Its best to put them in upside down if possible and have something to catch any drippings. I leave mine in for about an hour, then turn off the oven. Once they are cool you can bring them out and put them back into a normal rotation.
One of the great things is how nice your newly seasoned pieces look when you bring them out. They have this amazing black look, almost like they are brand new. In case you are wondering, the moose lives on the top of the wood burning stove to add humidity back to the house while you have a fire going. I couldn’t find the moose one, but there are some other options out there like the Fox Cast Iron Wood Stove Steamer.