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View Poll Results: Do you prefer bare or enameled cast iron cookware?
Bare all the way baby! 30 76.92%
I prefer to cover up with enamel. 4 10.26%
I don't do iron. 5 12.82%
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Bare Cast Iron vs Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
Old 11-01-2009, 08:58 AM   #1
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Bare Cast Iron vs Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

I've finally gotten fed up with the non-stick surface of my regular frying pans flaking off so they had some bare cast iron cookware on sale at the store so I got one pan to try out. I've never cooked on cast iron before, but I thought it would be a good LBYM purchase as it should last pretty much forever.

But after I got it and looked online a little more about it, I wondered if I shouldn't have gotten the enameled cast iron pan? Probably doesn't matter much but I'd be keen to know what you folks prefer and why. Maybe next thing needs replacing I'll go with enamel if there seems to be a good reason.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:04 AM   #2
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I use bare nekkid cast iron. Some of my pans are nearly a 100 years old. They are naturally non-stick when properly seasoned. I can't emphasize that enough. I have two enamel covered caste iron pans and I rarely use them. They do not season and you sure don't want to burn anything in them, they can be difficult to clean.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:56 AM   #3
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Bare cast iron here as well - older seems better - iron casting was a pretty well developed art back when. Here in the US Griswold and Wagner were and are the names to look for - relatively light and with fine grained castings.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:01 AM   #4
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I am fed up with flaking frypans too. What is the method to season cast iron? I tried a small cast iron griddle once for making pancakes but it wasn't any less sticky than my frypan so off to the Goodwill it went. Maybe it was sticky because I didn't know how to season it? My parents have a big cast aluminum griddle for pancakes and french toast, which also didn't stick, at least not if a bit of fat was added to the batter.

P.S. I didn't vote in the poll because most of the pans I have now are stainless steel.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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I agree calmloki, I really like those nice smooth old pans. However, I have heard positive things about the newer preseasoned pans, even though the surface isn't so nice and smooth. I have never tried them myself.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:13 AM   #6
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This is the pan I purchased. It's a quality Norwegian brand.

Hoyang-Polaris - Kok & Stek - Brasserie - Sortiment - Stekepanne 29 cm

The care instructions say it's pre-seasoned and ready for use. I've read several ways to keep it seasoned (or re-season) on the net. Seems most folks either wash the pan clean and then re-oil it or they just rinse it and wipe it out, not washing any cooking oil out of it.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:20 AM   #7
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The only issue I am aware of is that they can't be used on glass cook tops.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:23 AM   #8
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I use a bare cast iron skillet. It took a while for it to develop a non-stick coating, so have patience. I tend to use it when I want to cook over very high heat. I also use a conventional non-stick (teflon) coated pan.

I also use an enameled cast iron dutch oven that I love for long braises in the oven.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:23 AM   #9
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Here's one method from a Griswold site:
For use in cooking:
1) Place iron in oven at room temperature.
2) Set oven at 300 degrees; turn on for 2 hours.
3) Lower temperature to 200 degrees for 1 hour.
4) And wipe out with peanut oil, turning up side down on newspaper to cool, after cooling finish by wiping off excess oil.
5) Now you are ready to cook in them and really finish the seasoning process over the next couple years.
Griswold & Cast Iron Cookware Association

With cast iron soap is bad, bacon is good.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:30 AM   #10
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bare cast iron here...love love love it. I wish I had made the conversion earlier in life, as I have this fear that the non-stick coatings are, in the long run, toxic to humans.

I have 3 cast iron skillets and 2 dutch ovens, and I use them all regularly.

I clean them with a simple rinse of water and wipe with a cloth. At each new use I add a dollop of coconut oil. The only tricky thing about cooking with cast iron is the weight of the skillet. It is nearly impossible (for me) to flip things (ie; omelletes).
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:02 AM   #11
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I use a couple of enameled cast iron dutch ovens for stewing, braising and slow cooking in general, and I love them. I use them on a glass cook top, no problem (although those things are so heavy you have to be careful not to scratch the glass). I probably use them for 80% of my cooking. For searing or cooking on high heat, I would prefer using a well-seasoned, bare cast iron skillet.
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:24 AM   #12
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Ditto Firedreamer. Bare cast iron skillet; but enamaled pot for stews, especially tomato stews, or chili or any long slow cooked meat or fish wet dish. For a stew I usually sauté the vegetables in the Creuset the stew will be cooked in, and brown the meat in the bare skillet and then add it to the enamelware stewpot

Ha
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Here's one method from a Griswold site:
...

With cast iron soap is bad, bacon is good.
That's the method I use. I do have few cast (aluminim and iron) pan that I use almost every day:

IMG_5354.JPG IMG_5357.JPG

IMG_5355.JPG

I do have some Enamaled ones too but not used as often as they used to be. Here is one along side an uncovered one:

IMG_5360.JPG

In case, I need to explain this in the background above:

IMG_5358.JPG
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:41 AM   #14
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There is also a health benefit of cooking with cast iron and that is a ultra miniscule amount of iron goes into the food. Much better than needing to take an iron supplement. If the outside gets to me I will run it in the self-clean oven cycle and start over on the seasoning. I tend to do that every few years. Cast iron is my favorite and even though it is heavy I use it for about 75% of my stove top cooking. I do use normal pots for pasta, rice and veggies but nearly all fry, saute is done in cast iron. It is the BEST for eggs! I always have my eye out for more at bargain prices so I can give it to my kids.
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:47 PM   #15
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Please softhearted forum members - RonBoyd is woefully short of cooking gear - he has dire need of, uhm, err, an in the shell egg beater?

Dang - nice gear - do you have enough stove to get that big rectangular platoon size pancake griddle heated up?

Haha makes a very good point - tomatoes and cast iron don't play well - makes me crazy having to re-season a carefully coated pan after the gal does some quick meal with tomato sauce in a cast iron pan.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:54 PM   #16
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Brat, we have a glass top stove and I use only cast iron if possible. You just can't shake a pan back and forth on a glass top stove like when you cook popcorn in a pan and you have to shake it as it will scratch. Otherwise, no problem with cast iron.
I always understood that you get iron in your body from using cast iron to cook with. I hope that's true.
Regardless, I'm a cast iron girl all the way and own my own Griswolds.
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:07 PM   #17
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Wow, RonBoyd, I thought I had a lot of kitchen gear but I am a piker compared to you! I have some vintage Griswold cast iron pans inherited from my parents. My Dad cooked in it a lot. We had a summer home in Erie where the Griswold factory is located so I'll bet he accumulated his stuff during those years. I use cast iron once in awhile for a small beef steak or a thick piece of firm-fleshed fish cooked in a mixture of lots of canola oil and butter. I have a gas stove. Mostly I use stainless steel cookware. I don't own any nonstick.
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Dang - nice gear - do you have enough stove to get that big rectangular platoon size pancake griddle heated up?
No, not really. I am stuck with electricty. Actually, that is hanging there because I have nowhere else to put it. It is like that big Cleaver in the upper right of the knives image. That has an 1865 date stamped in the blade and the handle has many burn marks -- I suspect it was a "chuck wagon" item. I leave it hanging there so I can keep my eye on it.

These items are my "at the ready" items. Everything you see hanging is used at least once a month... including the knives (except the above cleaver).

I have a ton (probably ) of old Griswold cast iron including a #14 skillet that is 15" cross the top (13˝" cooking surface). The two hanging in the photos are an 8 and a 10.
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:32 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by WhoDaresWins View Post
Wow, RonBoyd, I thought I had a lot of kitchen gear but I am a piker compared to you! I have some vintage Griswold cast iron pans inherited from my parents. My Dad cooked in it a lot. We had a summer home in Erie where the Griswold factory is located so I'll bet he accumulated his stuff during those years. I use cast iron once in awhile for a small beef steak or a thick piece of firm-fleshed fish cooked in a mixture of lots of canola oil and butter. I have a gas stove. Mostly I use stainless steel cookware. I don't own any nonstick.
I am always surprised at how much better "Southern Fried Chicken" tastes when cooked in the griswold skillets. I have tried the identical cooking methods in the other pans with disappointing results.

Another thing I find unique to Cast iron is if you take a #10 skillet and a #8 skillet and heat them both fairly hot. Put a cheese sandwich (buttered on the outside) in the #10 and set the #8 on top of the sandwich, mash down, and wait for it to toast -- Perfect toasted cheese sandwich!
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:34 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=Orchidflower;871062]Brat, we have a glass top stove and I use only cast iron if possible.QUOTE]

I, also, have a glass top and no scratches.
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