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Old 12-29-2007, 11:21 AM   #41
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Well, here's my thinking, let me know if it's wrong. The pan heats up until it reaches an equilibrium: when it's losing the same amount of heat as the flame is adding. I figure that that equilibrium temperature will be higher for a heavier pan.
I doubt this is much of an issue in normal cooking. The food and or the pan would burn up long before a true equilibrium were reached.

The more relevant factor is evenness of heating, and buffering. Get a good heavy cast iron pan up to medium cooking heat and drop in your 1# T-bone. The mass of the meat is going to cool down the surface of the pan, but not nearly so much as it would on a thinner pan, or a pan made from something with a lower specific heat than iron. It is similar to the difference between dropping a pound of frozen vegetables into 3 quarts of boiling water, vs. 1 cup of boiling water.

Ha
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:10 PM   #42
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hey cfb - what are you going to do with all those pans? are you just hoarding? can't pass up a good deal?
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Old 12-29-2007, 02:50 PM   #43
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Hey, you cant go and answer something from way up there. By the time I went back to see what the question was again, and got back down here, I had to go back up and read it a second time.

I think a thick pan WILL pick up and hold more heat than a thin one, but the key here (I think) is continuous usable heat. Thick pan can pick up, hold, and discharge more of that high heat for longer.

Of course, setting food directly onto the heat source and skipping the pan works out great too.

For a good example, put some tin foil in the oven. Take it out with your bare hands. After a second or so, its not hot anymore to the touch. Try that with a sheet pan. Or better still, DONT! It'll stay hot in your hand for a lot longer. You can even touch foil while its in the oven in contact with hot food and its not going to burn you. All it can do is conduct, its not able to store that much heat on its own.

Similar with a pan...stick a steak in a thick heavy pan, and the pans thermal absorption ability can take a lot more discharge to the meat before cooling off, in the meanwhile the heat source can recharge it. Thin pan loses its heat almost immediately and then you've got a cool spot in the pan until the heat source gets it AND the food thats sitting on it back up to temp.

Given that it might have taken 5-10 minutes to get the pan up to its original temp, the thermal recharge situation becomes evident.

I received my first lot of four 12" pans the day before yesterday. Bad packaging. They just threw the pan into a large flat box, tossed in a twisted up length of brown paper and taped it up. Pan was probably banging around in there pretty good, but no broken stuff. On looking at one-star amazon reviews, seems they ship them all this way and some of them arrive busted. Stupid.

I did a little additional seasoning in the oven and then upside down on the grill. Just made chicken-sundried tomato sausages and scrambled eggs in it and its as nonstick as teflon pans. Beautiful.

Pan looks identical to the ones pictured above.

Very pleased with my $7.50 pans...now i'm just waiting for the $6 8" ones...
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:08 PM   #44
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Wow -- this forum is so amazing. I had no idea cast iron was still so popular and useful! I always thought cast iron was a holdover from the 19th century! We actually need a frying pan or two, so I will look at some cast iron pans. Are the pans on the amazon link good quality? I see the stupidly cheap pan is now $15 -- is that still a good deal? How does one go about properly seasoning the pan? Does that need to be done before cooking in the pan??
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:02 PM   #45
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...How does one go about properly seasoning the pan? Does that need to be done before cooking in the pan??
Try this from the Griswold collector's site: Griswold & Cast Iron Cookware Association

Looks pretty plain vanilla to me - there are lots of different oils to choose from that all have different temperatures at which they burn. Do heed the "too much oil is a bad thing" part.
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:44 AM   #46
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I've been using my cast iron skillet more since reading this thread (just had an apple pancake) and it really is better. Good summary, CFB.

We also have one of those two-burner griddles. My conclusion on that is that it's not really worth it. Ideally the entire thing would get hot enough to cook on, but I end up cooking only on the areas directly over the burners. Sure, it's fun, and you feel a little like a short order cook at Joe's Diner, but it's easier just to use two skillets or one skillet twice as long. I use it once every couple of years.
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:53 AM   #47
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After reading this thread and several other websites on cast iron, I went out and picked up a couple of pieces. This morning I'll be making pancakes and bacon, and this afternoon it's cornbread! This will be my first experience with cast iron!
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:04 AM   #48
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The ER Forum: Improving lives, one hunk of metal at a time.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:13 AM   #49
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The ER Forum: Improving lives, one hunk of metal at a time.
Amen to that.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:27 AM   #50
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For the cornbread, snoop around until you find a recipe that has you adding the batter to the pan after the pan has been preheated in the oven. Puts a heck of a nice crispy crust on the cornbread.

Unless of course you're one of the savages that likes tender corn bread.

Excepting a 15lb solid copper pan, its tough to beat a cast iron frying pan especially for deep frying and transition dishes that you sear on the cooktop and finish in the oven. They fell from favor because they're a little more work to maintain and clean. The enameled versions solve the cleaning and maintenance problems, but they shouldnt be used over very high heat or on a grill, and they're expensive and can chip.
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:52 AM   #51
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Cornbread made in an iron pan on the campfire. Num.
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Old 12-30-2007, 05:03 PM   #52
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Recipes Using Cast Iron Cookware

Some recipes. Good basic one for southern cornbread. My vote is for that with some country fried steak, sausage gravy, fried sweet potatoes and the pineapple upside down cake.

Oh, and a couple of lipitor to go with that.
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:38 PM   #53
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I had not been using mine either, until this thread. I used one yesterday to fry my sweet sauerkraut. Thanks CFB for getting us back on track!
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Old 01-02-2008, 03:09 PM   #54
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No problem!

Uhh...anyone want a cast iron pan? I'm a little over quota.
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