A few weeks ago I ordered a Lodge, pre-seasoned 12 inch cast iron skillet. Prior to that, I had a smaller three piece set of cast iron skillets that I had seasoned myself. For better or worse, I simply did not use them. Then, about six weeks ago I starting thinking about how I would cook over an open fire. One thing I knew for sure: I was not going to practice high heat, open fire survival cooking using my prized Analon non-stick cookware. No way.
So I brought in the old, woefully unused 10” skillet from the garage and used it to fry up a few burgers using the highest flame possible on my gas range. Yum, these were pretty tasty. Next I tried sautéing some veggies. Those were tasty too. But alas, this little skillet was only good for a single serving – or two pygmy servings in our household. Time to get a larger skillet I said to myself.
Circling back to the beginning of this post, I did a bit of research and ordered the Lodge 12 inch skillet which was pre-seasoned (Yay!). This particular model had 284 5-star ratings on Amazon). Not only that. it was less the $20 with free shipping. Compared to my $120 Analon skillet, this was a steal.
Now that I have used my new skillet, I can honestly say that this is one tool that will become a mainstay in my kitchen. I simply love this pan. So far I have used it for hamburger steaks, (a Survival Husband specialty), for stir fries, and for my very own survival stew (brown rice, garbanzo beans, canned tomatoes, onion, and a bit of chili powder).
Reasons to Love this Pan:
- This skillet gets hot, really hot and retains the heat even after turning down the burner.
- Adding food to a hot pan does not cool it down – not even a little bit. That means fried food continues to fry rather than steam.
- It appears indestructible. It’s made if solid iron, for goodness sake.
- Food does not stick. I have been using a smidgen (less than a teaspoon) of canola oil on the pan. I smish it around with this mop thingy (actually, a basting brush) and so far so good. It is my understanding that after a few months of use, I can forego the oil.
- Food cooks evenly. I mean it. The iron is so thick and is such a good conductor that heat distributes perfectly across the pan with no hot or cool spots.
- There is an “assist handle” on the opposite end of the main handle. If you’re like me, lifting up a hot, eight pound pan laden with food is not exactly easy. The ability to grasp both sides of the pan is a bonus.
- It is made in the US.
Now to be honest, there are a few negatives to this pan:
- It is very heavy, weighing in at 8 pounds. Add a bunch of food and this is one heavy pan.
- The handle gets hot. which could be a problem if you are not prepared. Me? I swear by my Ove Gloves and use them whenever I cook. The scars on my arms will attest to the number of burns I have from careless cooking these last two years. I purchased the Ove Gloves last summer and never looked back.
- If not cleaned properly, cast iron will rust. This has not been a problem so far.
Because ordinary cookware cleaning techniques like scouring or washing in a dishwasher can remove or damage the seasoning on a bare cast iron pan, these pans should not be cleaned like most other cookware. Some cast iron aficionados advocate never cleaning cast iron pans at all, simply wiping them out after use, or washing them with hot water and a stiff brush. Others advocate washing with mild soap and water, and then re-applying a thin layer of fat or oil.
A third approach, advocated by television chef Alton Brown, is to scrub with a bit of coast salt a paper towel or clean rag. I like this idea since the salt gives a little boost to my elbow grease.
According to the Lodge Manufacturing website:
When Joseph Lodge began making cast iron in 1896, he began a legacy that would create the foundation to an enduring standard of quality carried forward by four generations of family management. The resulting privately held metal formula, precision molds and exacting mold wall thickness are the result of years of dedication to improving quality that began with the first skillet from the first sand mold.
Not even the most expensive stainless and aluminum cookware can rival the even heating, heat retention, durability and value of Lodge Cast Iron. Its legendary cooking performance keeps it on the list of kitchen essentials for great chefs and home kitchens alike.
For more than four generations Lodge has been making cast iron cookware. And, much of the cookware made generations ago is still in the kitchens of fourth generation cooks. That’s why we say that when you choose Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, you’ve made a friend that will last more than a lifetime. The Lodge family appreciates your patronage and hopes that if this is your first piece of Lodge Cast Iron, it will be the first of many.
Although I am still learning, I already love my Lodge cast iron skillet. It appears to be the perfect size, especially when you consider that the weight of anything larger would be too heavy for me to handle. Given its ability to withstand high temperatures and hold the heat, it will be perfect if we ever need to cook outside on our fire pit or over a campfire.
My only concern, to be honest, is that once I try making cornbread in my new skillet, I will have to go on a diet because the results will be so good!
Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!
Backdoor Survival Tip of the Day: Need to re-season an old cast iron pan? Here is what you do:
- Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware).
- Rinse and dry completely.
- Apply a thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware (inside and out).
- Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any dripping.
- Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.
- Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven.
- Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.
- Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Below are some of my favorite cast iron items including some useful accessories.
Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: This purchase changed the way I cook. I se my cast iron cookware for everything from salmon, to bacon and eggs, to biscuits. For under $20, there is no excuse not to own this survival basic. Don’t forget the Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers, a must have for cleaning those food bits from your cast iron cookware.
Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned 15 Inch Cast-Iron Skillet: Similar to the 12” skillet only bigger. Actually, quite huge (and yes, I finally have one!).
US Forge 400 Welding Gloves Lined Leather: These well-priced gloves provide complete heat and burn protection. They are made of soft and supple top grain leather for comfort and pliability, plus they have an internal liner gives more comfort and durability.
Ove’ Gloves Hot Surface Handler: I cannot say enough about these hand and arm protectors. I have permanent scars from hitting my arm on the rack of my oven. I can only imagine what I would look like if I did not use these with my cast iron cookware. Forget the colorful silicon hot pads. These are 1000 times better!
Four Silicone Brushes: I call these”mop thingies”. Great for layering a nice thin coat of oil on your cast iron pans.
Lodge 5-Quart Double Dutch Oven and Casserole with Skillet Cover: This is another cool piece. This Dutch Oven does not have legs and is designed for indoor use – but it can be used outdoors too. Just don’t forget the Ove Gloves.
Lodge Dutch Oven/Camp Stove: I originally purchased this Dutch oven because it was so darn cute. But over time, I have learned to love it for its versatility. Remember, a camp stove is designed so that you can bake with it by arranging charcoal on top of the lid as well as underneath the Dutch Oven itself.
Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.
I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss. The Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials is something I use all year round. With the grocery store a 20 mile round trip journey, I like the thought of being able to rehydrate my own fruit, in the quantity I want, at a moments notice.
The selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries.
But not to be left out, there are veggies too. The deluxe supply of Freeze Dried Vegetables includes 18 #10 tins of the following veggies in various quantities: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn, Green Beans, Green Peppers, Green Peas, Mushrooms, Potato Dices, Spinach, and White Onions.
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