Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest Is Coming May 28th. Buy Tickets Now.

Cast-Iron Chefs
Photo/Lodge Cast Iron

Cast-iron skillets are flying off the shelves—no small feat for a piece of cookware that weighs up to eight pounds. With more of us Covid-cooking at home, new chefs are embracing the back-to-basics pans that Grandma used for fried chicken, reports Isaac Morton, whose Smithey Ironware Co. of South Carolina more than doubled its workforce last year.

The attractions of one-piece forged cookware are durability and simplicity. The skillets can go from stovetop to grill to oven and sear a steak, simmer chili or bake a pie. Their heft means they easily conduct and retain heat for even cooking. And with just a bit of care, a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is nonstick, chemical free and nearly indestructible. 

Without sacrificing quality you can pick up a 10-inch skillet from the renowned Lodge Co. for less than $20. Or you can splurge on pans from Field or Smithey Ironware that can cost 10 times as much, but are smoother and weigh less. (Lighter pans warm up faster, but don’t hold heat as long.) Whichever you choose, be sure your skillet has a small “helper handle” opposite the main grip to aid in wielding that heavy, sizzling behemoth. 

Seasoning is key: coat a new pan with vegetable oil and bake it in the oven for an hour. (Pre-seasoned pans can be used right away but won’t perform optimally until used a few times.)  Good dishes to try in a new pan are cornbread—a crusty wonder that will change your relationship with food and cooking—and mouth-watering pan-seared steak. But don’t end your culinary pilgrimage there. A good skillet has many more uses.

Cleaning cast iron can be as simple as wiping out a warm pan and polishing it with a little vegetable oil, although they also can be scrubbed with a natural bristle brush, a non-scratching pad and even steel chain-mail scouring pads. Don’t fear soap and water, but never soak a pan. As for running a skillet through the dishwasher, that’s a serious mistake that may well be punishable by law in several Southern states. 

Gourmet

More in The Good Life

See all
The Cigar Of The Year Meets The Whisky of the Year

The Cigar Of The Year Meets The Whisky of the Year

The best Cigar of the Year and the most exciting Whisky of the Year will be paired together at the …

May 12, 2022
Cigars for Warriors Celebrates 10 Years

Cigars for Warriors Celebrates 10 Years

Cigars for Warriors (CFW), a nonprofit that ships cigars directly to U.S. troops deployed across the …

Apr 20, 2022
Grant’s Revolvers And More Civil War Items At Auction

Grant’s Revolvers And More Civil War Items At Auction

On May 13, Rock Island Auction Co. is putting up several items of Civil War history on the block, …

Apr 15, 2022
An American Dream

An American Dream

Inna Tuler was broke when she fled war-torn Israel in 1991. Today, she’s the head of a California …

Mar 30, 2022
Sweepstakes Winners Get Their Prize: Full Boxes Of The Cigar Of The Year

Sweepstakes Winners Get Their Prize: Full Boxes Of The Cigar Of The Year

Our annual sweepstakes has ended and three lucky smokers have each won a box of Padrón 1964 Anniversa…

Mar 25, 2022
Limited Edition Hine Cigar Cognac On Sale In United Kingdom

Limited Edition Hine Cigar Cognac On Sale In United Kingdom

Hine Cigar Reserve, a cognac specifically made to pair with fine cigars, releases a 25th anniversary …

Mar 14, 2022
z