And ode to my iron skillet…

Calphalon Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

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Overall: 5 out of 5

Best Price: $29.99 @ Target

If you do not have an iron skillet, go out and get one!  I think I’ve said it before, stop reading…head to Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, or whatever home store you have nearby that sells them.  If you can’t find this one, well…get a different one and let me know what you think of it.  I have heard great things about Lodge brand ($23.54 – amazon) and was kind of considering spending the money on the Le Creuset brand ($179.95 – amazon) but I couldn’t bring myself to hit “buy.” Once you have one in  your kitchen, hold on to your hat, cause things are about to get real wild real fast.

So far, I have cooked steak, pork chops, eggs and potatoes in this lovely dish.  You can cook a dish to completion on the stove, or feel free to get a nice sear on the stove and finish in the oven if it’s a thicker cut of beef.  The distribution of heat in this thing makes it so easy to get consistency across the entire dish, which is mostly important if you are making two steaks, chops or chicken breasts.  There is nothing worse than cutting into your meat and finding it perfect, while your dinner partner’s meal is…not quite there.

in the oven

Why this one?

  1. Well, it’s affordable, first of all, which is a big deal to me.
  2. It’s HUGE! This skillet is 12 inches round, which means its big enough to fit two steaks with plenty of room, has spouts for easy pouring and a handle that gets HOT HOT HOT so please use a potholder.  I purchased one of those cute tiny ones that I can just keep on the handle when its on the stove.
  3. It’s Calphalon, so yo can rest assured that it is made well and will last, as long as you treat it with respect.
  4. It’s pre-seasoned.  For a beginner skillet user or someone that doesn’t want to put a lot of effort in to make a fantastic dish, this is a huge bonus.  I can’t tell you how many people I know that have purchased skillets that are not pre-seasoned and upon cooking with it, have found that their food sticks to it either due forgetting to pre-season or not doing it quite well enough.  With the pre-seasoned, you don’t have to worry about that at all.  I haven’t had one thing stick.  Pre-seasoning also makes the cleaning process easier.  Some cast iron skillets can’t take even a light amount of water.  This one, you can rinse and use a cloth to get the extra debris off.

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How to clean:

Never EVER put this beautiful piece of cookware in your dishwasher.  Ever.  Pour water on a mogwai after midnight while feeding it before you even consider putting your iron skillet in the dish washer.  This may be the best piece of cooking advice you ever follow. The best cleaning method is just to run this sucker under warm water and then use a towel to dry it IMMEDIATELY.  No, seriously…don’t take the chance – dry it.  If you find yourself struggling to get something that is really caked on there off, try these tricks:

  1. Rinse the pan with hot water then return it to the burner.  Heat it up enough that the crusted on nasties begin to flake off.  Use a spatula to gently shuffle that stuff around until you know its loose.  Shake the items out into your trash can. Once it cool down, rinse again with warm water and dry.
  2. If that doesn’t work and you still have some stuck on badness, try some salt.  While your skillet is still warm, not hot but warm, put about 1 c. kosher salt in the pan and shake it for about 60 seconds.  Take a kitchen towel and fold it.  Hold the towel with tongs and gently rub the pan with the towel.  Throw the salt away and rinse again with warm water.  Dry immediately.

Something to consider, whether you’ve bought a pre seasoned skillet or have an old hand-me-down is that eventually, after about a year of use, you will need to re-season it.  How do I do that, you may be asking…here you go:

  1. When you first get your pan, you will have to remove the factory anti-rust coating.  Easy enough, just give it a quick scrub to remove that with soap and warm water.  If its not new, just make sure there isn’t any rust in the pan.  Scrape/scrub it out and get ready for step two.
  2. Heat up your oven to 25o degrees F
  3. Get some lard and a bunch of paper towels and prepare to make yourself messy!
  4. Put a big ole handful of lard in your pan (about 1/4 cup will do) and smear it all around in the pan.  Just on the inside.  Make sure you get the lard all up on the edges but don’t worry about the back, that just isn’t necessary.
  5. Stick your skillet on a baking sheet or tray and place it in the oven.  Let it bake for about 3 hours.
  6. After its cool enough to touch, take your wad of towels and begin wiping out the liquified lard.  Over the course of the next several hours you will wipe and rest, wipe and rest.  Its best if you do the first wipe as soon as you can then wait an hour and wipe again.
  7. The next time you use this pan, make some bacon, or something else greasy.  This kind of seals the deal, and trust me that bacon will kick your ass.

Go out there, and create something beautiful in this heavy metal beast and tell me all the dirty details.  I’m dying to hear how you browned your meat to perfection, seared your chicken breast and made it crunchy, or baked your eggs to a perfect fluff.

I’m going to bourbon brine some bone in pork chops as soon as the kinks are all worked out with the recipe.  Can’t wait to share the details with you all.

2 Comments
  • Jeffrey Frank
    February 28, 2014

    I have a LeCreuset one that I use almost every day, it’s really great (and worth the extra $$ in my opinion). Just be careful with the cheaper brands, they can warp or crack if you aren’t careful with them (they don’t particularly like extreme temperature fluctuations). Lodge is another company that makes a ton of cast iron cookware, it is really good quality and inexpensive too:) All of their non-enameled cast iron is made in the US, which is nice.

    • Piper Bombshell
      February 28, 2014

      I may purchase the LeCruset one in the future, when I have more kitchen space. I just really enjoy the look. Thanks for the feedback!!

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