Cast Iron Cooking:

5 Everyday Applications

There's no such thing as a bad time to start learning how to use cast iron, or more specifically to just start using it. Cast iron cooking is never out of season and never goes out of style.

Just like with any new skill, it's a good idea to practice as often as possible, and with cast iron the more you practice the better you'll get. Plus what's unique about cast iron is that the more you cook with it, the better it will perform! It's a win-win!

But how do you start this new adventure? Assuming you have a properly seasoned pan and are ready to dive in, we've identified five easy introductions for you to get to know cast iron and get the ball rolling with this new routine.

Let's get to it!

1. Baking with Cast Iron

You probably already knew that you could bake in a cast iron pan, which is why this is a good place to start. Cornbread and other southern foods are practically synonymous with cast iron cookware. But have you thought about all the other things you can bake in one of these circular wonders?

Cast iron pans can take and bake anything you want, from scrumptious casseroles to cozy banana bread to savory quiches. They can even help you put together a hearty deep dish pizza!

But don't forget to save room for dessert!

Skillet chocolate chip brownies are a great example of a dessert currently growing in popularity, with restaurants all over the country starting to offer them, for two good reasons.

The first is the double dose of chocolate, obviously. Second is the memories, either earned or imagined, that a hot little 7" skillet can drum up in the mind of the diner.

Throw some ice cream on top and you've got a tasty treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth and warm your heart. Um, yes please!

2. Cast Iron Cooking Over an Open Flame

Got a steak recipe that requires some hot hot heat? Cast iron can easily maintain high temperatures with its sturdy construction and natural heat retention.

Don't worry about hurting your cast iron cookware, either. In general and when cooking over an open flame, these heavy duty helpers will take a licking and keep on ticking.

Make the most of your full muscle kitchen engine by packing up your favorite cast iron skillet recipes and taking them to an outdoor grill. Using cast iron means your kitchen tools will be as tough as you are when you're roughing it out in the wilderness--or parked at your next tailgate.

One last grill bit. Be sure to use a set of cooking utensils that doesn't hold that heat so you don't bear the burden of those intense temps.

3. Cast Iron All-in-Ones

Steak on the grill makes a pretty big meal, but you still need something on the side to go with it, and where cast iron skillets really show off their versatility is when you cook a side right in there with the steak.

That's right, with a right sized skillet, you can make an entire meal in one pan. Just throw in some diced onions, green peppers or other vegetables to roast and you've got everything you need all in one place.

If steak isn't your thing, you can put together a delectable chicken pot pie to share or save for yourself in a cast iron skillet. Add a thin layer of cheese and a pinch of coarse salt and boom--you've got a good thing going!

And in case you were wondering, cleanup doesn't get any easier than only having to wash one single pan

4. Cast Iron Sears the Deal

In order to end up with the best results, many foods require both high and low-temperature cooking. A cast iron pan is the perfect partner to accomplish that kind of job.

Cast iron pans work nicely with a standard or wood fired oven for steaks and chops, but will put a crust on any piece of meat you're interested in, even salmon.

Wait, salmon? Yep, you read right. You might think salmon is a no-go because of the acidity of fish, but if it's caramelized crust you're looking for, cast iron will give it to you.

Make sure you have a properly seasoned cast iron pan, however, otherwise you might find yourself in trouble.

5. Stir Fry It Up

Last but certainly not least, you may not have thought of fixing a stir fry feast on a cast iron skillet, but we think you should give it a try.

Cast iron holds onto heat like a vice, and adding cold foods won't change that. Sounds like a solid replacement for a wok if you ask us.

Just like you don't want to go crazy and cook acidic foods all the time, noodle based dishes are not the best fit for cast iron. You're better off stir frying beef and rice dishes, because while cast iron is known for being naturally non stick, cooking noodles will prove that it only has non stick properties.

So now that you've been introduced, we hope that this becomes the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

And just like a close relationship with a dear friend, cast iron cookware can and will last a lifetime.

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