Read these 14 Lodge Cookware Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cookware tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you're a multi-tasker and like the same quality in your cookware, try the Lodge Square Griddle. It cooks up the usual breakfast suspects, like French toast, pancakes and hashbrowns, beautifully. You can also put it in the oven to make garlic bread, biscuits or even mini-pizzas. Back on the stove, it makes perfect quesadillas and is the ideal shape to make a couple grilled cheese sandwiches, and for the really ambitious, it's great for whipping up homemade tortillas and other flatbreads. As long as you don't need to use a lot of oil or fat for cooking, since it can spatter over the sides, the only limitation to the Lodge Square Griddle is your imagination.
Why is it that the pancakes you order at your local diner are always so light and fluffy? Maybe it's the pan you're using. Next time, try a Lodge Round Griddle. Since it's made from cast-iron, it heats evenly so your pancakes turn a perfect golden brown and cook all the way through — no more blueberry pancakes with a burnt exterior and undercooked interior. Seasoned and cleaned properly properly, a Lodge Round Griddle is virtually nonstick so batter won't adhere to the pan. Its circular shape fits perfectly on a single burner and the low sides make it easy to flip pancakes over with a spatula.
Have you ever had a sudden desire to grill in the winter? Indulge yourself with a Lodge Grill Pan. From the outside, it looks just like a regular cast iron pan. However, the interior cooking surface is ridged, which elevates meat, fish, chicken or vegetables so any excess fat drips below. While saving calories, these ridges do triple duty, promoting browning by preventing escaping liquids from contacting meat and searing restaurant-style grill marks onto your food. Meanwhile, the grease accumulating on the bottom of the pan continues to cook under and away from your steak, giving it a hint of smoke that's as close as you're going to get to charcoal flavor indoors. So go ahead and grill. So what if it's snowing? Thanks to your Lodge Grill Pan, you can still enjoy a little taste of summer.
There's just something about a cast iron pan handed downfrom generation to generation. Or is there? Now, with pre-seasoned Lodge Logic cookware, you get the same dark, burnished heirloom finish you'd get from your grandma's pan. Traditionally, it takes years of frying up chicken and baking cornbread to achieve such a brilliant patina. But now, thanks to Lodge Logic, you don't have to wait to inherit a perfect cast iron pan. To see for yourself, try a Lodge Logic griddle. Its shiny, black finish is not only attractive to look at, it means you won't have to waste time seasoning and re-seasoning. It also means you can start making French toast right away – just like grandma's.
There's a reason why Lodge cast iron cooking has been going strong since 1896. Just think of the advantages. Heat is retained and distributed uniformly throughout, so food cooks evenly. No other cookware gets a better sear on a steak or crisps chicken to a more golden hue. Food simply tastes better. Lodge cast iron cooking makes food healthier, too, by leaching iron into whatever you're preparing. You may also want to consider recent warnings that preheating a pan that is chemically-treated could cause potentially dangerous fumes when placed in a hot oven. Lodge cast iron pans can withstand any temperature extreme and go from stove to oven, without that concern. Yet another plus is their versatility. You can whip up just about anything, from fried chicken to pineapple upside-down cake in a Lodge cast-iron skillet, and you can use it on just about any heating surface, including a campfire if you're so inclined. Properly seasoned, Lodge cast iron cookware requires little or no oil to achieve nonstick cooking and will last a lifetime. All that, and it's affordable too.
Whether you've got new Lodge Logic pre-seasoned pans, or you've done the seasoning yourself, here's a trick to help speed up your cast iron cookware's non-stick capabilities: Use generous amounts of oil the first few times you cook with Lodge cast iron
pots. Fry up some chicken or sauté some shrimp. Live a little. These extra coatings of oil will help prevent food from sticking during future use.
If you're cooking outdoors over an open fire, one trick to avoid blackened cast iron pans is to coat the outside of the pot with soap before you put it over the fire. Take a bar of soap (liquid soap doesn't work well for this) and rub it vigorously over the outside of the pot until the surface is coated. When you go to wash the pot later, the soap helps the black soot come off much faster and easier.
Seasoning is an ongoing process. But if, over time, your lodge cast iron cookware develops a metallic smell or taste or shows signs of rust, there is still hope for your pan! Wash with soap (this is one occasion when using soap is permissible for cast iron) and hot water then scour off rust. Season your pan again as though it is a new item.
If you are new to Lodge cast iron pans, you might want to start out with a few basic pieces, such as a pre-seasoned 10" or 12" skillet. These are classic items that can be used for a variety of your cooking needs. To maintain the health of your cast iron, purchasing a few accessories like a cast iron scrub brush is not a bad idea. As you become more familiar with lodge cast iron, you can graduate to Dutch ovens and larger pans.
Once you have properly seasoned your lodge pans, they should have a brownish, caramel-like color. Over time and use, your cookware will become shiny and black. A good tip is to use your cookware to fry bacon or some other fatty item in order to achieve a better, seasoned interior.
Here is some helpful cast iron cookware advice: Cast iron is the original “nonstick” cookware, but you have to treat it first. This is called “seasoning”. Wash your new cast iron pan in hot, soapy water. Rinse utensil and dry completely. Discoloration on towel is normal. Next, apply a thin, even coating of melted shortening (not butter) inside and outside the utensil with a soft cloth or paper towel. If your cast iron pan has a lid, make sure you season it as well.. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place utensil on top shelf of oven, upside down. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and put on bottom shelf of oven to catch any drippings. Bake your cast iron cookware in oven for one hour, then turn oven off and let utensil remain in the oven until cool. To clean utensil after use, use boiling water and a plastic scrub bun or brush. Do not use soap, unless you are going to repeat the seasoning process.
Cast iron, like Lodge Pans, have been used in cookware for centuries. It holds up to the heat and it absorbs the heat and cooks evenly. It is not a smooth finish like most pans. It has pores which absorb oil, which means these pans get better over time. Also faint traces of iron gets in the food. This is fine and actually a good thing, since we all need iron in our diet. If you are anemic, then you might want to consider cast iron for cooking.
Here are a few tips that will help your lodge cast iron pans last a lifetime. Rinse with hot water (not soap), and dry thoroughly. Prepare the cooking surface with a coating of oil. After cooking, clean with a stiff brush and hot water. Using soap is not recommended, and harsh detergents should never be used. Avoid putting hot pans into cold water, since thermal shock can cause the metal to warp or crack. Towel dry immediately and apply a light coat of oil while the pan is still warm. Store in a cool, dry place. If you have a lid, place a folded paper towel between the lid and the pan to allow air to circulate.
Did you ever wonder how Lodge cookware got its name? In the early 1800s, Joseph Lodge began making cast iron. His legacy resulted an a family-run business of cast iron cookware production that is still functioning today. Part of America's heritage, Lodge cookware has been used since the first presidential term of William McKinley. Think about that the next time you use your cast iron skillet to fry up some hash browns and eggs for Sunday morning brunch!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|