Greatest Blaze Tip Corner: Re-seasoning Cast Iron Cookware
If you’re like us and consider cooking with cast iron the greatest way to cook, then you may find this edition of the Tip Corner helpful. On our site we sell the Lodge brand of cast iron cookware and give some basic instructions for day-to-day care and re-seasoning.
Here at Greatest Blaze & Co. we have a ton of experience cooking with and thus cleaning our cast iron pans. Everyone has a method and the debate of “to soap or not to soap” will surely rage on beyond this post. We are staunch non-soapers. One of us is quite obsessive about it. The subject has led to more than one uncomfortable conversations with his wife.
Lodge actually says it’s fine to use soap to clean cast iron. But over time using soap will wear the coating of your pan down and you’ll spend more time maintaining your skillet than cooking with it. We figure the combination of hot tap water and the “high” heat setting of most conventional stove-tops should take care of any nasty germs or bacteria.
It’s most important to keep your pans from rusting or drying out and a regular regimen of cleaning and oiling should do the trick. We’ve linked a quick video below from the folks at Lodge with their take on re-seasoning and it can be followed for good results. We were aghast when we saw their video starts out with a rusty skillet. Rest assured there is no rust on our pans. That would be sacrilegious. For great results we have a few tips to add:
- The absolute essential tool to have when caring for a cast iron pan is this. They almost give them away too, which is nice. You can never have enough of these little guys and they work great on all your hard-to-clean pots, pans and dishes.
- Nothing really at all abrasive should be used. A sponge or washcloth and the scraping tool above should be all you need.
- Don’t use a paper towel to apply the oil to the pan. You’ll get little fibers of paper on the surface and they get baked in after an hour in the oven. Use your fingers or a brush. If you use a brush be mindful of the little brush hairs being left behind for the same reason.
- We think a slightly higher temp than 350 is more effective. Depending on your oven, anywhere from 375-400 degrees works best.
- You don’t need to do the outside of the pan every time you re-season, every 3rd or 4th time is fine.
Lodge Cast Iron Pan Re-Seasoning Video
Greatest Blaze Tip Corner: Starting a fire
Now that winter has set in and our core temps are all down a little, hopefully folks are enjoying time by a warm blaze with family and friends. Who wouldn’t want to be relaxing around a roaring fire in the company of good people? Here at the Greatest Blaze we take every opportunity to do just that and consider it time well spent.
Some out there struggle to get their blaze going and everyone has a method. There are a few key ingredients to any well made fire. We thought it may be helpful if we went through step-by-step the best way to build a fire in a fireplace. We believe there are 4 essential things you need before you get started.
- Some sort of fire starter. Fatwood works great. Some people use those candles with sawdust in them. There are any number of choices out there on the market. Even just plain newspaper will work here. We prefer Fatwood for obvious reasons.
- Some kindling wood. Kindling wood = smaller, spindly pieces of wood. No thicker than half the circumference of your wrist. Greatest Blaze & Co. Nuggets work great here too.
- Seasoned or even better kiln dried firewood. Wet or green wood smokes and hisses and is very difficult to start.
- A decent grate to help keep your fire off the bottom of your fireplace, allowing for airflow and keeping your fire burning warm and bright. We recommend having your grate no higher than 3″ off the bottom unless you have a very large fireplace.
Open the chimney flue. It’s the first mistake a lot of people make. The last thing you want is for the room to fill up with smoke. It’s best if you start with a clean fireplace. Little to no ashes under your grate always works best. We like using a combination of a small amount of newspaper (1-2 sheets) and Fatwood (2-3 sticks tops). Crumple up the newspaper and place it in the middle of your grate. Place no more than 2-3 sticks of Fatwood on top. If you don’t have Fatwood use a little more newspaper and the smallest/thinnest pieces of kindling you can find.
Place a few pieces of smaller sized kindling on top of the Fatwood so when you light the newspaper the flame catches on to the kindling. Don’t light it yet. On top of the smallest pieces of kindling carefully place 1-2 bigger kindling pieces (this is where our kiln dried Nuggets work great). OK now you can light the newspaper.
Keep a supply of more kindling near and as your small flame grows add a piece at a time….going up in size each time. As the flame spreads make sure you are not overloading or snuffing out your fire before it has a chance to get going. A half a dozen or more pieces of good dry kindling should do the trick.
Now that you’ve got a decent flame starting to spread and the kindling has caught, carefully start adding your firewood. Add one piece about every 30 seconds, again starting with smaller pieces if you can. Once you have a few good size pieces of seasoned firewood added you should have a good blaze started.