All About Cast Iron Cookware

What you need to know to get started with cast iron cookware.

| January/February 2014

  • You've never really had chili unless you've had it prepared in a cast-iron Dutch oven over an open fire.
    Photo by iStockphoto/bgsmith
  • Fritattas get extra crisp and delicious when cooking in a cast-iron skillet.
    Photo by iStockphoto/LauriPatterson

Across the continent, the dark and dusty corners of thousands of basements and barns contain hidden treasures: skillets, Dutch ovens, griddles and other cookware cast in iron, possibly from a century or two ago. Though once abandoned for flashy designer cookware, cast iron is now regaining its rightful place in the kitchen.

Cast Iron Recipes

Roast Beef Hash Recipe
Split Pea Soup Recipe With Ham
Pot Pie Recipe With Rabbit
Cheesy Corn Quiche Recipe
Aebleskiver Recipe
Broccoli Frittata Recipe
Spicy Skillet Cornbread Recipe

My own fondness for cast iron cookware began soon after I inherited two vintage skillets from my mother. To this day, I feel a connection to her each time I use them to prepare a meal. And like other collectors, I have become hooked on cast iron’s many virtues, acquiring more than 30 old and new pieces over the past few years.

“People love cast iron because it’ll last a lifetime if you take care of it right,” says Russ Howser, president of the Griswold and Cast Iron Cookware Association.

Cast iron can take and hold the heat, whether atop a stove, inside an oven, under a broiler, or over charcoal. Soups and stews seem to develop a richer flavor, skillet-fried potatoes achieve that perfectly crisp texture that’s just not possible with other cookware, and pan-seared steaks and burgers turn a beautiful brown outside while retaining full flavor and juiciness within. Professional and home cooks alike also value iron’s versatility: One pan can go smoothly from stovetop to oven, making it ideal for browning followed by braising.

This cookware has a lighter side, too. Seasoned skillets and pots develop a nonstick surface that requires very little cooking oil and is a breeze to clean. “Foods won’t stick if you care for cast iron properly, and you don’t have to worry about eating a chemical coating every time you use it,” says Howser.

6/28/2016 7:30:01 AM

When it comes to delicious meals, NOTHING beats cast iron....absolutely nothing. And clean up is a piece of cake too! :-) Thank You Grit for all you do for us!

3/20/2014 2:42:57 PM

I have been a longtime reader and fan of GRIT. The 2014 issue featuring Cast Iron Cooking prompted me to write and tell you how much I enjoyed it. My spouse and I are Outdoor Cast Iron Cooking enthusiasts, and have quite a collection of black pots. We invite you to browse our video recipes as we host a cooking show on YouTube dedicated to spreading the word and use of cast iron. It was wonderful to find GRIT on-line, as well as on Facebook, and be able to reap the benefits of other readers' input. Please stop by our channel, or visit us on FB at Outdoor Cast Iron Cooking to see what we are up to with our Camp/Dutch Ovens. Dean and Joanie hosts of Outdoor Cast Iron Cooking

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