We love cast iron skillets at Birchfield Hardware. Their virtues are many. They're built to last generations, retain and disperse heat evenly, provide a natural nonstick surface when properly seasoned, and can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven. And unlike other kitchenware, they're equally at home in a gourmet kitchen and the backcountry. But they do require some special care to ensure they retain all of their great features for years to come. Here's our brief guide to keeping your skillet in top form.
Properly Season New Skillets
They don't come with their useful non-stick surface when purchased new, they have to be seasoned first. Coat the inside and outside with the vegetable oil of your choice and place upside down (to prevent pooling oil) in an oven at 350 degrees for an hour. Remove from the oven and wipe clean with a rag or paper towel.
Hand Wash Without Soap
Avoid putting your skillet in the dishwasher, using strong soaps, or metal scouring pads because they will remove the seasoning. If you're concerned about not using soap, consider that cast iron will get up to 400 degrees in 4 minutes on medium heat and will be sterile at 212 degrees. That being said, sometimes you need to remove fish odors or other very strong cooking by-products. In that case, just hand wash with a non-metal brush using a few drops of mild soap, dry immediately, and apply a thin coat of vegetable oil. The important point here is to not remove the seasoning.
If you're looking for a new skillet, we carry what we believe to be the finest skillet made in the USA.