Cast iron skillets: seasoned vs enameled

Originally published at: Cast iron skillets: seasoned vs enameled | Boing Boing


I’ve never though of enamel as non stick, but I don’t have any. Perhaps that’s why. Searching for, conditioning and seasoning cast iron looks like it would be a fun project, but there is no window or fan in my kitchen, but there are smoke alarms and a shared wall with the next apartment over that isn’t quite impervious, so that’s out for the near future. So I’m just going to have to stick with my inadvertently seasoned anodized aluminum skillet. :slight_smile:

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What about the exposed edge of enameled cast iron? …am I wasting my time oiling that top rim?

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I prefer antique cast iron because antique cast iron is cooler.

I’ve never had a smoke issue when re-seasoning my old cast iron. It doesn’t need to go in that hot an oven like he noted, IMO.
You can also get new ones pre-seasoned, but the surface isn’t as smooth as the vintage ones. Mine belonged to my grandparents.
Last time I was in a large consignment joint here, there were a lot of stalls with old skillets and the like for pretty cheap.

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My first question about your cookware is, why are you drinking Jack Daniels? yuuuck.

My second question is, my partner never lets me use anything metal on the enamel cookware. Are you similarly careful? Metal does mark the enamel, which can be fixed with soft scrub, but my understanding is unless you’re really scratching the hell out of it, it’s never gonna scrape the enamel off.

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My house has a glass-topped range (not my choice, it’s what it came with and it was brand new when we moved in, I wasn’t going to replace it), and because of that enameled is our only option for cast iron, and thus we have a fair bit of very expensive Le Cruset. I do dig it- they’re good quality pans, in and out of the oven, the enamel is very easy to clean, and they’re also very versatile.


What’s wrong with Jack Daniels?
It’s a high quality Tennessee whiskey.

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As whiskeys go, its not that great. Not horrible, but not as good straight as many. Too sweet. It’s good with coke.

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why are you drinking Jack Daniels?

I am also that snob… although i’ve found most of the single barrels to be pretty good. I LOVE the single barrel/barrel proof but it’s got a kick (with the current bottle being 131 proof) that turns off most folk.

Regular Jack does make for a decent mixer.

You totally can use soap on cast iron. I regularly do with no issue.

I’ve never run it through the dishwasher, mainly because it’s so large and heavy I don’t think it would fit, but the “seasoning” is essentially not an oil- but becomes a polymerized coating.

Normal soap and hot water does not remove seasoning as far as I can tell. You DO need to towel dry it quickly, or it will rust. Rust won’t kill it though, its more of a looks thing than a functional problem really. I heat mine up after towel dry just to be sure.

A real benefit of plain cast iron as you don’t need to worry about scratching it at all, it’s bare metal and will not rust any quicker even if it’s scratched. So you can scour the hell out of it with metal utensils or whatever you want. Nothing hurts it.

The real advantage of cast iron is that it radiates heat a great deal more evenly and farther out from its surface than materials like stainless steel. Stainless gets hot at the surface, but doesn’t radiate heat outward that much compared to cast iron, so it doesn’t cook stuff deeply piled on it the way cast iron can.

Cast iron actually doesn’t hold heat as long per mass either, because of this physical principal, despite people commonly thinking exactly the opposite. I’ve cast iron in blast furnaces with artists, and can attest, when free to the air, the stuff cools down quick, comparatively speaking.

My go to is a large Lodge cast iron skillet, with just a thin wiped coat of bacon grease, then yukon gold diced potatoes, sprayed with a mist of olive oil, with rosemary, sea salt, black pepper, garlic, cumin, and smoked paprika, in oven at 400 degrees for 90 minutes till crispy. Add diced bacon when there’s about 30 min left.

You will have a godlike meal with that one :wink:


From experience it is less sticky than stainless steel but in no way non-stick. Which is sort of the point. Sticking creates good fond which is great for your pan sauces and braises. Maybe he meant “non-reactive”?

If you start with a pre-seasoned pan you can just use it and make sure to oil it after cleaning and it’ll take care of itself. It’s slower and your pan will not be instagram worthy. But provided you don’t let it get too rusty or scrub anything down to bare metal it works fine.

Cheap/thin enamel can chip. But for the most part it’s fine. I’ve only really seen it happen in thin, cheap enameled steel. Like Graniteware.

We have some excellent old cast iron skillets, but we almost always reach for a forged iron pan (basically a slightly heavier version of a carbon steel pan) nowadays; these have most of the advantages of cast iron, but are lighter and easier to handle.

My wife’s family have some heavy cast aluminum cookware that is an absolute delight to cook with.

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Not really your question, but one thing I like about my cast iron (non-enamel) is that I’m free to use a metal spatula without any problems.

Wasn’t aware that Lowey designed cook-wear! Why should I be surprised?

Jack has a very particular flavor due to the way that it’s made (the mash and the charcoal filtering) but often people hate on it because of other reasons - like rock stars guzzling it out of the bottle, etc…
My favorite American whiskey is Bookers. And I don’t have any Jack in the house, but I’ll drink it on the rocks at a dive bar with a limited selection. I make Manhattans or Old Fashioneds with Bulliet rye (best whiskey deal at Costco, IMO).
There are so many choices out there, there isn’t too much of a reason to drink it, but it’s not crap whiskey was my point. I kind of think of it like Sierra Nevada Pale ale. A long time classic, but I know what it is and I’m trying to work my way through all the other choices… :slight_smile:

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why would you put any pan in the dishwasher? that’s almost as bad as putting knives in the dishwasher.

Why? We have a glass cooktop and use regular seasoned cast iron all the time. Is there something I need to know?!?


I cook with it. It was good enough for Frank and with coke Sammy thought it was just fine. While I prefer to drink Jameson, Jack is fine by me.

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With “coke” or with “coke”? :wink:

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