Cast Iron- why is new cookware so rough inside?

Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
A few months ago I wanted to get Mom a small(~7-8") cast iron skillet, something that would be just right for her to make one package of cornbread mix. All the cast iron cookware I can find has a cooking surface inside that is just as rough as the rough external surface! [Mad] Is anything easily available that has a smooth cooking surface, or will this be a garage sale search? The "Lodge" brand stuff looks good *except* for the rough cooking surface. What are they thinking? [Confused]
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Messages
48,018
Location
Everson WA - Pacific NW USA
Actually you don't want it too smooth. Just season it, deseason it and season it for awhile and it will smooth out. Plenty of heat and time and a couple varieties of oil work pretty good. They get real nice in a few years. I have a four cast iron pieces that behave as non-stick.
 

UncleS2

Thread starter
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
Well, Pablo, Mom's 77th birthday is in a couple of months, & I'd like something with a nice smooth surface that she can use now. She has one big smooth cast-iron skillet, but is likely to scrub it out with dish soap at any time. [Frown] So, as you can see- we're gonna have to leave the "few years" stuff to someone younger! [Big Grin]
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2002
Messages
43,676
Location
'Stralia
and don't let your mother any where near your cast iron cookware or steel wok. The scrub them back to a mirror shine, which then makes it all lovely and red, and needs another extensive treatment programme.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2004
Messages
1,356
Location
Basehor, KS
LeCreuset is cast iron with enamelled exterior and no stick interior. I have a 30 year old version that is still doing fine. Easy to clean with no skillet seasoning issues.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
1,027
Location
East Helena, Montana
Although any new cast iron cookware is probably going to be a little rough, if the inside surface is too rough its because the manufacturer (which will probably be an overseas manufacturer) uses cheap, low grade, iron, the manufacturing process is crude, and all they care about is profit. To get good quality iron and well made cookware you'll have to shop around. Try garage sales and the Internet. Also, ask your friends, relatives, and neighbors if they have cast iron cookware they don't use and are willing to give or sell to you. A lot of people have them lying around unused. In my opinion, the best pans and pots, at the cheapest prices, will be found that way or at garage sales. The older and blacker the pot and pan the better its liable to be. See this article: http://frugalliving.about.com/od/shoppingsmart/a/castiron.htm
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Messages
1,175
Location
Long Beach, CA
This is a great thread. After the teflon stuff from the other thread, I was looking ofr an alternative. Evident;y, I've been cleaning my iron skillet the wrong way, scrubbing the s#it out of it to get it spotless.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2005
Messages
32
Location
Edison, NJ
Lodge will get the job well and the pre-seasoning isnt bad. Nothing holds heat like cast iron as far as Im concerned. I agree with HEV to use shortening for the seasoning of the pan. Remember to thoroughly dry your pan over a high flame to prevent any rusting.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Messages
48,018
Location
Everson WA - Pacific NW USA
I guess some of the import stuff is real crap, when Stuart wrote "rough" I assumed normal as cast iron porosity (which is a good thing for seasoning), NOT huge craters, bumps, etc...yikes!
 

UncleS2

Thread starter
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
Today I bought Mom a Lodge brand "already seasoned" 8 inch cast iron skillet. The cooking surface is still fairly rough, but much better than the Lodge skillets I looked at a few months ago. Maybe this varies from batch to batch? [I dont know] Anyhow, I'll try it out & see how well it does on a single package of cornbread mix. That's probably about the only thing she'll ever cook in it! [Big Grin]
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
1,394
Location
Lynden, Washington
Cast iron is the only way to go IMO. Great thread indeed! I usually use some Crisco or lard to season. Once in a while I boil 'em out with some salt thrown in, then re-coat.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
36,777
Location
ME
[Off Topic!] As an admitted amateur I love using steel wool soap pads on my cast-iron pans. I get them real shiny like a new brake drum, rinse them, wipe dry, and put them on a cozie on my woodstove warming rack for a final dry. They don't rust and food doesn't stick... Wife seasons the pans about once a year. Are the soap pads bad? They're so gratifying to use, I might just keep it up anyway...
 

UncleS2

Thread starter
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
I thought that was supposed to be about as bad as it got for cast iron, but what do I know? [Big Grin] Shiny, like silver? And it doesn't rust? Wow! [Patriot] I always thought that shiny black was the ideal. But heck, if it works for you & you like it that way, why not? My cleaning procedure: after cooking cornbread, I just wipe out the skillet with a dry paper towel. There's enough vegetable oil left behind to keep it well seasoned. Pretty easy, huh? [Big Grin] If it's too dirty for that, I use hot tap water & a plastic mesh pot scrubber. Too messy for that? Then put about 1/4" of water in the skillet, heat till steaming & simmering over low heat, then scrape out with a stainless steel spatula. Go outside & toss the water & "leavins", then back to the plastic pot scrubber & hot water, then dry with a paper towel. If it looks really dry after all that, maybe rub in a few drops of vegetable oil. But remember, no expert here, just how I care for the only good cast iron skillet in my Mom's house. FWIW, it seems to be pretty old, with "Wagner" on the bottom, & looks about 10" to 12" in diameter.
 

HEV

Joined
Sep 13, 2004
Messages
327
Location
Great Central Valley, CA
The less you scrub them the better. Just knock off the big stuff and allow the pan to season itself overtime. My Lodge's and Wagner's (no longer made)and dark black, shiny, and practically non-stick. For those looking for pans, if you can find a Wagner at a yard sale, get it. I think they are a nicer handling pan.
 

HEV

Joined
Sep 13, 2004
Messages
327
Location
Great Central Valley, CA
The less you scrub them the better. Just knock off the big stuff and allow the pan to season itself overtime. My Lodge's and Wagner's (no longer made)and dark black, shiny, and practically non-stick. For those looking for pans, if you can find a Wagner at a yard sale, get it. I think they are a nicer handling pan.
 

UncleS2

Thread starter
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
I'm happy to report that tne new 8" Lodge cast iron skillet cooks a single package of cornbread mix just fine! I used "light"(no real flavor) olive oil, & afterward just wiped out the skillet with a paper towel. Cooking cornbread will be its only duty in life, & it does it well- even with the rough bottom!(no jokes about old girlfriends here! [Big Grin] )
 
Top