Cast Iron pan sticking

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I have a large cast iron pan, I used it to brown some ground pork for thanks giving meal. Bad sticking had to change to another pot . Is there a good way to strip and re season ?
 

phatch

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Two things. Was your pan hot enough and did you let the meat finish cooking before you tried to move it. Cast iron will stick until the food's done.

The easiest way to strip it is to put it in your oven on a self-cleaning cycle
 
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it was chop meat how cant you move it ? Unfortunately I don't have self cleaning on my stove,would 500 hundred do it or broil ?
 

phatch

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It's called browning the meat for a reason. Needs to brown before you can move it cleanly in conventional cookware.

You might be happier with cold start methods or non stick. Start with a cold pan and cook over medium heat. You get a fine crumble.
It's not that cast iron is nonstick it's that is very high release when the food's done. As the patina develops. It gets closer to non stick, but some foods demonstrate its nature: eggs, fish, ground meat...
 
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Don’t strip. Scrub out the stuck on stuff and keep cooking. Use some oil... cast iron isn’t really quite as slick as real non-stick. When something like that happens to me I use water and a wooden spatula to scrape.
 
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If it's seasoned you only need to boil a little water in it then scrape clean, maybe a salt scrub then oil and good to go.

you gotta be patient with cast iron - next time deglaze with your sofrito, or a liquid like wine. All that "fond" stuck to the bottom is flavor provided it's not burnt.
 
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Lol surfcast, I'm with you! Thanks for this post, and thanks for the replies.
I have a real cheap 10" cast iron from China. I never trusted the integrity of its factory glaze so I stripped the whole glaze off with Brillo and elbow grease. It's been re-seasoned a couple of times but still sticks. I'll try the tips here before I toss the darn thing.
 
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I have been cooking with cast iron pans for more years than I can remember. As others have already inquired - was your pork meat without any fat? If it is very lean, a bit of fat/oil in the pan will help prevent sticking - IF the pan is heated before the meat is added.

The way I understand it, cast iron is more porous than it appears so old time cooks would season their new pans by wiping a light layer of oil on the metal. One thing I never do is soak a just cooked in cast iron pan with water. That tends to leach the seasoning (oil/fat) from the metal. And when pans develop too thick a 'crust' (usually at edges or on bottom), cleaning them back to the bare metal is done by sticking the entire pan into a fire ( we have a wood stove). The seasoning process will then need to be started again.
 
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Joined Nov 28, 2017
I have been cooking with cast iron pans for more years than I can remember. As others have already inquired - was your pork meat without any fat? If it is very lean, a bit of fat/oil in the pan will help prevent sticking - IF the pan is heated before the meat is added.

The way I understand it, cast iron is more porous than it appears so old time cooks would season their new pans by wiping a light layer of oil on the metal. One thing I never do is soak a just cooked in cast iron pan with water. That tends to leach the seasoning (oil/fat) from the metal. And when pans develop too thick a 'crust' (usually at edges or on bottom), cleaning them back to the bare metal is done by sticking the entire pan into a fire ( we have a wood stove). The seasoning process will then need to be started again.
PS - a seasoned cast iron pan can rather be like a non-stick pan ;), but I would never expect to use it without at least a bit of oil/fat added to the pan before using it. The interesting thing is that I do not use 'non-stick' pans at all! I find the low fat mentality to be silly in my mind. Having(natural) 'fats' in one's diet not only supply needed nutrients, its the original satisfaction factor that quells overeating :rolleyes:!
 
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I'm not so sure that a cast-iron pan can be any different being from any different place of origin. It's a pan. It's cast iron. It is not a complicated technological item. Scrub the bajeesus out of it, using whatever medium/method you like (mine being dish-soap, salt and a green kitchen scrubby) then re-season it, hopefully properly, and you should be G2G. NO matter what you are cooking on, once you get decent caramelization, the meat should release itself and not stick.

My favorite most expensive most used cast pan it mis-used and mis-treated by every idiot moron ever coming through my kitchen. It's funny that I've never hit any of them with it. But it's simple ... It's a pan. It's cast iron. It is not a complicated technological item. You really can't hurt it. You know what else ... It works just fine for me, because I use it properly.

YES ... I am very good at what I do ... ANYBODY can do what I do. LOL.


"We work in kitchens ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
 
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I'm not so sure that a cast-iron pan can be any different being from any different place of origin.
I have noticed a difference in pan (inside) bottom surfacing - mainly from older pans which usually have smoother/ground down surfaces - and some new 'cheap' pans that tend to be 'right out of the mold' with rougher surface overall. The older pans are easier to season and keep cooking nicely, while the newer and rougher pans are more challenging for things like cooking eggs, browning hash browns etc.. Just my personal experience
 
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Jain ... Your point is a good enough point. For the greatest percentage of cast pans that I've recovered/recycled/reused and given away ... when used properly ... they all work within a close performance-band between them. If you can find/look-up the science behind how cast iron pans work, it is very cool by-the-way ... you could maybe see/understand what I'm talking about.
 
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I have noticed a difference in pan (inside) bottom surfacing - mainly from older pans which usually have smoother/ground down surfaces - and some new 'cheap' pans that tend to be 'right out of the mold' with rougher surface overall.
Yes. My cheap pan has a very rough bottom surface. And that thick, icky and gooey (yes, gooey) coating it came with smoothed the bottom out. I'm thinking, what is this stuff? What's in it? Lead? That's why I rubbed it off. I will season it a few times - maybe build up a thicker coating and see what happens. I seasoned correctly, but the coating seems too thin.
 
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pete

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I'm not so sure that a cast-iron pan can be any different being from any different place of origin. It's a pan. It's cast iron. It is not a complicated technological item. Scrub the bajeesus out of it, using whatever medium/method you like (mine being dish-soap, salt and a green kitchen scrubby) then re-season it, hopefully properly, and you should be G2G. NO matter what you are cooking on, once you get decent caramelization, the meat should release itself and not stick.
Unfortunately, cast iron can vary in quality. My jail, built only about 20 years ago, just went through a major pipe project, removing almost all of the cast iron piping. The original contractor bought inexpensive cast iron that came from China and something went wrong in the processing of that cast iron. Much of the pipe had started to crumble, which it shouldn't have done. It was interesting seeing what they pulled out. Some was still in great shape but much of it had corroded way more than it should have and some was actually crumbling. So there definitely is a difference in quality of cast iron.

One thing I have noticed with newer cast iron, especially from cheaper manufacturers, is that they tend to skip on the "finishing" of pans often. Once the pans come out of the casts they should be "sanded" down to remove burrs, smooth the surface, etc. I often seen pans, that are on the cheaper side, that are sold way more rough then they should be. This will affect its ability to season well, and become more non-stick. But as others have said, cast iron is not non-stick in the truest sense of the work, but I have used, and owned, older cast iron, handed down to me, that has been so well seasoned that it almost completely non stick. I can't slide a sunny side up egg around on it, but it releases really easily, without bits really sticking.
 
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My grandmother's skillet has a very smooth bottom and is maybe 100 yrs. old. My Lodge is fairly nodular, but it's still a good pan it's just different and cooks differently.
 
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Unfortunately, cast iron can vary in quality. My jail, built only about 20 years ago, just went through a major pipe project, removing almost all of the cast iron piping. The original contractor bought inexpensive cast iron that came from China and something went wrong in the processing of that cast iron. Much of the pipe had started to crumble, which it shouldn't have done. It was interesting seeing what they pulled out. Some was still in great shape but much of it had corroded way more than it should have and some was actually crumbling. So there definitely is a difference in quality of cast iron.

One thing I have noticed with newer cast iron cookware, especially from cheaper manufacturers, is that they tend to skip on the "finishing" of pans often. Once the pans come out of the casts they should be "sanded" down to remove burrs, smooth the surface, etc. I often seen pans, that are on the cheaper side, that are sold way more rough then they should be. This will affect its ability to season well, and become more non-stick. But as others have said, cast iron is not non-stick in the truest sense of the work, but I have used, and owned, older cast iron, handed down to me, that has been so well seasoned that it almost completely non stick. I can't slide a sunny side up egg around on it, but it releases really easily, without bits really sticking.
These are two separate but very important issues. The second concern, finishing, is perhaps of greater importance to cookware. The cheap cast iron cookware I've seen can be really variable - my Mom once gave me two cast iron skillets that she either hated or was too weak to pick up. Both came from who-knows-where and were made by who-the-heck-knows. One was actually machined smooth... apparently turned on a lathe. It seasoned up quite nicely. The other was as rough as 80-grit sandpaper, and maybe even rougher than that. She tried to season and use it but to no avail. I sandblasted it clean and then shot-peened it into submission. After too much effort it became a usable skillet. But nothing beats the surface of Griswold or Lodge. They had it all figured out long ago. :)
 
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My cast iron 'collection' consists of - 'dutch oven' given to me by my grandmother who picked it up in a yard sale many years ago, 'chicken cooker' (basically deep frying pan) I've had for years, huge 12" skillet, square 10" skillet, older 8" skillet, 6" skillet and 5" skillet and one 10" (round) griddle. All but the square pan have smooth bottoms and even the 'nubby' bottom of the square and 5" pans aren't all that rough really. I not only love the way these cook for me, they also provide good arm 'exercise'. :p
(wish I could insert funny skillet-exercise picture here)

What are your cast iron favorites?
 
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