Cast iron is fantastic for cookware; it transmits heat to the food better than any other material, holds heat better than any other material, is super tough, and lasts forever. But it needs to be looked after or it will rust and corrode. If you get into the routine of seasoning, cleaning, and maintenance you will be rewarded with cookware that will serve you for decades.
It’s relatively easy to care for your cast iron cookware with your pellet grill, so if you’re ready to make your cast iron last, here’s what you need to do:
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How to Season Cast Iron with a Pellet Grill
Seasoning a cast iron pan is vital but pretty simple to do. Seasoning stops the pan from rusting and, over time, will build into a better non-stick coating than you can find on any new pan in store. Ideally, you need to do this before using the pan to cook anything for the first time. Follow these steps:
- First, rinse with hot water and use a stiff brush to remove dust and any oil put there by the manufacturer.
- Dry thoroughly.
- Heat your Z Grills grill to 375F.
- Place your pan on the top rack and allow it a few minutes to get to temperature.
- Add some cooking oil (sunflower or peanut oil are good choices) and swirl it around to coat the interior surfaces. A tablespoon is enough.
- Drain off the excess and invert the pan on the grill.
- Leave the pan to bake for about an hour and let cool.
- Store in a dry place.
How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware
The trick to cleaning cast iron cookware is to never use detergent or soap of any kind. The detergent will remove the coating you are trying to build up and that’s a no-no.
Simply rinse the pan under a hot tap and scrub with a brush if there are any food residues. Wipe with a towel and gently heat in your grill to dry. If there is a lot of cooked food sticking to the surface, scrub with a plastic pan scraper to remove it. As a last resort use a chain mail scrubber or similar, but be gentle. A metal scrubber is likely to remove some of the coatings so be very careful. But don’t put the pan away just yet – move on to maintenance.
How to Maintain Cast Iron Cookware
Now it’s clean, you should re-season the pan by getting it hot and adding a little cooking oil. Keep it hot for five minutes, pour away the excess, and pat dry with a towel. You don’t need to bake it (as we did in the seasoning stage) regularly.
After repeated light seasoning it will build into an almost indestructible non-stick finish, and the pan will last you for decades – possibly for the rest of your life! (How’s that for value?)
You can get cast iron cleaners and conditioners. You may want to try these but the simple regime outlined above should keep your pan in perfect condition. But you do need to do it every time.
You can pick up used cast iron pots and pans pretty cheaply and many can be refurbished without too much effort. First, you’ll have to bake off the old seasoning by baking it at 450F on your Z Grills pellet grill for a good hour or so. Don’t forget your heat-resistant gloves when you remove them! Add water to the pan and bring to a boil, then scrape off the old deposits with a spatula.
Then comes the hard work of getting rid of the rust – wire wool or a chain mail scrubber will do the job but be patient.
When all the rust has gone and the pan is rinsed and dry, treat it just like a new pan and give it the seasoning magic. Your resurrected pan will give you years of faithful service.
Cast iron pans may seem like a lot of work but you soon get into the routine of care. There really is nothing better for cooking on your stovetop, in your oven, or, especially, in your Z Grills pellet grill.