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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 12-12-2012, 06:39 AM   #1
code3rrt
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Question Does it really make a difference?

I was reading an earlier thread pertaining to cornbread and several folks jumped in and said to cook it in a cast iron skillet. Does it really make a difference? Is it the taste, texture or both. Gonna try it for myself and see what I think, but thought I'd run it past those "that know" in the mean time.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 06:58 AM   #2
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Cooking in cast iron is more about the even conduction of heat. Thinner pots or pans can have hot or cool spots. I've never noticed a difference in taste.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 07:09 AM   #3
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It may just be me but I think cornbread baked in cast iron is the absolute best.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 07:14 AM   #4
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Cast iron gets hot and stays hot, it immediately starts the bottom crust. I love my cast iron, some of which was my mothers. I preheat the skillet or cornbread stick pan at 400-450 and have them very well oiled!
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Unread 12-12-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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+1....I'm with Chad!!!
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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:05 AM   #6
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All I know is that my red beans, gumbo, and chili taste better when cooked in cast iron. It''s probably the 50+ years of seasoning in the pores since my favorite pot hasn't seen soap in decades.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:44 AM   #7
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It's important that when you try a cast iron skillet, that it be properly seasoned. Some of the name brands come with instructions on how to season. And as Teamfour said, you are never supposed to wash the pan with soap and water unless you want to re-season it. Just rinse it out with hot water while the pan is still warm, and dry with a paper towel and rub some vegetable oil in it to prevent rust. Over time, this process will seal the pores and the pan will become a non-stick pan, plus adding flavor to every dish you make! Go for it!
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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:46 AM   #8
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Yes it makes a difference. If you want Southern style use cast iron. If you want Joe's Diner style use use an aluminum pie pan.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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A seasoned cast iron skillet cooks differently than other skillets. You get it hot, and it is an even heat all over and stays hot, so you ahve a very steady heat even when moving the pan around. The seasoning, or non-stick surface (if you will) is oil based, so the heat plus the oil makes it a very suitable pan frying sort of environment. Oil is typically added to the pan, but the oil adheres to the surface all over, even adding to the "seasoning of the pan", the oil does not just pool up in one location.

To simulate this with other skillets, they may have a non-stick coating, but that coating itself is not particularly suited for pan frying, you have to add oil, which tends to pool up and not spread evenly all over. Additionally, other skillets do not spread and retain heat as evenly as cast iron traditionally does.

So, they really are different, and depending on what you are making the difference can be noticeable. Cornbread is definitely one of the items that you can notice the difference with.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:49 AM   #10
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Never, ever, ever (NEVER) cook tomato sauce in a seasoned cast iron pot! I had a large frying pan messed up years ago by "someone" doing spaghetti sauce in this skillet and leaving the sauce in the pan. Stripped it down to bare metal. I have since salvaged/reseasoned the pan but can still fell a ridge on the sides. The original seasoning was probably 15 years old...and it's been about 15 years since the "accident". Take care of your cast iron. Don't be able to tell a sad story like mine!
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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:53 AM   #11
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Preheating the skillet makes a difference also.


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Unread 12-12-2012, 08:54 AM   #12
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And that' 'real' science.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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Yes! It is THAT big of a deal.
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Unread 12-12-2012, 01:09 PM   #14
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There's another way to do it?
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Unread 12-12-2012, 01:23 PM   #15
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I wish I had an answer for that, but I don't recall eating cornbread any way besides cooked in a cast iron skillet. I don't usually eat it at restaurants 'cause it never seems to be very good. I'm guessing most restaurants, esp. larger ones, would cook it in non-CI pans.
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