Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

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Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby dreamofcolors » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:12 pm

So... newbie question here. I brought home my first ever amazing Teardrop in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Now that I FINALLY have my own camper, I need to outfit it.

I have never owned cast iron, but have cooked with it some and I know it's a must-have item for when I really start camping regularly.

I know I need to get a dutch oven at the minimum, and probably a fryin pan, but where to start? There's a five piece set on Amazon for $63 that looks intriguing, but do I need all of it? Is the dutch oven it comes with too small to be practical?

Here's the amazon set: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004QM8SLG/ref ... I466TRQ3LS

I'm not sure if it matters, but I'm a vegetarian... so I forsee pancakes, cakes, and stir fry veggies in my future more than meat cooking.

Should I start with that, or buy one good DO and other important pieces. I'm not much of a bargain shopper as far as goodwill and thrift stores go, so I'll most likely be shopping at a big box store in person or online (though, I personally boycott Wal Mart, so don't suggest it!)

Thanks for help and advice.
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby KennethW » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:05 pm

It looks like a nice set to me But that is a oven-dutch oven (no legs or resided lid) .Lodge is American made and is good stuff. The preseason is not all that good. So I would put more on. You are making me think of home fry's with sauteed onions and green peppers. :thumbsup:
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby tony.latham » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:14 pm

Dream:

I'm the odd one out here. I started my dutch oven cooking in about 1982 or so when I was a river guide on the Main Salmon. Back in those days, cast iron dutches were the only show on the river. It's not so anymore. Every outfitter here in "River City" –and during the float season, there are over thirty of them– are now using aluminum dutches. Let me throw out some numbers. In the summertime, there are about 20,000 floaters that spend an average of five nights on our two local-yocal wilderness rivers. I'd guess that 80% of those 100,000 dinners are cooked on aluminum dutch ovens.

The disadvantages? Most of the time you have to use a butter knife to pry up the hot lid off because of expansion. Aluminum cleans up as easy as iron.

That Amazon package looks like a good deal. I can't tell how big the D.O. actually is. A 10" inch is usually fine for two people. I carry a 10" and a 12". The 10" nests inside the 12" if you flip over the lid. A lot of times, we'll do chicken or some other finger-licking entree in the 12" and have leftovers for the next day.

Outdoor-cooking dutches have a lip on the lid to hold coals. It looks like that lid has one, but I can't really tell. Most people purchase dutches for outdoor cooking with legs on them so the dutch doesn't put out the three or four brickets you put underneath them while cooking. There are none on the dutch in the picture. But that's the first thing I do with a new dutch is cut off the legs. That way you can still cook with them on the stove and they take up less storage space. For cooking with coals, I used to just find three golf-ball sized rocks and use those for the legs to get them off the coals. These days I use a folding dutch oven lid support to keep them off the coals.

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Either way ya go, you'll be blown away how simple a it is to produce a fantastic meal in a dutch oven.

You might pick up a copy of this book: http://www.amazon.com/Dubs-Dutch-Oven-O ... utch+welch written by an old friend. I think it's got at least one of my old recipes in it. Butch is a master of camp cookery. And for all I know, he may argue for iron dutches in that book. :FNP

T
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby DrCrash » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:37 pm

There is a direct link between aluminum and drain brammage [alzheimers , parkinson's]
Last edited by DrCrash on Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby Woodbutcher » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:04 pm

If I were you I would get a 10" deep (if you can find one) Lodge Dutch oven, with legs. Then shop around the garage sales and thrift shops for an 8 or 10 " fry pan. Look for Griswold or Wagners. They are plentiful and should not be more then about 10 bucks. Make sure they have a flat bottom. You should be able to make almost anything with those two.
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby Redneck Teepee » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:15 pm

What Woodbutcher said.........^^^^^^^^^ :thumbsup:
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiot's.
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby DrCrash » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:18 pm

What Woodbutcher said.........^^^^^^^^^ :thumbsup:
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby tony.latham » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:59 pm

DrCrash wrote:There is a direct link between aluminum and drain brammage [alzheimers , parkinson's]


Well... that explains a lot! :?

But according to the Alzheimer's Association (alz.org) research since the '60s and '70s indicates that aluminum causing Alzheimer's is a myth.

I'm thinking I do have a bit of brain brammage though.... :R It probably happened the night I stumbled and hit my head on my old cast iron dutch. I think it was that damn 14" deep dish that gave me the hernia.

Tony

p.s. Dr Crash: Please take those smileys with a big brammage of humor though. Seriously.
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby GerryS » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:16 am

Even if it's a myth, I'm sticking to iron. Weight might be more but it's a much more known commodity.

Lodge is good stuff, and the only thing I would want is what has been stated already....legs and a lip on the lid of the Dutch oven make cooing with charcoal possible.

Also, when it come to seasoning look for beeswax....search the forums, that topic has been explored in depth already....you won't regret it. Especially with pancakes :)
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby dreamofcolors » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:35 am

Thanks for all of your responses... keep them coming! The lip on the lid is great advice for sure.
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby DrCrash » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:04 am

tony.latham wrote:
DrCrash wrote:There is a direct link between aluminum and drain brammage [alzheimers , parkinson's]




p.s. Dr Crash: Please take those smileys with a big brammage of humor though. Seriously.


You dont have to worry there . I dont sweat the good stuff life is way to damn short to take totaly serious.
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby Catherine+twins » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:17 am

Okay, I'm the odd one out. When camping, I don't want to have any left-overs (or, in camp terms, waste). I find the 10" DO too large for most things, and like the 8". My camp frying pan has also been an 8", although this year I have moved up to a 10". A small desert or side veggie can be done in a 6" DO, and was plenty when my twins were younger. Now that they are teens, admittedly I may move up to one 10" DO (main dish) and an 8" (bread or desert), or maybe 2 8" pans. A 10" or a 12" would be good for pot luck dinners if you plan to attend teardrop gatherings, though.

So, really, how many are you planning to cook for, and what size pans do you usually cook in? Do you plan to bake bread with your meals? Baked desert? Do you prefer stir-fry meals or one-pan/casserole meals? Vegetarian casseroles are easy in DOs, so are rice/quinoa to go with a stir-fry. Potatoes can be wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals, either under the frying pan or on the lid of a DO with the coals heaped there.

You've already mentioned pancakes. I suggest a round griddle (comal, if you live in the southwest).
http://smile.amazon.com/Lodge-Pre-Seaso ... nd+griddle
It is MUCH easier to flip a pancake when you don't have to dig for it and fight the sides of a frying pan. I also use it for frying eggs and cooking crepes and tortillas.

Dutch ovens come in a lot of sizes. 6" diameter holds 1 qt of contents (up to the brim, likely to slop if you really fill it all the way up); 8" diameter holds 2 qts; 10" holds 4 qts; 10" deep holds 5 qts; 12" holds 6 qts, 12" deep holds 8 qts.
http://smile.amazon.com/Lodge-Camp-Dutc ... dutch+oven
For comparison, a common bread pan is usually a 1 qt pan. A 9x13 pan (used in larger households than mine for sheet cakes, lasagne, church casseroles, etc) holds 3 qts. My go-to sauce pan for a main-dish soup is 2 quarts (again, filled to the brim, which I don't do), and that more than fills the three of us up. Think about your go-to pans and figure on DOs of similar size. You can see I keep coming back to a 2-qt pot as my basic cook pan, which is why the 8" DO works so well for us.

I have a modern Lodge 8" skillet, and it is perfectly fine. If I had never used my grandmother's cast iron, I wouldn't have known that the vintage stuff is so much better. I picked up a modern Lodge 12" and a vintage Lodge 10" at a Goodwill, and then found my other grandmother's 10" vintage Griswold in a shed on the family farm. Well-seasoned, the modern ones will be nearly as non-stick as the older ones, but the vintage ones have really smooth cooking surfaces that are, well, a joy to cook on. The vintage ones also tend to be just a bit lighter weight than the modern ones of the same size. Grandma's Griswold is now my go-to skillet. I can cook a frittata in it, and it will just slip right out in one piece for serving. Nice. Anyway, you can start with a Lodge skillet and keep an eye out for some vintage CI later. (Unlabeled pans are less expensive, Griswold and Wagner pans can get quite pricy, especially if you are buying from a cast iron reseller. You can still find the occasional yard sale or Goodwill bargain, but there are a lot of collectors out there searching those same locations.)

And then there are the extras. If you like to cook pasta, rice, or other grains with your meals, and you don't plan to cook over a fire or coals, any pan will do, and will be less likely to rust. I have some old aluminum camp pans, which are also used to heat water for washing up.

Oh, and we like waffles as an alternative to pancakes. We have one long-handled waffle iron for cooking over coals in the camp fire http://smile.amazon.com/Romes-1405-Waff ... affle+iron, and another short-handled waffle iron for the camp stove http://smile.amazon.com/Romes-1100-Fash ... affle+iron.

Anyway, don't just go out and start buying cast iron without knowing how many you are cooking for and how you are planning to cook. Take a look at the recipes on this site ("Recipes by and for Teardroppers" and "T&TTT Cookbook #2") and at http://camp-cook.com/forum/index.php. Try a few camp recipes at home, either in your kitchen or in a firepit outside.

And finally, you can camp without cast iron cookware. I grew up camping with my parents (even have pictures of my mom at a campground picnic table trying to feed a toddler and a baby and visibly pregnant) and my dad (the camp cook) only used aluminum pans and a non-stick aluminum griddle on a Coleman camp stove.

Happy Camping!

Catherine
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Re: Cast Iron newbie and first time shopper

Postby bobhenry » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:51 am

Catherine+twins wrote:
You've already mentioned pancakes. I suggest a round griddle

It is MUCH easier to flip a pancake when you don't have to dig for it and fight the sides of a frying pan. I also use it for frying eggs and cooking crepes and tortillas.



Catherine


Who needs a griddle I got a lid. :laughter:

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