On a mission for the perfect kitchen

Our 2 Essential Cast Iron Skillet Accessories

Our 2 Essential Cast Iron Skillet Accessories

Our 2 Essential Cast Iron Accessories

This is the forth of a 4-part series of posts on cast iron:

Part 4: Our 2 Essential Cast Iron Skillet Accessories

Part 4: Our 2 Essential Cast Iron Skillet Accessories

#1) Chainmail Scrubber

Cast iron skillets improve with use, becoming increasingly non-stick with every layer of fat that gets polymerized to form the seasoning that is so unique to this wonderful cooking medium. As the seasoning improves, the skillet not only releases food more easily, it also lets go of gunk more easily, making it easier to clean an “experienced” cast iron skillet. New cast iron skillets aren’t so forgiving, and we’ve found that just a brush and some hot water are not always enough to easily clean new skillets, or to clean skillets that have a lot of really burned on residue.

The challenge is to clean your cast iron skillet without ruining the seasoning, and we’ve found that the best tool for the job is a stainless steel chainmail scrubber. Specifically designed for cleaning cast iron, these simple devices loosen the crusty bits that a brush leaves behind without damaging your skillet. Just run hot water in your skillet (we choose water that’s as hot as can be while still allowing us to put our hands in it) and push the chainmail scrubber around the entire cooking surface, applying a bit more pressure where the gunk is most obvious.

To be honest, it probably doesn’t matter which chainmail scrubber you buy. There are dozens of them on Amazon. The Ringer is a popular one, but you won’t go wrong with any model that has small rings (plus a ring for hanging), is made of stainless steel, and measures about 8” x 6”. Chainmail scrubbers are dishwasher safe.

#2) Silicone Hot Handle Holder

When you use cast iron, the whole skillet becomes hot, so you always need to take care when you put you handle it. We like using silicone hot handle holders when cooking with cast iron. However, we use these holders differently than some people. We think they are best for the following two purposes:

  1. As a reminder that the handle is hot.
  2. To allow us to grip the handle to stabilize the skillet while we use utensils.

Theoretically, a handle holder is intended to make it safe to pick up a hot cast iron skillet by the handle, even as you remove a hot skillet from the oven (our favorite is heat resistant to 675 degrees Fahrenheit). We don’t find them particularly helpful for that purpose. Frankly, silicone covers never quite fit snuggly enough on the handle to provide a good grip. We prefer to use oven mitts on both hands when moving a 12-inch cast iron skillet (one hand is on the helper handle opposite the main handle), and usually on just one hand when the skillet is smaller than that.

Our favorite holder, the Lamson HotHandle, fits on all our skillets (including our stainless steel All-clad pans). It slides on and off easily. It is flexible, slip resistant, and easy to clean either by hand or in the dishwasher. It offers all the protection we need.

Incidentally, we don’t love Lodge’s handle holder, which often comes packaged with their skillets. We find them finicky to put on the keyhole handles of our Lodge skillets. It’s especially difficult to slide them onto the handle when it is hot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *