I love cooking in cast iron.I also love bacon. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. You can do this over low heat on the stove or in the oven. The best recipe for cast iron skillet home fries. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cook the bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Easy to maneuver: Most cast-iron pans are quite heavy—the classic Lodge 12-inch skillet weighs about 8½ pounds—so it’s important that they come with a comfortable handle and a large helper handle on the opposite edge of the pan. In comparison, we found that the longer, bulkier handles on some pans made them more unwieldy. The makers of the new artisanal pans replicate this process, while in contrast most inexpensive modern cast-iron pans are mass-produced on automated production lines. Remove the bacon … The manufacturers of these skillets suggest they don’t need as much seasoning, since the very smooth surface will provide excellent release. With a few exceptions, we found in our testing that most cast-iron skillets perform similarly at basic tasks like searing a steak or frying eggs. If those are things you do often, this is the pan to get. The hand polishing also makes for a slicker cooking surface. Then cook the empty pan upside down in the oven over an aluminum foil-lined rack for half an hour. The Utopia Kitchen skillet is an obvious Lodge knockoff, except that the seasoning on the Utopia is ineffective against sticking, and the pour spouts dribbled a lot of oil on our countertops. Sam Sifton, the food editor at The New York Times also helped out with our 2017 testing. The stainless-steel handles deliver a nice contrast to the all-black base, and the double-burner design allows you to cook bacon in amounts to keep even the hungriest, neediest family satisfied. And they will build up more seasoning over time. Meanwhile, a new generation of lighter, smoother, pricier cast-iron skillets from artisanal companies has emerged out of a desire to manufacture new pans that are similar to the older ones. On the stove. Most contemporary, inexpensive cast-iron cookware is heavy and comes with a slightly pebbly texture. The best cast-iron skillet This affordable pan is lighter than a traditional cast-iron skillet and a little shallower. Senior staff writer Lesley Stockton, who wrote the original version of this guide, had been writing about cookware for Wirecutter since 2013, covering skillets (both tri-ply and nonstick), roasting pans, saucepans, and electric pressure cookers. But we found the smoother pans to be no more nonstick than the rougher ones, which will also smooth out with use as they develop layers of seasoning. Using a cast iron skillet to cook bacon seems to make the bacon just right. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and wipe the skillet clean. For our original review, we bought two Wagner #10 skillets—which are slightly smaller than the 12-inch modern skillets we tested—from eBay and tested them against our modern pans after seasoning them with Sheryl Canter’s technique. Enameled cast iron generally doesn’t need special care, and … It was like comparing gravel to a freshly waxed car – well, maybe not that dramatic but it was significant. Join the discussion today. The grip-friendly and comfortable handle is dual riveted for extra strength, which you’re going to need as you prepare pound after pound of hot, fresh, sizzling ecstasy. But it also illustrated one disadvantage of a super-smooth surface: It allowed steak to dome in the middle when the muscle shrunk. However, we didn’t find that it was more nonstick than any of the skillets we tested, and it emerged with dark, blotchy stains from searing steak. Its hard-anodized aluminum construction is designed for fast, even heating and easy cleanup, and its base is warp-resistant, ensuring you year after year of consistent bacon cooking. Set the skillet aside. Carefully add the brussels sprouts, onion, walnuts, and corn to the cast iron skillet. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the brussels sprouts and onions have developed a slight char. A cast-iron skillet is great for everything from searing a T-bone to roasting a chicken, and it will become naturally nonstick over time. At around $120, the Stargazer Cast Iron 12-inch Skillet was the least expensive of the new-gen pans we tested and was the least smooth. Whereas unseasoned cast iron is silver-gray, a seasoned pan will generally be black or brown all over. The classic Lodge costs a very reasonable $20 to $30 (buying the skillet on Amazon costs a little more, because it comes with a silicone handle grip), making it slightly less expensive than the Chef Collection skillet. Serve up this Cast Iron Skillet Bacon Cheeseburger Bomb for dinner tonight! It’s also a little less expensive than the Chef Collection skillet. A clever trick is to keep it on your stove, or easily at hand, so it’s convenient to use (it also doesn’t hurt to cook bacon and other fatty foods in it from time to time). You need a giant pan to do it, it takes forever, and results are so-so. Matthew Hartings, professor of chemistry at American University and author of Chemistry in Your Kitchen, told us, “Cast iron is heavy and dense, and that is the biggest thing it has going for it. Remove crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Another thing that differentiates this skillet is that the sides of the pan are rounded, so it’s easier to maneuver a spatula for flipping pancakes or for stirring vegetables. However, we didn’t notice a difference between the Chef Collection and the heavier traditional Lodge when we seared half-inch-thick strip steaks. Antique and vintage cast-iron cookware were hand-poured into sand molds and hand-polished to a smooth finish. Victoria’s large spouts allowed us to pour off hot oil without a single drip. That extra weight could be a real asset when it comes to cooking a thick cut of meat, since it can help the pan retain more heat. We’ve tested numerous methods and products to find what’s best to restore, clean, and season cast-iron cookware. But if you find yourself with burned-on food deposits, a pocked patina, or a rust invasion, read our comprehensive guide to cleaning and seasoning cast-iron cookware, which covers almost every situation you could run into. The Calphalon cast-iron skillet didn’t make it past the first round of testing for having the worst pour spouts. Soft potatoes, crispy outside, with plenty of flavor. One of the best reasons to roast a chicken in a cast-iron skillet is how caramelized and delicious the vegetables get in the same pan. The eight corners of the skillet are touted to offer versatility when pouring, but every corner dribbled on our counter. Cook to desired doneness. ... where you place strips in a cold cast iron skillet and cook over … Cooks turn to these durable pans for pan-frying, searing, baking, and making eggs. While it’s a little shallower than the classic Lodge, this skillet’s slightly sloped sides make it great for searing and roasting. The Best Frying Pans for Bacon #1. 12 Cast Iron Skillet slow to heat up, it was particularly uneven at heating. Put them together (cooking bacon in a cast iron skillet) and….. perfection! Parents with a large table full of screaming toddlers (and spouses) should opt for the All-Clad HA1 Double Burner Grande. Quick method; Helps keep your cast-iron … In a hurry? And unlike nonstick-coated pans, cast iron is safe past 500 degrees and can go under the broiler. After some cooking tests, the surface of all the high-end skillets looked blotchy, and some had patches of the base metal showing through. It's lighter than other cast-iron skillets, better at searing, comes with a good factory seasoning, and has easy-to-grip handles. This cast iron ground beef recipe is one of my favorites.. Is bacon-wrapped food one of your favorites? If you’re looking for a little more style and flair in the kitchen (and are less worried about the apocalypse), look no further than this Rachael Ray grill and griddle. Today, it still produces American-made cast iron skillets in nearly every size you can imagine, from extra small for personal cookie skillets to large 15-inch pans for crowd-pleasing casseroles. Victoria cast-iron cookware comes with a lifetime warranty. AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet - 12-Inch has a very rough texture, so although theoretically it should take a while to develop a nonstick patina, it performed just as well as every other pan we tested. As I mentioned above, Southern cornbread gets its characteristic crispy crust by the combination of a sizzling hot cast iron skillet + melted fat. Contrary to popular belief, you can wash your pan with mild dish soap and hot water. Place a single layer of bacon strips in a cold skillet, preferably cast-iron. Make sure you’re cooking it right with the best pan. Fried eggs slid out as effortlessly as from a nonstick skillet. Flipping this pan over takes some muscle, but when we did it, our cornbread plopped right out. Most of the time, that’s all you’ll need to keep your pan in great shape. Look no further. Thank you! It also serves to season the cast iron … Now that more people are seeking out these pans, the prices have quadrupled in some cases. They retain the rough texture of the sand mold and weigh significantly more. A Lodge skillet gave us a more consistent sear and released cornbread better than the antiques. It takes a while for the cast iron to really be preheated to where you can use it. Here are a few of your options, and remember, whichever frying pan you choose, you’ve already made the right choice by choosing bacon. If you prefer a pan with higher sides for frying or braising, the Lodge Pre-Seasoned 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet is an excellent option. Join the discussion today. Using Cooking Spray. It has a smoothly polished surface that heated up very evenly. One of the expensive skillets we tested had trouble releasing cornbread, and all of them seemed to have less seasoning than more traditional dark-black skillets. Cornbread also stuck badly to the bottom of the Blacklock unlike the other two pans. A cast-iron skillet is essential to Southern cornbread. Next, we cooked 6 ounces of bacon in each skillet until crisp. Simple to make comfort food for a delicious and hearty breakfast. While nonstick skillets have a short life expectancy—three to five years depending on use—well-maintained cast-iron cookware can last generations. But what really made the Lodge skillet stand out from the competition is its lighter weight combined with its affordable price. So we find it hard to justify paying almost $300, even if you do get a 100-year warranty. This baby will hold up in an oven up to 600 degrees, or the smoldering embers of a campfire after the impending nuclear holocaust lays waste to modern life as we know it. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, frequently turning, for another four to five minutes or until the bacon is browned and crispy. Chewy: 12 min. The Camp Chef 12" Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet released foods cleanly in our tests, but it is particularly rough-textured, heated extremely unevenly, and has a slightly smaller interior surface than the others we tested. It’s one of the most heavy-duty options available. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered. Like the Lodge Chef Collection skillet, it comes well-seasoned and performed as well as skillets many times its price in our tests. Plus, you can fry eggs in the drippings for a real country-style breakfast treat. Sharon Franke, who worked on our 2019 update, tested and wrote about kitchen equipment at the Good Housekeeping Institute for more than 30 years. Look out for the mistakes everybody makes when cooking bacon. At 6½ pounds versus the 8½ pounds of the classic Lodge, it’s more manageable to maneuver than traditional cast iron, and the slightly lower, gently sloped sides make stirring foods and maneuvering a spatula easier. Bacon is the best part of every morning. For the bacon lover who values tradition and also enjoys heavy things, T-fal offers their E83407 Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet. Heat a large skillet (preferably NOT the skillet you are going to cook your pizza in) over medium heat and add bacon. The stick handle is small and uncomfortable, and the helper handle is hard to grasp. To loosen stubborn cooked-on food, pour hot tap water in the skillet while it’s still hot and let it bubble for a minute or two, then transfer to the sink and hand wash. Make sure to dry your pan completely since lingering moisture can cause rust spots or damage your seasoning. The company says the discoloration will even out over time as the pan develops more seasoning, but that will take more time and attention than maintaining the seasoning on a Lodge. The Lodge Chef Collection 12 Inch Skillet did well in all our tests, and impressively it was the lightest of all the inexpensive skillets we tested (though some $80 to $100-plus pans weighed a bit less). It's satisfying and loaded with flavors from the… If you’re a bacon lover who’s a fan of traditional cookware, this cast iron skillet from T-fal might be up your alley. Cook Time by Texture. You want to make a delicious breakfast for your family, so you fry some bacon… Again, Lodge doesn’t have a formal written guarantee or warranty, but we’ve used Lodge skillets for many years without experiencing any problems, and Lodge’s products have long been popular with chefs and cooking personalities. We’ve read through this guide and stand by our current picks. The overdesigned Finex 12-inch octagonal skillet is another offering from the indie movement of cast-iron producers trying to make pans the old way. A new generation of high-end cast-iron skillets produced by small companies like Butter Pat or Stargazer come with a very smooth cooking surface and are typically a couple of pounds lighter. Whether you prefer chewy or crispy, turkey or pork, there’s a bacon out there for everyone. Some prefer a more, Cucina Hard Anodized Nonstick Grill/Deep Square Griddle Pan. The helper handle is small and doesn’t offer much for support. Wirecutter is reader-supported. Cook on medium-low heat—you want to render a lot of the fat out … We prefer slightly rounded stick handles that allow for a natural grip near their base, which gives you good control. You’ll know a pan is well-seasoned if it’s an even color all over, without darker specks or blotches. I did not realize how significant this was until I got my first WagnerWare Cast Iron Skillet, a 1056N. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet… Finex skillets have a polished cooking area, but the walls are left with the casting texture. She is perfectly happy to leave all that behind to be a full-time kitchen-gear nerd. Before that, she cooked in fine-dining kitchens for many years and was a food editor in the Martha Stewart test kitchens for six years. But one thing cast iron is not good at is distributing heat evenly the way cookware made of aluminum or tri-ply stainless steel can, so you’ll need to watch those eggs carefully. When the venison bacon is finished cooking, it should still be slightly flexible. At 6½ pounds, it weighs a full 2 pounds less than the traditional 12-inch Lodge skillet and is more comparable in heft to some of the $200 or $300 pans we tested. Separate each piece of bacon and just dump it in the pan all willy nilly. All but one of our skillets had a clean release. After over 70 hours of research and testing since 2014, we still think the All-Clad Stainless 12″ Covered Fry Pan is the best skillet for most cooks. Our grandmothers often used lard and bacon grease. The warranty is also only 90 days. Though we enjoyed using it, we find it hard to justify the $160 price. From the ancient times of Alexander the Great to the modern days of Homer J. Simpson, our love affair with bacon has stretched across millennia. The Joan has very low sides, so it’s great for searing without steaming but too shallow for frying chicken. Here’s what we looked for in a good cast-iron pan: Factory-seasoned: Most cast-iron skillets will come preseasoned—that is, coated with one or more layers of polymerized oil that provide a nonstick, rustproof finish. Lesley Stockton is a senior staff writer reporting on all things cooking and entertaining for Wirecutter. Every aspiring bacon chef needs a few tried and true weapons in their salt-cured arsenal: a pair of tongs for the crucial and frequent flipping of the bacon strips, a large plate covered with paper towels to soak up the extra grease, and of course, a frying pan tailor-made for preparing the most important part of breakfast. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel, leaving the bacon grease behind. While you can always braise or deep-fry in a Dutch oven instead, if you’d like to be able to do these things in your skillet, we recommend the original Lodge 12-inch skillet instead (more on that below). Arrange bacon in a single layer in a cold cast-iron skillet. It seared steak, fried eggs, and released cornbread well in our tests. Best of all, this option includes a solid sandwich press, ideal for making the perfect lunchtime BLT with all of your succulent breakfast leftovers. For the original guide, we interviewed Nancy Fuller, host of Farmhouse Rules; Jeremiah Langhorne, chef and owner of The Dabney in Washington, DC; Mary Theisen, founder of The Pan Handler; Matthew Hartings, professor of chemistry at American University and author of Chemistry in Your Kitchen; and Brad Schwarting, president of the Griswold and Cast Iron Cookware Association. When to use this method: Frying bacon in a cast-iron skillet is best for small batches and tender texture. The Best Pre-Seasoned 10-Inch Cast-Iron Skillet: Lodge Blacklock 96. Prepare it for use by wiping a thin layer of vegetable oil around the inside of the pan. My pick is the T-Fal pre-seasoned cast iron skillet from Amazon. It’s deep, which would work well for frying chicken. With heavy traffic, long commutes and a dead-end office job in front of most of us, bacon for breakfast is one thing that’s actually worth getting up for. 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