There is nothing new about a cast iron skillet, but some people are wary of them because they don't know how to care for them. They keep them around though in case they need a weapon! LOL! I remember the cartoons where they knock someone out with one of those heavies!! Well, maybe after reading this... you'll use it for cooking! Cast iron HATES soap and some people ignore this and that leads to trouble. They end up with pans that stick and rust. Soap takes the "seasoning" off the pan, stripping it. If this happens, you will need to "re-season" your pan... and this can be done pretty easily. Most pans these days come "pre seasoned" and will say so if they are.
The best way to clean your pre seasoned cast iron is to simply wash it with HOT water right away after using it. Use a stiff bristled brush to get the food bits off, not anything like steel wool that will scratch the seasoning off. Dry it THOROUGHLY with a dish towel or paper towel. Put some oil, I personally use coconut oil, in the pan and rub it in the bottom and sides well. Put the pan away, you're done! If food does get dried on, you can put some water in it to cover the food and boil it on the stove. Once hot, scrape the food bits off. Don't use metal utensils in cast iron, use wood or something that won't scratch.
If you find that you need to re-season...here's how: Scrape off any rust and food bits. you can use dry course salt, even sandpaper...just get it all off. Dry the pan well with a dry dish towel or paper towel. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Coat the pan thoroughly with Crisco. Some people say that other cooking oils work, maybe so...but Crisco definitely works. Coat it so you can see the white Crisco a bit, don't completely rub it in...put it on pretty thick, outside and inside. Put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, this will give it enough time to melt. Take it out and pour out the excess. Wipe it out with a paper towel to get he excess off the pan...rub it in. Put it back in the oven, some say upside down, but I personally don't think it matters. Leave it in the low temperature oven for 2 hours. Anywhere between 225 and 275 degrees will work. Turn off the oven and let it cool in the oven. That's it! It should be brought back to it's shiny black glory days! You can repeat this process up to three times if you need to.
So, I've had the larger (12") of the two cast iron skillets in the picture for quite some time, I've only had to re-season it once. My mom had one like this kind as I was growing up. I use it all the time and love it when I need a bigger pan. About six months ago I got a new, smaller one (10") that is different than any of the other cast iron pans I'd seen before. It's a great size, perfect for eggs and searing scallops! It's MUCH thinner than my other larger pan...
Because it's a little smaller and so much thinner....
It's not nearly as HEAVY! Also, it heats up nice and quick because it's thinner! I love these pans because they are healthy to cook in and heat evenly. I have three cast iron pans, (the third is smaller, 8", but the thick variety...I hardly use it since I got this newer one). All of mine are made by Lodge and came pre seasoned. They've been super easy to care for as long as I follow the rules above. Ever since I cooked scallops in my newest one, it got "lighter" colored in the center...but seems fine. I plan to re-season it soon to see if it'll help. If you care for these babies correctly, they'll last for generations!
I happened to find this newest version at Bass Pro Shop! I was there because it's one of my husband's favorite stores! I was buying a splatter screen and saw this pan and had to have it!! Glad I came across it! Besides my Le Creuset, of course, it's my favorite pan! :)