A cast iron griddle is a cooking tool that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether it is used on a grill, stove top, or in an oven, cast iron cookware can create many different dishes. Proper care, however, should be given to ensure that the cast iron lasts a long time, such as making sure the griddle is seasoned. Those who wish to use this versatile kitchen utensil should consider a few common rules, including proper cleaning and storage, in order to achieve the best results.
When a cast iron griddle is first purchased, it may be necessary to season the griddle if it does not come pre-seasoned. In this sense, “seasoning” refers to filling in the typically porous metal with oils to naturally create a non-stick surface. Many products will come with instructions; generally, the cast iron griddle should be rubbed with vegetable or peanut oil and left in a low-temperature oven for roughly an hour. It may take multiple attempts to fully season the griddle.
Before cooking, a paper or cloth towel is generally used to apply a layer of oil all over the surface of the griddle. Many professional chefs recommend cooking foods high in fat with low acidity content to “break in” the utensil during the first few uses. Meats are a common choice.
Once the cast iron griddle has been seasoned, practically any food can be cooked in this utensil, from eggs to sandwiches to desserts. Cast iron is especially useful for dishes that need to go from the stove top directly into the oven. It is also a popular choice while camping and can be used over an open fire. This metal heats fairly evenly and does not usually require high temperatures.
There are a few different opinions regarding the proper way to clean a cast iron griddle. Though some believe the griddle should be allowed to cool before washing, most insist that the pot be cleaned immediately after use. Either way, hot water should be used; dousing a warm griddle in cold water could crack or warp the cast iron.
Additionally, some say soap should never be used on a cast iron griddle, while others feel that a small amount of mild soap should not harm the utensil. It is a widely accepted rule that cast iron cannot be washed in the dishwasher. Submerging cast iron pots in water could negatively affect the seasoning.
If the cast iron is very dirty with stuck-on food, scouring might hurt the griddle. Some recommend boiling water or using a salt rub to break up burned foods. Then, a cast iron griddle should be dried immediately. Moisture left on cast iron will almost assuredly turn into rust.
Before storing the griddle, some cooks rub more oil on the surface and leave it in a warm oven or stove top for just a few minutes to release all water. A paper napkin left on the griddle could also absorb liquid during storage. This durable utensil should be useful for many years if it is prepared, used, and stored properly.