As someone who is in this field professionally, I wanted to pass along a few tips. I always hate to refute people on the boards so I apologize Mike but you should NOT use soap on a cast iron pan to clean it out EVER. Cast iron is very porous and the soap can seep into the pan so there is the chance of ruining the taste of your food. Scrubbing out like that will also ruin the season that you put on it as well.
Originally Posted by msandoval858
In fact, I have had my cast iron pan for years and it has never even seen water. What you want to do is get a good season on it. And I know Lodge says their pans are pre-seasoned, but you should do it yourself anyway as it will make a difference. What you want to do is rub oil (I use olive, but any neutral oil will do, no nut oils) all over the outsides and handle of the pan. Then fill the pan about halfway with the oil and rub the oil into the other top half. Put it in the oven for one hour at 350 degrees. Let cool, dump the oil and dry it with a soft cloth. After a few uses, it will only take a soft cloth to clean it out while the pan is still kind of warm. For best results, after cleaning out, put some more oil on a towel and rub it into the interior of the pan. This should give you great results in using a cast iron pan for many years to come, and I swear by Lodge (great pans, great price and made in USA).
Now cast iron is good for cooking steaks and such, but if you are looking to make and reduce sauces I highly recommend picking up an All Clad saute pan. Nothing beats All Clad for this task. It is much easier to control the temp on the All Clads because they don't hold their heat as well as cast iron. I would say pick up a nice big cast iron skillet and then a few pieces of All Clad. Are they expensive yes? However, All Clads will be good for a lifetime and if anything ever goes wrong with the pan, All Clad replaces it no questions asked. How many lesser quality pans have you thrown away over the years and then replaced with similar lesser quality pans. Over time, you actually save money buying the All Clads because really it is a one time investment rather than dealing with the planned obsolescence of the other pans and having to replace every five years of so.
Le Creuset. Great for slow cooking, braising, soups, stews. However, for skillet cooking, frying, my advice would be to pass.
Hope that helps.
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