Friday, September 27, 2013

Suppertime! Skillet care before you make cornbread

Well sir, I reckon I can't leave y'all hangin' since some folks are already soakin' their beans from yesterday. Folks can't have soup beans without cornbread. There are some other things we have with our soup beans like fried taters, greens with some big ol' chunks of ham and always you need some onion.


First things first! Before y'all can make cornbread you need a good skillet. Do you have a good iron skillet? Do you have one that you haven't used but was Grandma's? Is it rusty an' sort of scabby from misuse? If you don't have an iron skillet how in the world are y'all going to make cornbread?

sigh

Well, let's start with that nasty ol' skillet you have hidden away an' that you never use. Your loss, of course. Want an awesome steak? Use a skillet? The best fried chicken in the world? Iron skillet. Fried taters just don't taste like Mama used to make? I'll bet you aren't usin' Mama's skillet!

Get that nasty skillet off the shelf an' take a look. THIS IS NOT what you do for a good skillet. This is a rehab of a misused or forgotten skillet. If it is rusty an' scabby - never fear. It can be saved. Don't even think of throwin' it away.

If it is really heavily covered in the cookin' area with build up you can put it in your oven an' run the "self clean" option on your oven. This will turn that build up to a little ash and save a lot of elbow grease on your part. After the self clean - go to the next step here.

Cleanin' the nasty skillet
Note: you never use soap on a good an' well seasoned skillet - only wash with water an' let dry.

Wash the nasty skillet well with soap an' water. Scour it to get any rust an' buildup off. Use a good steel wool or metal scourin' pad - NOT one of those sorry plastic things. You need to get all the rust and build up off!

Seasoning
Let it dry well before the next step. After it is dry I personally recommend you use BACON grease to season it. This is a very important step! Rub the cookin' area well with bacon grease. If you would rather, you can use cookin' oil, but it really won't be seasoned as well as it is with bacon grease. (personal opinion)

Rub the bacon grease into the surface. I would let it set for awhile and do the same a second time.  After it is well coated with bacon grease, put it in a hot oven (400 degrees) upside down with a piece of aluminum foil under it. This keeps the grease from poolin' in the skillet and keeps the bacon grease from drippin' into your oven. Keep it in the oven for at least an hour.

This process gives your skillet a non-stick surface.  If your skillet sticks it is not seasoned properly.

Take the skillet out and let it cook before puttin' it away.

Care of a seasoned skillet
When you use your cast iron skillet you should NEVER use soap on it. Wash it with hot water and scrub it if needed. Let it dry and lightly rub a little bacon grease into the cooking surface and inside sides of the skillet before storin' for the next use.

I'll wait till y'all get that skillet in shape before I tell you how to make good ol' cornbread like we make down home.
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