Clever and Truly USEFUL Cast Iron Cleaning Tools!

We Cook’n writers have all taken our turn over the years at writing about how to season cast iron. By now you cast iron lovers probably have it down to a science.

But here’s a topic that might not be so familiar: the various tools there are for its day-to-day cleaning. While many methods for cleaning cast iron are as old as the cast iron category itself, you can make the task a cinch when you lean into modern-day cleaning tools.

It was on the website of the famous Lodge Cast Iron company that I learned about these tools. Their promise is that cast iron clean-up is easier with the right tool. You might already be aware of these and even have one or two. Here’s what they suggest we use:

First, the PAN SCRAPER. It comes 3 ways. There’s the Scraper, the Grill Pan Scraper, and the Deluxe Scraper. Each has curved edges that are designed to get in every crevice. And the grill pan scraper makes cleaning the spaces in between ridges so much easier and quicker. Lodge’s customer research shows that the Deluxe Pan Scraper (pictured) is the all-time favorite.

Next is Lodge’s EVERYDAY SCRUB CLOTH (the black and yellow squares in the photo below). Not only is it perfect for cleaning cast iron, but all your other dishes too. One of the things customers love about it is that you can throw it in the dishwasher at the end of the day. No more yucky sponges chilling in the bottom of the sink. It’s also very durable and consistently holds up through pretty tough messes (I’m thinking of the bacon that I forgot about and burned into the pan).

And then there’s the CHAIN MAIL SCRUBBER! You can use it to clean your cast iron and so much more. Dishes, stoneware, glass. Basically, this little guy can clean almost anything from your cookware to your kitchen sink. Made of durable 304 stainless steel chainmail with a silicone core, this scrubbing pad tackles the big messes when no other tool does the job. When you're done, toss it in the dishwasher for a like-new clean. Lodge testers and customers all love this tool because it easily removes stubborn food without removing seasoning.

How about the LODGE RUST ERASER? Avid and knowledgeable cast iron users agree: this is the go-to for cleaning anything with oxidation. It works great in small spaces, cleans fast, and doesn't create a larger mess to clean up. Fans keep one in the kitchen for cast iron and knives, and one in the garage for tools.

There are other little tools cast iron users recommend. A SILICONE HANDLE HOLDER is a smart choice—it’ll handle temperatures up to 500ºF. It takes very little drawer space as opposed to thick and chunky potholders and mitts. It comes in all sorts of shapes and colors, and it’s dishwasher safe.

Finally, there’s Lodge’s SEASONING SPRAY. This non-aerosol spray has no additives or propellants and is does a good job in replenishing the seasoning and preparing your cast iron treasure for it's next use. (I’ve tried all sorts of oils and fats; this is the best yet.)

I’ll close with a favorite recipe found on the Lodge website. It’s a classic entree in red-sauce that restaurants and cozy kitchens everywhere favor for very good (and very cheesy) reasons.

One Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

Serving size: 4
Calories per serving: 804


1 chicken breast boneless and skinless
1 teaspoon salt divided
1 teaspoon pepper divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups Cascatelli pasta or similar
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh basil for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Butterfly the chicken breast by carefully resting your palm across the breast and using a sharp knife to cut through it horizontally, being careful not to cut all the way through; you should be able to open the breast like a book, into a butterfly shape.
3. Sandwich the breast between two pieces of parchment paper and, using a rolling pin, pound the breast to a uniform ¾ inch thickness. Remove from parchment and season all sides with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
4. Add flour to a shallow dish; add beaten egg to another shallow dish; in a third dish, combine breadcrumbs and ½ cup parmesan to create your chicken dredging line. Dredge the chicken in flour, shake off excess; dip in egg wash, shake off excess; dip in Panko and parmesan mixture to coat evenly.
5. Add the olive oil to a 12 inch cast iron skillet; heat over medium-low for 5 minutes.
6. Add breaded chicken breast to the oil and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Reduce heat as needed to avoid over-browning. The crust should be golden. Once cooked, remove to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate.
7. To the same skillet, add garlic and red pepper flakes (if using), cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes, basil, oregano, and remaining salt and pepper; bring to a simmer. Using a wooden spoon or fish spatula, crush tomatoes to desired texture. Reserve ½ cup red sauce.
8. To the skillet, add 1 cup water and stir until incorporated. Add uncooked pasta, stirring until fully coated with sauce.
9. Nestle the breaded chicken on top of the pasta and spoon reserved sauce over the top, leaving the edges unsauced for extra crisp. Top with mozzarella and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of parmesan. Bake the skillet for 15-20 minutes; the cheese should be melted and starting to brown lightly.
10. Remove from the oven, garnish with fresh basil and serve.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    DVO Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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