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Cast Iron Is What Your Camp Cooking’s Been Missing

For those of us not previously acquainted with the solid iron pan, it’s a bit like a unicorn: mysterious and in all probability large.

It also appears counter-intuitive to the “lightweight and efficient” ideas of tenting that have been drilled into our heads.

“Cast iron is the first camp cookware. Long just before any person had even heard of Teflon-coated aluminum, people today had been cooking with solid iron,” claims Michael van Vliet, who, alongside his girlfriend, Megan McDuffie, traveled the region in a two-doorway hatchback for a calendar year, stopping to appreciate the wild though whipping up delightful foods.

cast iron fresh off the grid
Solid iron is quick to treatment for and in a natural way non-stick. Image: Courtesy of Fresh new Off the Grid

The vehicle-tenting foodies chronicle their adventures and recipes on the blog Fresh new Off the Grid, elevating the whole strategy of camp delicacies as they go.

And their resource of option? You guessed it: the solid iron pan. Right here, we questioned the duo to educate us in camping’s most versatile cookware.

Solid Iron Is Nearly Not possible to Destroy

fresh off the grid car camping
Michael van Vliet and Megan McDuffie are the vehicle-tenting foodies behind Fresh new Off the Grid. Image: Courtesy of Fresh new Off the Grid

“Cast iron pans can be made use of on a camp stove or put more than an open flame,” clarifies van Vliet. “They can even be put straight on major of very hot embers or coals without the need of hurt.”

Not like flimsier pots and pans, solid iron is nearly indestructible. Even just after considerable misuse and neglect, solid iron can just about generally be revived back to functioning circumstances, van Vliet claims.

It’s also in a natural way non-stick when correctly cared for. Though your eggs may perhaps not slide correct off the pan, as with slippery Teflon-coated surfaces, solid iron is completely suited for most cooking situations.

Solid Iron Doesn’t Will need to Be Babied

“There are a lot of myths bordering solid iron cookware, which can be scary to to start with-time buyers,” the duo claims.

“But the excellent news is most of them are wrong. Solid iron does not will need to be babied the stuff is really resilient.”

No, the non-stick “seasoning” on your pan won’t flake off if you use a steel spatula. Sure, you can clean the pan with gentle soap.

Solid Iron Does Have Sizzling Places

Fresh Off the Grid
Solid iron does not warmth evenly, but it retains and radiates warmth like a champ. Image: Courtesy of Fresh new Off the Grid

Numerous people today claim that solid iron heats evenly, but which is not fully legitimate.

“Cast iron is in fact seriously lousy at distributing warmth, which indicates you will get very hot spots on the pan straight above the warmth resource,” claims van Vliet.

“But what it is seriously excellent at is retaining warmth, so once you get it up to temperature, it will proceed to remain very hot for a lengthy, lengthy time. Not like stainless steel, which is only cooking the food that will come in direct speak to with the pan, solid iron radiates warmth so very well that it’s in fact cooking food an inch or two above the surface area.”

Try rotating the pan around on the burner though you’re warming it up to guarantee all spots of the pan are very well heated just before you start cooking.

Seasoning Is Not as Difficult as It Appears

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Seasoning your pan is as quick as heating up some oil. Image: Courtesy of Fresh new Off the Grid

“Seasoning” is the term made use of to explain the non-stick surface area that varieties on a solid iron pan. According to van Vliet, when oil is heated in the pan, it polymerizes and adheres to the small grooves in the steel, building that non-stick layer.

After the pan is heated, this oil is not seriously oil any longer it’s much more like a type of plastic.

“To time a pan in the subject, all you will need to do is evenly rub a small total of neutral-flavored oil all more than the cooking space of the pan, warmth it up on a stovetop right until the oil just begins to smoke, then transform off the warmth and allow it cool,” claims van Vliet. “Wipe out any surplus oil with a paper towel. That is all there is to it!”

Really do not be concerned to clean your pan, both polymerized oil is not oil, so it won’t clean correct off. It’s in fact bonded to the steel, so come to feel no cost to clean your pan with a gentle soap. (Just don’t scrub it with steel wool and you’ll in all probability be alright.)

Solid Iron Can Prepare dinner It All

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Eggs? Potatoes? Lasagna? Solid iron can manage it. Image: Courtesy of Fresh new Off the Grid

As lengthy as McDuffie and van Vliet are not backpacking, it’s safe to say they are making use of solid iron. The few has a small- and medium-sized skillet as very well as a medium Dutch oven with a lid.

“We’ve cooked every little thing from lasagna to cornbread making use of our solid iron. We’ve also came up with an awesome 1-pan beef stroganoff that makes use of a solitary solid-iron skillet,” claims van Vliet.

“Because the pan radiates so much warmth, it does a fantastic career at cooking the steak, mushrooms and onions. An additional most loved is potato hash. The pan does a remarkable career of cooking the potato all the way through (not just browning the bottoms). We usually mix this with a few eggs that we cook sunny-aspect up.”

Recipe: Asparagus Pancetta Hash for Two

Asparagus Pancetta Hash for Two.
Fresh new Off the Grid’s Asparagus Pancetta Hash for Two. Image: Courtesy of Fresh new Off the Grid


– one Tbsp. oil

– one medium potato, peeled if preferred, cut into one/four-in. dice

– one bunch asparagus, cut into one-in. pieces

– four oz. pancetta (or breakfast meat of option), diced

– one clove garlic, minced

– one/four tsp. sea salt, furthermore much more to flavor

– 2 eggs

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Certain yet? Image: Courtesy of Fresh new Off the Grid

Prepare dinner the potatoes: Warmth the oil in a solid iron skillet more than medium warmth on your stovetop or on a grate more than your campfire. As soon as the oil is very hot, incorporate the potatoes in an even layer. Prepare dinner for about eight minutes, turning often so that all sides have a probability to brown, right until the potatoes are beginning to transform golden.

Prepare dinner the asparagus and pancetta: Add the asparagus, pancetta, garlic and sea salt to the skillet. Carry on cooking an more eight to 10 minutes, right until the pancetta is crispy and the asparagus is cooked through and tender.

Fry the eggs: Force the hash to the sides to generate a very well in the middle of the skillet. Crack the eggs into the very well and cook them to your preferred doneness. (We include the skillet and cook for three minutes to achieve a company white and a runny yolk.)

Serve: Serve straight away, both in the skillet to share or divided concerning two plates.

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