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Harryr's Profile

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Weber Grill Grates.

another cast iron vote - I have and love a Weber Q model which has the porcelain coated cast iron grates. Part of the reason I bought it was because of those grates. I treat them just as I would bare cast iron. If you enjoy a classic cast iron skillet in your kitchen, and are comfortable with it's pros and cons, you would probably also like cast iron grates.

I clean mine with a grill wizard type stainless brush (not the wire bristle kind, this is the scrubbie kind). It brushes clean very easily once well seasoned. And seasoning / re- seasoning is much easier then with a pan. I wipe the grates with a very light coat of vege before and after each use and get a great seasoning in no time.

There are also enamel on steel grates - I would stay away form those. By the way, I also enjoy a Weber kettle.

H

Mar 27, 2011
Harryr in Cookware

Dutch Oven: Onion Caramelizing Problem / Questions / Chemistry

The taste seemed sulfurous or acidic, and was present without any significant darkening or burning. And I thought the sweet onions generally have less acid. Not to say that a yellow onion might not have worked better though...

Harry

Mar 26, 2011
Harryr in Home Cooking

Robot Coupe vs Cuisinart vs Others?

Canuck - just a thought regarding a replacement for your food processor blade - if you can get one that is just a tiny bit too wide it is possible to grind off a touch off the tip of each blade. Done carefully, the balance of the blade should be fine. You might be able to do it yourself. I seem to recall also that there is a place that sharpens these blades somewhere - I'm sure they could also adapt a blade like that...

"know one lady thought she had the exact blade, but it was just a tiny smidgeon too wide and cut into her bowl. If you ever see one on there, please let me know(if you can remember me!) I just can't let this machine go!!!!"

Mar 26, 2011
Harryr in Cookware

Dutch Oven: Onion Caramelizing Problem / Questions / Chemistry

Caramelized onions came out of my Dutch Oven with a bitter, (sulfurous?) taste and I'm wondering why.

The dutch oven is a 6 Quart enameled model. I used about 3 pounds of Oso Sweet onions - generally a very sweet variety.

I followed what has been described as the Cook's Illustrated method: sliced onions placed in oiled DI with butter & salt, then put in 400 degree oven for an hour, stirred, put back in oven with lid ajar another hour, then finished stovetop with a browning deglazing iterations.

http://www.food.com/recipe/french-oni...

When the DI was removed from the 400 degree oven, the onions were greatly reduced in volume, and the top layer of onions were taking on a hint of gold color. But there was a lot of water in the bottom - most of the onions were simmering / steaming. After another hour in the 400 degree oven with the lid ajar there was still a large amount of water. Finishing on the stovetop, it took quite a while at medium heat to dry it out.

The onions had a somewhat acidic bitter taste. I am wondering what went wrong.

Is 400 degrees too high? It seems a bit much for what I think of as low and slow. Certainly this is a lot higher then the crock pots some people use to caramelize onions, and it seems higher then what I have used stovetop in my cast iron skillet for this purpose. I would have guessed a temperature in the range of 250 to 300 might have been better.

Might the onions have been too wet for too long?

Onions with too much acid for good Maillard reaction?

Would plain cast iron be much better for the Maillard chemistry?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Harry

Mar 26, 2011
Harryr in Home Cooking

Dutch Oven: Anachronism / Ignorance

I'm starting to really like The Red Beast... Too much thinking - decided to just try it. As I write, a bunch of onions are on their way to caramelizing. It looks like a great start!

Mar 18, 2011
Harryr in Cookware

Re-seasoning and cleaning old cast-iron skillets [Moved from Home Cooking board]

Where do find the skillets to refurbish? I never seem to come across them at garage sales and such...

Mar 18, 2011
Harryr in Cookware

Dutch Oven: Anachronism / Ignorance

Chemicalkinetics - your point about the darker color of the enameled cast iron versus stainless is well taken with regard to its potential to absorb radiant heat.

Of course, in an oven there is both radiant and conductive heat transfer - I have no idea about the relative contributions of each.

Moreover, while both CI and stainless materials are both poor heat conductors, the CI is much thicker in every place. I imagine the radiant heat advantage would have to be very large to overcome the effect of the increased wall thickness.

Mar 18, 2011
Harryr in Cookware

Dutch Oven: Anachronism / Ignorance

It's a puzzler, that big shiny red 6 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven taking up my counter. Is The Red Beast significantly better for anything I might do then cookware I already have?

I know that many people love them. But in my ignorance it isn't obvious why that might be, or whether this beautiful beast will be worth it's size, weight, and trouble in my limited space apartment. I don't use red meat, but enjoy fish, chicken, vegetables, etc.

For soups, I have a relatively inexpensive domed stockpot that holds about 4 quarts - some might call it a stainless dutch oven, as well as a large stockpot with a heavy bottom.

My well seasoned cast iron skillet is a long time favorite. Though slow to heat because cast iron is such a poor heat conductor, it's fantastic for searing, can be heated very hot, no worry about cracking, chipping, or staining, and cleanup is a snap.

For rice, a heavy bottomed saucepan with a good sealing lid works well.

There is also a good 10 inch, and a fair 12 inch, stainless saute pan - they get a lot of use - even for sauces and soups

That big shiny Red Beast enameled dutch oven can go from stove to oven - but so can every other piece I own except the largest stockpot. In the oven, it would heat and slow cook with great eveness. But because it is cast iron, it is a poor conductor of heat, making energy transfer much less efficient then stainless - in other words it will burn up a lot more energy to do the same job. As for temperature stability, in an oven, the temperature is stable anyway.

On the stovetop, with it's wasteful slow inefficient heat conduction and monster weight, why would I choose it over one of the stainless pieces I already have?

In addition, given it's weight and the vulnerability of the vitreous enamel, it looks like cleanup of The Red Beast would have to be handled with care.

So what can the Red Beast do to make it worthwhile for this non beef eater? Would a crockpot be more useful?

Thanks for reading, and for your tolerance of my ignorance...

H

Mar 18, 2011
Harryr in Cookware

polish cast iron?

According to the folks at Lodge, they gave up polishing many years ago as a cost saving measure. Many people recommend buying an old pan in order to get one with a polished surface.

As for buying one made in china - I wouldn't. They have been known to use recycled scrap, and this can contain a variety of unwelcome impurities including lead from engine blocks. Lodge tests their iron and manufactures here in the usa where I think there is a far greater assurance of getting something healthful.

As others have noted, cast iron has a porous surface. As a result, even when polished, there would be a large amount of surface area to adhere the seasoning to. If anything, I would expect the seasoning to work better on the smoother surface. High spots / bumps are areas where a spatula would be more likely to abrade off the seasoning. A smooth surface is also easier to effectively wipe clean, and will stick less to food because it has less area in contact with it.

I wish Lodge would bring back the polished finish. I would pay double for a polished finish skillet. If you feel the same, call and tell them...

Aug 11, 2008
Harryr in Cookware