Cooking in cast iron pans is not difficult, but you do need to keep a few basic rules in mind. First of all, once the pan is warm, it retains heat better than regular pans, so it is best to start cooking on medium high, then turn the heat setting to medium or low once the food begins to cook. Cooking on too high of a heat setting will cause the food to brown too quickly, or maybe even burn.
The other really important rule is never to set a cast iron pan that is cold, or even room temperature on a hot burner or in a hot oven. Also, do not add cold liquids to a hot pan. Cast iron will crack if the temperature change inside the pan is too sudden. If additional liquid must be added during cooking, warm it up before adding it.
Always use hot pads. Special hot pads are made specifically for cast iron pans because they get so hot and will quickly burn through towels or hot pads that are not designed to deal with high heat.
Now that you know some basic information about cooking with cast iron pans, here is how I cook a pot roast in a cast iron Dutch oven.
The first step is to gather all of your ingredients together. Here is what you will need:
- 2 teaspoons Butter
- Beef pot roast
- Meat rub
- Garlic powder
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot Water
Put the pan on the stove, turn the heat setting to medium high and add the butter. A wood fired stove that is just starting to heat up or a grill or campfire whose flames have died down will also work.
Allow the butter to melt, then add the pot roast. Season the top side of the pot roast with a teaspoon of meat rub, a teaspoon of garlic and pepper. Sprinkle each spice over the top of the pot roast.
Once the bottom of the roast is brown, which will take about 10 minutes, turn it over so the other side can brown.
Sprinkle enough Worcestershire sauce over the top of the pot roast to cover it. This will add flavor and help tenderize the meat.
Allow the meat to simmer in the butter, Worcestershire sauce and its own juices for about 10 minutes.
Add carrots and brown slightly.
Cut whole potatoes into thirds and add them. Once they are all added, stir the potatoes and carrots together, then carefully lift the meat up high enough so the meat lays on top of the potatoes and carrots. If you desire, add salt and additional seasoning at this point.
Add enough hot water to almost cover the potatoes and carrots. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and sit in on the top rack of your oven if you are using a stove, otherwise, simply put the lid on and continue cooking.
Once the pan is inside the oven, close the oven door, turn the heat to 350 degrees F and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is tender.
That’s all there is to it! Remember to remove the food from the cast iron pan as soon as it is finished cooking. Place the dirty pan in the sink, making sure to rinse it off well with hot water. It is not necessary to wash cast iron with soap and never use steel wool. If something sticks, use a wash cloth to scrub it off or a soft brush.
Once the pan is clean, place it back into the oven, or on top of a heat source so all the water can be removed. If this is not done, the pan will rust. Finally, spray the cast iron pan with grease or use a rag to rub it all over the pan if necessary. This is done to season it and prevent food from sticking.