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Look, Feel and Perform Better Challenge > Grilling Meat

I recently bought a cast iron griddle to cook all the delicious meats I've been getting from Paisano's on Smith. My research led me to think that cast iron needs to be immediately washed and re-seasoned, so I apply a fresh coat of olive oil, right after washing it.
Everything has been working out great, however, whenever i grill meat, the whole house is filled with smoke, and its nuts to open my windows in winter to air it out.
Am I doing something wrong? is it the olive oil? is my temp too high?
One last question; is it ok to cook protein below the USDA recommended temps, as I think I'll kill every nutrient from it if i did.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPigeon

Extra virgin olive oil doesn't have the highest smoke point, and cast iron gets HOT, so that might be the issue. Also, if there is seasoning on the meat, that could potentially create the problem as well. Maybe try using a different oil, or keeping the flame on the iron much lower. Also, I seasoned my skillet once with bacon grease a few years ago, and never really reasoned after that. Washing only ever consisted of wiping it down with a damp cloth and drying it, so no soap or soaking ever. It needs a fresh coating now, but I have been too lazy to strip it all off and restart. I don't think you need to reseason every time - ideally, the fat from whatever you are cooking should add to that.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

Yeah, I wouldn't use olive oil to season a skillet because it doesn't handle heat terribly well. I'd go with melted lard or beef tallow, or perhaps coconut oil.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStella

My apartment fills up with smoke whenever I cook meat!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMUXX

I usually only have this problem when I cook scrapple.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

What Michael said. I'd also go ahead and open up the windows, if you're heat is included in the rent. That said, I have a love-hate relationship with cast iron for this very reason.

January 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterChristian Fox

I love cast iron pans and do a ton of cooking in them. As previously stated, olive oil is definitely contributing to the smoke. Animal fat works best. Also, try searing both sides till brown, then throwing the cast iron pan in a 350 - 425 degree oven to finish the cooking evenly. After you seer the outside, there is little advantage to keeping it stove top, and it will help to eliminate any smoke. If you want, throw in a little butter right before you put it in the oven.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon B

Thanks for the responses everyone, I will try duck fat, less olive oil, less heat, drop it in the oven and season my skillet less.
I wish heat was included in the rent, I live on the top floor of a large apartment with 3 exposed walls, it gets cold fast.
I've never had scrapple, but pork butt sounds delicious.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpigeon

I've always used cooking spray on my cast iron pans. After using for cooking just rinse, wipe down with a towel, and spray until the next use. Maybe not the best suggestion for the super paleo-conscious, but it works for me.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I agree about using animal fat on cast iron, but I'm really commenting to note that it is illegal in NYC for your landlord to not supply heat and hot water, with specific rules about how warm your apartment must be throughout the winter: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/tenants/heat-and-hot-water.shtml

Stay warm, everyone! : )

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErica

I was having trouble with getting a cast iron pan well seasoned a while back and after a ton of searching found several people saying that seasoning with flaxseed oil was the best. Lard used to be really good, but the fat profile has changed from 100 years ago due to corn diets. Here's a bit more on the process:

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

They suggest 6 coats but I found 3 was plenty.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew C

Oh wow, that as an impressive before an after photo of the result, will definitely give it a try, thanks @Andrew
I tried cooking with coconut oil yesterday, to my surprise it comes in solid form (why is it liquid when its in spray can? chemicals or high pressure?) After bending a couple of spoons to get some of it out of the container, I cooked pork loins and the results were great, much much less smoke in the house. After finishing I just rinsed the residue and grease, dried it, and applied a spray coat of coconut oil, hope this keeps it seasoned for my next session tonight.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPigeon