There aren’t many things that have been around for hundreds, let alone thousands of years. Yet, it is believed that cast iron was made and used as early as the fifth century. Even today, millions of people around the world swear by the alloy for cooking.
It’s a ritual, seasoning the pan or pot, and frying up some nice eggs and bacon outside. Lots of people use the skillets indoors, of course, but there is no better smell than a meal cooked in the open air. Add a tray full of fresh biscuits and life is good. That’s why a cast iron camp stove is so popular. Everyone knows they are durable and stand the test of time.
The better models are made in one continuous piece of melted carbon and steel. Actually, any real vessel made of cast iron has to be one single unit without seams because it is poured into a mold in a foundry. That is why they are incredibly strong and typically very heavy. Newer ones are more lightweight since campers, hikers, and hunters like to cook in them.
The cookers made of this material are usually hooked up to a propane tank and come in one, two or three burner combinations. They are simple devices, simply a square or rectangle, with short legs or taller stands. The little leg units work best sitting on a table. The ones with stands are self supporting. To make them more compact and portable, often the legs or stands are detachable.
If you’ve already used or bought this type of pan, you know that it does need seasoning which means you bake oil on the surface to make it non-stick. Typically you cover the whole thing with a film of vegetable oil and then place in the oven at high heat for an hour or so. This is done several times throughout the life of the pan.
It is true that newer ones do come already seasoned, although, the jury is out on whether this right or not. Die hard users aren’t too impressed with this technology. Regardless, I wondered what people do with their burners since I had not actually owned one. Some say they do season them just like a pot while others say it is not necessary. I guess it comes down to personal preference. I’m thinking I would season mine because I always do my hiking dutch oven with handle.
One other thing that is essential with this material is that you don’t wash it in water. Wiping it out with a clean damp rag or dry paper towel is best. Exposing it to long periods of water does cause rust. Adn water defeats the purpose of how it works.
When using the burners, you should probably make sure the connections are clean and tight. The hose to the propane tank should be in good order with no kinks or tears. Most likely, you can choose between a portable and disposable one pound tank. But if you are going to be staying at the same spot and not trekking each day, you would be better to hook it up to the bigger twenty-five pounder.
I am kind of excited for my cast iron camp stove to arrive. I ordered a one burner the other day and in another post, I plan to update how it worked out. But since I absolutely cast iron, I am sure it is going to be great.