In Charleston, cast iron is to bacon what sugar is to sweet tea, the perfect complement. Macaroni and Cheese is a vegetable and a table is measured by the quantity and quality of cornbread that lies upon it!
Unfortunately, if you walk into our kitchen, you may find empty Le Creuset pots and the barest of tables. We promise it isn’t because we don’t know how to cook, it’s that our Chef cooks much too well!
Chef Randy’s expertise is not limited to cornbread, but one of his favorite tricks is a well-seasoned cast iron pan. At Zero George, we have Chef Randy’s 75 year old cast iron skillet. He’s shared with us his technique for seasoning and maintaining that quintessential southern cooking accoutrement.
To season a cast iron skillet, rub it with oil that has a high smoking point such as a canola oil, grape seed oil, or coconut oil. Seasoning a cast iron skillet makes a lot of smoke and can be a big mess. Chef Randy Williams seasons his cast iron skillets in the spring or summer on his grill outside on high heat for two to three hours.
Never, ever, ever wash with soap. The beauty of a cast iron skillet is that a quick wipe with a paper towel is all that is needed to maintain it after use.
When using a cast iron skillet on the stovetop to cook a protein like chicken, preheat the skillet on low heat 20 to 30 minutes before using it. Then, increase the heat when ready to use. The cast iron will provide you with great heat retention and a perfect sear.
If you’re lucky you may find a few crumbs here and there, a smear of honey butter on a plate, or the faint whiff of buttermilk. Our cornbread disappears fast, but don’t worry. We will be sure to always have a plate waiting for you and a seasoned cast iron in the oven.