Why Is Carbon Steel An Excellent Choice?
Often considered to be a happy medium between cast iron and stainless steel, carbon steel pans take the best of each form of classic cookware. Similar to the workhorse that is cast iron, a carbon steel pan can go from the stovetop to an open fire, tolerating high temperatures - plus, like the classic stainless steel pan, it heats up quickly and is far more lightweight than its cast iron counterparts, making it easy for cooks of all experience levels.
Which Carbon Steel Pan Is Best?
When exploring a new type of cookware it’s important to find a piece that you’ll actually use. In other words, look for a carbon steel pan that is versatile, easy to handle, and excels in both indoor and outdoor cooking.
Whether you’re brand-new to carbon steel or looking to expand your collection, the hand Blued Carbon Steel Skillet provides a sturdy but lightweight option. This skillet has been treated to reduce the chance of rust and boost the pan’s nonstick capabilities. The walnut handle makes for easy stir-frying and transporting from stovetop to table to grill. If you're looking to expand your carbon steel collection, the hand Blued Carbon Steel Wok features a 12” rolled steel bowl and an 18” durable walnut handle, so you an cook for a group at camp or at home.
How To Season A Carbon Steal Pan
When you first receive a carbon steel pan, it’s important to season it before use. Seasoning refers to adding a protective layer of oil to the surface of the pan and heating it to achieve polymerization -- a thin, hard coating that prevents rust, scratching, and allows you to achieve nearly non-stick cooking.
Seasoning carbon steel pans is simple. First, prepare: Use soap or simply rinse off your pan to remove any dust or debris. Dry off immediately using a towel. Or, place on a stovetop burner and move right into the next seasoning step: heating the pan. You can do this on the stovetop burner or inside the oven. (NOTE: if your carbon steel pan has a wooden handle like your Carbon Steel Pan, you should utilize the stovetop burner. Do not put your pan in the oven unless you remove the wooden handle.)
Next is the seasoning itself. Remove your carbon steel pan from the heat. Apply a thin layer of neutral oil (grapeseed is common though you can use coconut, canola, or any of your choice), and use a towel to rub the oil into the pan inside and out. Wipe away any excess until the pan looks dry, leaving no liquidy or shiny residue. Then, return to high heat and watch as the oil cooks onto the pan, creating a rock-hard coating and darkening in color as it heats. At this time, expect your pan to smoke - open up a window and let in some fresh air!
Once the smoking stops, your pan is ready to remove from the oven or burner. It’s now seasoned! You can add more layers of seasoning to ensure a smoother, more resilient finish or start using your pan. The more you cook with it, the more seasoning will be added to the existing layer - and the more non-stick the pan will become.
How To Clean A Carbon Steel Pan
Cleaning a carbon steel pan is similar to cleaning a cast iron skillet. The #1 rule to remember: never add to the dishwasher! Cleaning typically doesn’t get much more hands-on than wiping out food residue with a cloth after use. If stuck-on food particles resist wiping, boil a little water in your pan to warm up the surface and loosen the bits of food - then scrape with a wooden spoon or spatula.
If your carbon steel pan has burnt-on grime, you may need extra elbow grease: make a scrub with coarse salt to loosen up burnt-on bits. Rinse the pan out with hot water, then re-season your carbon steel pan to ensure it’s ready for next time.
Storing A Carbon Steel Pan
The most important element of storing a carbon steel pan is to keep it dry. Wipe it thoroughly after cleaning, and before replacing it back in your cabinet. Heat it lightly on a burner if you’re concerned about humidity. Store in a dry place, and use frequently to maintain the seasoning!