These 3 Easy Tips Will Help Your Cast Iron Skillet Last for Generations

published Jan 4, 2023
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pizza in cast iron
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

If you’re a cast iron expert, chances are you’ve come across Cowboy Kent’s videos before and have even used some of his tips on your own cast iron skillet. If you’ve never used one before but are curious, Cowboy Kent —who’s known for his YouTube channel and appearances on Chopped — has all the tips on how to use and care for one. And in his latest video shared on Instagram, he tells us three things you should never do if you want to keep your soon-to-be (or already) favorite tool at its best.

His first tip is to avoid using acid-based ingredients on brand new cast iron, because these can be hard on the new surface of the skillet. Ingredients such as tomato-based products, barbecue sauces, lemons, limes, and anything else acidic should be reserved for well-seasoned skillets instead.

Secondly, Kent urges cast iron owners to avoid boiling water in the skillet because you risk lifting off the seasoning you’ve applied. According to his post, there’s a chance you’ll get this cloudy, black film in your skillet and you definitely don’t want that in your cooking. “That is why I don’t ever make pasta or beans in cast iron,” he reveals in the video.

Though the first two tips are enough to keep you well prepared, Kent threw in one more for good measure: never use a metal product to scrape and clean your skillet. According to the cowboy, this is because it will cause you to scratch the seasoning off. “I don’t want to see you in there scraping to clean with anything that is metal.”

In many of his videos, Cowboy Kent reminds us that the cast iron skillet is a cherished kitchen tool that can last for generations with proper seasoning and cleaning techniques. When we tested the most popular cast iron skillets and put them through the wringer, our favorites from Lodge, Staub, Smithey, and Le Creuset still looked new.

Although intimidating for some, his videos have this comforting vibe that takes us through tips and recipes with ease. The thing about Cowboy Kent is that even when he tells us about mistakes we should avoid, it feels so warm and wholesome — and, there’s no judgment in his advice. It’s like a family member giving you tips based on things they’ve learned in their own cooking and who can say no to that?

For more of his cast iron tips, check out his full guide here