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Author Topic: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking  (Read 6750 times)

AlphaPapa

  • Happy Cooker
  • Posts: 3
Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« on: May 07, 2024, 04:16:10 PM »
All,
I have been enjoying my new Weber kettle grill. My last two cooks involved using a cast iron frying pan. Two cooks ago was blackened burgers and my last cook was Chilean sea bass nicoise. Both cooks in the past really stunk up the house. One of the main reasons for buying the Weber was so I could do these outside. The cooks went really well and the house isnít smelling of grease and fish!

 However, one problem I am having is keeping the pan temperature down. Iíd probably like somewhere around 400 - 425. I was getting over 500 (using infrared thermometer). Dome temperature was around 350 - 400. Since I have to open the lid often it is hard to control the temperature with the air vents.

Any suggestions on how to best get and keep my desired temperature?

Thanks!

Gringo

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 638
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2024, 04:45:24 PM »
I would start with the amount of charcoal you used in your prior cooks and take out about 10-15 briquettes. I would then get all charcoal fully ashed over with the bottom and top vents open for full air flow and see where your gill temps are at. Should give you an idea of adding/removing amounts of charcoal. I would use that as an estimate of amount of charcoal needed to maintain your 350-400 temps without a lid on. I would try to arrange charcoal in the center of the grate with a vortex or charcoal basket config.

Weber does give estimates of amount of briquettes to use for certain cooks and temps so Iíd refer to them as a guide as well.

Practical response not scientific for sure. Good luck!


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michaelmilitello

  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 3928
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2024, 06:01:18 PM »
Use less coal.  Put the lid back on when you have food in the pan.  The more you leave the lid off, the fire will just rage.  leave a cool zone to slide the pan away from the fire if it gets too hot.  Have everything you need ready to go because things can cook fast. 


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bamakettles

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 5840
Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2024, 07:26:37 PM »
For me, less charcoal and only have a layer of charcoal on one side of the grill, leaving a cool zone for moving the CI to when it gets too hot.  I use this method and often rotate the skillet during the cook.  I relate it to me being the manual thermostat for the pan, moving the skillet back and forth from hot zone to cool zone as needed.  A hot glove is a must.


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HoosierKettle

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 7366
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2024, 04:12:48 AM »
All great advice.  I ended up getting a camp chef explorer 2 burner stove and a steel griddle.  It has been great for searing, deep frying, and griddle stuff.  Each burner is 33,000 btu so plenty of range.

bamakettles

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 5840
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2024, 10:10:55 AM »
A few more examples of cast iron cooking...... as you can see we like our seared scallops, steaks and veggies.  I don't always use a slow n sear, but with most cooks I like to leave a cool zone to move the CI to.  It's also great to have when or if you have a flame up and when some items are ready before others.

AlphaPapa

  • Happy Cooker
  • Posts: 3
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2024, 11:14:58 AM »
Thanks to all! I will try these ideas out on my next cast iron cook.

Bama, those scallops and skirt steaks look delicious! Do you shoot for a target temperature for the pan or is it more of just a feel?

bamakettles

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 5840
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2024, 11:31:36 AM »

Thanks to all! I will try these ideas out on my next cast iron cook.

Bama, those scallops and skirt steaks look delicious! Do you shoot for a target temperature for the pan or is it more of just a feel?
Thanks so much! I have an infrared thermometer for work purposes but have never used it for cooking.  I just go by trial/error and instinct at this pointÖ. Mostly by the reaction of the food.  I absolutely use instant read thermometers though for the food itself.


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cdp8

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 182
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2024, 12:56:54 PM »
The other posters have covered the fire part of the equation really well. Iíll address the cast iron part. Cast iron skillets heat up unevenly when put on a stove or over a lit char basket. Many of my CI skillet cooks (indoor or outdoor) start with the skillet in a cold oven. I turn the oven on to the target temp for the skillet. The result is an evenly heated skillet.  Itís my first step, so the grill and skillet are ready at the same time. Saves charcoal too.


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AlphaPapa

  • Happy Cooker
  • Posts: 3
Re: Controlling Temperature for Cast Iron Cooking
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2024, 03:29:08 PM »
I did another CI cook today (blackened burgers) and used many of the suggestions here including pre heating the skillet in the oven. The results were fantastic. I had much better control over the skillet temp. The burgers came out great! Many thanks!