Question about enamel-clad cast iron skillet

mama goose_gw zn6OHApril 16, 2013

I bought a used, enamel-clad cast iron skillet at a flea market, for $2.00. I assume that it's a cheap knock-off of LeCreuset--the bottom of the skillet says China, which doesn't inspire confidence, but I thought if I couldn't get it clean enough to cook in, I could use it for a fruit bowl or muffuleta press. It looked as if someone had tried to season it at too high a temperature--the inside was covered with an icky-sticky layer of amber gunk, with a few of the same drips on the outside.

I was able to clean the outside with a scrubbie, but the baked on stuff in the skillet was more of a challenge. I heated water and dish liquid for a few minutes, then used a stainless steel spatula to scrape out most the the residue. I then used steel wool to completely remove the old stuff, but now I'm wondering if it's really cast iron. It has the heft of cast iron, and it attracts a magnet with a resounding 'thunk', but it looks as if it might have been sprayed with a coating.

As you can see from the pic, the inside is textured dark gray, but there are a few 'nubs' that are bright silver. They don't look like metal marks from the spatula scraping--they look like a base metal. I don't use non-stick coated pans, but in the past I've had Teflon, and this surface doesn't have the same appearance. I couldn't scratch it with the tip of a knife, and it doesn't appear plasticky.

Silver nubs:

Any thoughts on whether or not this is coated with a non-stick surface? Thank you.

I really like the color:

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Plain unseasoned cast iron is silvery grey. It doesn't blacken until you begin seasoning and using it. I found this out when I had to sand-blast a thrift shop CI pan (and I paid much more than you did!) to get all the crusty gunk out of it. Your pan now looks brand new, so I would commence seasoning it ASAP. I love cooking in my CI.

Just to clarify, I wouldn't recommend sand-blasting unless all other cleaning options have been explored and failed. SB'ing is expensive and messy - not worth doing unless absolutely a last resort.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 4:08PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

cooksnsews, thank you very much. It's 12", so a bit of a beast. Tomorrow I will season it and caramelize some onions. :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 9:05PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Look what I made in my new skillet tonight:

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 7:24PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

That's a 5lb chicken! I sauteed sliced onions in olive oil in the skillet, then laid the brined, butterflied, whole chicken on top. Roasted in oven at 425ð until golden, then added stewed tomatoes, dried cherry tomatoes, chicken broth (made from the organs, neck and back pieces), with enough corn starch to make a sauce, then reduced temp to 350ð until done. Yummy! And the skillet is now perfectly seasoned--it cleaned up with only hot water and a soft scrubbie.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Beautiful! I swear my monitor must have smell-o-vision because I can almost smell the aroma!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:34PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

sushipup, thank you. My daughter was hovering over the skillet with a fork--I barely kept her back until I snapped a pic, so it must have smelled good! Normally, I would have removed the chicken, put the skillet back on the burner, and reduced the sauce, but she didn't want to wait.

Here is the skillet in use this afternoon, as a sandwich press:

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:19PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

And, final product, mmmmmmm:

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:20PM
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mama goose!!! I am SOOOO jealous of your $2 find! Have been collecting cast iron for past few years after being reunited by 3 skillets (Wagner & Griswold) at a yard sale for $1 each!! Found a square LeCreuset grill pan at Good Will for $5 and JUMPED on that! Blue enamel exterior in PERFECT condition and only a little schmutz in the interior crevices. Appreciated the pic of the chicken... better idea of SIZE with a 5'b chicken in it! You've got a great eye!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 5:51PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

klseiverd, thank you! For perspective, those jars behind the skillet are gallon-size (re-used pickle jars, lol). I've been using the skillet a lot, because it's so heavy that I leave it on the stove top--too heavy to be hauling in and out of a cabinet.

I love a bargain--congrats on the great deal on the LeCreuset grill pan!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 1:35PM
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