Most helpful positive review
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Turns our backyard firepit into date night, fun for family camping...don't trim the edges;it crimps and seals them automatically
on March 19, 2013
We spend a great deal of time outside as my husband and I simply adore where we live and the nature around us. About once a week we sit out by the firepit and enjoy a glass of wine. We recently went to pick up some new hiking gear and as he dabbled in looking at "snake chaps" I headed to the camping cooking section, my bag.
When I was a Campfire Girl a million years ago this was my favorite part of the dang trips. I still remember the grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit pies. Oh, holy moly did a few of these fly into our shopping cart when I found them at the camping store. I hadn't seen them since.
I think it imperative to get the genuine cast iron, as this one is, for even heat and long use.
This turns our staycation we live every day into even more of one. Yes, we camp, but I swear to you it's fun to make dinner on that firepit. The flavor is tremendous. You are not going to get chargrilled flavor indoors on your panini press, y'all. Take it outside.
The more you use it, the more it will season but if you season it first, the clean up is a snap. We like using buttered bread for most things but there are a variety of things you can do in this.
I don''t eat meat but my husband does. You can actually chop up steak, green peppers and onions and cook over the flame then put in a bun with cheese for a Philly Sandwich, you can cook meatloaf, you can cook fish.
We are more often doing something between two slices of bread. You can put pizza fillings in between your two buttered bread slices and it's like a grilled pizza, you can put fruit pie filling between them then sprinkle with sugar for your dessert, I love a mean grilled cheese and he'll add ham to his.
You can cook eggs with fillings for breakfast in it, you can put one slice of buttered bread on the bottom, top with tuna salad, a tomato slice and cheese, and another slice of bread for a tuna melt, you can make shortcake by adding extra sugar to prepared Bisquick mix, then cooking in the pie iron, then add butter and fruit pie mix and cook some more. you can make beer dogs by adding hot dogs and onions and sauerkraut and a little beer and steaming. Works with veggie dogs as well.
You can make peanut butter and banana sandwiches...gooey good.
Whatever you can put on a sandwich, you can make a hot fired up charcogrilled sandwich better.
We do not trim the bread. This is meant to crimp the edges together so let the pie iron smash them together.
This has ridges which makes it work like a panini press where certain parts get an extra crisp. Fantastic.
The point is to sometimes switch up what you do for date night. Yes, it makes camping more fun but it also makes entertaining more fun. If we have someone over and go have beer by the fire, making fruit pies is an added activity as we sit around talking even if it is far past dinner time. So for us, for the firepit, it's just an added bonus. I love a good fire year round with just a glass of wine, but throw in an activity and good food...well, heck, I'm up for it.
And, if you have kids, you might awe them with this as much as it did me when I was a Campfire Girl. It made it fun for us to cook.
So..let's get into seasoning for the non-cooks. You can't buy one "pre seasoned" because it will look used and ugly. Seasoning is not pretty but if you season cast iron, it will never rust. If you don't, or scrub it off, it will. Think of your grandma's cast iron skillet used for cornbread etc...It gets black with built up grease but that's what makes it perfect and non-stick.
I personally seasoned this over my gas range inside because to do it correctly takes a few steps. It comes coated in paraffin wax (just like an apple does) you should first burn off. Then you want to build up some cooked on oil to the surface. you do this by rubbing it on then heating it over flame.
If, when you are doing cooking, you over zealously scrub this off you'll have to redo it. You don't want to sanitize cast iron. You want the grease to build up. That's what seasoning is and has been done for ages. It makes it non-stick. If you scrub it all off and simply reapply some oil, it's not going to do it the same protective-good as letting it build up. This replaces the paraffin wax that is coated on it to make it look beautiful and rust-free when you get it. Read the directions on seasoning and don't skip 'em if you want it non-stick and rust free forever.
But since it takes a few applications, you can do it on a gas range...
As for trimming your bread, It's actually important to buy large slices...most will be perfect for this. I found raisin bread slices small and not able to be crimped. If you put your regular slices in, fill with fillings, slices on top, when you fold this down it automatically crimps the edges together and seals them while cooking so you'll have no drips on you because you can hold it so the where the slices joined in the middle is facing up.
If you want to slice off the crusts on one side so that these face in the middle it looks pretty as there will be no crusts at all but 3 edges of the slices will be crimped and sealed.
This will be heavy with 2 sandwiches inside. We like to lay this on the grate that is partially attached to the firepit or on stones and let it do its thing. It's too heavy to hold the whole time.
The sandwiches are AMAZING!
Note: When it automatically crimps your sandwiches, THEN you can tear off the edges. In other words, let the edges hang out, close the pie iron, anything left hanging out you can trim. Everything on the inside will be automatically sealed.