Gear I Hold Dear: My Cast Iron Skillet

I’ll at all times bear in mind the primary meal I made exterior. It was pancakes out of a field and I used to be 8. I whisked eggs and milk into the combination, my mother lit the camp range, and I fastidiously poured batter onto the skillet, making an attempt my hardest to not contact the spherical puddles of flour and eggs till I noticed bubbles pop up within the middle. It was probably the most impatient I can bear in mind being as a child, ready with anticipation for the second I bought to slip my crooked spatula underneath every cake, flip them over and watch them sizzle as soon as extra.  

We have been on our annual household tenting journey with dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins, taking part in underneath Jeffrey pines and basking within the solar for hours on Lake Tahoe’s Nevada Seashore. Working round within the filth was enjoyable, however what I beloved most about spending per week sleeping in a tent was the thrill of firing up the camp range exterior; maple breakfast sausage, campfire apple crumble and additional crispy roasted potatoes have been all served from the identical hefty skillet. If you happen to requested my dad and mom, I’m positive the truth was that I made one or two pancakes earlier than shedding curiosity and operating again to the seashore. However I credit score these early flapjack-flipping years as the beginning of a lifelong love for cooking and consuming within the woods. The odor of melting butter on forged iron will eternally take me again to these carefree summers.  

Twenty years later, my recipe guide has (fortunately) grown to incorporate greater than pancakes out of a field. However whether or not we’re caravanning to the desert with a dozen mates, parked at a pull-out earlier than an early morning ski mission or racing to our favourite native campsite at 5pm on a Friday, the primary query that pops into my thoughts is: What are we going to cook dinner? 

With out fail, when pondering the following recipe to attempt, I at all times flip to my 12-Inch Lodge Forged Iron Skillet. Whether or not it’s frying up a spherical of home-prepped mushroom potstickers, pouring out batter for banana chocolate chip pancakes, searing elk burgers or stirring collectively a heaping pan of spicy pork sesame noodles, it’s the last word skillet for plein air cooking. Forged iron cooking has stood the take a look at of time, courting again to the Han Dynasty growth of strategies to pour molten iron and metal into molds to create high-strength instruments, weapons, and cookware. Forged iron Dutch ovens and skillets took off in Europe by the 18th century, changing into a staple in family kitchens due to their rugged, indestructible nature. To today, forged iron is among the least costly but longest-lasting cookware you’ll be able to add to your kitchen.  

Lodge 12-inch cast iron skillet
The 12-Inch Lodge Forged Iron Skillet ($34.95) additionally is available in 3.5-inch, 6.5-inch, 8-inch, 10.25-inch and 15-inch sizes.

There are many fancy cookware choices that add comfort to your camp kitchen: stainless-steel pots and pans, collapsible mugs and bowls, moveable espresso grinders. I’m a sucker for a light-weight backpack-friendly pan, however my well-seasoned forged iron skillet shines brighter than the remaining. Light-weight tenting pans could pack effectively, however sear a burger or crisp up roasted veggies in a roaring sizzling forged iron skillet and also you’ll be transformed for all times. The pan’s traditional black patina supplies an excellent, nonstick cooking floor that additionally retains warmth to sear or fry meals; and the extra you employ it and maintain it, the higher seasoned it turns into. Positive, if you happen to’re backpacking the forged iron skillet will drag you down, however for tailgate dinners and entrance nation tenting, there’s no excuse to not carry it alongside. Like every good forged iron frying pan, mine is well-loved, seasoned with the recollections of spring-break tailgates, household tenting journeys and impromptu weekend getaways within the woods.  

One other plus to the forged iron skillet whereas tenting is that it doesn’t require cleaning soap to wash. When you’re executed cooking, use a meals scraper or heat water to take away grit from the pan, then dry it utterly with a towel and rub a tiny little bit of oil on the floor. Voilà! You’re prepared on your subsequent meal.  

The fantastic thing about forged iron extends far past camp cooking. I exploit mine repeatedly for dwelling cooking, too, however the recollections in entrance of my skillet in camp are those seared deepest into my coronary heart. Just like the time my complete household stood round a gravel parking zone after a motorbike trip in Idaho, ravenously scooping up the home made potstickers as quickly as they left the pan. Or the time in school after I spent nearly two hours slinging pancakes and bacon for 25 fellow college students in a darkish, crowded yurt on Cameron Move in Colorado, lastly accepting assist from the man who would turn out to be my future life associate. Or the time we pulled right into a campsite in Moab, Utah, late at night time, gone dinner, hungry and too exhausted to determine what to eat—we dumped stale tortilla chips, eggs and cheese into the skillet and loved campfire chilaquiles underneath the brilliant mild of a full moon.  

Morning or night time, even once we’re scattered about watching the sundown, skipping rocks by the shore or snoozing onerous within the tent, firing up the range and dropping a pat of butter into the forged iron attracts everybody again to camp, reeled in by the odor of pepper-crusted bacon or the candy mixture of burnt chocolate chips and pancake batter.   

Having fun with a meal exterior brings folks collectively, and nothing has contributed to that greater than my trustworthy forged iron skillet.  

Skillet Banana Oat Pancakes 

Recipe from Lily Krass’s cookbook, Past Skid: A Cookbook for Ski Bums 


  • 2 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 1/4 cup milk of your alternative 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 giant ripe banana 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon floor cinnamon 
  • Sprint of salt 
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, for cooking 
  • 1/4 cup darkish chocolate chips (elective) 
  • 1 cup contemporary or frozen blueberries (elective) 

For serving: 

  • Maple syrup 
  • Contemporary berries 
  • Greek yogurt 


Preparation at dwelling:  

Step 1 

Add oats to a meals processor and blitz for 15 seconds till they resemble a rough flour.  

Step 2 

Add milk, eggs, banana, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, and mix till easy. 

Step 3 

Pour combine into a big jar or sealed plastic container and retailer in fridge or cooler till you’re able to pack on your tenting journey. Pack all the pieces (together with toppings) into your cooler to carry to camp.  

Preparation at camp:

Step 1 

Hearth up the camp range and preheat your forged iron skillet to medium warmth with 1 tbsp. butter or coconut oil.  

Step 2 

Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto the skillet, including chocolate chips and/or blueberries in order for you them. 

Step 3 

Flip pancakes as soon as bubbles begin to type (about 2 minutes) and cook dinner for an additional 2 minutes. Repeat till you’ve used all of the batter, including extra butter or coconut oil as wanted. Because the pan heats up, the pancakes could begin to cook dinner extra rapidly, so flip down the burner in the event that they begin to blacken.  

Step 4 

Prime with maple syrup, berries and yogurt; or allow them to cool, wrap them up and revel in them on the path.