The BP long read, musing on the past, present, and future of our pans.
America is in the midst of a red-meat renaissance. Walk up to any butcher shop or grocery store and you’re likely to find more options than ever. Which in some ways is incredible—after generations of ignorance-is-bliss convenience, we’re becoming acquainted with (and interested in) our food again, with the market rising to meet the demand. On the other hand, as a miscellany of cuts flood our cold cases with a slew of terminology—A5, prime, choice, select, grass-fed, grain-finished, certified, and so on—it leaves many a consumer in a state of confusion. What are we buying? What’s the best of the best? What’s marketing or misinformation? And nowhere in the beef department is this such an issue as with the most hallowed of all, Wagyu. We turned to the experts to unpack it all.
This is not a story about cast iron, even if it hails from a place in which cast iron is so closely connected and carried on so culturally to this day. It is, in fact, a shaggy dog about hot dogs. West Virginia hot dogs, to be exact—a regional delicacy of the Appalachian foodway that reveals an unexpectedly rich and riveting history about the old Mountain State. Follow along on our insatiable (and bellyaching) quest to better understand these chili-and-slaw-slathered buns.
Barbecue has a long history in the Lone Star State, from direct-heat cooking to in-ground pits to offset smokers, with the practice and process perfected over time. Today, you could say we’re in the midst of the low-and-slow heyday, thanks in part to the tools built by the Lockhart, Texas-based brothers, Matt and Caleb Johnson of Mill Scale. But there are still a few tips to follow.
What’s in a number? It’s a question commonly asked when it comes to cast iron. Look on the bottom or handle of many an antique pan and you’re likely to find 6s, 8s, 10s, and so on. But the answer is shrouded in its fair share of myth and controversy. And of course to make matters more confusing, we use letters in their stead.
In an esoteric aside, we explore the mysteries of a cast-iron classic.
Maybe you know it as “eggs in toast.” Or “toad in a hole.” Or even “uova fritte nel pane.” But whatever your family called it, you have, at least once in your lifetime, undoubtedly eaten this egg dish of many names and one simple recipe: butter in a pan, a slice of white bread, its center cut out, an egg cracked and fried inside. But after all these years, what should we call it? Come with us on this weird, wonderful, wholly unnecessary exploration of etymology—and one of our most beloved breakfasts.
Whether you’re a soon-to-be customer or a kit-and-caboodle collector, it’s worth knowing what to do when you finally get a piece of Butter Pat cast iron. Unfortunately, the internet has added a bunch of misnomers and malarkey to the process of getting to know your pan—it should never involve a potato, for starters, unless you plan on cooking it. Instead, just follow these simple, common-sense instructions.
In our continued quest to better understand the pros and cons of induction, and in a time of uproar over the dwindling future of our beloved gas stoves, we’ve turned to our chef friends for their two cents on these flame-free appliances. For the most part, they like them. But their takeaways come with some caveats, too.
It was another long, strange year on Planet Earth, but luckily, amidst the madness of the human race, it was full of fine food, drink, books, music, and much more. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites as a parting gift to all of you. Happy cooking, and happy New Year, y’all.
With cooler temperatures comes a primal desire to fire up our kitchens, and this time of year, few recipes warm the bones and help us weather the coming days of winter quite like confit. Almost any food can be confit’ed—our favorite is duck—and yet the technique remains intimidating for many home cooks. Read on to level the playing field and find a new way to use your cast iron.
We delve into the most important attribute of cast-iron cookware.
Imagine this: You’re stuck in the middle of the desert with a broken-down vehicle and nothing to eat but one damn egg. Which would be easier, frying it on the hot glass of your car windshield or the rugged asphalt on which you stand? Simply put, smoothness impacts your cooking, your seasoning, your cleaning. It matters, indeed.
And the fascinating history of its evolution into a modern-day recipe.
What’s in a recipe? There are the ingredients, of course, and the method, too. For most modern humans, this is common knowledge, but there was a time, not that long ago, when that six-letter word that rules our kitchens was something quite different–and, at one point, not even a word at all.
An ode to the controversial condiment.
There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who like mayonnaise, and the blasphemous ones who don’t. We, like any good Southerner, are unapologetic about our adoration of this simple condiment, about our personal pantry stockpile, about its inarguable place on every sandwich. After all, it is the secret to every good grilled cheese you’ve ever eaten, especially when cooked in a cast-iron pan.