Here's Why You Should Never Cook Filipino Adobo In A Cast Iron Skillet

Filipino food has been having something of a moment in America over the last few years. The New York Times noted that while other cuisines like Chinese or Thai have cemented themselves as mainstays of the American dining scene, Filipino food was, until recently, more likely to be found in the kitchens of Filipino-American families than on restaurant menus.

The hallmark tastes of Filipino cuisine are salty, sour, and sweet. You'll find these flavors in dishes like siningang, kinilaw, chicken inasal, and plenty of other Filipino dishes you probably haven't tried yet (but definitely should). One dish, adobo, really plays up all three flavors of the Filipino food equation. Considered the national dish of the Philippines, adobo is a homey stew that's also very easy to make at home. It's usually made with chicken or pork, and chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. There's just one key thing to know when making adobo — don't reach for your cast iron skillet!

The reason behind avoiding a cast iron skillet when making adobo comes down to the sour part of that salty, sour, sweet combination. Sourness in food usually comes from an acid such as lemon juice. In adobo's case, there's a large amount of vinegar in the sauce, sometimes up to ¾ of a cup.

The acidity of adobo doesn't work with cast iron

Cast iron skillets are great for things like searing, frying, and even baking, but when it comes to cooking highly acidic foods it's best to go with stainless steel or an enameled Dutch oven like Le Creuset. When cooking acidic foods on cast iron those acids are interacting with the iron in the pan. Those acids can eat away at your hard-earned seasoning, stripping it away from the surface of the pan.

Cooking acidic foods in cast iron can also affect the final flavor of the dish. While well-seasoned cast iron pans can indeed be used to quickly cook acidic ingredients, Chef Kevin Truong of Austin, Texas's Fil'n'Viet restaurant tells HuffPost that simmering an acidic dish like Filipino adobo in cast iron can cause the iron in the pan to leach into the food, leaving a metallic taste in your meal.

So while Filipino adobo is pretty easy to make, and definitely delicious to eat, it's best to give your cast iron pan a break for this one.