These Sauces Could Ruin Cast Iron, According To Michael Symon

When you want Michael Symon to respond to those pressing culinary questions you need an answer to, you tag him in a tweet. That's what a fan on Twitter did when he wanted to know what sauces you should shy away from cooking in your cast iron. Pots and pans can go through some real wear and tear during your cooking journey, but as Gear Patrol notes, they can also be expensive — knowing the ins and outs of using cookware properly can help extend its usable life. 

The conversation that took place over social media started off with the chef and cookbook author explaining the differences between carbon steel, stainless steel, and cast iron. Symon wrote, "Carbon is lighter than cast iron .. and better release than stainless .. I don't use for anything I'm making pan sauces though .. cast iron has best heat retention and most even heat ... stainless good for sauce work especially if sauces are acidic."

Naturally, this prompted another follower to ask a follow-up question. The follower needed to know what sauces are considered acidic and asked, "Chef Symon what are the kinds of acidic sauces that you would not use cast iron for?"

It can breakdown your cast iron

Michael Symon fired off a laundry list of acidic sauces you should never cook in your cast iron, tweeting, "Tomato .. citrus .. vinegar .. wine ..etc." So, pretty much all the sauces we love. But why? What's the harm? Epicurious explains that there are two reasons to avoid cooking acidic sauces in your cast iron. The first has to do with minuscule amounts of iron being leached into whatever you are cooking; this makes your final product taste like metal. They also noted that it takes about 30 minutes of cooking for this metal taste to be noticeable. 

The second reason is that acid-based sauces can wreak havoc on your cast iron, causing it to break down while simultaneously ruining all the hard work you put into seasoning it. While it is acceptable to give a dish a squeeze of lemon towards the end of the cooking process without any worry, you don't want to cook or simmer anything acidic in your cast iron for longer than a couple of minutes. Additionally, if you want to slow cook an acidic meal, you may want to choose an enameled dutch oven or skip the acidic ingredient.