This post should probably read “How Not to Use a Pie Iron”. I think we did absolutely everything wrong when we used it for the first time. So learn from our mistakes so that when you try it, you’ll be an expert Pie Iron Camp Chef.
The first thing you need to do with your new pie iron is to season it. No this isn’t added seasoning to your grilled cheese sandwich, this is seasoning your it before you use it so your food doesn’t stick to it. A step we neglected to do.
- Clean the pie iron with soap and warm water. Dry it completely.
- Coat the pie iron all over with vegetable oil or shortening. Do not use butter.
- Put the pie iron over an open flame for about 15 minutes. Take it out and wipe out the inside. Repeat the process of coating it with oil or shortening. Put it over the fire again. After the second re-heating take it and let it cool down. Coat it again with oil or shortening.
The pie iron should be seasoned after this. I found the complete instructions online here for the one we bought. We of course lost our instructions in the mayhem of Christmas.
Make sure you have a good fire going. I don’t know what was wrong with the firewood we bought at the camp store, but it would not stay lit. We had no trouble staring the fire, but keeping it going was an ongoing process. It must still have been a bit green.
Prepare Your Food
There are a lot of options on what to make with your pie iron. We choose the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Hard to mess that up. Well we won that challenge.
Since we didn’t season our pie iron we used aluminum foil to keep the bread from sticking to it. That did work.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are just the basics of bread, butter and cheese.
We did get a little adventurous and added sliced deli turkey. That was a good idea.
The sandwich wouldn’t fit in the pie iron. Might be because of the foil I was using.
So after buttering two slices of bread, I cut off the crusts and shoved it into the pie iron. You shouldn’t do this. It shrinks and prevents the bread from sealing together and making a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich.
The directions, I later found, said to place the pie iron over a fire for 3-6 minutes. I did about 7 minutes over a dying fire. The first one turned out pretty good.
It went downhill from there. The next one we burned. Ten minutes was way too long. I still ate it. It was good with melted cheese and turkey. The final one just didn’t seem to get enough even heat to cook it correctly. No pictures of those disasters.
We didn’t give up on the pie iron. Instead we re-kindled the fire and tried to make mini pies. It was easy to make, just using crescent dough sheets and pie filling.
All I did was cut two pieces of the crescent dough, buttered them a bit on each side, and placed a spoonful of pie filling in the center of the dough square. I then placed my second dough square on top of the filling and sealed it together .
I put it in the pie iron and placed over the fire for about 7 minutes.
It doesn’t look perfect, but my goodness it tasted so good. This was the only one that turned out. The rest of ours were all undercooked. I blame the fire.
Where to Find a Pie Iron
Don’t be scared off from using a pie iron because of all the mistakes we made. It was fun. And coming up with your own sandwich combinations and desserts is part of the fun. Be adventurous and try something new!
We are going to keep using it. Through trial and error we will master the art of sandwich making with the pie iron.
You can find the pie iron we used here. It is a sturdy and well made. It did come with directions and a mini recipe book. We just lost ours. It would have been helpful to have.
Learning how to use a pie iron for the first time can be frustrating when it doesn’t turn out the way you want. But so rewarding when you get it right. Timing and temperature are the keys to mastering it.
I hope you will try to use a pie iron on your next camping adventure. And if you already do, leave a helpful tip for us amateurs. Just be kind!
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