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How does cast iron transfer iron to meat?


As an engineer, I like to have scientifically accurate answers to my questions.  As a mechanical engineer, I have very little knowledge about chemistry.  So, it appears that I am asking for a precise answer, to something that I know very little about. 

My wife and I like to cook large pieces of meat, such as corned beef, in a cast iron Dutch Oven (DO).  Typically, we put the meat into the DO, add about two inches of water, and let the meat slowly simmer for about eight hours.

It seems to be well known, that the cast iron DO transfers some iron into the meat while it is being cooked.  My question is, how does the iron come out of the DO, and transfer into the meat?  Does the iron go into the water, and then the iron laden water permeate the meat?  Does the iron only transfer from the interface where the bottom of the meat touches the cast iron inside of the DO? 

The reason that I ask this, is because I recently fabricated a stainless steel trivet (meat rack), that keeps the bottom of the meat from directly touching the bottom of the DO.  It holds the meat about 1/4" above the cast iron, and allows water to completely envelope the meat.  This helps to keep the meat from scorching.  It has worked great so far, but the question has come up, as to if we are still getting the benefit of the additional iron transferring to the meat when using this trivet.

I talked to the technical group at Lodge Cast Iron, and they have no clue.

Thank you,


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