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Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil or shortening to an 8-inch cast iron skillet and place it in the oven to preheat while the oven preheats. (If your oven preheats quickly, you might want to leave the skillet in the oven to heat for at least 5 minutes once it's reached the target temp to allow the skillet to heat through. This is what gives the cornbread its thick, dark brown outer crust.)
In a large bowl, whisk the egg and mayo together. Add the corn meal, sugar, buttermilk, and water and mix together until the batter is smooth.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and rotate it to ensure the oil has coated the entire bottom of the skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet, being cautious as the hot oil can splatter a bit. You'll know the skillet is prepheated enough if the batter sizzles when you pour it in. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. You can also turn the oven on low broil for 2 to 3 minutes if you like the top really brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately invert to remove the cornbread from the skillet. If left in the skillet, the bottom will lose its crisp, crunchy crust. Serve warm.