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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/25/2005 7:28:06 AM EDT
I bought a non-seasoned cast-iron skillet and seasoned it myself, but I don't think I did it just right. It came out with a wax-like film over the pan that I could scrape off with my fingernail. I followed the instructions to the letter. I thought maybe that's the way it's supposed to be, so I tried cooking with it a few times, and food stuck pretty badly and it was a pain to clean. Now the pan is starting to rust very lightly in the bottom.

Now I need to rescue it. What's the best way to remove the rust and try again? Should I steel-wool it, or should I use something non-abrasive? Any tips on how to re-season a badly-seasoned pan?

Thanks in advance to the hive-mind.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:32:10 AM EDT
Use Easy-Off to remove all traces of oils. If there is rust, scour it with Comet or other abrasive cleanser.

Once it's clean and dry, coat the inside heavily with peanut oil.

Put it in a 300 degree oven and leave it there for about 2-3 hours. The oil will not burn, but will polymerize leaving a halfway decent cooking surface.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:34:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:36:48 AM EDT
How do you clean them without cleaning off the surface you are trying to build up?
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:40:27 AM EDT
My Grandma always turned her skillets upside down when she put them in the oven for seasoning, catching the drip on a cookie sheet below. She also let them cool in the oven afterwards.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:41:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2005 7:42:25 AM EDT by Gloftoe]
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:47:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LevelEdge:
How do you clean them without cleaning off the surface you are trying to build up?



Usually, just a spray with hot water and a wipe with paper towels will clean it out if it is seasoned properly. For a new pan that you are still building the seasoning up on, I use a little warm water and a couple spoonfuls of kosher salt to make a damp paste and a paper towel. This will remove most stuck on stuff, without harming the seasoning. Or you could buy a stiff brush and use it instead of the kosher salt.

Never use soap or scouring pads to clean it.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:47:42 AM EDT
I use a high temp oil such as bacon grease rubbed onto a thick paper or cloth. A bit of scrubbing with that grease soaked towel usually removes the rust on my lodge skillet. Wipe it down with another grease soaked towel to remove any clinging paper. Toss it in the oven per the instructions above and rebake it to reseason it completely.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:48:47 AM EDT
The way I do it .Is to fill with1/4 water and one or two drop's of dish soap and boil a few min. dump water wipe with paper towel,fill with 1/8 water boil until water is gone.wipe again,leave pan on stove until dry and smoking.light coating of oil get it smoking wipe down any excess. This is only to reseason when the wife burn's/lets pan sit in sink.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 7:50:18 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 8:56:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2005 8:58:51 AM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
The instructions I had for seasoning said to use vegetable shortening. I don't have any peanut oil. Would soybean or canola oil work? I melted it in the pan on low heat and rubbed it all over the pan, then put the pan upside-down in the oven for an hour or so and let it cool in the oven. I think if I do it again, I'll take it out while it's still pretty warm (but not hot) and wipe it off with a clean towel. I think there was just too much stuff left on it. I can leave it in longer as well.

To clean, I've always dumped in a couple of spoonfuls of kosher salt and scrubbed with a paper towel. I've heard you should apply a thin film of oil inside after it's clean, and I think I forgot to do that last time. May be why it's rusting.

I'll try the comet for rust removal.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 9:00:07 AM EDT
Oil and salt. Use the salt to clean the skillet. Heat it up first, oil then salt to get the grit off. Paper towel folded into fourths work best for me.

Same thing with cleaning a wok.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 9:01:22 AM EDT
About 10 years ago, one of my dumbass room mates, who fancied himself a chef, cleaned 20 years of seasoning off of my big iron skillet...took it down to bare metal.

When I got home, he was all excited...he said..."hey, I cleaned your skillet for you".

Had I been carrying at the time, he would have died on the spot.

As long as there was one woman on the jury, I'd have walked!

I tried to build it back up, but just gave up. Those thing are irreplacable when they're seasoned right.



Link Posted: 8/25/2005 9:03:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 9:05:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gloftoe:

Originally Posted By LevelEdge:
How do you clean them without cleaning off the surface you are trying to build up?


NO SOAP!

I do it a couple of ways. Main way I clean it is to have the skillet warm, but not hot (put it back on the fire if necessary), dump some coarse salt into it, and scrub it with paper towels. The salt scours away stuck-on crud. If you have a nicely seasoned cast iron skillet, this should be ALL the cleaning necessary.

If you're still working on getting a good coating on your skillet, You can use hot water and a scrub pad to clean it. Again, NO SOAP! Just be sure to dry it thorougly and put a LIGHT coating of oil on it once it's clean.

I HATE putting my cast iron in water. I'll always scrub with salt first.



VERY good advice, Jeff.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 9:22:36 AM EDT
My mother has a pan that no amount of scrubbing could ruin. The seasoning is so hard that a .50 cal would bounce right off.

I have tried to get my pans like that, but I just don't cook enough.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:25:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gloftoe:

Originally Posted By LevelEdge:
How do you clean them without cleaning off the surface you are trying to build up?


NO SOAP!

I do it a couple of ways. Main way I clean it is to have the skillet warm, but not hot (put it back on the fire if necessary), dump some coarse salt into it, and scrub it with paper towels. The salt scours away stuck-on crud. If you have a nicely seasoned cast iron skillet, this should be ALL the cleaning necessary.

If you're still working on getting a good coating on your skillet, You can use hot water and a scrub pad to clean it. Again, NO SOAP! Just be sure to dry it thorougly and put a LIGHT coating of oil on it once it's clean.

I HATE putting my cast iron in water. I'll always scrub with salt first.



That sounds good too, never thought about using coarse salt. I have a small pad of steel wool, I toss some oil in while it's still hot, and use a metal utensil to move the steel wool around the skillet to losen any crud, I save mayo jars and the like to dump the oil (for later disposal) then dry it out w/paper towels.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:37:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:40:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gloftoe:

Originally Posted By California_Kid:
Use Easy-Off to remove all traces of oils. If there is rust, scour it with Comet or other abrasive cleanser.

Once it's clean and dry, coat the inside heavily with peanut oil.

Put it in a 300 degree oven and leave it there for about 2-3 hours. The oil will not burn, but will polymerize leaving a halfway decent cooking surface.


CA Kid has it right (although I use bacon grease). The only other thing that will improve it is TIME.

We only own two cast iron skillets. One 8" and one 12". The 8" is who knows HOW old, and is pitch black with an OUTSTANDING cooking surface. Stuff just does not stick to it. The 12" one is only about 9 months old. The cooking surface is relatively black, and is decent. Some stuff still sticks to it, but it gets better and better every time I use it.



Good ideas, we did all our camping gear this way. Worked like a charm, or you could just cook on it a bunch of times and wait.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:44:09 AM EDT
what about slightly heavier rust? (Don't ask).
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:47:43 AM EDT
I've done a little research into seasoning a pan.

there is plety of good advice here but this is what really matters.



When starting with a pan you have to season that thing almost once a day and every time you use it. A good seasoned pan takes years to produce.

A quick way to season the cooking surface is to heat the pan on the eye of the stove, till the pan is 300 degrees all about, that opens the pores, doing it slowly helps evens the heat out. Then take it off the flame and oil it up, some oils can create a sticky film and the oil will degrade if you do not use the pan imeadiately... OK 2 days. Let the pan cool then whipe off the remaining oil.
I like to reheat the pan some after it's cooled which can take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour but that's my prefence.


To get started on seasoning a pan I hear you should season it at least 3 times a day for atleast a week.

Seasoning the pan surves many purposes. It creates a non stick surface that also resist rust.

Using salt to clean the pan is very common but usually a good whipe with a towl will work on a well seasoned pan.


That's all I can remember.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:52:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By glenn_r:
what about slightly heavier rust? (Don't ask).



Sand-blasting works pretty well.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:59:08 AM EDT
When I was a couple years out of college I was living in a house with a few other folks. I left town one weekend to return to all three of my cast iron skillets sitting in the dishwasher, having just been run. That took steel wool, a steel bristled brush, and LOTS of hours of my time to un-do.

My wife is MUCH better about the kitchen, she "lets" me clean it.

shooter
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 11:03:32 AM EDT
You should use lard or bacon grease instead of oil to initially season them. I only use a paper towel to clean them but mine are really old. The I put them back on the heat for a few minutes to make sure they're completely dry. You could wipe them down with a little oil or lard if you're not going to use them for an extended period. The older they are the better they become.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 12:43:22 PM EDT
How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

huntsville.about.com/cs/food/ht/Cast_Iron.htm

Also this page has how to clean cast iron.


You will not get this done overnight... it takes years to really get cast iron well seasoned. Then it is like teflon, stuff just does not stick to it.

I use plain old Crisco to season.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 1:58:43 PM EDT
my cast iron grill pan must not be seasoned right.
or it has a nice layer of black on it and isn't rusting on the cooking surface, but when ever I grill something the food gets this really nasty black liquid on it that I have to papertowel off before eating.
that can't be normal can it?
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 2:14:20 PM EDT
I hope that those of you whose room mates cleaned your cast iron for you, got to feel the hard surface up side their heads.
I only use cast iron(except for the 2 sauce pans my wife uses a compromise) I have all sizes and types. The advice given has been correct salt to scrub wipe down maybe a little bacon grease. The seasoning cook I use is about 300 for two hours in my wood stove in the garage so I don't smoke up the house.
That was the way I was taught by my Grandmother, she died at 95 and I was given her cast iron and hers are super seasoned you just can't get food to stick.
Somethings can't improved on and cast iron cookware is one of them.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 3:15:20 PM EDT
I have never heard of seasoning a cast iron pot or skillet with anything other than a hardwood fire and some cooking oil.

We always do it over a hardwood fire. You can clean the soot off using water, but then you have to warm the pot on a burner to dry it off and coat it again with oil.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 3:48:05 PM EDT
Tangental Thread Hijack Alert

I have a couple of older cast fry pans that are super smooth and work well.

What do you do with those new pans that have the rough sand cast surface? Do you polish em out first? I thought of taking an old round axe sharpening stone and finishing the polishing job where the factory left off. I haven't bought any new Lodge or (gad) the Chinese made stuff from texsport because of the sand cast finish is still well like,..... sand.
I want a dutch oven w/ flanged lid for camping.

Tom
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 3:56:17 PM EDT
One of the few good uses (for a charcoal purist) for a gas grill.

Fire up all your burners, put it on, close the lid and get that sucker hotter than hot.

Then add the grease on a rag or (thick) wad of paper towel. Expect lots of smoke, and a possible mini-fire. Wear leather gloves.

(you can probably guess how I know) (I use gloves from my FD)

The "Other F'ing Shift" @ my old FD used to throw out cast iron skillet in the dishwasher, then put it in the cabinet. We had to clean out the rust and re-season until my lieutenant finally locked it up in our fridge.

'nut oil's OK, but a true cast iron purist would cringe at anything other than pork fat .

+1 for starting with an absolutely clean surface.

It works for steel woks, too... if you can get your wife to quit throwing them in the dishwasher, or leaving them in the sink 'til they grow things because she doesn't know how to clean it.
(Bamboo scrubber and plain HOT water works too...)
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 4:23:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Fenian:
About 10 years ago, one of my dumbass room mates, who fancied himself a chef, cleaned 20 years of seasoning off of my big iron skillet...took it down to bare metal.

When I got home, he was all excited...he said..."hey, I cleaned your skillet for you".

Had I been carrying at the time, he would have died on the spot.

As long as there was one woman on the jury, I'd have walked!

I tried to build it back up, but just gave up. Those thing are irreplacable when they're seasoned right.






My brother's first father in law was feeling like a fifth wheel a few days before the wedding. To get him out of their hair and feeling useful, the mil gave hime the silver and said "Polish this". He, being a former Submarine Sailor retiring as a mustang LT., proceeded to polish it the way a sailor knows how to polish the bright work in order to make everybody proud.

His almost last words were "Look, I'm done. I even got all that black stuff out of all the nooks and crannies."

Definitely use peanut oil or crisco. Canola oil doesn't seem to work. I would bet you can't get it hot enough.

I have a nice Lodge DO that got washed by a do-gooder and it has never been the same. I tried Easy-off and it didn't quite do the job evenly. I'm going to try it again and then may go the sanblasting route. I got one of those cheapy Harbor Freight DOs and it took to seasoning with crisco nicely, but it took three reps to get it smoothed nicely.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 8:02:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2005 1:53:05 PM EDT by Gloftoe]
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 8:12:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Gloftoe:
My 9 month old 12" pan is a Lodge. The surface started out rough, but it's smoothing out the more I use it. I don't know if it's filling in, or what. But I fry bacon in it any chance I get. Seems to be expediting the process.


+1
I've only had my Lodge pans for a couple of years now.
They're major cooking duty has been frying bacon.
They're still rough on the outside, but the frying surfaces are smooooooootttttthhhhh.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 8:33:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2005 8:41:40 PM EDT by wildearp]

Originally Posted By Gloftoe:
Originally Posted By SteelonSteel:
What do you do with those new pans that have the rough sand cast surface? Do you polish em out first? I thought of taking an old round axe sharpening stone and finishing the polishing job where the factory left off. I haven't bought any new Lodge or (gad) the Chinese made stuff from texsport because of the sand cast finish is still well like,..... sand.
I want a dutch oven w/ flanged lid for camping.

My 9 month old 12" pan is a Lodge. The surface started out rough, but it's smoothing out the more I use it. I don't know if it's filling in, or what. But I fry bacon in it any chance I get. Seems to be expediting the process.



Here-in this post lies the thing many are missing. Lodge and many others are TOO ROUGH!!!

I have a square and round griddle and seven different sizes of Wagner iron skillets and a dutch oven, that I have used for years and have a lot of experience with them.

When I season a new skillet for a friend, I first take a double action disc sander and get rid of the rough casting, finishing with a swirled 220 grit pattern. No sand casting bumps should remain on the cooking surface. I then wash it, oil it, and then bake it by one of the various described methods. The first finish can look transparent and can be dragged with a fingernail as mentioned, however the real seasoning begins with frying hash browns. That is how I do any skillet. After the fourth breakfast, the skillet is on its way to being an award winner.

To reseason a skillet that has been neglected or has too much buildup, I use a white vinegar and water mix and just let it sit in the bottom of the iron with a piece of saran wrap on it. After a day or two, most of the crud is removed and the reseasoning process can be started again.

You have succeeded when you can cook eggs to order without them sticking!!

I had to edit to say that good skillets are still easy to find in antique stores at reasonable prices, with Griswald, and Wagner being the best. S.R. brand was one or the other of the two better brands, just stamped for Sears and Roebuck. The old iron is flatter and thinner on the bottom and some of the finish work is already started for you. Even a lightly rusted skillet can be brought back to life with the method I described, both vinegar and orbital sanding.

The thing is, the thinner and older skillets heat up quicker and you can control the temperature better while cooking. The modern Wagner I bought, with the seasoning instructions cast into the bottom, is just too doggone thick.

I will be seasoning a batch of new pans for a good friend in November.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 8:38:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rkbar15:
You should use lard or bacon grease instead of oil to initially season them. I only use a paper towel to clean them but mine are really old. The I put them back on the heat for a few minutes to make sure they're completely dry. You could wipe them down with a little oil or lard if you're not going to use them for an extended period. The older they are the better they become.

thats what I do Just buy a pound of bacon. you may be eating bacon for a month but your cast iron will be seassoned.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 9:16:41 PM EDT
When you've got a new pan that the seasoning isn't quite up to snuff yet, use some PAM cooking spray. Helps with the sticking food problem and doesn't seem to bother the seasoning process.

My 3 year old Wagner is great for eggs and such. Really nearly as good as one of my 60+ year old frying pans. I did smooth off the major casting roughness with a palm sander though.

Lots of good advice already given, use it a lot and don't let soap near it.

Don in Ohio
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 10:19:21 PM EDT
Lots of good advice here!

It's just going to take loads of time to build up the seasoning to the point that it's bullet proof. Just keep using it over and over!

It's just like a well seasoned carbon steel Wok-it's worth more than it's weight in gold.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 9:20:34 AM EDT
Any advantage to using pork fat that hasn't been cured? No salts in it? Just wondering.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 12:19:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tate:
Any advantage to using pork fat that hasn't been cured? No salts in it? Just wondering.



might be better
my pans specifically said not to use salted fat (like butter) to season it
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 11:53:12 AM EDT
I clean mine with salt. I don't see how salt can be an issue.

Acidic foods such as tomato can cause damage, but not to a long term, well seasoned skillet.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 1:28:24 PM EDT
Another died in the wool cast iron fan, here. I pretty much use hearly the same advice as seen here but my "initial" seasoning is with Olive Oil ( I use olive oil for nearly everything involving food ) and then I cook bacon on it regularly. For the thicker pans, use a setting just under medium high and let the pan warm well before adding food. For the thinner pans use medium setting only. Right before adding any food I drip some more Olive Oil into the pan and swish it around and let it warm for a minute or so and then add the food. Flip your bacon/burger/whatever fairly often and stir your other food regularly. Using lower heat like the medium settings and a bit of "pre oil" keeps anything from sticking and adds a bit of flavor, too. DON'T over cook and your pans will clean easily with water and a rough rag or a well worn Scotchbrite pad ( try not to use a new one...too scratchy ). When finished I just "re-oil' with olive oil and I dry the pan on the stove with a low setting.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 6:02:57 PM EDT
Damn good topic! Thanks for the thoughts!

Nothing better than a fried egg from a cast iron skillet, crispy edges and runny yolks. mmmm good! Can't do it right w/ magic teflon pans.
Makes me want to go camping and cook out!
Tom
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 6:09:55 PM EDT
I've tried all kinds of oils and my experience is that bacon fat works best. Anything will get it started. I also oil mine up and bake it again every once in a while.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 6:10:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2005 6:11:26 PM EDT by Merrell]
To clean a cast iron skillet: toss it in a self cleaning oven (edit - the first time around or when too caked only!)

To season: bacon grease or Crisco (do your first seasonings when the weather permits opening the windows!)

smooth vs. rough finishes: latter was adopted as requireing less labour, over time, the residues fill in the nooks and crannies making them pretty much the same

Wagner/Griswold Society (cast iron) meetin coming up in Chattanooga next month

http://www.wag-society.org/Events.html
Link Posted: 9/4/2005 9:35:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2005 9:37:47 AM EDT by desertmoon]

Originally Posted By Merrell:
To clean a cast iron skillet: toss it in a self cleaning oven (edit - the first time around or when too caked only!)

To season: bacon grease or Crisco (do your first seasonings when the weather permits opening the windows!)

smooth vs. rough finishes: latter was adopted as requireing less labour, over time, the residues fill in the nooks and crannies making them pretty much the same

Wagner/Griswold Society (cast iron) meetin coming up in Chattanooga next month

http://www.wag-society.org/Events.html




cooking "softly" and slowly also helps build up a nice surface

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