Need Advice on Cast Iron
So I need some advice. I stripped my cast iron pan and griddle this weekend. I need to re-season it. What oil, what temp, how long, and how many times do you all suggest?
What I’ve done in the past I don’t think has worked well. I’m curious what everyone thinks is the proper and best way to prepare your cast iron stuff…?
Austin what are the problems that make you think your earlier attempts were unsuccessful?
Pictures of your skillet?
Cast iron cookware has been used for at least a couple of centuries.
In the past, all people did to season their cast iron was to use it regularly, keep it lightly oiled, avoid excessive temperature cook burners, and avoid cooking acidic foods.
I think sometimes there are unrealistic expectation for how quickly a cast iron item should develop that black carbonized patina that we all look for. It takes time.
I have been making my own seasoning bars for my carbon pans, they have worked well for my griswold pans too.
All by weight
20% rice bran oil
10% Avocado oil
Melt all together at low heat and i put them into a silicon mold and let them reharden. Just a little in a hot pan and wipe out and heat.
I originally used flax seed oil, but that seemed to flake off.
Canola oil works fine as do most readily availabe oils or even crisco. Lodge even sells a can of Canola oil for seasoning. You also carry Camp Chef cast iron seasoning. Everyone has there own recipes, some are probably better than others.
Side note- check out Cast Iron Kyle podcast. Also watch this about him, its long but very interesting and entertaining. https://youtu.be/5AuxeH3XLvY?si=r1JZqISjzZQmIxge
He’d be a guy to get on the Podcast. Jonathon
I generally use coconut oil due to its high smoke point or home rendered lard for all cast iron cooking. You could use bacon grease in a pinch.
Here’s my honest suggestion and what I do to get my pans seasoned:
Cook a small batch of bacon, coat the entire pan with the remaining, and let it cool completely. Repeat 3x
Otherwise next time wife cooks in oven, put the pan in the bottom and take it out when its too hot to touch and wipe with coconut oil, then let it cool completely. Repeat 3x
Austin We have some very old cast iron, even enameled, that we use very regularly. However, here we are talking about un-enameled cast iron. First remember, low & slow to the heat. That is the best for cast iron. We have some that I seasoned well over 40 years ago & have never had to re-season it since. Start heating the iron up very slowly & take it to 450°. Add your lubricant of choice. Wipe it all over the sides & bottom of pan, including the top edge & handles if they are iron too. Of course, remove the handles if they are wood. leave it there about 45 minutes. Turn the oven off & let the pan cool down gradually. Wipe any excess oil from the pan. You are good to go & never use soap in it, period. It will clean fine with proper heating & a Copper or Stainless Steel Wool Scrubber & hot water, just do it soon after cooking. Beef Lard gives it the best flavor & I have some that I did like that, but I would not bring the temperature over about 400° for that. Peanut Oil is my favorite & that is what I used for most of ours. Sadly to say it is God Awful expensive these days, but still in my opinion, the best & a pretty darn good flavor too. Let us know how it goes & don’t worry about it too much, just remember, low & slow every time, including when you are cooking with it. I always put ours on at the very lowest temp I can get when cooking & gradually bring it up to speed. I try to preach that to everyone else too.
processhead calldoctoday I left things outside a couple of days and it rusted bad on me… The other was flaking, and the previous seasoning had not bonded well with the pan. Just decided I’d start over and try to do it all better with another go-round. Unfortunately, I did not take pictures before I started stripping things. Just used a stainless scrubber to scrub off the rust and any parts that were flaking.
Austin Here is the the well-seasoned look you are after. lol
Coincidentally, I just picked up this #8 Griswold 10 inch skillet at a local estate sale. It just went into the electrolysis cleaning bucket. I will post some “after” pictures when all the grunge is cooked off it.
I am fairly certain this skillet did not see much soap, or water for that matter, over it’s life.
Some after-clean up, but before seasoning pictures of the skillet. This one was tough to clean and I had to get out the scrapers and angle grinder with a wire wheel buffer. Probably an even 1/16 inch of carbon and who knows what on the inside.
It is a nice one though, with a smooth interior and no warping, pitting in the cook surface, or cracks. The old ones were finished so much better that the new ones.
I’ll get it seasoned in a couple days and it will be ready to go to work.
Here is a picture of the skillet after I reseasoned this morning. It came out nice.
Heat in a campfire till hot, throw it in a big container of water making sure the whole pan goes in the water, grunge removed. After it cools, I oil mine with lard or bacon fat. Cook on, just have to get the pan reasonably hot before putting anything in it to cook . Works better than Teflon after that.
Austin With all the answers here mine will just be noise.
I’ve had cast iron dutch ovens and skillets since I was a lad.
After you have it all clean and ready to reseason this is my thought.
Some get picky about the oil to season with I don’t, with the exception that I wish to use as high of a smoke point oil as I have on hand. After washing under hot water ONLY using little to no abrasives, Heat medium to medium low over the stove top upside down till you can lightly splatter a few drops of water and immediately they disappear. Turn off the burner
Select the highest smoke point oil that you have and use a cloth towel with a very light amount of oil at a time to just coat the outer side then flip the pan and do the same. Set in a 350f oven upside down with a jelly roll pan under it for one hour.
Let it cool then repeat the oil in the oven once more.
After each use heat on the stovetop as before after washing in hot water only and ever so lightly oil each time. All the oil that is needed is just a touch of the bottle to the rag, nearly no amount and recoat after each use.
I own 8 pieces of CI and half is older than 70 years old.
Austin First of all, Cowboy Kent is the man. I use alot of his methods and use similar on my CI. I have tried many different methods over the years and most worked if you care for the item afterwards.
After reading through this thread, I had to laugh at the wide variety of recommendations. Not that any was better or worse than the other, but you definitely have a variety to choose from. The only thing I would point out is to avoid pouring cold water on hot steel or cast iron unless you are willing to warp or crack it. You can get away with a few sprinkles, like Denny O mentioned. I would recommend using an oven to season, just to have steady control over the heat and temperature of the metal. I have used multiple oils over the years and I am back to Canola like Tex_77 mentioned. Mainly because of the cost and it works. I also like Lodges chart for various oils smoke point, so I have attached their link. Remember you are trying to get the oil to reach polymerization, so higher smoke point oil takes higher heat to reach polymerization. I heat my oven to at least 450 with Canola. https://www.lodgecastiron.com/cleaning-and-care/cast-iron/oils-cast-iron-cooking-and-seasoning#:~:text=All cooking oils and fats,oil%2C like our Seasoning Spray.
calldoctoday Reason for turning upside down is to keep it from pooling any oils.
Watch the temp of the CI, I agree hot iron and cold water do not like each other.
A moderate to hot oven 350f to not more than 450f will give the CI an even glaze coverage, too hot and the oil will be left with a blistered look.
contrary to what most will say, I’ve found olive oil to work fine. I like olive oil or avocado with avocado being the preference. Light coats and long periods in the oven are your friend. Agree with the others, too hot and short and you will get an orange peal texture, if you get a tacky texture, it wasn’t hot enough and/or didn’t go long enough also using too much oil/coat can lead to this. Thin coats, I like 4 or 5 before I start cooking with it usually. Cook temp will vary depending on smoke point. Avocado can run hotter than olive oil in the oven.
After cooking, wiping it out with some things works well, for stuck on stuff I heat the iron pretty dang hot and get my sink water as hot as it will go, you can remove it using the steam of the hot iron and hot water, similar as you would when removing the fond of a pan and incorporating it into a sauce. If it is really stuck on there, a dry pan and salt will help you scrub it off. I always warm my irons back up on the stove over medium heat until the top of the rim is hot to the touch on the back of my hand/finger after cleaning it. It is only at that point in which I put a thin coat of oil back on the iron for storage. Let cool to room temp before storing and if there is any excessive oil you can wipe it at that point. The pores in the iron open up when you heat the iron so you always want to oil the iron when it is hot, it wont take the oil as well if at room temp for storage. At least that what I’ve come to understand and following that method has kept my irons in very good shape.