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Old 06-05-2016, 10:54 PM   #1
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Rescuing a ruined (?) cast iron skillet

Hi all

Seeking your advice on how to rescue a cast iron skillet grill pan with ridges (looks something like this).

After the first use (cooking steak), my well-meaning spouse gave it a scrub and left it soaking overnight in soapy dishwater and I haven't been able to recover it.

Anything that goes near it sticks like glue and it smokes terribly, even with chicken pieces (whether I use oil or not) on relatively low heat.

I've tried a few things (a) rubbing in coats of oil, (b) putting pan filled with oil in hot oven for an hour, and (c) removing excess fat with paper towel after cooking beef burgers and putting pan in hot oven for an hour, then leaving in cooling oven overnight.

I tried (c) last night and now the pan is just incredibly sticky.

Can anyone recommend a rescue?

Thank you!

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Old 06-05-2016, 11:04 PM   #2
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Welcome to DC. Sorry for your issues.

You may be better off stripping the pan and re-seasoning it. High heat is the best way to clean off the old/damaged seasoning. You can put the pan in the oven and run the self-cleaning cycle or put it in a gas grill on full blast to burn off the coating.

Once that's done, wipe it clean with a dry cloth and apply the thinnest possible coating of oil over the entire surface of the pan, inside and out. Then wipe off as much of that coating as possible. Place it upside down in a 375F-400F oven and bake it for an hour or more. Turn off the oven and allow the pan to cool in the oven.

Repeat.

Repeat.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:15 PM   #3
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What Andy said.

I've rescued a number of what, at first, seemed to be hopeless cast iron pieces and after seasoning multiple times, they're now perfect.

Just be patient. The reclamation of your pan will take time.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:17 PM   #4
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Good luck! I am interested to find out how this works for you. I have one old cast iron pan that I need to do some work on.


Eat anything you want, but make it yourself.

Posting from the app.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:37 PM   #5
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Great advice. Just bear in mind that once your cast iron pan is properly seasoned, NEVER wash it. You disinfect it over a low flame and wipe excess oil away with paper towel. In any event, the pan will be disinfected and ok to use when it's heated and ready to use. Over time, it gets better with use. I have two old and trusted cast iron pans that have lasted me for over forty years and still going strong, and that have a surface that's almost like a non-stick pan, except that the surface heating is better distributed than a non-stick. Good luck - once you've rescued your pan, you'll have a friend for life!

di reston


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Old 06-05-2016, 11:45 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your fast and very helpful responses!

What a great forum.

Will try Andy's suggestion let you know how it pans out... pun wasn't intended!
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Old 06-07-2016, 12:35 AM   #7
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The only thing I would add to Andy suggestion is that if you strip to bare cast iron, you have have to season it more than once.

There are a couple of very useful videos on the subject at the Lodge Manufacturing website.

Mark
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:55 AM   #8
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Absolutely right Markf - I would add, also, never put your cast iron pan anywhere near the washing up pile or even - heaven forbid - the dishwasher. That would remove the patina obtained by cleaning the pan with oil - I use olive oil - after each use. I then store my pans with a sheet of paper towel on top, so they don't get dusty, and when I heat them up ready to use, I bring them up to temperature gradually, to disperse the heat evenly. They actually become very close to 'non-stick' over a period of time.

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Old 06-07-2016, 08:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by di reston View Post
...once your cast iron pan is properly seasoned, NEVER wash it...
I know it's 'conventional wisdom' that soap and water are anathema for CI but a well-seasoned CI pan will not be harmed by a little soap and water. Ive been doing it for years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markf View Post
The only thing I would add to Andy suggestion is that if you strip to bare cast iron, you have have to season it more than once...
Seasoning three times was part of my original suggestion...
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:47 PM   #10
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Per Lodge, and I have done this for years, it's ok to clean seasoned cast iron with a bit of soap. I dry my pans and wipe with a fine coat of oil. I use corn oil cause it's cheaper than olive oil. One thing I did do recently was to buy the OFFICIAL Lodge cleaning brush. Cost $5. Used per their web site and it works fantastically.

I also agree with di Reston that you need to let it heat gradually and never use high heat. After 30 years of using cast iron, i never set my heat higher than medium.
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