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Old 01-10-2013, 11:11 AM   #1
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Stripping Cast Iron

I need your suggestions for stripping cast iron. I just got a new to me chicken fryer off of eBay. It is going to be perfect once I get it stripped and reseasoned. It has so much build up on the sides of the inside that its thick and cracked so I really would like to start from scratch. I only buy old cast iron so this pan will be nice.

Anyway, I have it sitting in a plastic bag with oven cleaner in it. We just got back from camping and I didn't have this then so no way to stick it in a fire. I suppose we could build one in the back yard but it's in the 80ís here. Any other suggestions to getting that thick build up off? It's been in sitting for 24 hours and it's still really thick. No self-cleaning program on my oven although I can ask around my friends if anyone else has it.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I probably need to just exercise a little patience.

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Old 01-10-2013, 11:15 AM   #2
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If you have a gas grill, put the pot and lid in the grill close the top and turn the grill on high. Come back in an hour or so and it'll be clean. This method keeps all the smoke outdoors.

You can also do this with the cleaning cycle in your oven.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:29 AM   #3
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I was going to say about the cleaning cycle, but it will get smoky and stinky. If that doesn’t work there is always sand paper and lots of elbow grease, unless you have a commercial sander and air compressor.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:35 AM   #4
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Be patient. The oven cleaner and plastic bag method should work. Reapply oven cleaner every day or so. It may take a week or ten days for it to eat through all the gunk. More info can be found here: Black Iron Blog: Easy Cast Iron Skillet Reconditioning
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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It's too bad you didn't have it while camping.

My grandmother used to put hers in the fireplace about once a year.
It worked well.
I still use them 50 years later and still toss em in the fire now and again.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Take it to a 'sand blasting' business. They don't just use sand BTW. They'll tell you to leave it until they are using a less' aggressive' 'bead' than maybe sand. They'll blast it completely clean for twenty bucks. Then start seasoning the fryer with a pot full of a thin slurry of cheap oil and any cheap salt on medium heat for a couple of hours. Then wipe the fryer with the oil/salt mixture and go through a few high heat treatments. Better to this outside for sure! Cast iron is very very porus. Food sticks to it b/c it gets into all those millions of tiny craters. The salt fills the craters. That's why you never wash a cast iron pan/pot/fryer with detergent. It dissolves the salt and you must start all over. So does any acid.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:39 PM   #7
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Thanks all! This gives me more additional ideas. I just can't wait for it to be done so I can season it and use it.

We are making progress:


It is back in the plastic bag now with additional oven cleaner on it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:32 PM   #8
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"stick it in a fire. I suppose we could build one in the back yard but it's in the 80ís here. "

o gee. I had to look on genieology dot com and googel and see if we are close enough related for you to invite me over and show you how to do it. Guess so. But then, I think the TSA has a thing about disposable lighters, blow torches and a bundle of sticks in one's carry on luggage.

My best advice is shoot us another pic tomorry and again the next day until you have some fried chicken cooking in your new pan. Yum.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:22 PM   #9
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For a old CI pan I had to clean up I used a wire wheel and grinder. Wear eye protection. Seriously.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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"I think the TSA has a thing about disposable lighters, blow torches and a bundle of sticks in one's carry on luggage."

I have always wanted to own a blow torch.

I haven't checked it this morning yet. It's that bottom edge around the sides that is the most crusty and is going to give me problems. I am almost ready to pull out the power tools.
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