I just purchased the DeBuyer carbon steel pans from Chef's Catalog. The last step of the recommended initial seasoning process is to warm a little oil in the pan. During this step, I was distracted and ended up overheating the pan and leaving very dark brown circle over about 1/3 of the pan (where there was less oil.) I was able to get a very small amount to wash off using a drop of soap and soft scrubbie.
Did I ruin the pan? or is it just ugly?
I have read some other posts on burnt pans - like using kosher salt and steel wool, or Dawn Power Dissolver, but could not tell if these would be appropriate for the Carbon Steel.
the more you cook with the pan the darker it will get till it turns black. You are seasoning it for high heat searing etc. They are great pans. You did not hurt it, but you do want to even out the seasoning eventually. DOn't wash it off or scrape it off. Hot water and brush then re oil the pan a little. Treat like cast iron.
I wasn't sure that these pans would eventually turn black/dark brown. If they will, I think I will follow the idea of just waiting until the whole pan is that dark. There is a very slight ridge-line of hardened gunk that I may try to remove with some of the milder cleaning ideas.