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Old 07-09-2013, 06:57 PM   #1
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Cast iron skillet--seasoning!

I've just bought three cast iron skillets as i am going to do some barbecuing.

I'm a little confused on the seasoning instructions that are given and would be grateful if someone could correct me.

a] there is a black coating almost like teflon across all pans. I understood this to be just a factory coating to protect against rusting - not that there is a problem with rust but obviously potential buyers are put off. It says that its pre-seasoned and so I thought this would come off with the heating in the oven. I did read somewhere that when one puts the pan in the oven first time one gets smoke and burning smells as the coating is burnt off. The instructions said that one coats the entire pan in vegetable oil and then puts it in the oven at 150 deg C for an hour.

b] You are then told to remove excess oil which i did and some of the black came off as well. I investigated further and found that it just scrapped off with a knife.

c] I assume that the black is a factory coating and should come off to leave plain grey cast iron. Once the black is off then i presume that i heat the pan in the oven as per a]. Then the instructions on seasoning make sense, repeating the exercise every so often and the pan surface remains clean and non stick.

I'd be grateful if someone could put me right before i do anything with the other two.

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Old 07-09-2013, 07:08 PM   #2
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Up the temp from 302F to 450F for one hour. I'm not sure what they're talking about when they say to wipe out the excess oil (b).
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:31 PM   #3
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Up the temp from 302F to 450F for one hour. I'm not sure what they're talking about when they say to wipe out the excess oil (b).
Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure they know what they're talking about... hence my post

But is this black coating meant to remain?
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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You wipe the excess oil before you bake it. It just means to put a thin coat of oil all around the pan, inside and out. Bake the pan upside down so no oil "cakes" on the bottom of the pan. Let it cool in the oven.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:27 PM   #5
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The pans are pre-seasoned per your post so you don't have to do anything except start cooking in them.
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:27 AM   #6
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The pans are pre-seasoned per your post so you don't have to do anything except start cooking in them.
ORLY? Technically yes. Many find that the thin factory seasoned coating wears off fast if you don't coddle your pan by slow seasoning cooking bacon 20+ times to get some good thick carbon build up.

Some like me have learned that a newly bought seasoned fry pan could use a few more seasonings.

It's not a big deal. I'll be cooking some frozen fries on a cookie sheet at 425F and afterwards up the temp to 450F and coat my cast iron pan and bake another layer of carbon on it, so that my scrubbing it (just a simple dish scrubber) won't remove the thin factory carbon coating. Impossible for the new thin factory carbon layer to be removed by just hot water scrubbing? Nope.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:54 AM   #7
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ORLY? Technically yes. Many find that the thin factory seasoned coating wears off fast if you don't coddle your pan by slow seasoning cooking bacon 20+ times to get some good thick carbon build up...
Cooking foods with a little oil in the pan adds to the seasoning during the process of cooking. There is no special need to season a pan other than by cooking in it.

At least, that's how I've done it.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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Cooking foods with a little oil in the pan adds to the seasoning during the process of cooking. There is no special need to season a pan other than by cooking in it.

At least, that's how I've done it.
I thought cast iron was slightly surface porous which is why instructions say season to avoid sticking. The oil then gets into the surface providing the non stick. Hence why they say don't put in dish washers as they thoroughly clean compared with a quick wipe in a washing up bowl.

After warming mine i have to say that i'm going to remove the remaining coating as it seems pretty poor. Can't help feeling that the expensive pans are rather different and will have a look when i'm next in town. I just bought a pair on impulse really and are probably cheapish types.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:24 PM   #9
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Not sure which brand you have. If it's pre-seasoned, you shouldn't have to remove it to add another layer of seasoning. The seasoning primarily prevents rusting and provides a slicker surface.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:19 AM   #10
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I am with Andy on this one--no need to make life more difficult. The pan is pre seasoned, so just start cooking with it. (Wash it first, if you haven't already, just to get the factory/store dust and dirt off. Use soap and hot water and a dishcloth.)

Frying bacon or chicken is a good way to get started. Each time you use the pan, wash it, let it dry on a low burner, and wipe it down with a little oil while it is still hot.

In my kitchen, cast iron is used every day, and every time I use it I do the heating and wipe down. My pans are not as non-stick as teflon, but they are close.

I just noticed the mention of barbecuing--the grill can definitely get hot enough to burn any seasoning off. Can you tell us just how you want to use these pans for barbecuing?
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:49 AM   #11
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There are definite differences in cast iron quality. Unfortunatley, the high-end (read that as high quality) pans quit being made in the 1950's. The brand name was Griswold. They can be found in thrift stores, and garage sales, as people generally don't understand the quality of the pans, and are fairly uneducated about how versatile, useful, and durable cast iron is.

The Lodge pans you find in every hardware store, and big box store are good pans. They work well, and when seasoned, are nearly as slippery as the best non-stick, but unlike non-stick, will last a few lifetimes. Unfortunately, they are heavy. I have seasoned my pans, both in the oven, and on the charcoal grill. I purchased all of my pans before pre-seasoned pans were available.

From watching others though, the pre-seasoned pans need more seasoning to make them perform well.

Maybe a little information might help you. Seasoning refers to a patina of oil that is baked into the base metal (cast iron), that serves to separate the metal from contact with air, and all other substances. It forms a hermetic seal. This protects the metal, keeps acidic, or alkali food from attacking the metal, protects against oxidation, and prevents the metal ions from leaching into foods, giving them a metallic taste. It also make the pan's cooking surface very slick, and virtually stick free.

The seasoning is durable, and if damaged, can be re-applied by simply reheating the pan to bake more oil into it. Teflon, and other non-stick surfaces, when damaged, can't be repaired. The pan becomes worthless.

Disadvantages of cast iron include poor thermal conductivity, heavy, slow to react to temperature changes, hot spots in the pan.

Advantages - very durable, nearly stick free, when seasoned and used properly, oven proof, fire proof, barbecue proof, can be used on any kind of stove, over any kind of fire, great thermal mass, best for getting very hot to sear meat, pan fry chicken, and other such uses, great for making sauces, stews etc., very good versatility, inexpensive.

I believe that I am not alone when I state that cast iron gives you the most value for the dollar.

So, go ahead and season your pan a bit more, or cook some fatty emat in it, such as bacon, hamburger, a couple of pork chops, or fry some french fries in oil. When done, was under hot water with a plastic brush to remove any food debris. Whipe in out with a paper towel, and rub a tsp. of oil onto the inside surface. Put in away until your ready to use it again.

Once you get used to it, your cast iron pots and pans will become your go-to cooking vessels.

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Old 08-01-2013, 12:01 PM   #12
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Not cooking related but Sparrowgrass I have a shirt that has the Things just haven't been the same quote on it. I wore it to the grocery and was CONFRONTED by an angry woman who told me she hoped I didn't have a sister as she would be insulted by it. I took it all with a smile and replied "I don't, but if I did she'd have to get over it" I thought at that point the woman was going to hit me. LOL
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Old 09-21-2018, 12:38 PM   #13
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This came from a bicycling forum I belong to. I've never heard of this method but seems like it'll work...

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Pro tip re seasoning cast-iron or rolled-steel cookware: If you've access to a commercial deep fryer (perhaps a friend in food service), pitching them in the fryer seasons them just great. If your pans are brand-new, make sure to remove any manufacturer's coating first, so you don't contaminate the deep-fry oil.
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:22 PM   #14
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One thing that was mentioned in the original post is "black stuff" coming off the pan. In my experience thats normal and part of the cast iron experience. It's nothing to be concerned about. I wash my pans in hot water (no soap of course) and have a few devices (one is actually chain-mail) for scrubbing that removes anything stuck-on (not usually a skillet problem, but my griddle will get some stuff cooked hard on it for instance). I then put the pan back on a burner to heat it dry. Any droplets of water left gets wiped off with a paper towel, and that paper towel always has some blackish residue from the pan on it.


I have a few specialized cast iron pans that dont get used a lot. When they sit for a long time they will start to show a little rust (may not be seasoned enough yet but works fine for cooking). I spray them with vegetable oil cooking spray for storage, then wipe off excess oil with a paper towel...always a dark residue on the paper towel after this.
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:49 PM   #15
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One thing that was mentioned in the original post is "black stuff" coming off the pan. In my experience thats normal and part of the cast iron experience. It's nothing to be concerned about. I wash my pans in hot water (no soap of course) and have a few devices (one is actually chain-mail) for scrubbing that removes anything stuck-on (not usually a skillet problem, but my griddle will get some stuff cooked hard on it for instance). I then put the pan back on a burner to heat it dry. Any droplets of water left gets wiped off with a paper towel, and that paper towel always has some blackish residue from the pan on it.


I have a few specialized cast iron pans that dont get used a lot. When they sit for a long time they will start to show a little rust (may not be seasoned enough yet but works fine for cooking). I spray them with vegetable oil cooking spray for storage, then wipe off excess oil with a paper towel...always a dark residue on the paper towel after this.
I have two CI skillets I use regularly. No problem with black bits ever. Usually can just rinse it with hot water and a blue scrubby sponge. I use soap when needed. That blue sponge is all I use to clean on the worst burned on stuff. I sometimes boil water in the skillet to loosen up the tough stuff.

I suggest you season your other pans more. I've never seen rust from a pan sitting idle.
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:54 AM   #16
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You are correct, the pans I am referring to are not seasoned as well as they could be. But I dont use them often enough for them to become seasoned very well and I'm not going through the manual seasoning process for these rarely used pans (these are deep sided, square with ridged bottom and they came with a top presser plate for making sandwiches). So, for what I use them for, a light coating of vegetable oil for storage and some fat during cooking works fine. My pans are kept in a garage cabinet under where I have a 6 burner range out there...and where I do most of this kind of cooking to keep the smoke and vapors etc out of the house (My range hood is one of those recirculating ones, not good for big frying inside). The garage is climate controlled to some degree, but not as perfect on the humidity level as inside the house...so that may play a role in how they keep too.


I wasn't really referring to black bits; more like a black or dark residue if you wipe the pan with a paper towel. Do you not pick up anything on a clean paper towel if you wipe your pans?


The boil water thing is a good idea, it would speed up cleaning. I usually let mine sit with hot water for a while, which is probably not a good idea becasue if I forget about it for a few days, the appearance of rust shows, but scrubs right away. (I also have a big farm sink with drainboards in my garage...thats how it can be forgotten for a while)


Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2018, 12:21 PM   #17
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...I wasn't really referring to black bits; more like a black or dark residue if you wipe the pan with a paper towel. Do you not pick up anything on a clean paper towel if you wipe your pans?...
After I clean a pan, I toss it on the stove and heat it up to dry off the water. When it's near smoking hot, I wipe it with a little oil and continue to heat it to smoking then wipe it out with a paper towel. That towel will have some dark residue of oil.
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Old 09-29-2018, 01:35 PM   #18
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After I clean a pan, I toss it on the stove and heat it up to dry off the water. When it's near smoking hot, I wipe it with a little oil and continue to heat it to smoking then wipe it out with a paper towel. That towel will have some dark residue of oil.
Me too... +1


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Old 09-29-2018, 01:54 PM   #19
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Ha, ha! That's almost identical to what I wrote



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I then put the pan back on a burner to heat it dry. Any droplets of water left gets wiped off with a paper towel, and that paper towel always has some blackish residue from the pan on it.

Except I dont take mine to smoking hot...unless I walk away and forget it on the burner


I'm doing that more and more in my old age
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:38 AM   #20
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Ha, ha! That's almost identical to what I wrote

Except I dont take mine to smoking hot...unless I walk away and forget it on the burner

I'm doing that more and more in my old age
I season a cast iron skillet on the stove top and in the oven, but it doesn't retain it's non-stick properties unless I fry something in oil. Frying lots of bacon doesn't do it, but frying chicken or something else in oil does. When I season just using the regular methods, my scouring out the pan with just hot water, then cold water strips off the new thinly built up carbon. After frying with 1/4" of oil a couple of times... afterwards, the water beads right off after scrubbing it with water only, and continues to do so. I was getting frustrated before I discovered that.
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