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Old 06-06-2013, 07:48 AM   #1
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Problem seasoning cast iron skillet

Hi everyone,

I know the topic of how to season cast iron is debatable and very much based on opinion, but after searching the web and reading many different articles, I need help! I received a few pieces of Lodge cast iron for Christmas (already seasoned). The have been great so far, but my favorite piece needs to be re-seasoned. It’s a smooth and shallow skillet which I use for pretty much everything. The seasoning is almost completely gone now and everything sticks. Here is what I have tried so far:

Attempt #1: thin layer of canola oil, low heat (around 250) for 2 hours. The result was very sticky and “blotchy” looking.

Attempt #2: canola oil again, this time high heat around 450 for 1.5 hours. Same results as above. Very sticky and blotchy looking – not even usable.

Attempt #3: thin layer of bacon fat. 1.5 hours at 400 degrees. Same result as above!!! I was really optimistic with the bacon grease because it seems to be commonly used, but it came out very disappointing.

For all of these attempts, I cleaned the skillet very well, and after drying it with a towel, placed it on the stove with medium heat for a minute or so to make sure it was completely dry. The only thing I could think of was that maybe this is normal, and I just need to repeat a few more times (which I was planning on doing anyway). Any suggestions?

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Old 06-06-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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Crisco.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:02 AM   #3
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I was going to try Crisco as well, but since I have been reading about all the success with bacon drippings (as well as canola oil), I thought it should work.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:25 AM   #4
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Are you just continuing to add a layer of oil to your pan or are you removing the old seasoning first? You might try removing the old first and start from scratch. I've had to do that occasionally with an old skillet that gets a sticky spot.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:52 AM   #5
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This may seem overly simplistic but have you considered checking out the Lodge website? They have seasoning instructions that work. Lodge - Videos Check out the "how to restore" video.

You have to begin the process with a clean pan. No sticky oil residue.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:58 AM   #6
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jabbur, it doesn't really have any old seasoning left it's so worn, but I did scrub it pretty good using dish soap and a semi-coarse pad. I read that some people will use coarse sea salt to help get rid of the old seasoning. Maybe I will try that next.

Andy, the first thing I did was check the instructions that came with the skillet and the website. I followed exactly (my first and second attempt with canola oil). I also saw the video...makes it look so simple! Can't figure this thing out!
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:39 AM   #7
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There is a difference between "clean" as in no food and "clean" as in no seasoning. Start by running your pan through the cleaning cycle of you oven (if you have that). There are ways to do it on a grill too but I have never used that method. If you search here, there are several threads that cover how to get your pan back to original pre-seasoned condition that you can then re-season and it should work well. Most of the time when it comes out splotchy and sticky, that means the oil was applied too thick.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:48 AM   #8
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Flaxseed oil, thin coats, @ 350. Redo about 4 or 5 times for best thick coating.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP0081 View Post
jabbur, it doesn't really have any old seasoning left it's so worn, but I did scrub it pretty good using dish soap and a semi-coarse pad. I read that some people will use coarse sea salt to help get rid of the old seasoning. Maybe I will try that next.

Andy, the first thing I did was check the instructions that came with the skillet and the website. I followed exactly (my first and second attempt with canola oil). I also saw the video...makes it look so simple! Can't figure this thing out!
You don't have to remove all the old seasoning. If you start with a clean, not sticky pan that's all you need. It's common to season several times to create a good base.

Too much fat in the seasoning process will result in sticky spots. Not starting with a clean skillet will result in sticky spots.

When you apply the fat, shortening, oil, bacon fat, etc. You have to use very, very little. The minimum that's needed to make the pan shiny-wet all over. Then bake it upside down @ 350º F for an hour and let it cool in the oven. That should do it.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:57 AM   #10
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Thanks for the tips. I'm going to try again this evening and see what happens.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:06 PM   #11
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You should also try to figure out why your pans completely lose their seasoning. That should not happen
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:44 PM   #12
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I think it's because this was our first time using cast iron and we didn't take care of it properly. Used soap to clean it after cooking and my wife didn't know she had to dry it, etc. After I read more about how to care for it, the other less-used pieces have been fine. I now just wipe them clean and rub in a small amount of canola oil after each use. But this particular skillet we used all the time, so I think the washing and such tore it up pretty quickly.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:46 PM   #13
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Another poster was worried about her pans losing their seasoning because they were no longer that nice pretty black color. I recently got a new preseasoned Lodge fryer skillet. It was that beautiful black color but after the first use, the black lightened to gray on the cooking surface. It's still as slick and nonstick as before but the color is no longer black. As long as it remains non-stick don't stress about color. I know you were having sticking problems but this is just a tip for the future after you get your skillet back to non-stick status.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabbur View Post
Another poster was worried about her pans losing their seasoning because they were no longer that nice pretty black color. I recently got a new preseasoned Lodge fryer skillet. It was that beautiful black color but after the first use, the black lightened to gray on the cooking surface. It's still as slick and nonstick as before but the color is no longer black. As long as it remains non-stick don't stress about color. I know you were having sticking problems but this is just a tip for the future after you get your skillet back to non-stick status.

Interesting. I have two different size preseasoned Lodge skillets. They both remain shiny black after years of use.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:41 PM   #15
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Here is what is on the bottom of my 9 inch Wagner's skillet.

Seasoning instructions
1-scour thoroughly
2-coat with cooking oil
3-heat in 300 degree F oven for 1 hour
4-remove excess oil
Ready for use-reseason as neccessary.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:59 AM   #16
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Success at last! I believe the problem was that I was leaving the oil/bacon drippings on too thick. I thought that I wiped it off pretty good the first time, but I guess it wasn't thin enough. I read somewhere that after you rub it in and think that it's a thin layer, use another clean paper towel and wipe it off even more. So that's what I did and it worked! Has a nice even seasoning now. I'm just going to repeat a few more times and should be good to go. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:23 AM   #17
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Glad to be able to help. There's lot of folks here with lots of knowledge about different things. Hope you stick around!
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:06 AM   #18
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I would like to add: when seasoning, always place the pans upside down. Add a pan (or foil) under the pans to catch any drippings. Cool pans completely before re seasoning.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:21 PM   #19
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Hello Assistant Cook, here is an article on how to properly season a cast iron skillet.

You want the temperature to be at 350-400 degrees. You should do this 3-4 times to get a good baked on season. Once is probably not enough to thoroughly bake on the fat to get a good non-stick coating.

How To Season a Cast Iron Skillet | The-Cooking Pot

Good luck.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenw View Post
Hello Assistant Cook, here is an article on how to properly season a cast iron skillet.

You want the temperature to be at 350-400 degrees. You should do this 3-4 times to get a good baked on season. Once is probably not enough to thoroughly bake on the fat to get a good non-stick coating.

How To Season a Cast Iron Skillet | The-Cooking Pot

Good luck.
Good point, once is not enough at 350F, I got splotchy sticky results, even tho I made sure to lightly coat it.
I admit that me seasoning at 500F for 3 hours (or cleaning cycle) was overkill (as Andy pointed out). Next time I'll do it at 500F for 1- 2 hours max. I got crappy results at 350F, so have others.
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