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Seasoning cast iron, update

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by NRA_guy, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

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    OK. I know this has been discussed, but I had read everything and tried everything (even the instructions that come with the skillet from Lodge.)

    But my new 6-section cast iron cornbread skillet only had that gross sticky brown finish. I even tried cooking a pan of cornbread, and sure enough it stuck. Every piece. Ugggh.

    Last week, I tried the modern version of something my daddy told me 20 years ago. I greased it up good with solid Crisco and built a hot fire in my Weber charcoal* grill and let that sucker cook for about 2 or 3 hours or so. The fire was hot. Really hot, like you would cook a steak or hamburger on. I turned it a few times.

    It came out with that nice shiny black finish.

    I washed the soot off and regreased it lightly with Crisco.

    Today I greased it again, preheated it, and cooked a pan of cornbread (no sugar) and it popped out just like it's supposed to do. No sticking; no broken pieces.

    It looks like it's been in the family for at least 10 years. Not quite as good as my wife's round skillet that her grandmother had 50 years ago, but good.

    *You could probably use gas if you are of that religion.

    NRA_guy
     
  2. Zak3056

    Zak3056 NRA Life Member

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    I thought those WERE the instructions from Lodge? (though they tell you to use an oven, not a BBQ)
     

  3. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

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    Not that I can see.

    This is from their web site:

    Use & Care of your Natural Finish Lodge Cast Iron Cookware.

    Your new cookware will last a lifetime with proper care and seasoning. Seasoning is the process of allowing oil to be absorbed into the iron, which creates a natural non-stick, rustproof finish. It is actually a very simple process. Here's how to do it:

    1. Wash new cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush.

    2. Rinse and dry completely.

    3. Apply a thin coat of melted vegetable shortening (i.e. Crisco) to the entire surface (including lid if applicable), both inside and out.

    4. Line the lower oven rack with aluminum foil (To catch any drippings), and preheat oven to 350° F.

    5. Place cookware upside down on the upper oven rack, and bake for one hour.

    6. Turn oven off and let cookware cool before removing from oven.

    7. Store in a cool, dry place. If you have a lid for your utensil, place a folded paper towel between the lid and the utensil to allow air to circulate.

    8. NEVER wash in dishwasher.

    9. If your utensil develops a metallic smell or taste or shows signs of rust, never fear. Wash with soap and hot water, scour off rust, and reseason.

    After use: Clean using a stiff brush and hot water only (do not wash in dishwasher). Towel dry immediately and apply a light coating of vegetable oil to cookware while still warm.


    My point is that 350 is NOT hot enought to do it. 350 only gives you the brown sticky surface that washes off. It also still retains that awful metallic odor in your cornbread.

    If you crank your indoor oven up to say 500 degrees, and turn the skillet upside down you make a real mess in the house.

    And I believe that 1 hour is not long enough.

    Doing it outdoors on a grill at the high temperature required eliminates the smoke alarm and grease burning in the house problem.

    NRA_guy
     
  4. GlockSpeed31

    GlockSpeed31

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    I agree with what was mentioned above except that I do not place mine upside down. I leave mine upright and with a lot of oil in the item, in the oven at about 450 for a few hours. You are trying to open the pores in the metal, that is why the high heat is needed. I repeat this a few times with a complete cool down of the item. When I get done, it looks like it's 80 years old. When I wash mine, I use very little soap and a lot of hot water, then I stick it back in the hot oven so it dries all the water off of it. Seems to work for me.
     
  5. schapman43

    schapman43

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    My wife and I use cast iron for just about all of our cooking. I even have a cast iron wok! Anyways, like everyone has said 350 wont do it. You need to crank the oven up to 450 or above to really get a good black finish. After cooking I clean it with a stiff bristle brush and hot water, no soap. Once its dry I'll coat it lightly in oil. On the newer items I like to oil them up after washing and stick them into the oven at 500 for 30 minutes. All of my cast iron is completely stick free and requires very little scrubbing to clean. In fact most if it just needs to be rinsed in hot water and a quick once over with the brush.

    I have tons of dutch oven recipes and cast iron tips on my website to those that are interested. http://selfsufficientliving.us
     
  6. SouthernGal

    SouthernGal What's Up Dox?

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    NRA Guy~

    Always buy used if you can. If you can't wrap your hands around an already seasoned pan, let me know and I'll get you one.

    Both the ones I bought for old BF's came from Antique shops in the area. Both were already seasoned.
     
  7. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

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    Thanks all for the comments. And thanks SG for the offer.

    My latest piece (a 6-section cornbread pan) was a gift in return for some free automotive work I had done. The lady giving it to me had bought one from a local antique/junk shop and then decided that it was too rusty to be given as a gift. So she ordered a new one off the internet!!! Shipping must have cost more than the pan. I see them in stores everywhere . . . dollar stores and hunting stores.

    Has anybody tried the new "pre-seasoned" cast iron? I have been seeing it in stores but have not tried them yet. Looks sort of like a painted black finish---not a real seasoned finish.

    NRA_guy
     
  8. SouthernGal

    SouthernGal What's Up Dox?

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    I've seen pre-seasoned but not old and I've never bought one. I'd love to know if they're really any good as well.
     
  9. GlocknSpiehl

    GlocknSpiehl NRA Life Member

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    I did mine per Alton Brown's book and had no troubles. My pan is over 50 years old (got it from Mom!) and my wife had left it in the sink to "soak" over night. ;6 ^4

    Steel wooled the rust off the bottom, put it in 350F oven until just warm, thin coating of veggie shortening (out of bacon drippings, darn it!), cookie sheet to catch drippings on lowest rack. Baked that sucker for about 3 hours. Now it has that nice shiny black color again and food slides like me on ice! ^5
     
  10. emrgnc

    emrgnc

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    Just got a new lodge square cast iron pan with the grill fins in it. It was already seasoned so I rinsed it off and made some burgers in it. Worked like a champ. I went up stairs to change and the came back down and the wife had put it in hot soapy water and was scrubbing it with the dish brush.:soap:


    Got to love her.;f
     
  11. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

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    true story - 30 years ago a lady friend of ours went to the hospital to have a baby. While she was gone, her husband took her grandmamma's 60 year old beautiful cast iron skillet to his work site and had his guys sand blast it down to clean metal.

    He was sooooo proud . . . until she got home and explained cast iron to him.

    They nearly got a divorce over it.

    NRA_guy