Waaaay OT: Question about seasoning Cast Iron

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mac davis wrote:

Experience seasoning frying pans...
--

FF


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Thats why I season mine in my gas grill..outside...even in the winter (providing its warm enough for the gas to flow)
I have 3 different sizes of cast iron skillet..and a covered cast iron chili pot as well.
I need two hands for the chili pot and the biggest (16") frypan
Mine are jet black, with a coating about 1/8". A friend of mine says the best seasoning is to NEVER clean the pan, just heat it up nice and hot to bind the oil and residues to the pan. I think he's the only person in his family that will eat from it.
What I like best about the iron fry pans is I can make frittatas..fry the potatoes, onions, sausage, etc in the pans add eggs, place directly into the oven..cook, when done, turn over to broil to brown the top. Don't have to worry about those plastic handled fry pans melting.
Jerry

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*SOMEBODY* has actually had to properly season a skillet sometime in the past.
With the minor exception of using lard instead of olive oil, and a minimum of 5 "repeat"s, that's the same method my grandmother taught me, and her cast iron was as close to teflon as makes no never-mind.
Second point: Once you've got the seasoning on, *DO NOT* use soap to wash, and use nothing stiffer than a copper "chore-boy" scrubber (not that you're likely to need that much, assuming you get the seasoning right) for cleaning. If you've got super heavy, ultra-sticky "crud" buildup, fill it with water and put it on a high flame to let it "boil clean". For routine cleanup, hot water and a sponge or dishcloth is all that's needed.
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grease at 400 degrees this works very good.
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On 3/19/2006 7:51 PM Warren Weber mumbled something about the following:

Lard is the best to use for seasoning a cast iron skillet. I do it over a fire instead of in the oven (I was taught to do it in the firebox of a wood stove). Need to get some oak (don't use pine, don't want creosote all over it), build a good fire and get some down to some real hot coals, slather the skillet with lard inside and out and place just above the coals and let the lard cook in (careful not to let it burn).
On the few occasions that reseasoning is needed for touchup, make sure it's totally dry, lightly coat it with lard and place on the stove on high for about 5 min (might want to turn on your vent fan), let it cool down, and wipe out the excess lard.
NEVER let a cast iron skillet soak in water.
--
Odinn
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And to add Never soak it - NEVER dishwasher it. That will scour the seasoning out of the pan and you get to start all over. Once de-rusted...
Martin
Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH & Endowment Member NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Odinn wrote:

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And one more thing: don't cook anything containing tomatoes in it, either, unless you enjoy reseasoning your cookware.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Mon, 20 Mar 2006 23:31:15 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Why is that, Doug, acidity?? Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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"Cast iron" by definition contains more than 2% carbon. I don't know for sure and a cursory Google search didn't reveal what type of cast iron is generally used, but I'm betting that it's gray iron. Gray iron is obviously mostly iron, with about 3-4% carbon plus Si, Mn, S, P, and sometimes a number of other trace elements, probably a result of whatever was in the ferrous scrap partly used to make it.

I have a 12" cast iron skillet that I have an affection for that is rivalled only by my KitchenAid mixer. It is completely black from several years of use.

I certainly don't think you're going to hurt anything by doing this.

todd
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I see that there are a lot of fellow cast iron afficianados out there. In the cowboy days, the fastest way to get crosswise with the chuckwagon cook was to mess with his skillets. <G> Bugs
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On 3/20/2006 8:11 PM Bugs mumbled something about the following:

Born and raised in the deep backwoods south. Cast iron skillets, dutch ovens, and cauldrons are the norm for cooking.
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Odinn
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I was raised in Calif. but had a neighbor from the south that would cook for the neighborhood kids...
She introduced us to "fried bread" that she did in one of her iron skillets... loved it!
I remember her having a drawer in the stove where she stored that favorite pan.. told us she NEVER washed it, just wiped it out before and after use... must have been ok, because non of us died from it.. *g*
Mac
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Totally unnecessary, unless your pans are really rough. I've never seen any that were that rough.
Wipe it down with solid shortening (lard is best, but Crisco works fine), and put it in a 400 degree oven (or heat it on a burner) until the fat starts to smoke. Allow to cool, wipe off any remaining fat, and you're done.
Use wooden or plastic utensils when cooking, just like you would with a Teflon pan, to avoid scratching the seasoned surface.

No. The seasoning process is simply that of baking fat onto (and into) the iron. Cast iron pans don't really wear much at all, and if you're filling the low spots up with food (!) that means you're not cleaning the pan properly in between uses.
Proper cleaning means rinsing with hot water (no soap), scraping or scrubbing when needed with plastic or wooden utensils, no scouring pads or powders, and never never NEVER putting it in the dishwasher.

Naaah. Too much work, and none of it needed. Pre-season as I described above, then fry yourself a chicken dinner or three, and that's pretty much all you need.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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wrote:

I don't think the two of you are really saying anything much different. What the low spots and then the surface are getting coated with is carbon the residue of heated food (including fats).

My favorite cooking show guy, Alton Brown from "Good Eats", suggests using salt and a towel to clean the pan after use. I don't think he even uses water. I generally use hot water and a scrub brush.
todd
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

JAMAIS!! NEVER!!
*gasp*
(okay.. that's it for the histrionics)
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I've never heard of anyone having to (or wanting to) smooth down the surface of a quality cast-iron skillet before seasoning it and using it. Good grief! It's not the same as a table saw table or jointer table. If that's the case, I reckon the manufacturer would be doing this as part of the fishing process. Fact is, you don't want it polished. That defeats the purpose for buying a cast iron cooking utensil. Check out http://www.melindalee.com/Cast-Iron.html . Treat it right and it'll do the job you bought it to do well. Nothing cooks fried chicken like a good cast iron skillet.
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Martie in MO wrote:

I bought a cheap chinese cast iron skillet for about $5. It was incredibly rough...as far as I could tell it was straight out of the casting sand. It definately needed smoothing down before seasoning.
Of course you did say "quality", and this was anything but.
Works just fine now though...
Chris
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I think this is key. There is a difference in quality between pans. I've got a 25 yr old 12" CI pan that is perfectly smooth, and I think always was smooth, my go-to pan. There is no manufacturer's name or symbol on it. I've also got a Lodge 10" CI pan about 5 yrs old. It is still rather rough after much use and it is as seasoned as it is ever going to be. I've always wanted to sand it smooth and never did. Maybe I will now. Larry
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Wrong analogy. Think about buying a chisel or plane. They come ground but not honed.

And you would think Stanley would sell planes that are lapped flat wouldn't you?

We're not talking about "not seasoning", we're just talking about knocking off the high spots before you even start seasoning. Since CI is a homogenious material, it makes no difference whether yoy season the top layer or a couple thousanths down.
I will howerver point out that the OP should be considering a *much* more coarse grit. Think "grinding" not "polishing".
-Steve
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Your right about the analogy Stephen. A plane or chisel would have been more accurate. It would sure be nice if the manufacturers would lap and polish their chisels and plane irons. No one expects this when purchasing them. Phildcrownos... asked if he should try to smooth out the inside of that skillet in order to help it get that well-seasoned black-iron slick. I was attempting to point out the fact that while it's beneficial and necessary to have a flat smooth finish on a saw table or jointer table surface, it's neither necessary or particularly desirable to have a comparable surface on a CI skillet. Properly seasoned and cared for, in time that skillet will end up with a cooking surface about as smooth as teflon. The old addage "quality take time" applies here.
You mention that since CI is a homogenious material, it makes no difference whether you season (grind is probably a better choice) the top layer or a couple thousanths down. Absolutely correcto! So, why waste ones time and expend the effort to try and smooth down the surface which will become extremely smooth with use and proper care in a reasonable amount of time. My grandmother, bless her heart, would be spinning in her grave if she thought someone would take a stone or or other grinding medium to a cast iron skillet. Guess I'm from the old school. One thing you can't argue about, is the quality of fried chicken that you get cooking with cast iron.
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