Waaaay OT: Question about seasoning Cast Iron

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Martie in MO wrote:

I've seen cast iron skillets that were so rough the bumps were at least 1/32" high, maybe a sixteenth.
In an extreme case like that, I think it makes sense to at least get it reasonably smooth. I'm talking 60-80 grit here, not 400.
Chris
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On 19 Mar 2006 13:38:18 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
The really amazing and enjoyable thing about this thread is that there are so many folks here that have an opinion on cast iron skillets!
People complain about OT posts all the time but I enjoy them... I'd hate to think that wood workers never have any thoughts about any other subject and wouldn' t be able to help..

Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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Back on the OT subject. Go to the Lodge website. If you follow their directions to the letter you'll not go wrong. I've got few Lodge and other brand cast iron items and I follow their lead on seasoning. Also take a lead from Alton Brown on the food channel he uses Kosher salt to clean the surface while still hot using a paper towel to rub the salt around. Kosher salt has sharp edges the abrade the food deposits off. Lightly oil after removing the salt and food and your ready for the next time around. NEVER use water soap or any other abrasive and you'll have one awesome pan in short order. I've tried a ton of ways and this works great. Rich

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Rich wrote:

The only thing I use for cooking is cast iron. I've got 5 skillets, two other pots and 3 dutch ovens (all Lodge, wouldn't have anything else). They are all well seasoned and scrambled and fried eggs come out like it was non-stick. I've always used hot soap and water with a copper or plastic scouring pad. Make sure you dry it good on the stove after it's washed. Yeah, I've heard all the don't wash opinions but this works for me.
Fred

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Well, I decided to take the angle grinder to the inside of the pan. Light touch, nice and slow. As one poster mentioned, this was anything but a quality piece of cookware. It's a 15 1/2" skillet, and cost a little less than a dollar an inch. While nice and heavy, it had not been polished or smoothed at all. So, I smoothed it. My intent was to knock off the bumps, but not grind down to the bottoms of the pits. So I did that in about 10 minutes, and Crisco'd the thing and put it on the grill (to avoid smoke in the house). Burned it for about a half hour, let it cool, then repeated. The pits are nice and black, and the former bumps, now flats, are a dark gray color. I think that the grinder idea was a pretty good one.
BTW, the fried chicken was pretty damn good, but the breading was not crispy. Pretty good, though, for a first attempt.
For those interested, I followed Alton Brown's recipe to the letter.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_15279,00.html
Thanks for the responses, y'all, and all the lively banter.
-Phil Crow
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On 21 Mar 2006 05:44:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I like that guy. His shows are educational and funny. Randy Replogle
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On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 09:07:29 -0500, Randy Replogle

You did it wrong. Per Alton Brown, you have to season the pan UPSIDE DOWN IN AN OVEN. The burned black stuff on the bottom of your pan is polyermized fat which will scrape off and taste awful the first time you try to cook scrambled eggs. I suggest you start over- if you do it right (see http://www.lodgemfg.com/usecare1.asp?menu=original ) for the basic idea- but do it upside down.
-Carl (been cooking on CI since I was a kid)
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Carl Byrns wrote:

Huh? Perhaps I didn't do it the way you'd do it, but that doesn't make it necessarily wrong. Several respondents to my original post also ground or sanded the insides of their skillets.
Per Alton Brown, you have to season the pan UPSIDE

Um, I was talking about frying the chicken. That's what the link points to. As far as seasoning the pan, I'm an old hand at that. I was just thinking about a new, faster way to skin an old cat.
The burned black stuff on the bottom of your pan is

Good effort, though. 'Preciate the feedback.
-Phil Crow
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Okay, question about that process. I've been told to use lard, which I did. I found that as it heated up and lost viscosity, the surface tension of the lard cause it to bead up. Was I using too much, or too little? Would vegetable shortening respond any differently?
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Too little. Slather it on like an albino putting on SPF-80 sunblock, then put some more on, and when you think you've got too much, add a little more and you'll be just about right.
Same thing if you choose to go with crisco or olive oil - Put it on until you think it's too much, and you're getting close to "just right".
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Dammit, Don, you owe me half a coffee, and quite possibly, a new keyboard. Hot coffee stings the sinuses, for the record.
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On 3/21/2006 3:26 PM Don Bruder mumbled something about the following:

As Marylin Monroe (IIRC) said "If more is better then too much is just right".
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Having a standing pool of oil/melted lard (or crisco) covering the entire bottom of the pan while it's "cooking in" is absolutely perfect.
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alexy wrote:

If I had had some on hand, I would have used it. I had Crisco, so used that. I agree with the lard idea, though. I did my 12" skillet with bacon drippings and it worked well.
-Phil Crow
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Of course it did -
When you get right down to it, bacon drippings = "smoked/cured lard".
Do it just right, and you can "re-render" bacon drippings back to "straight lard" state, but it's not real practical to bother - just possible.
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<<BTW, the fried chicken was pretty damn good, but the breading was not crispy. Pretty good, though, for a first attempt.
For those interested, I followed Alton Brown's recipe to the letter.>>
I suppose it is too late to ask now that you have already taken the angle grinder to it, but I'll bet if you e-mailed Alton Brown and inquired, he could probably give you a scientific explanation of the relative culinary benefits of a rough vs smooth cast iron cooking surface. I'm just guessing but I would think the uneven texture of the cast iron creates little channels that allow some of the grease to flow away while the food sits on the higher spots, sort of like those special grill pans but not as pronounced an effect. Anyway, Alton could ask Shirley and get a definitive answer.
Lee
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On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 05:44:43 -0800, phildcrowNOSPAM wrote:

Crank up the heat to just below smoking and use LOTS oc Crisco. Then, in the last couple of minutes or so, toss in an ice cube and steam it with the lid on. Yowza yowza! (salt, pepper, white flour or yellow cornmeal, chicken and Crisco and the last minute ice cube are all that go into the skillet ... nunya fancy herbs and stuff!)
;-)
Bill
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W Canaday wrote:

I'm in agreement, with the possible exception of a little tarragon.
er
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On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 20:51:05 -0800, Enoch Root wrote:

I'll go with that if it's fresh (as in, start the chicken then go pick the tarragon).
Bill
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On 3/21/2006 8:44 AM snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com mumbled something about the following:

You need to cook the oil in a lot longer than 30 min to season it. More like an hour at about 500F.
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