reseasoning cast iron
- echo eater
Part one: how can I tell if my skillet needs to be reseasoned?
Part two: what's your best method? (some scour, some don't, some use veg oil, some use pork fat, etc)
Well it looks like we were typing about cast iron skillets at the same time. I found this link about seasoning for you. It says you need to season your pan if you notice a metallic taste or see signs of rust and it tells you how to do it. Good luck with yours.
A pan only needs to be reseasoned if food sticks to it. That's what seasoning is for. If you have rust, you have problems; you're washing your pans too well, and food will be sticking to them. Don't wash it; I don't care what Lodge says on their website. Just wipe it out. A stiff brush is fine but water is unnecessary. Use a little salt, and always put a little bit of oil on it every time you use it or put it away.
If you overseason and get that thick gunky oil residue, a common problem when you're just learning, you have to scrape that stuff completely off to bare metal and start over. Heat, oil, wipe; heat, oil, wipe. Then cook a hundred batches of pancakes and a hundred strips of bacon, and you'll never have to touch it again.
re: echo eater
You do need to scour them out between sessions just to get the excess off. Sounds like yours has gotten 'way past "seasoned" and is now what we'd call "gross". Best thing is to strip that crap off of there (the antique-mall cast-iron dealers typically use oven cleaner to prep theirs, but there have been other suggestions) and restart. Then fry a couple of chickens, make some skillet cornbread, and it'll be better than new.
re: echo eater
Run it through the self-cleaning cycle of an electric oven. That will take it down to the bare metal.
My recommendation for reseasoning is to use lard. Put the pan on a burner and get it as hot as you can and still manipulate it safely with mitts and/or pot holders. After it gets hot, rub lard all over the pan, inside and out, and then put it in the oven upside down over a baking sheet. Cook it as hot as you can (550 degrees) for an hour or so. It will smoke like hell, which is why you don't see hot seasoning recommended more often. Let it cool down, and repeat this same seasoning process another time or two. You will like the result.
I posted the below message to the above thread before seeing this one. So here's my repost in the hopes of some help:
That's what has been ticking me off about my relatively new pan. I bought it quite some time ago, seasoned it in the oven per directions, but as everybody is suggesting, the pan doesn't get good until many uses. And until then, it's a complete nuisance to use. Stuff sticks, need to keep adding oil, food gets that charry taste to it. Just annoying.
I was thinking maybe cooking up a bunch of bacon in it and then re-seasoning might help. Any thoughts?
Another thing that I've wondered about is if the cast iron should not be used when cooking at medium or less heat. I'm thinking that the pan just gets too hot, which also might be causing my food to char/stick.
Cast irons are supposed to be better and more effective than any non-stick pan, and that's all I want. Why all this hassle?!
PS. I "clean" the pan with a very minimal amount of hot water (no soap), salt, and then wipe down with oil every time. Still the bloody thing won't cooperate. I've used it probably only 5-6 times, mostly b/c of the crap I have to deal with each time I use it.
I would say you won't see any non-stick lovin' until about the 20th time.
No more water. Ever. Put oil in it, heat it up, add salt. Scour. Wipe out the salt. Let it cool. Put it away.
Fry meat in it. Don't use it for pancakes or stews or stews until you've fried meat in it twenty times, over, say the next two months. Is it annoying? Yes... but think in the long term. You can't damage it -- it's a chunk of iron. I have cast iron pans that are 70 years old.
It's like running -- you can't stand it for the first mile, but after that you get a second wind and can go another four or five miles.