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i think i might have messed up seasoning my first cast iron pan

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i just purchased a lodge grill griddle - being new to the cast iron thing, i wasn't quite sure how to season it, and for some reason decided to go against the packaged instructions and try a method i saw in a cookbook. this method called for putting the pan on top of the range, high heat, covering the pan with 1/8" oil. (i used canola.) then i allowed it to smoke for 7 min. during this smoking two large black patches formed on the pan, which concerned me. after this i mopped up the excess oil with a towel and then popped it in the oven for 30 min at 500 degrees. it has turned nice and dark, but the two spots remain. is this a problem? should i start over again? i'm confused - I read through all the old threads and saw that someone had posted with concerns about black specks on a newly seasoned cast iron pan. the replies said that the specks would even out with use. is that the case with big spots - 5" diameter each, approximately? i want to get this cast iron started properly, as i understand that it is a very long process. help? thanks!

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  1. I doubt that the discoloration will be much of a problem,although, if you didn't wash and scrub your new griddle first, that might be a problem -- there is a waxy finish on new cast iron that needs to be removed before seasoning. At any rate, I might think about starting over with the seasoning process (just wash and scrub and you are ready to re-season). I hadn't heard of the short time-high heat method before -- generally, I think lower heat for a longer period of time is recommended. Also, maybe try an oil like peanut, which has a higher smoking point? An easy way to season: coat both sides with oil, bake in a 350 degree oven for 1-2 hours. Let cool thoroughly. Wipe off any excess oil. Repeat for better non-stick finish. Even easier, you can now buy pre-seasoned cast iron.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grubn

      This is exactly what I would have said, just scrub it and do it again - it's hard to damage cast iron! Also agree about using a high smoking point oil (canola would be my choice) and baking as grbn describes.

    2. Just curious what the instructions on the Lodge package were. My sister recently registered for "pre-seasoned" cast ironware from Lodge. I think it's a new thing, but I could be wrong. Still, I'm curious what instructions from the manufacturer were....

      1 Reply
      1. re: Non Cognomina

        I bought the pre-seasoned griddle pan a few weeks ago and the only instructions were to wash it with soap and a stiff brush and it was ready to go (but, of course, dont' use soap ever again). I used it that night with no problem.

      2. okay, thanks. the directions said to coat with vegetable oil or shortening and to bake at 350 degrees for one hour, then to let cool. but then i read some threads that said high heat was better - and then i got lazy and just decided to follow the cookbook instructions, which combined both the high heat and lower amount of time. maybe i'll start over then... i had washed it with soap after purchasing and pre-seasoning.

        4 Replies
        1. re: shirlotta

          Do the instructions also mention to put the pan in the oven upside down to keep the oil from pooling and turning into tar?

          1. re: shirlotta

            It's the canola that's wrong, not your technique. Get some solid shortening (crisco or such) and grease that pan lightly, turn upside down and place on the oven rack & put a large pan beneath to catch any drips. Liquid vegetable oils can leave a sticky residue on the pan (unsightly and unsanitary, too). You can also use lard, should you have some handy.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              if you already have a buildup of that gummy sticky thing vegetable oil leaves as a residue how do you get it out? i think it is bad for searing.

              1. re: zorkd

                I used the wrong oil too, I had to wash wash wash to get that gummy sticky off. I did it again with crisco and was very pleased.