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Oct 20, 2006 08:41 PM

Cast iron leaves food and towels black! HELP!

I purchased a cast iron frying pan (don't yell at me) at Wal-mart. I've wanted one for a long time for frying eggs. It came fully seasoned. My eggs still get black specs on them. I was leaving oil in it just lightly spread around with a paper towel. I don't anymore. I only wash with a stiff brush and only hot water, which is what the company recommends. Every time I even dry this pan My paper towels stay black with every wipe! I am know seeing a small amount of silver instead of black on the bottom edges. I am thinking of returning the thing, but I really wanted to have this thing work for me more. I have fried chicken in this, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and made spaghetti sauce, and even a brown gravy with hamburg.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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  1. Don't wipe it dry, just set it on a burner set on low for a few minutes, or into the oven if there's any residual heat from cooking dinner. You won't get gunk on the towels and it will help the pan continue to season.

    1. I don't know anything about (and don't entirely trust) this pre-seasoning business, but at heart it's just a cast iron pan.

      This no soap thing can be taken much, much too far. If it looks gunky, it is gunky. "Seasoning" is not "gunk." It should be a barely perceptible "layer" - more like a smoothing out of the rough surface. You shouldn't scrub it with something like steel wool, but brushing alone just doesn't cut it unless maybe you use the thing every day so the old oil doesn't have time to turn into gross black crud..

      If I were you, I'd give yours a healthy scrub (not with something as harsh as steel wool). dry it out over a flame, then wipe down with an oily cloth until it comes mostly clean. You should see a sheen of oil when you're done, but not so much that it comes off in a smear if you wipe your finger on the surface. If it's too far gone, you're best bet is to burn off the gunk and just start over. If "black stuff" continually comes off on your food and towels, you're well on your way to too far gone.

      And pre-seasoned or not, it will take time to develop a really proper surface that minimizes sticking but that you can keep clean enough to not be disgusting, without having to fully reseason every time. But cast iron isn't maintenance free. You will have to, from time to time, reseason or scrub and reason. If you want carefree, cast iron is a bad choice.

      1. your pan needs a good scrubbing and re-seasoning... you may not have scrubbed off all the oil that they put on the pan to protect it while transporting when you seasoned it the first time...

        it could also be burned bits left in your pan... which should be cleaned off after each use... i just soak it in hot water for an hour when it gets really tough to get off... then it usually comes right off... i rarely use brushes to wash my dishes as i can't seem to get all the little bits, i use a sponge with a scrubber side... usually i just use the sponge side when washing my skillet, but if the bits stay on the pan, i'll lightly use the scrubber side...

        i then wipe with a paper towel, just to make sure its clean, then i dry it on the burner, rub a little bacon grease on it while still warm with a paper towel... after it cools, i wipe any residual grease off with a paper towel.... and store

        don't put your skillet away with any bits of water, as it will rust...

        1. I am happiest with my cast iron if they never see water - I use a really stiff steel spatula and scrape off the residual food stuff and oil/grease and leave it be. Got this "training" back in school working the griddle - scrape/scoure make it smooth, but don't get it wet...

          1. Try my grandmother's method of scrubbing out the pan with salt. Pour a bunch of salt inside, and rub it vigorously with a piece of crumpled up newspaper or paper towel. The lightly abrasive nature of the salt will pull out all sorts of stuff.

            On the other hand, a good scouring won't kill it, if you're really uncomfortable with the black stuff flaking off. Once it is scrubbed, dry it on the stovetop over heat, let it cool, and then reseason. Easy reseasoning: rub lightly with Crisco, place upside down on the oven rack, put a pan underneath to catch any drips, and bake at 250 for an hour or two. Repeat as needed until you're happy with the finish.

            You can also do a "quick" seasoning outside. Rub with crisco, then apply direct heat in the form of a propane torch.