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Should I season my new Le Creuset cast iron skillet and grill pan?

s
sagestrat Dec 16, 2006 11:47 AM

I know I've always seasoned my regular cast iron pans, but should I also season my new Le Creuset cast iron skillet and grill pan? What do you recommend? I've read from others about sticking, so I want to make sure I start right out the gate.

I didn't see anything about this on the Le Creuset site, but I suppose I can always give them a call.

I'm interested in others' experiences.

Thanks,
Jennifer

  1. andreas Dec 16, 2006 12:27 PM

    They are enameled, aren't they? If that's the case no seasoning is needed or even possible. If they are 'raw' cast iron season as normal.

    1. carswell Dec 16, 2006 02:45 PM

      >> Should I season my new Le Creuset cast iron skillet and grill pan?<<

      No.

      1. Rubee Dec 16, 2006 07:35 PM

        Keep us posted on what you do. I didn't think my Creuset needed seasoning, but I've had problems with it sticking, and it's hard to clean - all the meat juices or marinade burns into the grooves. I don't even use it much any more, though I woud like to.

        Hmmm. just found this recent thread, I guess I'm not the only one.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/337230

        1. s
          Susan627 Dec 16, 2006 11:43 PM

          The grill pan is not enamaled on the cooking surface. It needs to be seasoned as you would a regular cast iron pan. That being said, I have done so with mine and still have a terrible problem with sticking. I have really tried, but like the above poster, I don't use it as often as I'd like to.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Susan627
            carswell Dec 17, 2006 01:30 AM

            >>The grill pan is not enamaled on the cooking surface. It needs to be seasoned as you would a regular cast iron pan.<<

            Are there different models? The one I've seen wasn't nekkid cast iron and I just found this on the Williams-Sonoma website: "Le Creuset Grill Pan, 10" ... Made in France of enameled cast iron, it's excellent for grilling – the pan gets very hot for superb searing and requires very little oil. High ridges keep foods away from drippings. As useful for grilling sandwiches as for meat, seafood or vegetables, the pan needs no seasoning and won't rust or absorb flavors."
            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/c084/index.cfm?bnrid=3100117&cm_ven=WS&cm_cat=General&cm_pla=SiteMap&cm_ite=Products&CM_REF=&flash=on

            And Le Creuset appears to be signing the same tune: "Cast iron has long been the preferred material for grills but the lengthy seasoning process and high maintenance was discouraging. Now, Le Creuset's porcelain enameled cast iron gives you the benefits of cast iron the first time out of the box.
            http://www.lecreuset.com/usa/products..."

            I agree that if the grill pan's cooking surface is bare cast iron, it needs to be seasoned. However, if the surface is treated or enamelled -- like the skillet's -- seasoning isn't required and may not be advisable.

            1. re: carswell
              s
              Sam Harmon Dec 17, 2006 01:45 AM

              I believe that you're correct. The LC grill pans (and panini press) use a more porous, black enamaling (similar to what Staub uses on their French ovens) that can appear as raw iron. They are in fact, however, enamaled

              The easiest way to confirm or disconfirm would be to let them air dry in a dish rack. If they're raw cast iron, rust will appear quickly.

          2. OCEllen Dec 17, 2006 01:44 AM

            I believe the pans you are describing are cast iron with a 'glass' coating on the cooking surface, the outside being porcelien. I have a grill pan that I have been really pleased with and have not seasoned - I clean it by boiling water and baking soda in it after cooking and using a the green side of a scrubby sponge, detergent on the outside, much as I would with 'real' cast iron.

            1. jayt90 Dec 17, 2006 01:49 AM

              A coating of PAM as the grill pan heats up will help. but there is no need to season it.

              1. notmartha Dec 17, 2006 03:09 AM

                I never seasoned mine. It does stick, and that's why I only use the LC for braising food (stews, etc.) on low heat. I also have a small LC skillet that's fine for cooking sausages, corn tortillas, etc. When the pan gets crusty, you can always use some scouring powder. As a last resort, you can heat up the pan with some water on the stove and scrub with a long brush. That seems to work for stubborn crusts. Now I just can't get the enameled part (mine is white) clean.

                For nonstick nothing beats Tfal. Don't try to cook eggs on the LC...

                1. s
                  sagestrat Dec 17, 2006 11:43 AM

                  Apparently I didn't dig deep enough into the Le Creuset website. Here's a link to the company's recommendations regarding these particular pans:

                  http://www.lecreuset.com/usa/products...

                  Looks like seasoning is called for in this case.

                  Thanks,
                  Jennifer

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: sagestrat
                    Rubee Dec 17, 2006 07:08 PM

                    Thanks for finding the definitive answer and posting!

                    Maybe the people who insisted it did not need seasoning don't own this pan? To paraphrase - LC's website does say it needs to be seasoned: Coat the grill lightly with vegetable or olive oil and put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 225°F, repeating this the first 10-12 uses. Hmmm... also, it says "never cook above medium heat". Other tips include not pre-heating it on high, and patting the meat dry of moisture or marinade.

                    I'm going to try to scrub the residue off today, and then start over again. You were the smart one to ask BEFORE you used it (unlike me!)

                    1. re: Rubee
                      d
                      Daniella Aug 3, 2007 06:08 AM

                      Just wondering if this technique worked for you? I got the pan as a gift, and could not find these instructions in the booklet (as well as online!). Was seasoning it successful?

                      1. re: Daniella
                        j
                        jzerocsk Aug 3, 2007 06:37 AM

                        I have both a skillet and grillpan and it definitely helps. I did not bother doing it 10-12 times, maybe 4 or 5. After that I just let the patina accumulate as I go.

                        For cleaning I have had good results just pretty deglazing with water while the pan is still hot.

                        1. re: jzerocsk
                          d
                          Daniella Aug 14, 2007 03:00 PM

                          Just a quick question (I'm a rookie!). After each seasoning session, do I wash the le creuset pan with warm water and soup, or just wipe off the residue? Thanks for the advice!

                          1. re: Daniella
                            j
                            jzerocsk Aug 15, 2007 07:45 AM

                            I just wipe the excess off. I don't know if it's the "correct" way, but I hang mine, and the oil will drip.

                  2. e
                    elfenwunsch Apr 3, 2008 01:10 PM

                    Hi, I just bought a 9inch preseasoned "non-stick"skillet and was very disappointed, because everthing was sticking. So I decided to try to season it:

                    Pour quite a bit of corn oil or peanut oil in the pan (so the pan is all covered and a little more) and heat it on meduim until it starts to smoke a bit, leave it there for a while, but don't increase the heat. Swivel the fat around every now and then. Turn of the heat and let it cool. Pour the fat out and wipe it with a paper towel. Don't wash it with soap.

                    Afterwards it worked like a dream, but you will always have to use a little bit of fat. Butter is good because you can easily see when it gets too hot. Never turn the heat higher than medium. Once it's hot you can decrease it to medium low and will still be hot enough to finish cooking. Good luck!!
                    The eggs turned out perfectly, no sticking whatsoever! Yeah!!!!
                    To clean you just have to wipe it out, it's best to use as little soap as possible as with all cast iron things.
                    And btw: Le Creuset is the best!!!!

                    1. leanneabe Apr 3, 2008 03:16 PM

                      I suppose there's no harm in "seasoning" an enameled skillet, but I would recommend really looking at your pan and determining if it's really bare cast iron or a matte enamel finish. I have an enameled cast iron skillet and the interior has a matte enamel finish. It's not smooth, slightly textured, but it's definitely not bare cast iron. Because it does have an enamel coating, "seasoning" isn't going to build up a non-stick finish. I also don't use it for eggs because of the textured enamel. But, it does a great job of searing and cooking due to the heat transfer of cast iron.

                      I imagine that unless the product description specifically states the interior is bare cast iron, anything called "enameled" isn't going to need seasoning.

                      1. n
                        NEOSTER13 Jul 12, 2009 10:21 AM

                        http://www.lecreuset.com/en-us/Care--...

                        SPECIAL TIPS FOR GRILLS

                        Do not oil the grill's surface before heating begins. Allow the surface to reach the correct cooking temperature (see water test below) and then oil it, or the food, lightly. In time, totally fat free cooking will become possible as a patina builds up on the grill surface.
                        Use only low to medium heat settings for all pre-heating and cooking. The efficiency of the material is such that searing temperatures are achieved on medium settings within a few minutes. Heating the surface a little more slowly will ensure a thoroughly and evenly heated surface.DO NOT pre-heat the grill on a high heat and then reduce to medium or low for cooking. Cast iron is a very efficient material and retains heat well. If over-heated it will retain that heat for a long time and this method of use may contribute to poor cooking results and the food sticking to the surface of the grill.

                        To test if the surface is hot, scatter a few droplets of cold water over the hot surface. The droplets will spit and evaporate immediately when it is hot. If the droplets sit on the surface for several seconds then it is not hot enough so continue to pre-heat and test again.

                        Once hot, oil the surface with a little vegetable, corn or groundnut oil and add the foods immediately. Olive oil is not ideal for oiling the grill cooking surface as it has a lower smoking point than those oils suggested above. If the flavor is desired, use it to brush directly onto the food or in a pre-cooking marinade.

                        At no time should the grill's surface be smoking hot. This very high temperature is far from ideal for good grilling and may result in the outside of the food being over-browned and over-cooked before the center is cooked correctly or to your taste. If the surface is smoking, lower the heat immediately or, carefully remove the grill from the heat source to cool down before proceeding.

                        Dry all meats, poultry and fish on absorbent kitchen paper towels. Wet food surfaces do not sear well and will not produce the desired sear lines. Marinated foods also require drying to prevent steaming or sticking to the surface.

                        Do not move the foods as soon as they are placed on the hot surface otherwise the sear lines, or the crisp browning of the food, will not be achieved. Depending on the food and degree of cooking required, allow 1 to 3 minutes to seal the outside before turning. If, as the food is lifted, it does not release easily, leave a little longer, then turn over.

                        Use salt sparingly on meats and only add salt immediately prior to cooking. Salts left on the food surface for some time will draw out moisture, which may produce sticking and may also cause the cooked food to have a dry texture.

                        Red meats, such as beef or lamb, or rich poultry such as duck, may be eaten pink or rare at the center and can, therefore, be cooked to taste. Chicken, turkey or pork MUST be thoroughly cooked and should not release any pink juices when the food is pierced with the point of a sharp knife or a turkey skewer.

                        Metal tongs or utensils may be used for lifting or turning foods but these should not be scraped over the enamel surface or knocked on the side edges.

                        If fats or oils require draining from the grill, do this by carefully lifting and tilting the grill so that these residues can flow over one of the corners at either end of the holding channel.

                        It is natural for an oily, slightly brown to black film (called a Patina) to build up on the grill surface. Do not attempt to remove this as it improves the release of the foods from the cooking surface. The completely enameled surface of the grill allows it to be washed in the dishwasher but this will reduce the build up and efficiency of the Patina.
                        CLEANING & CARE

                        After use, let product cool down to room temperature before rinsing or washing. Do not fill a hot pan with cold water or plunge into cold water as thermal shock damage to the enamel may occur.

                        Handwash with hot soapy water, rinse with warm water and dry. Products are dishwasher safe, but handwashing is recommended. Constant diswashing may lead to some dulling of the enamel finish. The dulling is not harmful and will not impair performance.

                        If there are food residues, fill the pan with warm water and leave to soak for 15 - 20 minutes, then wash in the usual way. For stubborn residues, nylon or soft abrasive pads or brushes can be used. Do not use metallic pads or harsh abrasive cleaning agents as these will damage the enamel. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Cleaner is recommended.

                        Dry products thoroughly after washing. Do not drain dry and do not store away while still damp.

                        Maintain the tightness of affixed handles and knobs by checking and re-tightening them regularly.

                        Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron is extremely durable, but it may be damaged if dropped or knocked against a hard surface.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: NEOSTER13
                          c
                          chuckl Jul 12, 2009 12:26 PM

                          the LCs pans that I have, unlike the dutch ovens and smaller pots, do not appear to be enameled; they look like plain cast iron on the cooking surface. I've never had much luck making them non-stick despite the typical seasoning method, with crisco. On the other hand, I've been able to season plain CI quite well, to the point that very little sticks to them. I've pretty much given up using the LC frying pans, though the dutch ovens are very good for braising.

                        2. b
                          brooktroutchaser Dec 21, 2010 04:50 AM

                          Cook's Illustrated recently reported flax seed oil is the best for seasoning cast iron. I do not know if it would be effective on a new Staub or LC skillet, however, as these are not raw cast iron pans.

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