Restoring ill-used cast iron
- WCchopper Aug 25, 2007 05:28 PM
I like to buy old cast iron at thrift stores and sometimes find it covered in decades worth of baked -on gunk. What's the best way to bring these old pieces back to use?
Scrub (with steel wool pads), rinse, scrub, rinse, put in a self cleaning oven (run through the cycle), scrub, rinse, oil, bake (season). Use.
This is going to sound nuts, but I use an angle grinder with a knotted wire brush. You have to do the work outside, with a dust mask and protective eyeware, but it takes about 10 minutes to get to the bare metal over the entire pan. I then wash, dry, and season. To season, I coat the whole pan (inside and out) with vegetable oil, wipe off the excess, and place in a 400°F oven, upside down, over foil (to catch the mess). I turn the oven off after 10 minutes, and leave the thing in there until it's cool.
There have been many good suggestions on getting the gunk and decaying metal (rust) off the cast iron pan. Once that is done and you have seasoned it. Use a black light (the tube type operated by batteries) and look at the pan in the dark. You will see any areas that need more work. While your at it you might want to surprise your self by what you see on the outside of your refrigerator, stove, backsplash, etc. WOW
run it through the self cleaning cycle of your oven. When it comes out and has cooled a bit you will see some rust residue. Just wash that out, dry over heat and begin to season.
The old fashioned way was to burn them out in the fire place or just iin a fire. This way is safer and easier.