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Re-seasoning cast iron?

I was given a couple of very old cast iron pans that are in terrible condition. Can they be cleaned and then re-seasoned? They are covered in a sticky gunk and grease. I tried washing them (no luck) and also put them in a slow oven for an hour or two (no luck). Any ideas?

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  1. Steel wool,wire brush, what ever you have that will take it down pretty much to bare metal. Then study this, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578098 . There are lots of opinions on seasoning methods. My favorite has been coating with Crisco shortening,place upside down in a warmish oven with a cookie sheet or something to catch any drippings below it, and give it a few hours.

    1. Oven cleaner, then wash, then steel wool, wire brush etc, then treat as new cast iron; frying bacon at low heat works pretty good.

      1. I use a wire brush attachment for my cordless drill. It makes life far easier. Just do this outside, because it can get messy. Buy a large stiff wire brush attachment (steel wire, not copper) and it will last for ever.

        1. Easy-off oven cleaner (the no-stink kind) will clean the pans nicely.
          A little steel wool or maybe some wet and dry sandpaper should get you back to raw cast iron. Then season as if new. Good luck. The old ones are better than the new ones for some reason.
          Also, I have never tried it but heard about it, put it in the oven on the self clean cycle.

          1 Reply
          1. re: billieboy

            I had a set of cast iron grates from a b.b.q that were really a mess and rusted.I. put them in my oven on self clean, man what alot of smoke, had to set up a bunch of fans but it completly clean them. just have to reseason them now. would recommend this if you can air your house out easily.

          2. Like szaydel says, if you have a power drill, get a wire brush attachment (steel, not brass) and get medieval on those pans. Do it outside for sure, and don't wear your Sunday best.

            Putting them through an oven cleaning cycle is a labor saving but energy intensive alternative. Just wash off the ash when done. Don't forget to take out the racks. Heavy pans and high heat = bent racks.

            Ditto reseasoning with bacon. The best part: you get to eat some bacon!