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Should the preseasoning layer of cast iron be removed?

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Emmaus Jul 12, 2010 01:49 PM

I found a post saying it's pretty common advice on most forums that the preseasoning layer should be removed? Is it true?

Here's the link:

http://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp

"You have a brand new cast iron skillet from the factory. Modern cast iron skillets have a layer of gick on it that the manufacturer has decided to label as "seasoning". I suspect that the stuff on that cast iron skillet has a lot more to do with marketing, shipping and profit margins than what you or I would want to eat. I think you really want to get that gick off. It's pretty common advice on the forums that you should get that gick off."

Personally, I think that's a very difficult process. If I have to remove the preseasoning, I'd rather buy unseasoned cast iron, but it's very difficult to buy nowadays , though.

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  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Emmaus Jul 12, 2010 02:39 PM

    I say no. You can remove the surface, but you don't have to. You can remove the preseasoning surface by baking the cookware in the self-cleaning cycle of an oven.

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      Shaw Oliver RE: Emmaus Jul 12, 2010 03:38 PM

      Don't do it.

      Frankly speaking, if you have to ask the question I don't think you should be tinkering with the cast iron to that extent. Assuming you're buying a Lodge, it will work just fine the way it is. Your life will be much easier if you don't - believe me, just read the number of posts here regarding cast iron problems.

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        Beckyleach RE: Emmaus Jul 12, 2010 08:59 PM

        I wouldn't bother unless it's bothering YOU. Is it sticky? You can more or less "remove" it by a good scrubbing in hot, soapy water, if you want it gone...then you can season the pan more by LIGHTLY coating it (as a CI expert says, "wipe...then wipe again..." with a paper towel till nearly dry) and heating it for about an hour in a 450 degree oven.

        I don't know why so many people find cast iron mysterious, frankly. I've collected nearly 40 pieces in the past 18 months (got the "bug" ;-) and have stripped and re-seasoned all of it with no problems. Most have excellent surface finishes, now, and I can even cook scrambled eggs in many of the skillets, and fried eggs just slide out as if the surface were glass (these are vintage cast iron pieces, however, and you're automatically working with much better materials with these old castings).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Beckyleach
          SanityRemoved RE: Beckyleach Jul 13, 2010 11:05 AM

          By the number of posts lately concerning various negatives (most unfounded) about cast iron I have to wonder if some marketing forces are planting some information on the web to discourage its use. I use at least one piece of cast iron every single day. The older pieces with machined interiors are nice but unless Lodge sees enough demand and a willingness by consumers to pay a higher price I don't foresee its return. I do wish Lodge would return some of the pieces to its catalog that have disappeared over the years.

          The preseasoning is a start, want more, use it or season some more. I love the fact that I can use metal utensils and the only change to the pan will be a smoother surface over time. If it gets worn down just reseason it. Maybe the best part of cast iron and carbon steel is when you start asking yourself "How did I live without this?"

        2. MikeB3542 RE: Emmaus Jul 13, 2010 01:00 PM

          Burning off the pre-seasoning and re-seasoning a skillet is kind of like buying a house with a decent lawn, then tearing it out all the grass and re-seeding. Sure you can do it, but why.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MikeB3542
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            Shaw Oliver RE: MikeB3542 Jul 16, 2010 09:13 AM

            Very good analogy.

          2. Hank Hanover RE: Emmaus Jul 16, 2010 09:59 PM

            I'm sure you could remove the seasoning but why? If you think it might be inadequate, then season it yourself. No need to remove the old seasoning.

            Cook's Illustrated suggests seasoning a cast iron pan this way rather than in the oven.

            "Heat pan over medium-high heat until drop of water evaporates on contact. Wipe inside with wad of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil (hold towels with tongs to protect yourself). Wipe out excess oil and repeat as needed until pan is slick."

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hank Hanover
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              deeznuts RE: Hank Hanover Jul 19, 2010 03:24 PM

              That will only work if it smokes the oil until the oil stops smoking.

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              chow9xyz RE: Emmaus Apr 16, 2014 08:15 AM

              Nowadays, all the Lodge products are preseasoned. Looks great but the problem is that black flecks comes off the pan and stick to your food: pork chops, acrambled eggs, you name it. I don't know what the flecks do to the stomach. It can 't be good. Lodge says scrubbing with steel wook should remove most, but not all of the pre-seasoning.

              1. j
                JustCharlie RE: Emmaus Apr 16, 2014 12:18 PM

                Fry potatoes in the pan and then discard them. She's good to go after that.

                1. nokitchen RE: Emmaus Apr 16, 2014 10:30 PM

                  FYI, what your correspondent describes as "gick" is vegetable oil, primarily soy. http://www.lodgemfg.com/FAQRetrieve.a...

                  1. JTPhilly RE: Emmaus Apr 17, 2014 07:42 AM

                    counter to what most here say I would probably take it off - I like my cast iron seasoned with lard I don't really want a base layer of some unknown soy oil as the foundation for my seasoning

                    weather you take it off or leave it one thing I would not do is consider my pan "seasoned" and expect it to be just ready to go - getting the slick black surface on a ci skillet takes time... and fat... and heat, and again - the pre seasoning is just a layer to get you started don't cry when the first egg sticks and give up on the CI - its great stuff when used and cared for properly.

                    1. LMAshton RE: Emmaus Apr 18, 2014 01:07 AM

                      Yeah, if the oil is soy, canola, flax, or some other objectionable-to-me oil, I'd remove it and reseason it. If it was seasoned with an acceptable oil, then no.

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