Please excuse another cast iron topic
I'm sure this is addressed elsewhere, but the search function isn't adequate to the task.
I have a Lodge skillet, bought new c. 20 years ago, and there is a buildup mostly on the interior sides of material that I think is carbonized food. Scaly black stuff, some adhering to the sides, and some that flakes off into the pan when cooking.
I suspect this may be due to using oil at high heat to soften batches of tortillas. But I don't know. (A second CI skillet, bought at the same time, never developed this problem, but was not used for this purpose.) Come to think of it, there's a similar crusty buildup near the edges of my carbon-steel wok.
Any ideas on how to remove it? Will re-season if necessary.
Thank you; any advice appreciated.
Try scraping it with plastic scraper or an old credit card. If it is too hard, then just scrap with a metal utensil.
Someone addressed this a while back, I can't remember to give them credit. Something about oven cleaner and a black plastic bag and hot sun. I don't recall the details. It was one of the CI collectors on here. Hopefully they will come forward.
You should see the carbon on the old wood handled Griswold that was my grandmother's. There is no getting it off except with a chipper. My father remembered her cooking with it when he was a child and he'd be 93 know. I like it the way it is.
I had some carbon build up on the bottoms of some old skillets I'd bought and sautéing onions and mushrooms on the charcoal grill when grilling steaks did a nice job of burning it off.
Siriusly, I've not seen it flake off like that in mine. How about using clean steel wool?
Oven cleaner is what all the cast-iron dealers I've talked to use, and these are the guys who sell vintage Griswold and Wagner Ware from $50 up. I've never done it myself, having not had anything worse than rust on the inside, and not really giving a hoot about crusty outsides …
Re: what Johnny West says, I would much rather use a stainless steel Chore Girl than steel wool. A lot easier to handle and less likely to leave shreds of itself where you don't want them. After many years of ignoring those things I'm suddenly discovering what a help they can be with removing stuff I'd just given up on.
I often use cast iron cookware outdoors and at home. A simple technique that I learned is simply a good scraping with a crumpled ball of aluminum foil followed by re-oiling.