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Yet Another Cast Iron Topic

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Hi all,

I do have other pieces of cast iron that are seasoned with various methods but with this current pan, a new pre seasoned 12 inch lodge pan I want to subscribe to the “ Just use it ” method of seasoning .

The pan is pre seasoned and I did one light seasoning in the oven. So really my question is. What foods are best to cook to sort of get the pan started? I know from experience if I take a lightly seasoned pan and use anything acidic or even just a long simmer in liquid it will remove a good bit of seasoning.

So besides bacon, sausages, grilled sandwiches, steaks, burgers, asparagus and other sautéed veggies. What are some good starter foods to help the seasoning along?

Thanks

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  1. eggs with a small pat of butter seems to have done a lot for my cast iron.

    1. Cornbread.......

      1. Blackened tuna seem to improve my seasoning a lot.

        1. I'll second the cornbread. The way my mother and grandmother taught me. Put whatever fat you are using in the pan, then put it in the oven to get really hot, then (carefully) pour the hot oil into your cornbread dough at the last minute before you put the whole thing back in the oven to cook till it's done. Seasons your pan and makes great cornbread!

          1 Reply
          1. re: arashall

            Another hand up for the cornbread. I keep cooking cornbread until it doesn't stick any more. Usually 2 or three times.
            I put coat the pan with bacon grease, get the pan good and hot. While my pan is heating, I mix up my cornbread batter, pour the excess hot grease in the batter and stir. Then all gets poured into the hot skillet and back in the oven it goes.

            LOL, I think arashall and I had the same mom and grandmother. That was just how I was taught by them too.:o)

          2. lard for pan fried chicken....

            1. Bacon. Lots of bacon...and only wipe the pan out with a dry cloth between batches.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Novelli

                This is what I have been doing but I seem to be developing some sticky residue from the bacon. I think I need to find bacon with less sugar in it.

                1. re: Trazom

                  sounds like you need to wash it better. I cook with bacon or other fried dishes to season while cooking but I still wash it well to remove the greasy residue between using.

                2. re: Novelli

                  Good point that I fogot to make. Unless I have stuck on food bits, I just wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel.

                  1. re: Rick

                    Yesterday after cooking a pound of bacon I had a brownish sticky substance almost covering the whole bottom of the pan that had to be scraped off. I’m sure I took a good bit of the seasoning with it.

                    I tried to avoid that this time by starting with a good bit of rendered and strained bacon fat. I brought it up to temp before I added the room temp bacon to it. After cleaning the bacon residue I was left with a dull finish so I coated it with canola oil.

                    I don’t think I helped my seasoning out much

                    1. re: Trazom

                      A good way to clean nasty stuff out of a cast iron pan without ruining the seasoning is to put a couple of tablespoons of Kosher salt (large granules) and about the same amount of oil in the pan and scrub it with a folded-up paper towel.

                      1. re: tanuki soup

                        Thanks I am going to try that tonight instead of scraping with a spatula.

                        1. re: Trazom

                          I bought a small stiff brush that I like to clean mine with. Once the cast iron has cooled to a warm, not hot temp, I put just enough hot water in it to coat the bottom and scrub with the brush. Doesn't seem to have any negative impact on the seasoning. I'll usually rub a small amount of conola oil on the inside of the pans after.

                        2. re: tanuki soup

                          kosher salt does work good. I learned that from this board. Especially if you use the kosher salt and a little oil together.
                          Another great way is to pour water in your hot pan on the stove to get it simmering good. Put a lid on the pan and let it sorta steam the inside. Then scrub with the salt.

                  2. I never use soap on my older cast iron (hate the new pre-seasoned stuff) but I do use very hot water and a stiff brush to clean them. I've never had a problem and all of my cast iron pans have beautiful, satiny finish. After washing, I put a very thin layer of Crisco on the bottom of the pan, turn on the heat for about 60 seconds. Then let it cool on the burner. Keeps the seasoning and gives the pan a fabulous finish.

                    1. I have to disagree with the suggestion for bacon, especially on a new lodge, which have a rougher surface, perfect for the bacon residue you mentioned to cling to. I have cooked bacon for years on my old grisworlds and wagners, and even with those smoother surfaces and a really good, sharp spatula and the pan still at temp, the goo is hard to get off without washing. Not to say that you shouldn't ever wash cast iron, and not to say that you shouldn't ever cook bacon in your cast irons either, but I have found that the cumulative seasoning on my pans increase in quality once I started cooking my bacon elsewhere, namely in a copper/stainless mauviel, or all-clad pan, which clean much more easily. I think that if you are trying to improve the existing seasoning, stick to things cooked at high temp in oil that don't leave a residue, things like sauteed veggies, eggs, cornbread, fried chicken, etc. and avoid things that will require you to wash the pan, like steaks, bacon, etc. Also, I mentioned a sharp spatula above, and in my opinion, a good spatula makes a world of difference. If you have a sub-par spatula and can't effectively scrape the bottom of the pan during cooking the residue will build much more readily, requiring more aggressive cleaning, whereas a thin, flexible, metal spatula with a square edge that makes good contact with the surface of the pan will allow you to use the pan with fewer washings. That's just my two cents. Enjoy the new pan.