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Mar 19, 2012 05:13 PM

Lodge Preseasoned Cast Iron

I just bought a couple of Lodge skillets and they are preseasoned. I have so far simply rinsed with hot water, dried and used olive oil for storing and have just cooked bacon in each. After I have boiled a small amount of water and then scrubbed with a brush using hot water and then dried and the olive oil again.

I've read a lot of different things here regarding the preseasoned skillets and most to clean off the preseaoning. Should I start from scratch, scrub away with a steel wool pad?

Reccomendations please from those in the know.

I have a friend who has Lodge and they work great but she doesn't think they were preseasoned when she got them, she's had them a few years now.

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  1. I take a slightly unconventional approach to seasoning cast iron. Several years ago a friend contacted Lodge to get their advice on seasoning his cast iron and this is what they told him.

    To get that hard, slick, black cure, follow these steps:

    1.) For a new skillet, wash and rinse thoroughly. Make sure the skillet is bone dry before trying to cure.

    2.) Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place cold skillet in oven while it is preheating. Check on it every couple of minutes. You want to pull it out when it is very warm, but not too hot to handle comfortably.

    3.) Remove skillet from oven, put 1 table spoon of Crisco in the center of the pan. Let it melt most of the way.

    4.) Smear the Crisco over every surface and into every nook and cranny. You want an ultra-thin coating. You want to be able to feel it on the iron, but not see it.

    5.) Place into a 500 degree oven and let it bake for 2 hours. Turn on your vent, it may smoke a little bit as the Crisco breaks down.

    6.) Leave the skillet in the oven until it is completely cool. For some reason, the iron reacts better to a long, slow cool down time.

    7.) Repeat this process at least one more time before using the skillet for the first time.

    8.)For the first actual use, brown ground beef,fry bacon, or, best of all, fry a chicken. After cooking, wipe out the accumulated fat and bits until a paper towel comes out reasonably clean.

    9.) Wipe down with pure canola oil, not Pam or anything other than pure canola oil. Again, you want the thinnest possible coating of oil. I've found that several canola oil sprays leave a nasty residue on the metal if it reaches a certain temperature, but pure canola oil doesn't. Repeat this step after every single use.

    DO NOT, i repeat, DO NOT cure the cast iron with ordinary canola, peanut, or vegetable oil. Using these will result in a sticky, brown, uneven cure.

    Crisco is best (well, bacon grease and lard are best but they go rancid).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Leepa

      Is this for the preseasoned skillets? Usually a manufacturer won't go into something that defeats the purpose of a selling point and that being preseasoned.

      I totally understand the baking method but want to rid the pans of everything that shouldn't be there, but I'm not going to machine them with grinders and all the rest like I've seen in a few posts here.

      1. re: pretzel_logic

        Check my post below. Lodge doesn't tell people to do this (from their words) because the smoke and high heat might tend to freak them out. To me, the problem with the usual method is it often leaves a sticky uneven brown cure that takes quite a long time to develop into a mature black slick cure.

        If you don't have a self-clean oven, then you can put them in a hot hot hot gas grill for an hour or so. Or, though I've not done it, I've heard of people spraying them with oven cleaner, putting them in a dark trash bag, and letting them sit and then scrubbing the seasoning off. I'm not sure I'd go that route though. Another thing I would never do is grind the surface off. No reason to go to those lengths when the other methods are pretty easy. All that being said, I've done this method over preseasoned Lodge cookware and gotten the same results. Usually, I do it three times rather than the two in their suggestion.

    2. I meant to add that I have done this seasoning over the preseasoning that Lodge offers on their cookware now with good results. If you don't want to do that, you can run the preseasoned cookware through the oven on cleaning mode and that will take all the preseasoning off and then go from there.

      Usually I do this on a day that I can devote to seasoning and do several pieces at once. Open the windows! Expect smoke, especially early in the process. But it works great, gives you that slick black bulletproof cast iron. You'd think it was someone's grandmother's cast iron it's so good.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Leepa

        Thanks again and I think I will do the cleaning mode after actually cleaning the pans with a little soap and water to get rid of what I've already done.

        1. re: pretzel_logic

          There are many seasoning cast iron threads on Chowhound. I beg of you to read them instead of continuing this thread ; ) They can be mind numbing, so read them just a little at a time.

          1. re: John E.

            My apologies, John E. I've been looking at the site rules, etc. and fail to see where one is required to read all the threads and posts on a particular subject before starting a new thread. Can you point me to that?

            1. re: Leepa

              I was attempting humor. Please notice the emoticon. There are many threads about seasonibg cast iron. I have participated in some of them. They do seem to get into minutia in the same manner as the knife threads. I did not intend to offend.

              1. re: John E.

                John E, I was just trying to help a newcomer (or at least someone who had never posted here before) out with some info that perhaps they hadn't already seen elsewhere. Now that you have given them a primer on what to do in the future, I'm sure they'll never make that mistake again. : )

                1. re: Leepa

                  I understand how some of these boards work and hold no ill will against someone putting there 2 cents in especially when they do say to read other threads. I'm a newcomer here and did read other threads but thought what the heck, I didn't see any one one thread that pertained to the new pre seasoned pans, saw it brought up but then usually many just said the pans blow. People have their favorites and that's fine. My friend has the Lodge pans and I've used them and they are awesome, eggs slip right out of the skillet. What I usually have a problem with is the people who say throw the pans away or grind them down, that's going overboard because any cast iron pan will work in time most likely.

                  I was asking more about if I should do different than what Lodge says but do know that simply using them is still the best way to season them. I'm sure it will take a lot of cooking to get them 2 years old like my friends skillets.

              2. re: Leepa


                You are correct that it is impossible to read all the previous threads before posting on a particular subject. I believe John E knows this which is why he tried to strike an exaggerated tone. It is, however, important to notice that some of the previous threads contain very insightful information. So please don't take it personally. I suppose the humor was lost in the translation.

                In term of your specific question, it is entirely up to your experience. The preseasoning was done for two main reasons. (a) for customers to able use the cookware right away (b) for cookware storage without rusting.

                The Lodge preseason surface can be inconsistent in my experience. I have three Lodge cookware and have seen a few from my friends. Some good, and some bad. If you don't have any trouble, then please continue to use it. The reason why people like me prefer to stripe the original coating and to start from scratch is a preemptive measure. You see. If the original preseason coating is bad, then subsequent coating on it will eventually fall off too. Since it can take awhile to find out if the preseason coating is any good, I decide to remove it instead of risking days and weeks of work.

                Again, if you have not experienced any trouble, then you don't have to remove the preseason surface.

                If you do want to remove it, then probably the easiest method is to "bake out" the preseason layer. Put the cookware in an oven, turn on the self-cleaning cycle, and it will burn off the preseason layer in a 2-3 hours. Please prepare to open the window, as it will smell a bit.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  CK, my comment was mainly because I continue to remain befuddled by the treatment (not necessarily in this thread) some newcomers get when they come to Chowhound and ask a question. It's not exactly welcoming. Is there some limit on the number of threads that can be started? Is space being wasted on duplicate threads? < not entirely serious here

                  I've been around this here Internet for a long while now and have taken part in many communities and haven't seen it happen anywhere as often as I have here. I just don't get it and am kind of thankful that I don't.

                  1. re: Leepa


                    Your comment is well put. I also agree with you that some newcomers get rough treatments on this site from time to time. So I agree with you in term of the big picture. However, the little I know John E is that he is one of nicer people on this site. I am quiet sure that he was being funny and was not really asking you to read other threads before starting this one. It would be out of his character if he was serious. Problem is that his joke only makes sense if you get to know him. Yes, there are a few people here who really would have meant it, but John E is not one of them.

                    So yes, I agree that people on this site should be/can be friendlier. I just think in this particular case that John E's humor didn't come across. He is really mellow. I have no doubt that if I put a rabbit and him in a cage that the rabbit will beat him up.

                    I also think John E has already apologized to you for any offense he may have made. Maybe you can forgive his unintentional mistake? :)

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Certainly. I didn't intend to imply that he in particular meant any kind of offense. We all know that, unfortunately, our typewritten words don't always come across with our original intent. The author supplies the words and can only hope that the reader receives their message in the spirit in which it was sent.

                      So, now let's all join hands and have a kumbaya moment. : D

                    2. re: Leepa

                      Leepa, again, I made what apparently was a poor attempt at humor. I do not know the posting history of the OP. I don't really know to what it is that you refer about newcomers here. (I don't wish to be given any example either). If you assumed my intentions were anything other than what I have said, well, you made a wrong assumption. When I first started posting here almost exactly two years ago, I did not notice any special treatment of newcomers. I seem to be welcomed for my input. Some of the cookware threads get into detail that is just too much for me so I posted what was intended to be a funny comment.

                      1. re: John E.

                        My apologies to you, John E. No examples forthcoming. Apparently I mistook your original post as one of the posts that I am sensitive to. Mea culpa. And again, my sincerest apologies.

                        1. re: Leepa

                          I am sorry too. I did not read the posts between you and Chem until many hours after I posted the reply to you. I probably should read all of the new posts before responding to any of them.

                          1. re: John E.

                            :) That is ok. We are used to being ignored. :D Cheers.

          2. Burning off what's on the pan and starting from scratch.
            Look at the list of related discussions listed at the bottom of the thread list for detailed discussions on how what and where to reseason your pan

            6 Replies
            1. re: scubadoo97

              I am now working on a lodge pan that the factory seasoning is coming off. I thought
              I was getting away with leaving it on, but after using it for several months, it is now
              coming off and taking my seasoning with it. Instead of starting over, I am attempting
              to scrub off the loose stuff and just keep going. We will see how that experiment
              goes. My recommendation is to get the factory seasoning off and start with
              a bare pan. So far all 4 preseasoned lodge pans have done this. This little pan
              just took longer to loose it's factory seasoning.

              1. re: dixiegal

                Yeah, that is/was my concern, which lead me to strip the original seasoning coating from the very start.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Wonder why that factory season turns loose at some point. Supposedly it is some kind of vegetable oil. Maybe the pans have something still on them from when they were making them that makes the coating come off. Sure is aggrevating. It was easier with the old ones to scrub off that wax kind of coating they put on there. You can't just scrub off the seasoning that easy.
                  And the pans say "ready to use". I don't what they are 'ready to use' for, but it sure isn't cooking. No wonder people new to cast iron are confused and put off by cast iron cooking or choose to go with vintage or used ones.
                  The only thing a brand new Lodge pan is ready for, is throwing at stray dogs or a prowler.:o)

                  That is the only compalint I have about Lodge pans. The preseasoning and wrong instructions on seasoning their cast iron.

                  Once the preseasoning is off and new seasoning layers are on, the pan is great. I can fry and saute anything I want to without a bit of trouble. And it jsut keeps getting better and better.

                  1. re: dixiegal

                    "Wonder why that factory season turns loose at some point. "

                    I don't think they all do. I think some work, and some don't. Interesting, my non-Lodge cast iron skillet (by Calphalon) original preseasoned coating held up very well. It wasn't until 1-2 year later that I read about "lard" is supposed to be better, then I stripped off that seasoning. In short, I did strip off that seasoned surface, but I really did not have too. (also, I didn't really notice lard is that much better).

                    "You can't just scrub off the seasoning that easy. "


                    "And it jsut keeps getting better and better."


                    Hey, Dixiegal, can I assume your name means you are from the South? If so, then you should be knowledgeable about cast iron seasoning by the merely of people surrounding you in real life. :)

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      >Hey, Dixiegal, can I assume your name means you are from the South?<

                      Yep, the hills of Tennessee to be exact. Yes, cast iron was about all I knew until my teenage years when my mom baught our first teflon skillet. I learned to cook in cast iron and stainless steel for boiling, And that teflon skillet was a wonder to behold.
                      I laughin my adult years as I learned of the wonders of all the different seasonigs. When I was growing up, the only seasonings we had was, salt, pepper, and bacon grease. LOL. But when ya got bacon grease for flavor, you don't really need anything else. No wonder there is 'hardning of the arteries' in my family.
                      In my adult years, and with education, I am cooking much healthier than my ancestors. Bacon grease is now just reserved for a little flavoring in some greens, and sometimes beans.(and to season my CI) That is probably why my cast iron requires more maintenance than my moms, aunts and grandparents. About the only time it sees pork fat, is when I season it. Which I do more often because I don't cook with it, and vegetable oils, just don't seem to work as well for me. Except when I saute or fry something in peanut oil. That works really well. I don't use it anymore though, since having a grandbaby with nut allergies.
                      Most of the time I just use grapeseed oil or coconut oil. Nether seem to benefit the pan much. But it benefits me.

                      I love the food prepared in CI. It just gives a taste and texture like no other. My mother in law had a cast iron wood stove that she sometimes cooked on in the winter. The food was absolutely fabulous and I was intrigues as to how to cook on that thing. As you had no control over the heat. She even made and baked biscuits in it. Bread in a CI wood oven is heavenly. The house smelled wonderful, with the wood smell and the food all mixed together.

                      1. re: dixiegal

                        "Most of the time I just use grapeseed oil or coconut oil"

                        Same here for grapeseed oil.

                        " As you had no control over the heat"

                        Probably a lot of tending

            2. I would also start from bare metal. You'll know from the beginning of the season what went on the pan and get the benefit of doing it yourself. Make a mistake? Well, you get to learn something with a minimum investment in time, then can apply your knowledge to pans/cast iron picked up a garage sales.

              I know that many recommend the cantor method but for the first few times you season on your own - just stick with crisco. You can develop your own methodology from there, up to and including the 5 coats of flax seed oil treatment.

              Good luck!

              1. Think I am just going to start from scratch, bake the pans in clean mode and then season. I'd hate to have the original season fail and have to start over later. I have plenty of bacon grease I can use but may try the flaxseed seasoning and go from there, lots of cooking.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pretzel_logic

                  I think that's a great plan of action. Cowboyardee has a good take on the "Cantor" method which allows you to do multiple layers in less time.