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How does one treat a "pre-seasoned" cast iron pan?

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frank113 May 30, 2012 08:35 AM

Lodge now seems to only sell factory seasoned cast iron pans. Do they ever need to be reseasoned, as do regular cast iron pans?( (I assume they should be cleaned the same way after use.) Thanks in advance.

  1. Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2012 08:45 AM

    What a tough question. This has been asked many times, and the truth is that there is no one good answer for it.

    In an ideal world, these preseasoned cookware do not need to be seasoned for the initial use, and they do not require intentional re-seasoning unless the seasoned surface starts to wear off.

    In the real world, Lodge does a "hit or miss" job on the preseasoning process. So you could end up with a pan with poor preseasoning and will need to strip the preseasoned surface in the future, and start from scratch.

    I find myself just go ahead and strip the preseasoned surface and season the pan on day 1.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      f
      frank113 May 30, 2012 02:04 PM

      Thanks. I was leaning that way. Off to re-pre-seaon.

    2. kaleokahu May 30, 2012 04:29 PM

      I say plenty of bed rest.

      1. scubadoo97 Jun 3, 2012 11:41 AM

        Personally I would strip it and apply my own seasoning

        1. d
          dixiegal Jun 4, 2012 08:42 AM

          yep the preseasoned pans should be treated through out the life of the pan as any other cast iron pan.
          My experiance with the pre-seasoned, is that it needs more seasoning layers than comes on the pan. It appears to me that the factory-preseason is more for the purpose of keeping the pans from rusting. Much like in the past when it had a wax like coating on the pan that needed to be removed before seasoning the pan.
          I have just added my seasoning layers to the top of the factory seasoning, but found that after a short time it comes off. It is as if the factory seasoning is not stable or something. For it eventually pops off, taking my seasoning off with it. Sort of like a bad paint job..

          So I recomend just getting the factory seasoning off and starting brand new with your own.

          1. SanityRemoved Jun 4, 2012 08:56 AM

            To me it's a question of how comfortable are you starting from scratch, the processes and the time.

            If not comfortable then I would leave it as is and use it and re-season as necessary. If you are aware of the time and effort to start from scratch then the choice is yours.

            While, as Chem pointed out, Lodge's preseasoning isn't perfect it does satisfy two problems of the past with their pans. It eliminates the step of removing a protective coating and you can cook immediately if so desired after a light washing.

            Skillets and griddles are the easiest to strip and season, any of the grill pans or cornbread stick pans I wouldn't waste my time.

            1. MikeB3542 Jun 4, 2012 04:00 PM

              My two cents is that a lot depends on your expectations.

              First off, this ONLY APPLIES TO PANS, SKILLETS AND GRIDDLES. Things like Dutch ovens, which are used "wet" have a different seasoning "curve"...every time you do something like, stew, chili or a braise, you really do a number on the seasoning. The steamy moist acidic environment will soften and break down even the best seasoning. My strategy is to alternate uses...chili followed by popcorn followed by stew followed by no-knead bread, for instance. The idea is to work in "dry" applications that build the seasoning back up.

              If you will be sad and irritable when your pan loses the jet black patina it gets from the factory pre-season, then my recommendation is to use it until you are unhappy with the look. Depending on how you use your pan, this may happen within the first few uses, or never. When it looks awful, scour the pan to remove loose carbon (no need to scour all the finish off), then re-season to your hearts content.

              If you don't care what your pan looks like, just keep using it; clean, dry and lightly oil after each use. Eventually it all comes out in the wash...with use, the pan will blacken and be smooth as butter.

              I really like the factory pre-season, but do admit that it holds up like any initial seasoning that you would do (that is to say, not well). It definitely beats the hell out of "traditionally" finished cast iron that was coated in paraffin or mineral oil...what a stinky, smell, smoky mess that was.

              Anyhow, I think multiple strippings, re-seasonings, and other treatments (sanding the surface down, for example, to get the kind of smooth surface that Griswold and Wagner offered a half-century ago) is a waste of time and energy, but do whatever it takes to make you happy.

              6 Replies
              1. re: MikeB3542
                d
                dixiegal Jun 5, 2012 10:19 AM

                I agree mikeb on sanding and such. I have even given up on stripping my new pans of factory seasoning. I just put several coats of seasoning over the top of it, and as it begins to flake off, I scrub off the loose and just keep seasoning over the top. It causes an uneven finish and look for a while, but it cooks just fine. I don't really care so much what it looks like. Over time, it all turns out black.
                I do find that using the pan without more seasoning over the top of the factory seasoning, causes the food to stick really bad. Then when I soak and scrub off the mess, I scrub off the factory seasoning in places, and then I have to season it again. So I just bake on a few seasoning layers on top before I ever cook in it the first time.

                1. re: dixiegal
                  kaleokahu Jun 5, 2012 10:22 AM

                  a/k/a strip-as-you-go...

                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    d
                    dixiegal Jun 7, 2012 08:17 AM

                    >a/k/a strip-as-you-go...<

                    LOL, yea, pretty much.............

                    Another note. In remembering my mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc. cast iron. None of it was totaly even surface either. Since seasoning and use of the pan are both on going, you get some areas more worn than others, and grease build up in other areas. Alot like a grill that is used a lot.

                    We just have to remember that seasoning of cast iron never really ends. It isn't like a paint job or baked on enamel, where once the finish is done, it is done.
                    I find myself seasoning my pans a lot more often than those before me. Because I don't cook like they did or as often. ( Well, I do sometimes cook like they did, as a special treat.)
                    I don't fry and cook everything in bacon grease and lard. So my pans get rubbed down with the lard and baked in the oven as needed. My mom and grandmothers only did this when they had a newly stripped pan. Just their everyday, and all day cooking with pork fat, kept their cast iron in good shape.

                  2. re: dixiegal
                    w
                    wiselad Jun 15, 2012 12:03 AM

                    I just started using the same method. My hope is that I won't have to ever completely strip the seasoning and just keep building on the factory seasoning with use. Has your seasoning stabilized to the point where the seasoning basically doesn't come off anymore?

                    1. re: wiselad
                      d
                      dixiegal Jun 15, 2012 08:20 AM

                      >Has your seasoning stabilized to the point where the seasoning basically doesn't come off anymore?<

                      It seems to have become stable now. At first it would seem to come loose in one area, like the inside bottom. I scrubbed off what I could, reapplied the lard and started baking it on. After a few layers, I started using it. Then the outside bottom and partialy up the sides started coming off, so I repeated the process, then next was the rim and a little ways down the sides as well as a few flakes off the handle. So I guess, over time, I have slowly replaced all the factory seasoning. LOL I have not had anything flake off in a long time now.
                      I am now going through a similar process with my 30 something year old dutch oven that I decided to follow the method of baking on the seasoning at higher temps to produce the harder and more matte finish. At first I thought it was great. Nice matte finish, very black and ohhh so hard. Thennnnn........that started flaking off. (oh and food was slightly sticky in the pot too) The higher temps made the seasoning layers brittle in places. So give me the not so hard and a nice black shiney finish. I tell you, I can cook anything that can be cooked in cast iron and it will turn out beautiful. I even boil some vegetables in my bare CI dutch oven. Gives them a wonderful flavor.

                      After that happened, I remembered that was what my cast iron that I was trying to bake off the seasoning layers looked like. Very black with a dull finish.

                      One thing I have learned on this board. There seems to be several ways to season and care for CI. But I am only able to get one way to work for me. Using lard(mostly what I use), bacon grease, crisco shortening, or peanut oil. Bake in oven at a medium to medium high heat (about 400 to 425 degrees and do it for at least a couple of hours. Longer is better for me.) Sometimes if I have a newly seasoned pan, I will just leave it in the oven while I am baking something else in another pan. It seems the heating and cooling off helps to set the seasoning. It mimics using the pan. But I don't use all my pans daily, so this is how I get the new ones seasoned.

                      1. re: dixiegal
                        w
                        wiselad Jun 15, 2012 09:14 AM

                        Thanks dixiegal. I've got three CI pans from Lodge that were pre-seasoned. The first two I tried to just started using them without purposely adding any seasoning and with both of them, the factory seasoning started to wear off quickly. So I stripped those pans with an oven cycle and applied my own thorough seasoning technique and they've performed great ever since. The third piece is a 10 inch skillet that I just bought and decided to see if I could build on the factory seasoning first before using it. I baked three layers on in the oven and then cooked up a steak on it. A little bit of the seasoning came off, so I baked in another layer in the oven and then fried bacon and an egg on the skillet. The bacon slid around with very little sticking. The fried egg just stuck a little, but was very easy to dislodge without breaking with my turner.

                2. j
                  jester99 Jun 8, 2012 08:37 AM

                  i recently got a lodge preseason 12 inch skillet. I loosely followed the SeriousEats reseasoning guide and from what I read. Basically I poured some salt into the pan and rubbed it down, cleaned it off and then started seasoning it. Used both veggie oil and lard did it about 4 times. Cookes nicely and I pretty much use it all the time. I want to bake with it but apparently, not too many reicpes for 12 inch cornbread or cakes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jester99
                    d
                    dixiegal Jun 11, 2012 10:27 AM

                    I roast veggies in mine. Instead of frying potatoes, I roast them in the oven. I have even made 12 inch cornbread before. We would eat some, and I would freeze the rest to use to make cornbread dressing. Or just to thaw and eat. Or might use the leftover cornbread to feed the birds. I also made a kinda of taco, hamburger casserole that had cornbread on top, in my cast iron.

                    I use my cast iron in place of baking dishes all the time. Bread is wonderful baked in cast iron. I have smaller sizes of CI skillets for smaller portions. I popped pop corn in my CI dutch oven over the weekend. Worked beautifully and the popcorn tasted great.

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