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New Hope for LC Skillets? Stay the Execution!

kaleokahu Nov 7, 2012 11:05 AM

Last night, as a prelude to getting rid of 3 such disasters, I attempted to "season" one of my hated LC frypans (the 9.5" wood-handled Lyonnaise-style) according to the Pan Shop of Boston's instructions for their *aluminum* pans. This method worked unbelievably well with my aluminum pan, and I'd seen similar instructions on the Vollrath University website, so I thought I'd try it with the black-enameled LC. The method goes as follows:

Clean, wash and dry the pan
Warm the pan over medium heat.
When warm pour in some vegetable oil (I used about 4T) and wipe around all interior surfaces
Heat to just below the smoke point of your oil (I used an IR thermometer gun)
Turn off the heat and let sit overnight
Pour out oil
Reheat and dump in 1T of salt
When pan is hot, remove from heat and wipe oily salt around and over all interior surfaces.
Wipe all oily salt out into trash, and STOP
Do not wash again. EVER (without re-seasoning) Not even a rinse, just wipe.

As much as I've come to hate these pans, I have to admit that it *worked*--this morning's fried eggs released and slid from the pan, with very little butter added. I'll repeat the use for awahile to see how long it lasts or not, but I'm thinking we might be able to cross one maddening item off the reasons to hate these pans. It's worked so well I'm now going to try this on my tin-lined and silver-lined copper.

The unevenness problem with CI persists of course. But my woodstove's top now *is* my hob, so the whole pan pretty much gets continuously even heat within very wide limits.

Hope this method can save people some frustration and/or money.

Aloha,
Kaleo

  1. r
    rasputina Nov 7, 2012 11:44 AM

    I don't have any of the black enamel interior pans, is it really any different than the white interior? I keep hearing it is, but I don' have any personal experience to compare them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rasputina
      kaleokahu Nov 7, 2012 03:07 PM

      Hi, Rasputina: "[I]s it really any different than the white interior?"

      I'm not witting to the technical formulations of the two enamels, but yes there is a difference. IME, the black sticks more, and has a definite *texture* to the surface (as opposed to the glassy-smooth white interiors. I think LC calls the black "satin", but to me it looks more matte than that. This texture does hold on to *something* (apparently what LC calls "patina"), but that *something* hasn't done me any good until I tried this new seasoning method. The white is so smooth, at least when new, I'm not sure there's much for that "something" to hang onto.

      As I've discussed elsewhere, the black *looks* like it doesn't stain. I'll also go out on a limb here and say that I think the black may also be more scratch-resistant--because none of the many of these pans I've seen are scratched though to the underlying metal.

      Time will tell. It may well be that the bad rap on these linings has more to do with the cast iron than the enamel. If the cast iron is uneven on a given hob, it's more likely to hotspot--and stick in the center of the pan. I'll cook some on gas and on the woodstove to see if there's a difference.

      Aloha,
      Kaleo

    2. j
      jerrymcc Nov 7, 2012 11:47 AM

      what made you hate the pan? my only fear is that the enamel can crack as it's gets older. many heating cycles play havoc on coated materials. i've never seen an old well used enameled pan that was intact. as with your tinned copper, gentle use is a must, but they can be recoated. i use my iron for hours at a time and they get quite a work out. that's why i stick to solid monogamous construction. if you want to see what lasts, watch what the chefs use, in restaurants not on tv.

      6 Replies
      1. re: jerrymcc
        kaleokahu Nov 7, 2012 03:26 PM

        Hi, Jerry:

        How do I hate...? Let me count the ways.

        1. They stick like crazy. 'Way worse than even unseasoned bare cast iron.

        2. They are very hard to clean. The "patina" that develops hangs on like crazy (and BTW, it never helped with #1). You can't really tell where "patina" starts and carbonized food stops. Unless ALL you're going to do is sear in them, searing just ruins any hope of foods releasing.

        3. Seasoning them the way LC recommends doesn't help, but it does make them sticky and even harder to clean.

        4. They hotspot badly. This particular pan is OK because it's so small, but on a small (read cheap) gas hob there's often >100F difference between pan center and periphery (There's a whole thread on this by our friend athanasius).

        5. It's difficult to see the fond. And so difficult to see whether your jus is burning.

        6. The handles on the skillets are ridiculously short.

        7. The exterior enamel is prone to scuffs and scrapes if some fool even temporarily tries to nest or stack them. The handle flange on the Lyonnaise is particularly vulnerable.

        Regarding "cracking", perhaps you mean crazing? I have some enameled Descoware that's seen a ton of use with no cracking. It *does* however show some crazing on the bottom. But absolutely no cracking or chipping, even the huge yellow saute with the "flame ring" bottom.

        IME, the resto chefs are using about 95% bare aluminum, and the rest is mostly split between clad and bare cast iron. But I've yet to see a chef using Saladmaster...

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1. re: kaleokahu
          Jay F Nov 7, 2012 04:04 PM

          I have one I use nearly exclusively to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I've never seasoned it. I wipe it clean with a paper towel after each use, and wash it using a sparing amount of Seventh Generation unscented dish liquid every few weeks.

          The other day, I put in a couple of slices of French toast without first melting butter in the pan. They didn't stick at all. Not even a little.

          I don't use words like "jus" and "fond" in the same sentence with this pan, however.

          1. re: Jay F
            kaleokahu Nov 7, 2012 05:56 PM

            Hi, Jay:

            I think you have stacked the odds in your favor: exclusively low-temp use, wipe mostly, wash rarely. I wasn't so smart.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            PS Grilled cheese sounds pretty good for dinner tonight. I'll try it.

            1. re: kaleokahu
              kaleokahu Nov 8, 2012 06:45 AM

              Hey, Jay:

              The grilled cheese was good, but stuck in one place, leaving that telltale matte spot. It scraped off, but not easily, so I oiled it again. We will see...

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: kaleokahu
                Jay F Nov 8, 2012 07:56 AM

                I have never intentionally seasoned my pan. I've just made hundreds of grilled cheeses on it. And sometimes scrambled eggs, which leave one unholy mess to be cleaned up, but I like the action of scraping the eggs all the way across the surface of the pan with my flat scraper.

                I suppose I could (should?) use my bare cast iron pan for the eggs, but I'm always wanting to reseason it.

          2. re: kaleokahu
            j
            jerrymcc Nov 7, 2012 04:42 PM

            saladmaster is not a chef's choice. pro ware has large riveted handles and tend to be larger or at least heavier than any home cook requires. remember my comment on two different animals. pro ware gets beat up a lot and doesn't have to be pretty. by the way our comments on copper ware and such were removed by the moderators. have you noticed. they will remove this too i'm sure. west bend, saladmaster, lifetime and all the high price wares are strictly home cook marketed. example: a pizza delivery guy would use a fiat, certainly not a ferrari. chef's buy what cooks well and takes a beating. your copper ware would not survive that use either. saladmaster would survive but the type of handles and cost would not be suitable for pro use. design is what makes or breaks a product's usability. people here cook a couple of grilled cheese or french toast, or a few pancakes. i cook for a couple kids and extra to take to school and later for snacks. no junk food. at times that may means dozens of pancakes, french toast or grilled cheese with ham and/or tomato. it's like having a restaurant at times. when i fire up the kitchen i cook a large batch so there is always something healthy to eat. don't do snack foods at all. large pots for soup and pho, saladmasters or cuisinarts here. iron for the grille work. that's why i go for heavy duty and no touchy fancy cookware. it's all fun. don't forget the rice!

        2. BiscuitBoy Nov 8, 2012 07:36 AM

          Sheesh, I can guarantee that thing will need to be properly washed at some point, what a pain in the ass

          3 Replies
          1. re: BiscuitBoy
            kaleokahu Nov 8, 2012 10:24 AM

            Hey, BB:

            Maybe so. But then I think the idea is to redo the "seasoning". My omelet pan is going on a month now with nary a drop of water--it wipes quite clean.

            How often do you wash your wok?

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu
              BiscuitBoy Nov 8, 2012 10:48 AM

              I think of my cast iron as my dark, hi-maint girlfriend, as she gets a rinse, a salt scrub, and a quick lube after each use...but never the procedure listed above. I don't own my own wok, but woks I've used, get a brush, wipe, and put away carefully dry

              1. re: BiscuitBoy
                kaleokahu Nov 8, 2012 11:30 AM

                Hey, BB:

                LOL. Ooooh, is that the way GFs where you are (Connecticut?) like to be treated?

                Just to be clear, I'm only holding out the *possibility* that the above method might work for the black enameled CI like it does for aluminum. I think the bare CI treatment would be a little different, even if she is your GF.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

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