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Nov 17, 2012 04:01 PM

Do I season Carbon Steel on the outside ?

Sorry for yet another seasoning topic, but for past few days I cannot find the answerto this anywhere.
I have Debuyer Carbon Steel pan, it comes with bees wax all over it I guess to protect it before getting into customer hands.

Now, I have glass cook top range and I was about to season the pan.
My routine would be to heat water in it, and try to scrub off the wax, then pour Canola oil into hot pan and cover it all inside, then maybe cook bacon on it.

But what about outside ? There's wax on the outside of the pan as well, do I scrub it off ? do I season it with oil ?
What about the actual bottom of the pan, do you season it with oil ? because in my mind it sounds weird seasoning bottom with oil and then putting that oiled bottom on glass burner.

I never had or seasoned cast iron or carbon steel in my life.

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  1. I have steel pans that I have never seasoned on the outside. I'd assume the beeswax will burn off.

    1. I'd scrub all the beeswax off, inside and out before using. I wouldn't want to clean burned on beeswax off my glass top stove.

      1. <o I season Carbon Steel on the outside ? >

        Completely up to you. This is a personal choice. I can only tell you that I do, but this is again not a requirement -- unlike seasoning the interior surface (cooking surface).

        In the case which you want to season the exterior, you may want to do it in an oven, not on the stove top. That being said, if you simply scrubbed off the exterior beeswax, the exterior surface will eventually get seasoned.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          If I scrub the outside beeswax and do not season, will the pan rust ?

          1. re: toyopl

            <If I scrub the outside beeswax and do not season, will the pan rust ?>

            Yes, it is possible, at least a little bit. However, rusting on the outside of a pan is not really that bad. You can always remove the rust. If you are concern, you can wipe a layer of oil, and in time, it will slowly get seasoned -- even if you don't put it in oven. The heat from cooking will simply slowly season the pan, and the oil from the cooking will get on the outside.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Probably a silly question -- but if used on a gas stove, is there a fire hazard with oil on the bottom of the pan contacting the fire from the gas stove? I've also been trying to figure out how to season the bottom of my pans, but was concerned about the potential fire hazard.

              1. re: iyc_nyc

                <I've also been trying to figure out how to season the bottom of my pans, but was concerned about the potential fire hazard.>

                Alright, let me be a bit clear. If you are to season your pan in the oven, then seasoning the exterior bottom should not be an issue. After the oil has been converted to a seasoned layer, it is not a fire hazard to put on a stove.

                However, if you are to season your pan on the oven, then apply a thick layer of oil on the exterior bottom of the pan, and then put it on the stove can lead to it being lit up (fire). So you can either not apply any oil, or apply an extreme thin layer of oil (which won't lit up) -- pretty much use a paper towel to wipe it as dry as possible.

                I really won't worry too much about the bottom exterior of the pan. This is the least important section of the pan. Even if you won't intentionally season the exterior bottom, it will get seasoned from use.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Thanks, Chem! Just to ensure I'm understanding correctly -- are you sure a thin layer of oil (on the bottom of the pan) touching a flame won't light up into a fire? If so, I'm going to try that. (just don't want to set my place on fire :-)).

                  1. re: iyc_nyc

                    <are you sure a thin layer of oil (on the bottom of the pan) touching a flame won't light up into a fire?>

                    It won't lit up. There are too little oil to lit up. Apply the oil, and then wipe it dry with paper towel. Despite that you wipe it "dry", there is still a very thin film of oil as you know. This amount of tiny oil is less than the oil you tend to splatter as you cook.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Great, thanks! The splash comparison makes total sense..

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Chem could you let me know what's the process of seasoning a pan in the oven ?

                    1. re: toyopl

                      For most people (especially cast iron people), oven seasoning is the standard. I will give you a general description. Basically, very much like stove top seasoning in concept.

                      1) Clean your pan -- remove any rust or anything.
                      2) Wipe a layer of oil on the exterior and interior of the pan Tthe most common mistake here is applying too thick of layer of oil. Try to keep it as thin as possible. This part is different from the stovetop method.
                      3) Put it in oven (upside down -- cooking surface down) at 400-450 oF for 1-1.5 hour.
                      4) Take it out with an oven mitt, let it cool down. If necessary repeat one more time.

                      P.S.: you may want to place a layer of aluminum foil on a lower rack. So the pan is on the top rack, an piece of aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any oil dripping.

                      Here is a step by step process. You will only have to start with step 3:


                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Thank you, maybe I'll give the oven seasoning a try, seems to be easier and less messy than cooktop method.

                        1. re: toyopl

                          <seems to be easier and less messy than cooktop method.>

                          For newcomers, the oven method is a bit more straightfoward, but it is much slower, and give you less control.

                          I personally like stove top seasoning a bit more, especially for a wok (not that we are talking about a wok). For my Debuyer carbon steel pan, I actually did both. I did an oven seasoning just so it is easier to apply the seasoning on the exterior, and then an additional one on the stovetop, just because stovetop gives me more control, higher temperature, and faster (I don't have to wait for an hour -- just 5-10 minutes).

                          There are just so many ways to seasoning and all of them work. Have fun.