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Did i stuff up my De Buyer carbon steel seasoning?

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Hi all,

Sorry for yet another seasoning thread!! After reading these boards for the last month or so i realise there are quite a lot of them!! I've tried to search for the answer to my question but i cannot find what im after so i've decided just to make this thread. Any help is much appreciated. Here goes...

After a month or so of research i decided that i would opt for a De Buyer Mineral B carbon steel pan as a healthy cookware option and i only want to cook steak and maybe some fish, nothing fancy as im basically the worst cook in the world. This pan seemed the goods so i ordered one and was pumped to try it out when it arrived. I'd researched seasoning and general care of the pan and I was adamant that i was not going to stuff this up as i usually do with cookware. Anyway, once it arrived I got to work at taking the protective beeswax coating off as i'd learnt you need to (bloody hard to do but i think i got most of it off). Then i went down and bought some canola oil and went about seasoning the sucker. I decided to use this guys method instead of De Buyers recommended one as i liked the look of the finished product.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoIO8Y...

This may have been a stupid idea as it's not how i wanted it be!! Maybe this method wasn't right with the beeswax coating (which im sure a small amount of still remained). The oil wasn't quite as smooth as i thought it should be and it was a bit sticky to touch...

The first picture below is what it looked like after about 3 or so coats. The next 2 pictures are what it looks like after i did about 7 coats and then had a crack at cooking a fat steak on it.

When i was cooking the steak it stuck a bit but when i'd finished the cooking the stuck on bits came of easily with a nylon spatula but half the seasoning on the bottom of the pan had just gone. I'm not sure whether i'd seasoned it incorrectly or if my useless cooking ability (I tried to cook it for about 30 mins but it wouldn't cook and it was smoking, hissing and horrible and i ended up giving up and throwing it out) had stuffed it up.

Basically what i would like to know is......

1. Have i stuffed it up?

2. If i have, how do i fix it?

3. If i need to start over what is the best way to get it back to it's pre-seasoned state without ruining the pan or affecting my health (which is one of the main reasons i chose this pan)? i.e. can i use steel wool, harsh detergents etc..

4. Also the bottom of the pan has gone quite bronzey in colour and has like purpley blueish sort of swirls and spots and thing on it as you can see in the last picture. Is this normal? (I didn't clean much of the beeswax off the bottom so i don't know if that matters

)

Thanks so much for any help i get in advance and sorry for the length. I'm absolutely useless in the kitchen and would love to change this so if you gurus on here could help me sort out my pan woes i would be extremely grateful!!!!

 
 
 
 
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  1. No worries! Your first picture looks like you did not heat your pan enough. Don't baby it. Let it smoke a good bit and go from a tacky brown to a nice dark black. The last picture is normal for ~high heat. The rainbow effect can been seen in most carbon steels and some stainless steels - it's normal.

    The middle two pictures look like the seasoning just isn't "set" yet. Again, don't baby it on the stove!

    When I came home with my Debuyer Mineral pans, my mother was very troubled thinking I was "ruining" my brand new pans that I had never cooked in! I put a thin coat of oil (canola I think) on and left them on the the burner set on HIGH until it was all carbonized and black, and repeated, and repeated.

    When your pan is relatively new, don't play with your steak. Slap one down and let it cook. When the crust is formed, flip it over and repeat. As you noted, the "stuck bits" lifted with a nylon spatula. If you don't "pry" your steak up early, you can flip it with the same nylon spatula.

    1. I would wash all that sticky stuff out, perhaps with washing soda. Then I would treat it just once with Crisco shortening, as follows: heat pan in oven; melt Crisco in pan; wipe melted Crisco around with paper towels, removing all excess; bake for awhile. Then just use the pan with whatever cooking oil you prefer.

      1. <I decided to use this guys method instead of De Buyers recommended one as i liked the look of the finished product.>

        I speed watched the video, and it seems very similar to the traditional Chinese wok seasoning method, which should be perfectly fine. I have seasoned my DeBuyer pan closer to a Chinese wok seasoning method than the DeBuyer official method. Here was my DeBuyer pan (see the photos).

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7418...

        and this was my wok just to give you some perspective:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8348...

        <I tried to cook it for about 30 mins but it wouldn't cook and it was smoking, hissing and horrible>

        To be honest, I have no idea what you meant. You seem to say it was fine when you were cooking your steak, and then you said that the pan cannot cook for the next batches of food. What do you mean by it wouldn't cook? The pan won't heat up? That I do not believe. So what does it mean?

        <1. Have i stuffed it up?>

        I don't know your definition of "stuffed", but you did not permanently damage the pan. The seasoning process, however, could have been done differently.

        <2. If i have, how do i fix it?>

        Season it again.

        <3. If i need to start over what is the best way to get it back to it's pre-seasoned state without ruining the pan or affecting my health (which is one of the main reasons i chose this pan)? i.e. can i use steel wool, harsh detergents etc..>

        You can use the steel wool or harsh chemical to remove the existing seasoning, or you can use the self-cleaning oven method which is a bit easier, but that will create some smoke in your kitchen -- so open the windows. Now, that being said, you may not have to reseason from scratch.

        <4. Also the bottom of the pan has gone quite bronzey in colour and has like purpley blueish sort of swirls and spots and thing on it as you can see in the last picture. Is this normal?>

        Don't worry about the purple bluish color. It is fine. I can give you a very lengthy explanation, but the short answer is that everything is fine.

        Now, beside the questions you have asked for, I am going to say a few things. First, based on your first photo, it seems your issue is that the pan seasoning wasn't done longer or hotter. It looks like the oil was partially heated, but the seasoning process could have use a bit longer. This MAY explain why the a significantly amount of your seasoning fall off during the first cooking in photo 2 and 3. Another possible reason is that the seasoning may have fall off because you were using some acidic solution during your first cooking -- were you using some vinegar based sauce or lemon sauce?

        Finally what is the fourth and final photo? Why does it look different than the 2nd and 3rd photos?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          "Finally what is the fourth and final photo? Why does it look different than the 2nd and 3rd photos?"

          The pan is upside down to show the heat colorization.

          I suspect the original poster is Australian or some other former British colony. I believe "Stuffed up" means messed up or screwed up in local parlance.

          1. re: Sid Post

            Thanks. Silly me. I didn't realize the last photo is the upside down view.

        2. Thanks Sid. I did baby it a bit, mainly because everywhere i looked at seasoning tips they just said to let heat it until the oil smokes but they never said how long to let it smoke for so i just left it to smoke for like 30secs and then took it off the heat... Also you are correct in the Australian assumption and with what stuffed up means and with what the 4th picture is! haha!!

          Chemical, thanks so much for the info, really appreciate it. I feel more confident with it now. Thanks for the links too.
          You said that i may not have to strip and start from scratch. Any suggestions if go down this path? Also if i do start from scratch which cleaning method would you suggest to get it back to its pre-seasoned state?

          Also i wasn't cooking anything acidic, just the steak by itself. And when i say it didn't cook, it did eventually but it took a lot longer than it should i think and was tough and not very nice. It was a very fat piece of rib eye though so maybe i should have had the pan hotter to begin with?

          Thanks again!

          7 Replies
          1. re: tedston

            "And when i say it didn't cook, it did eventually but it took a lot longer than it should i think and was tough and not very nice. It was a very fat piece of rib eye though so maybe i should have had the pan hotter to begin with?"

            That explains your steak problem very well. With low heat and a long time, you are essentially "over cooking" the steak which will dry it out and make it tough. The meat "fibers" are essentially tightening up and locking into each other and turned your nice steak into a tough piece of meat. DON'T BABY YOUR NEW PAN!!!

            Get your new pan really hot; Very very hot. Take your room temperature seasoned Ribeye and slap it down in the pan and don't touch it until you get a good sear on that side. Then flip it over and repeat. Don't play with it, let it sit and sear until it lifts easily with a nice crust. With a really nice thick Ribeye or similar cut of meat (especially if it is THICK), you really need a good sear to lock in the meat juices so you have a moist, juicy, tender steak.

            I have made some really killer steaks that rival high end restaurants by doing the high heat sear in a pan (or cast iron skillet) to seal the steak. Then I put it in the oven with a pad of real butter (not margarine) to finish cooking it. Flavored butter that can take the oven heat can turn out really nice but, make sure the herbs or other flavors can take oven heat.

            In closing:
            Especially if your stove top burner is a little weak, let the pan sit on the burner until it is screaming hot! You need high heat to seal the meat. A medium heat in the pan just won't do it. Don't start with a steak straight out of the cooler, room temperature is the way to go.

            1. re: tedston

              <Any suggestions if go down this path?>

              First question, is the pan surface still smooth or is it rough? If it is rough, then scarp off the burned on foods with a plastic scarper or an old credit card or something. Once the surface is relatively smooth, perform the stovetop seasoning one more time, and you should be ready to cook again.

              <Also if i do start from scratch which cleaning method >

              I find the self-cleaning oven the easiest. It is not the fastest, but it is easier. Just stick your pan in the oven, turn on the self-cleaning cycle, in 1-2 hour you can stop it, and most of the seasoning surface should be burned off or loosen up.

              <i should have had the pan hotter to begin with?>

              Probably. I like to heat the empty pan smoking hot (literally starts to see a touch of smoke coming off the pan), and then add oil, and then add the steak.

              Good luck.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Don't use the oven self cleaning cycle on your De Buyer Mineral pans. That will mess up the lacquer on the handle. ;-)

                1. re: Sid Post

                  <Don't use the oven self cleaning cycle on your De Buyer Mineral pans. That will mess up the lacquer on the handle. ;-)>

                  Excellent point. I forgot about it, and of course the silicone button as well.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Thankfully you guys over-estimate my experience in the kitchen. I don't even know how to turn the oven on let alone turn on a "self-cleaning cycle"!! I had a go at just doing a couple of coats of the seasoning without stripping it first but i'm not overly happy with the result. I'm cooking a steak on it tonight though so i'll see how it goes.

                    Any suggestions on an alternative method to the oven one if i do decide to start over?

                    1. re: tedston

                      <I don't even know how to turn the oven on let alone turn on a "self-cleaning cycle"!! >

                      Well, some ovens do not come with the self cleaning option, but this is getting rarer and rarer now.

                      <Any suggestions on an alternative method to the oven one if i do decide to start over?>

                      Well, you can in fact strip the seasoning on stovetop by pure heat -- analogous to self cleaning oven. It is dangerous, so I won't recommend you to do this. I do this because it is fast. Aside from the self-cleaning method, I guess your other easy option is to use oven cleaner or lye in a plastic bag:

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5967...

                      I have not persoanlly done this, but I don't see any reason why this won't work.

                      1. re: tedston

                        I'm interested in how this steak turns out. Don't baby your pan!!! Sear the steak on both sides, baste with some butter and finish in the oven. Pretty easy and very delicious. ;-)

              2. I am curious why you need to remove the beeswax. It is used in cooking (think caneles). I just tore off the label, turned on the heat, threw in some coarse salt, and tossed in a steak. Never looked back. I just gets better and better with use.

                2 Replies
                1. re: tim irvine

                  Beeswax is safe for most people but, I don't want any manufacturing lubricants or accumulated debris in my food. I always wash a new pan before first use - better safe then sorry.

                  1. re: tim irvine

                    Beeswax is definitely safe, so I agree with you on this. I put beeswax on my cutting board if you remember. In my view, it is likely to be easier to season a pan if the beeswax has been removed, instead of waiting it to melt during the cooking and then have the oil to kind of season the pan.

                    That being said, many people do just that. You can indeed just directly cook on an unseasoned pan and hope the seasoning slowly put on the pan. However, in my experience, I found it is better to build the first layer in a separate process instead of part of the cooking -- yes, I have tried both ways.