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Nov 28, 2012 04:51 AM

cast iron pan caught on fire. . I'm assuming to reseason, but what else?

Welp I learned my lesson to not pour room temp oil on a cast iron pan that's been sitting on high for 20 minutes with nothing in the pan.

This may (did) happen before, but I just bought it 2 months ago so there's no rust or anything (Lodge brand if it matters). Can I just scrape with a steel scrubber and then re season it with corn oil at 450 degrees for maybe 3 or 4 repetitions, and have my good old pan back?

Again, this happened before, and even without reseasoning it still made fried eggs with a complete nonstick cook.

This is my first post, thanks! Seems to be a cool forum.

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  1. Depending on the oil you used, the flash point can be lower then you expect.

    I'm slightly confused by you post. Were you seasoning it? If so, multiple thin coats work best for me. A "pool" of oil seems harder to work with and as you discovered can flame up.

    Not being sure of the current state of your pan, I would suggest wiping it down or even hand washing and putting it in an oven at ~350F for ~20 minutes. Then with a baking sheet underneath it, put some canola oil on a paper towel and wipe the skillet down with a pair of kitchen tongs. Close the oven door and wait ~10 minutes and repeat 2 or 3 times until you have a nice seasoning again.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Sid Post

      Thanks for the reply!

      Basically I was just mini-reseasoning it, or drying it on the burner with the attention of adding oil, which I forgot to do.

      **this may all be pointless, though, as my cast iron pan is now stuck to my roof. I live on the top level with roof access, and shoved the pan on the roof after pouring a half gallon of water on it. The water quickly made even more smoke, so I naturally figured the roof would be a great idea so as to limit further smoke in the house.

      1. re: theromanone

        Haha sounds like quite the series of events. You didn't ruin your cast iron - cast iron is virtually indestructible. You can scour it and reseason properly (plenty of info available). In regards to the water, for the record, never try to douse an oil fire with water - it will only make it worse. Smother the fire by placing a larger pan/lid over top the fire in the cast iron. You might wanna go find a crowbar and pry it loose ;).

        1. re: theromanone

          Putting cold water on a screaming hot cast iron pan could crack the pan. Also be careful of high temps for a lengthy time because you could burn off your seasoning layers. Live and learn. Cast iron is pretty forgivable. Though I have not caught anything on fire, I have made a lot of mistakes with my CI and both myself and the CI have survived it.

          Always smother a grease fire. I have known more than one cook that tryed to douse their CI in flames in their kitchen sink, only to catch the curtins on fire. Burned up the whole kitchen.

            1. re: kaleokahu

              No kidding. Second time it happened and using water to put out an oil fire? Hope the building has a good insurance policy.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Haha, made me chuckle. Yeah I'm a bit clumsy at times, aka an idiot with cooking. Lol, thanks for the replies mates.

                Maybe it was fate, as I ordered a Debuyer carbon steel pan yesterday...

                1. re: theromanone

                  Hey, Roman:

                  I think you need to be careful--this could have ended very badly. Since common sense appears to be something you're working on, I encourage you to study up on things BEFORE you just do whatever it is you think you decide to do.

                  FWIW, to rehab your pan: (1) GET THE TAR OFF THE BOTTOM OF YOUR PAN; (2) work it hard all over with coarse steel wool; (3) wash and immediately dry it; and (4) immediately start to season it. Just WIPE it with whatever oil you're using (no, not motor oil). If you can tip the pan and oil flows or sags--even a little tin bit--there's 'way too much oil. Just wipe with a paper towel until it looks empty, but still shines. Then into a 400F oven for an hour. Repeat the wipe and bake step 3 or 4 times and you should be fine. Remember, very little oil, just a light wipe!

                  I'd tell anyone else to invert the pan over a cookie sheet in the oven, but I can't have that on my conscience with you.


          1. When seasoning your pan, you should use the oven. To dry a properly seasoned pan after washing, just warm it up over a burner for only half a minute or so, and wipe with a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Do not add more oil.

            1. <Can I just scrape with a steel scrubber and then re season it with corn oil at 450 degrees for maybe 3 or 4 repetitions, and have my good old pan back? >

              The short answer is yes.

              1. I like bacon grease best for reseasoning. Apply sparingly with a paper towel, bake for one hour, then leave the pan in the oven until the temp drops all the way down. You can then do a second coat the next day. I prefer about 400 degrees for about an hour. Let your oven come to temp, then stay there about 15 minutes before you put the basted pan in.