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Black stuff on cast iron?

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Hey guys, so I've had a cast iron pan for a while. I love it. However, there's just a black... coating? that just won't go away. I've tried washing it off with hot water and soap and then reseasoning it again... but it always has this black gunk that seems to come off when i clean it with salt at the end of a cook. Because of this, I've always been afraid to make gravy or do anything that requires a lot of liquid or deglazing the pan.

Is this normal?

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  1. If the black substance you're talking about is in "flake" form, then you may need some additional attention.

    If it's just "color" that you get on a paper towel when wiping out the pan, then it's normal and you're good to go.

    I don't think twice about making gravy in my CI. If I plan on searing something and then deglazing the pan, I often choose stainless simply because that's what I like to use for that job.

    1. I like to agree with JayL. If you have black flakes coming off, then it is not desirable. It means the seasoning layer is peeling off -- due to multiple reasons. If you are referring to black powder when you wipe the pan with a papertowel, then it is normal.

      2 Replies
        1. re: darrentran87

          In my experience, they don't come off in large quantity. Yes, if I use a paper towel (especially with oil) and rub the pan, then you will see the brown/black color, but that is because I press the paper towel on the pan. If you boil water, you are not going to see the water turning black. So it is not a huge problem for me.

      1. What you are experiencing sound pretty normal to me.

        Just don't deglaze with an acid and you will be fine.

        1. I experience the tiny bits of black too, and it seems normal. They are not visible in a sauce made in my CI skillets.

          However, if you have huge flakes coming off, that's a whole different problem. I have some antique skillets and have pulled whole chunks of built-up debris off of them. Several years ago I finally took a putty knife and chipped everything off that I could (from both the inside and outside) and reseasoned the whole thing. Didn't seem to affect how any of the food turned out, it just made my slightly OCD self feel better about using the pan.

          http://s58.photobucket.com/user/Laure...

          1 Reply
          1. re: LaureltQ

            I have picked up pans that were gunked up -- I have found that the self-clean cycle of the oven does a great job of cleaning them up. You need to completely reseason immediately when done (oh, let them cool, of course, but not sit around, or they will rust).