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Oct 30, 2013 06:23 PM

Cast Iron Skillet Failure

I have a unknown make cast iron skillet that continually flakes off the seasoning in the center about 4' in diameter.
I have used a disc grinder many times to take the surface to bare metal and seasoned it carefully. Used on low heat, fried eggs, it is good. But when searing meat , the center seasoning flakes off and every thing sticks. Any ideas before I chuck it and buy a Lodge?

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  1. Most of the time, the seasoning process really has next-to-nothing to do with the iron. It may has a little to do with surface, but smoothing the surface certainly does not help. You can get the Lodge, but I don't think Lodge itself is the solution.

    There are many reasons why seasoning flaking can occur.

    First of all, you will need to start from scratch. A common reason for seasoning flaking is that the base seasoning (first few layer) was incorrectly built. So you want to eliminate this possibility. Put the cookware in a self-cleaning oven and turn on the self-cleaning feature to burn off the seasoning away. You can also do this on the stove top, but be careful, because you can start a fire.

    After you have removed the seasoning, try to clean the cast iron good. Make sure no rust is on the surface. Rust is another reason why seasoning layer fakes off. Try to use the "salt and oil" cleaning approach to remove any rust.
    Third, re-seasoning skillet. Do the first one or two thin layers using the oven, but try to build the rest of layers on the stovetop using high heat. I find that seasoning layers built from high heat are also more stable for high heat cooking. Try blacken tuna.

    Finally, do not be too gentle with the cast iron cookware. Feel free to use metal utensils.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Hi CK, wondering if I can get your thoughts on this. My seasoning always degrades in a circle pattern around the middle. I assume this is where my pan gets hottest while cooking. So if high heat is causing my seasoning to degrade, why would I want to season at high heat? I do moderate heat seasoning, only because I haven't noticed a better result from high heat, but maybe I should revisit this.

      1. re: jaykayen

        < I assume this is where my pan gets hottest while cooking.>

        I agree.

        <So if high heat is causing my seasoning to degrade, why would I want to season at high heat? >

        I think you have a different challenge than subal. In your case, your pan was getting too hot and burning off the seasoning. Neither high heat or low heat seasoning will help. It is not the fault of the seasoning. You can have the best seasoning, and it will still get burned off at high temperature. In my view, you don't really have a seasoning problem at all.

        In my mind, the original poster subal is suffering a different problem. In his case, he saw flaking. I assume he really means "flaking" like paint peeling off the wall. In that case, it suggests the seasoning wasn't build correctly. It is too loose for some reasons. There are many reasons. It could be that there was rust on the surface, and he was simply building the seasoning on a rusty surface, which means the foundation is bad. It could also mean that he was building the seasoning layers too quickly. Putting layer after layer and getting it too thick and too unstable. I like to think of it like "putting paint over and over without waiting for the previous layer get dried". In this case, I believe a higher temperature seasoning help.

        This is an extreme example of seasoning flaking off: