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Apr 18, 2014 07:56 PM

cast iron stove top grille pan

just purchased a stove-top grille pan.
I want to grille vegetables on it now and I'm wondering since it's not fatty meat, if the new, seasoned surface will be damaged.
The scant instructions say it already has a seasoned surface and I don't need to do anything.
What can I do to prevent damage?
It's a Lodge.

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  1. Just don't grill acidic things like tomatoes. You should also brush the veg or the pan with a little bit of oil to prevent sticking since it is new. You can also throw a sausage on there from time to time in the future.

    1. <if the new, seasoned surface will be damaged.>

      No, you won't damage the surface per se, but the surface will gradually wears away without oi/fat. I assume you will use some oil to grill. If so, then you are fine. If not, it is not the end of the world. You just need to season it with cooking oil once awhile.

      <What can I do to prevent damage?>
      As Sirrith said, acidic food can and will wear the seasoning layer at a faster speed. You can still cook acidic food, but just beware that you will likely need to re-season more frequently.
      Cast iron cookware are very durable. It is very difficult to damage it beyond the point of self-repair -- unlike to many other cookware.

      1. As you use any cast iron product you'll find that the list of foods that you can't cook on it or in it, or cooking processes that you can't do on it or in it are much longer than the things it can actually be used for.

        There are many more vegetable and fruits other than tomatoes that will strip the seasoning from one of these pans. They make everything taste like liquid Geritol, iron-ie as hell. The seasoning situation is always an accident waiting to happen. Well, other than for cornbread. Cast iron is good for cornbread.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JustCharlie

          I disagree with you on almost every point, except for the cornbread. I use my CI grill frequently, and I use for veggies from time to time. I've never detected an off flavor, ever.

          1. re: sueatmo

            <I've never detected an off flavor>

            Me neither (or almost never). I came to the conclusion that some people may have better and more sensitive smell and taste. JustCharlie probably has a sensitive taste than I do.

            For example, the bitterness of broccoli or Chinese broccoli never bothered me -- even when I was a little kid. I especially love these vegetables. Yet, other people find them repulsive.

            1. re: sueatmo

              Somebody mentioned the appearance of dry areas and the need for re-seasoning after cooking certain things.

              I assume there is no mystery where the stuff went - the stuff that came up that left the dry spot, the old oil with the iron mixed in. It's in the food. Blech.

              1. re: JustCharlie

                I rinse my grill pan off frequently. When it gets too dirty, then I scrape the low places with a metal spatula. I do this every month or so. I don't find it hard to keep clean enough for cooking.

                I actually don't reseason very often. Perhaps I spray with Pam once a year, maybe.

                Cooking with iron is no more stomach turning than cooking with non-stick pans, or any other pan for that matter.

            2. re: JustCharlie

              Add me to the list of people completely disagreeing. I don't have any problems with strange flavors or the seasoning with my cast iron.

            3. thanks for your responses
              before I use this Lodge, should I wash, dry and reseason before its initial use??
              I bought some Crisco in case I need to do this.

              9 Replies
              1. re: sylvan

                It is always a good idea to at least rinse the any cookware to remove dust. As for drying, it is more important to dry the cookware for storage, but you can also dry it before using. Drying before storage is important for cast iron and carbon steel cookware to prevent rusting.

                As for re-resasoning, that is really a personal choice. In theory, you don't need to reseason the cookware because almost all of Lodge cookware have a preseasoning layer. However, often time Lodge does a bad job and the preseasoning layer falls off sooner or later. As such, some people like me rather strip the preseasoning and re-season it. It is entirely up to you. There is no right and wrong here.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I'll go ahead and wash it before its first use., wipe dry, wipe with Crisco I bought for just this and bake in oven at 400 on top of tin foil for one hour.

                  1. re: sylvan

                    Sound good. If you are going to bake it in the oven, then it is preferable to bake it upside down, so the excess oil can drip to the tin foil as you have suggested. Moreoever, make sure you don't apply too much oil/fat. The most common mistake is to apply too much oil.

                    1. re: sylvan

                      No need for foil. Foil is for the people that put excessively thick coats of shortening on the surface of the pan, which will eventually chip off (think of spray painting with thin coats vs thick). Coat a warm pan with Crisco shortening, wipe good, place in 300F oven for 15 minutes, wipe again, then back into a 420-450F oven for 2 hours, then cooling in oven. Three times.

                      I would at least spend 5 minutes and first take 60 grit sandpaper to the entirety of the pan, then maybe 150 grit (sanding gets the high spots down and makes cleaning/wiping a breeze), then wash with Ivory soap and steel wool, rinse with hot water, final rinse cold water -- All prior to seasoning. This is what I do on a new Lodge (for starters).

                      Hot tap water and a nylon scrub brush should be all you need for cleaning. Maybe a plastic scraper (Lodge makes ones that fit that pan). Finish drying on stove, then a quick thin wipe with Crisco (I do the bottom also because we have metal gas grates, hence scratching of the bottom of pan), get to almost smoking hot, let cool, done for storage. Don't store with a lid if you have one (possible moisture).

                      This may all sound like a pain in the ass but it's really nothing, and after a bit, cleaning cast iron comes easier than a non stick pan. Give it a few tries and it'll be second nature.

                      Welcome to the cast iron cult :)

                      1. re: Muddirtt

                        I'm going to use your process including the sandpaper to make cleaning in the future a breeze...only thing, it will remove the Lodge pre-season that supposedly came with the new's a grille on one side and flat on the other....I intend to use it on my gas range...

                        1. re: sylvan

                          Depending on how much you sand, some factory seasoning will stay, which is fine. The point of sanding is just to knock down the high spots. It really doesn't take much to get it smoother. Just a few minutes with 60 grit is the minimum needed, although I go further because of my perfectionist-artistic-nothing-is-ever-good-enough self, lol.

                          I've experimented with both sanding minimally and also totally removing seasoning. No difference, even after a year of everyday use. The Lodge factory seasoning is a decent base. My first CI pan, a Lodge 10 3/4 inch skillet, is still factory and no chips yet, after 3 years. It took forever to get smooth and well seasoned, but it's just fine. I do plan on refinishing the outside of it soon though, but I'm leaving the inside as it is. I try to buy the smoothest pan of the bunch at the store but, sometimes, I've noticed there's a high spot that I assume will never wear away. And they catch paper towels or whatnot and pool oil. This is why I started refinishing brand new Lodge. The mold marks bugged me too, so I grind those away also with a Dremel tool and grinding bit, lol. It all really makes a difference, in my opinion.

                        2. re: Muddirtt

                          Do you do paragraph 2 before paragraph 1 ??
                          What order do you do the process?

                          1. re: sylvan

                            Paragragh 2 before paragraph 1.

                    2. re: sylvan

                      I have the lodge cast iron grill pan, the square one. I mostly use it for panini though. I didn't bother with trying to add another seasoning layer. I did wash it and dry it before first using it though.

                    3. We use Lodge grill pans in our restaurant to cook steaks and hamburgers. They're extremely forgiving when you ruin the season; they're very easy to re-season. Now, that being said, we don't often grill vegetables on them. And typically it's zucchini, mushrooms, and the like, which we've saturated with good olive oil.

                      We use very high heat levels, and "prep" the pan each time, once it's very, very hot by using a commercial pan release spray. However, I've used a brush and oil and that works just fine.

                      It's important to remember to set the food on the grill pan and let it "mark" the food thoroughly. Moving foods around too early ruin the grill marks and make a mess of the grill pan. The food almost releases itself if a little patience is used.

                      Cleaning with nothing but scalding water and a dry cloth should be all that's necessary. Burnt bits which remain after a blast with the kitchen sprayer can be worried off of the pan with a non-stick scouring pad before rinsing thoroughly.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: shaogo

                        thanks for the info
                        "marking" the meat sounds like what I do with meat on my stainless steel.
                        I didn't know I needed to do the same with CI.