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Jul 23, 2014 03:48 PM

Cast Iron Griddle Pan: Black stains, please advise.

I followed a recommended seasoning procedure in the oven using suet.

I then cooked with the pan, and now I seem to have a problem. There are black stains along the ridges of the pan that don't shift with steel wool.

Is this a problem? Have I done something wrong? Do I need to remove them?

Keep in mind, this is after one use.

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  1. You are fine. Based on the photos, the burn is not very bad, and is very thin.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Thanks but is it normal for burns to appear through such light use? Will it get blacker each time and should I just use it as it is?

      1. re: madra

        First, I think it depends what you were cooking and second, it depends what temperature you were using. If you were cooking at a very high temperature, then it is not unusual to develop this black mark especially for a grill pan. Say you were cooking a hamburger patty at high temperature and smoking and everything.

        It would be unusually if you were cooking a a low medium temperature for an egg.

        It probably will get blacker each time. It is not a bad thing. Your entire pan will even eventually turn darker anyway.

        I would just use it as it is. The proof is in the pudding. As long as foods are not sticking to this dark spot, you are fine.

    2. dont worry - cast iron is TOUGH and loves to be used
      you "pre seasoned" now its time for the real thing - clean with kosher salt and a scrubbie and keep on cooking

      Cast Iron can't get "black stains" it is supposed to be black!

      I know its hard but dont fuss - the whole point of CI is it is virtually fuss free - you really can't hurt the stuff, just use it - its your only cookware that actually likes it rough.

      1. You don't want to remove those black stains. You want to keep using the griddle pan until the whole thing is that color. It may take months or years, but the pan will keep getting better and better.

        For cleaning, just use hot water and a stiff natural fiber brush. If there is a lot of stuck-on gunk, add a little kosher salt and a bit of oil and scrub it off with the brush.

        1. Hi madra,

          May I ask what brand of pan this is? I ask because it appears to me to be Enameled CI, rather than seasoned. It's entirely possible my monitor is reading the color wrong, or the lighting reflected pale on the pan, but the pan looks silver-gray to me. Since no one else has mentioned it, perhaps it really is my monitor, but that's how it appears.


          5 Replies
          1. re: DuffyH

            Hi thanks,

            This is the product.


            Would that make a difference? I'm not really knowledgeable in any of this.

            1. re: madra

              I think Duffy is correct. That pan is enameled inside and out. No seasoning required.

              1. re: Bigjim68

                Thanks, of course I'm so clueless that I don't know what difference that makes. I take it this means it is not as good as a proper cast iron pan? Although some people in the Amazon reviews that it is not:

                But assuming that it is then, does this have a bearing on the stains, i.e. is it okay to leave this colouring accumulate? What is actually happening. And I do not need to season at all? It;s confusing, as many of those Amazon reviews advised seasoning

                1. re: madra

                  Hi madra,

                  First, lay your fears to rest. This *is* a proper cast iron pan. Some people see any black cooking surface and think it needs seasoning. This is very common when reading reviews of enameled cast iron (ECI). There are always a few who say "cast iron needs to be seasoned", but they only know ECI with light colored interiors. They think the black interior is bare cast iron.
                  You do NOT need to season the pan.

                  If the stain has the same shine as the enamel and can't be felt with your fingers, it's likely just a stain and will have no effect on cooking. From your pictures, it looks harmless, especially because it's mostly between the ridges, not on top of them.

                  I doubt you've harmed your pan. Enamel is pretty sturdy stuff. Cook with it again and see how it behaves. If it works well, don't sweat it.

                  Here are the use and care instructions from Le Creuset, which may help. They even have grilling tips.


              2. re: madra

                Hi madra,

                With the description reading "...vitreous enamel with red exterior and contrasting black interior..." I suspected it is enameled all over.

                Checking reviews, it was hard to be certain. Some mentioned that they seasoned it, another wrote that he immediately used it. Then I found one who said he wasn't sure, so contacted the maker. The pan is indeed enameled, inside and out. It needs no seasoning.

                That said, it should still get better over time. Feel free to use soap and water to clean it, but avoid metal utensils, abrasives and steel wool. You don't want to chip or scuff up the enamel. Perhaps some owners of ECI grill pans will chime in with more use advice. I think high heat should be avoided. If you heat it over medium, it will get plenty hot, but it will be more gradual, and less likely to crack or damage the enamel.

                Here's a thread about cleaning that might help: v

            2. If it is indeed enameled - and I am pretty sure it is throw my previous advice out the window, and IMO throw the pan out the window too - sorry to be blunt but while I am not a fan of grill pans to begin with enameled cast iron just seems to be the wrong material for the job - you want to grill/sear at high heat which will be damaging to enamel (not so with raw CI) Enameled CI is good for low/slow and makes wonderful dutch ovens - raw CI is good for sustained high heat and non stick and makes great skillets (I have never been happy with ECI skillets either)

              if you are determined to use this pan to get the best results I would do the following things

              1. Preheat on low/med heat to get the best advantage of CIs heat retentive properties. This will help with sticking/burning and help even out the heat. Don't use high heat you will just get hot spots, damage your enamel and ruin your food.

              2. Use fat and make sure you apply it to the meat/veg rather than the pan. ie. toss asparagus in oil before placing on the grill pan. You need fat to help with release but if you apply fat to the pan it will burn inside the ridges and be a PITA to clean while doing nothing for your food. Also use fat sparingly as excess will collect in the ridges and burn.

              3. Avoid "grilling" thing with sugary glazes as they will run into the grooves, caramelize and stick.

              4. Clean it well after use but don't fret over stains - they will make you crazy. The reason the interior is black enamel and not white or some pretty color is specifically because it is going to stain and scorch and would look awful fast otherwise.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JTPhilly

                Excellent advice as always, JTPhilly. Well, except about tossing the pan entirely. But the rest, well, you rock. :-)