Re-seasoning my cast iron - HELP!
- ILuvGrub Jul 27, 2014 12:34 PM
Okay, it seems pretty simply. Clearly, I'm missing something here. Over the last 5 years, I've attempted to re-season my cast iron skillets 3 times. Each time I run into the same problem: My skillets are now sticky beyond belief! The directions on the Lodge website are simple and straight forward.
I scrub the skillets clean - dry them completely - put an even coat of Crisco on them - place the pans in a 350 degree oven for one hour - turn the oven off - let them cool completely before taking them out.
~ What am I missing here?
~ What's he best way to remove the "stickiness"?
~ How do I prevent this from happening in the future?
Thanks a bunch!
I would use Ghee instead of Crisco. Just wipe the excess off (very, very carefully) with a lot of folded over paper towels. As far as cleaning after use, I may get harangued on this one, but I use a soft nylon brush on top of chain-mail to get the crusty bits off (if any) and then soft scrubbing with hot water and fruit & veggie wash (very mild soap). I've never had to re-season since.
Too much fat not enough time. You want many thin layers and a shiny smooth surface instead of those beads of... whatever that stuff is. Wipe the pan with a thin layer of oil and bake for at least three hours, you can pull the pan out a couple times and re-oil lightly.
To keep the finish, clean with water only, return the pan to heat, and apply a thin layer of oil almost every time you use the pan. You're kinda buffing the oil on. Then just turn the heat off and let the pan cool on the heat source. If you do this it'll eliminate all the things that people complain about with cast iron including residual odors and sticking.
Works for carbon steel also and after you wash it it doesn't hurt if it's still a little oily and some of that oil gets wiped from the inside to the bottom and handle.
I think that crisco is a miss, to be honest. Something is stabilizing that stuff and I doubt it is the best way to get a nice patina on your pans.
If you are not a vegetarian, and your religion doesn't forbid eating pork, I would start making your bacon in your pan. Early on, you will need extra fat in the pan to prevent any sticking. Another great way to get your pans pores conditioned is friend chicken. Three times with each of these, and you will see a huge change in your patina.
I have never had that sticky problem since I started using the pans to season instead of following all the "rules" out there.
edited to add: why is this thread in Food Media now?
Don't be upset if this post gets moved to "cookware"... it probably will. I use BACON GREASE to lube up my cast iron. If I cook something that leaves NOTHING in pan, I "clean" it with a few paper towels. If anything does stick, I put a little water in skillet when still hot, let it sit a bit, and take a metal spatula to it... NOT screamin hot skillet. Then scrub out with cheap table salt and a rinse with HOT water. Back on stove top till HOT and a dab of bacon grease... rub over interior and exterior and skillet is ready for next time.
In hindsight, I don't know what I'm talking about regarding the use of a saturated fat for this application. It seems like the desired effect involves some sort of polymer formation. I don't know what would work best. I'm pretty sure I've used some cheap crap in the past, and got decent enough results.
Here's my method.
1. Clean pan. Don't merely scrub with water, but soak in washing soda and then scrub and rinse well. Use gloves!
2. Dry thoroughly by placing in a warm oven for awhile. It is not sufficient merely to "dry" it.
3. Add the Crisco to the warm pan and put back in the oven. When the Crisco is melted, wipe it all around to coat all surfaces, removing much of the excess, then put back in the oven to bake for awhile.
4. Wipe warm pan well with paper towels to remove all excess oil that can be removed in this way.
5. Put pan back in the oven to bake for awhile longer.
To avoid stickiness in the future, do not put oil or grease in the pan after washing it. Put away dry after heating it and wiping with paper towels.
Once again, the anti-Crisco crowd chimes in. But the fact is that seasoning iron is more a matter of technique than the what type of fat is used. None of the exotic alternatives has any magical power to season which will make up for poor technique.
The reasons for using Crisco are:
1. It's cheap.
2. It's easy.
3. It comes in a convenient little can which can be tucked away in the back of the refrigerator for a long time without leaking (because it's a solid when cold).
4. It's vegetarian, if that matters to you.
Use anything you like, but put your pan aeay dry.
Look like you have some good answers here.
< What am I missing here?>
Oil: too thick.
Temperature: Possibly too low
Time: Too short.
<~ What's he best way to remove the "stickiness"?>
Depending how bad it is. If it is not too bad, you can cook your way through. If it is really thick and stick, then start all over again.
<~ How do I prevent this from happening in the future?>
Start within using a MUCH thinner layer of oil. You can never ruin a seasoning by going too thin, but you can ruin going too thick.
I seasoned two pans a couple of years ago on my gas grill, using Crisco. The first came out perfect, the second had exactly the problem you're having. The second coat of Crisco on pan #2 was applied too heavily, as it turns out.
I believe that ChemicalKinetics is correct (he often is) when we advises that your Crisco layer is too thick, your oven isn't hot enough or your baking time is too short. The baking time is partially related to oven heat.
There's nothing tricky or magical at work. Make the layers as thin as possible. Bake it for two hours, then let it cool. Do it again, or don't, and call it done. Then cook on it.
I've found the most durable seasoning I get is obtained through the method used to season Chinese woks:
Lard/pig fat (chives optional), and very high heat on the stovetop. This gives me a very shiny, dark, durable layer of seasoning which is nonstick enough to fry an egg on right after seasoning. Just heat the pan up on medium for about 5 minutes, dump a piece of lard into it, wipe it around, then wipe every 10-20 seconds or so with a towel to spread the oil evenly and to keep the layer thin, and do this for about 10-20 minutes, then you're good to go.
My previous oven seasoning attempts have pretty much all started flaking at some point or have had stick spots due to uneven application of oil/heat, this method hasn't.