Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron?
I have, over the years, tried a few times to season new cast iron. I have failed miserably.
So this pre-seasoned cast iron is of interest to me, as cast iron would be the only path to replicating my mother's and grandmother's cornbread.
How is this product? Does it really work the way it ought?
"new" cast iron - pre-seasoned or not - is no match for the old stuff.
because...the old stuff was machined on the inside to be a smooth cooking surface which will take a very nice seasoning.
the new stuff has a pebble surface which just ahhhh, errrr, (expletives deleted) does it work? well, as you can see, everybody keeps wanting to know how to get their new cast iron pans to work....
my advice would be to search the garage sales / flea markets for old obviously smooth pans.
clean it up, then just cook fatty meats like bacon/sausage in the pan until it seasons itself.
you must also give up any ideas of washing it squeaky clean after every use. wipe it out. that's it. pre-heat on the next use will kill anything on the pan ,,,,
I wash my Lodge preseasoned pan every time I use it, with detergent even. It's fine. It has nice seasoning. I also have some Lodge that I bought years ago unseasoned, same thing. I also have 100 year old Griswold that I treat the same way, it's also fine and has great seasoning.
OP, the good quality vintage stuff ( not all vintage CI is the same) is very nice, but there is no reason you can't use the new Lodge. I have both, I prefer my Griswold, but the Lodge works fine.
Nothing wrong with the rough surface. The pre-seasoning however, is not great. After stripping down some of the pre-seasoning layer which had started to flake off, I was able to fry an egg with less than 1/2 a tsp of butter on the newly seasoned rough surface. I would not bother with the old stuff unless you want it for nostalgic purposes.
I would consider the pre-seasoning a starter - but proper seasoning still takes time - fry some things - take proper care in cleaning and storage and the pan will serve you.
I think Lodge has done an excellent marketing job in convincing the public that a rough sand casting is somehow as good as a machined finished product. Add to that a half way seasoning and you get, nothing.
I'll take my years old iron that I seasoned myself any day. There is some effort involved, but the results are worth it.
Lodge hasn't done any such marketing. They completely ignore the differences between vintage Griswold and Wagner and Lodge. They don't even need to bother with any such comparison marketing because the average consumer doesn't know about it, and if they do some of them are grossed out by used cookware and some don't want to bother with having to hunt it up or learn the different marks used over time to know what they are looking at. My mom is perfectly happy with her 50 year old no name cast iron. My best friend just wants a pan now, she doesn't want to hunt up the right vintage one.
Lodge cast iron cookware has a rough surface, so it will take a bit longer to season the cookware. However, once you have done proper seasoning, the cookware works just fine.
As for the preseasoning surface, I like to strip the original seasoning layer and start off new. That is just me.
I have several pieces of new Lodge cast iron. They all work fine. Seasoning is easy.
You can strip or leave the original pre-seasoning layer on, then heat the pan up on the stovetop until it is over 500F, drop a small piece of lard or vegetable shortening onto the cooking surface, and wipe it around with a paper towel. It will smoke, a lot. Repeat the wiping every 30s or so, adding a new piece of lard/shortening when necessary, and you will have an extremely well seasoned pan in under 15 minutes. Don't bother with all the fancy special oil oven seasoning methods, they don't work any better if at all. I fell for the "flax oil" method before, the coating was not good.
If you really don't want to do the above process, then you can just use the pre-seasoned pan as is. It will be sticky for a while, just learn to use more grease and preheat it well before putting any food in it. In a few weeks (or less depending on how often you use it, usually 2-5 uses does the trick), stuff will stick noticeably less.