Bionic

How to properly season a cast iron pan

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I had made a post a while back about a cast iron pan my dad had given me.  This pan I believe is about 100 yrs old if I researched it correctly, and from my great great grandparents.   I am not sure if age matters in this topic, but I know metals were much more robust, and of higher quality YEARS ago, at least that is the impression, that I have under.  
 

Anyways, when I received this pan, I used coarse kosher salt, and a potato cut in half to clean up the aged patina/surface rust.  It did not have penetrated rust, only light surface rust, in which I was successful at removing.  The pan is now smooth, and I would to season this properly, and start using this.  
 

I use some stainless pans, and I have a difficult time with them, and I do not want to screw this cast iron up, or my NY Strip steaks that are patiently waiting in my fridge.

I would like to hear how you have seasoned cast iron successfully, if you don’t mind taking the time to share, I would very much appreciate it.

I did a Google search, and it says to apply a thin coat of oil(non-saturated oils), with a paper towel.  Remove most of the excess, and place upside down on the rack in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour.  Allow to completely cool prior to removing, and it is ok to use for cooking at this point.

If that process is correct, do I heat the pan up on stove, add a pinch of oil? Or add a pinch of oil to the steaks, or both? I can’t imagine I would not need oil on the pan still.  I really don’t know.

Also, I am aware to never clean pan with soap, just wipe out with paper towels.

Thank you!

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I believed I used vegetable oil on mine at a higher temp. That was years ago, and yes no soap

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That sounds right. Very cool you have that and are gonna use it. 

My Dad was a chef and we knew to NEVER touch his cast irons.  He always cleaned them and did an oil wipe in them and put in oven. 

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22 minutes ago, Paula said:

I believed I used vegetable oil on mine at a higher temp. That was years ago, and yes no soap

Thank you, Paula.

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Just now, Robhuntandfish said:

That sounds right. Very cool you have that and are gonna use it. 

My Dad was a chef and we knew to NEVER touch his cast irons.  He always cleaned them and did an oil wipe in them and put in oven. 

Thanks, I can’t wait to try it, and its too cool that it is from the family decades, and decades ago.

thanks for sharing thats neat!

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If my wife reseasons our pan or pot she sometimes uses the self-cleaning oven setting on the stove and then oils it. After regular uses we rinse, (no soap) and then it goes on the stovetop to dry, oil lightly and then wipe it out


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Wipe vegetable oil all over pan with a paper towel. Oven warmed to 375. Place tin foil on bottom rack to catch drippings Pan upside down   Heat for an hour. Do not scrub pan when after used for cooking. Simply let cool down a bit and wipe out when it’s warm.  Just reseasoned our 2 which wife after many times was told do not soak them.  That’s grounds for divorce. After using / cleaning while warm wipe down with a little more oil 

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13 minutes ago, turkeyfeathers said:

Wipe vegetable oil all over pan with a paper towel. Oven warmed to 375. Place tin foil on bottom rack to catch drippings Pan upside down   Heat for an hour. Do not scrub pan when after used for cooking. Simply let cool down a bit and wipe out when it’s warm.  Just reseasoned our 2 which wife after many times was told do not soak them.  That’s grounds for divorce. After using / cleaning while warm wipe down with a little more oil 

I scrub it after every use and then use seasoning oil .

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I just tried 375 with a coating of veggy oil.  I think i used a bit much, its tacky after an hour.  I just boosted to 500, should I not do a higher heat??

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I think I got it!

Its an Earie 10a if I researched correctly it was made in the years of 1880-1907.  

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I think a lot of folks over think seasoning...but then again frequently we are talking cast iron that is generations old (my favorite dates to approx. 1900). 

I don't think you need to worry about putting it in the oven so specifically. Once you have it nice and clean, I put them on the stove on a low heat and oil them well, letting them heat and soak in for 15 or so (but don't let is smoke...but if it does a bit, don't lose any sleep) and then pour some more in. I think the best way though is to just deep fry some fish/ chicken in it. 

Just remember to avoid cooking tomato based/ acidic foods. It will remove the seasoning, and the iron lends a metallic taste. Overall, cast iron is very forgiving, but eventually I did get a ceramic coated 8 qt pot for my soups and stews. And remember, always pre oil as you would any pan before you start cooking. The seasoning does not take the place of it.

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This is what I do to older pans I find.

1. Spray oven cleaner all over - top, bottom, sides, handle - and out into a garbage bag for 24 hours. 

2. Remove and wash. It should be down to the metal. If not you can repeat or take some steel wool to spots as necessary.

3. Heat oven to 500 and put thin coat of oil on all surfaces of pan. You want a high smoke point oil like grapeseed oil. Place pan in 500 degree oven and let it cool down room temperature. Repeat two more times but only coat the inside of pan. Key here is thin coat.

4, After use and cleaning - I use salt and water, but also use soap occasionally, I dry thoroughly by heating the pan quickly and then wipe on a very thin coat of oil and put away.  

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I have a few old cast iron pans that need seasoning... Ill try to remember taking a few pics and share them here.  I do not think they are as old as yours, Bionic.  Lots of folks collect theses and there is a few good Youtube channels out there that show how to restore and season, even cook with them.

I do remember seeing that Erie pans are very collectable too.  I think you have a winner there

Edited by Arcade Hunter

Wyoming county   9H and 9N

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coat with veggie oil very lightly and bake. if you went higher for temp or not but i keep it low so the oil doesn't burn. also it should take a few shots for the best results. use too much and it looks alright but isn't as non-stick. during use that coating breaks down. metal isn't necessarily better years ago. i think most pans now are cheap and made with less metal. old pans with a thick heavy flat bottom don't warp, distribute heat better, and don't cool too much when you place food into it. when the pan isn't hot enough that's when food sticks and that seared surface gets stuck to the pan. also most newer average pans end up with a high spot in the middle which means oil and anything you're cooking in ends up only on the outside.


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15 hours ago, left field said:

This is what I do to older pans I find.

1. Spray oven cleaner all over - top, bottom, sides, handle - and out into a garbage bag for 24 hours. 

2. Remove and wash. It should be down to the metal. If not you can repeat or take some steel wool to spots as necessary.

3. Heat oven to 500 and put thin coat of oil on all surfaces of pan. You want a high smoke point oil like grapeseed oil. Place pan in 500 degree oven and let it cool down room temperature. Repeat two more times but only coat the inside of pan. Key here is thin coat.

4, After use and cleaning - I use salt and water, but also use soap occasionally, I dry thoroughly by heating the pan quickly and then wipe on a very thin coat of oil and put away.  

For re-seasoning an old pan, pretty much this^^^

One step that I add is after step 2, I soak in a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water for an hour or so to neutralize the oven cleaner and it will also dissolve any rust the pan may have. 

As an alternate to the oven cleaner, you can mix up a jar of red devil drain cleaner with water in a 5 gallon bucket and let your pan soak in it for a few days. 

Regarding cleaning, most people will say to never use soap on your cast iron but I usually use a small amount with a plastic scrubby to wash out with no ill effects. Key is to dry right away after cleaning, get hot on the stove, and coat with a very LIGHT coating of oil. Wipe out with a clean towel completely - the sheen you see left by the oil is all you want.

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19 hours ago, Jeremy K said:

I use one of those chain mail scrubbers 

I scrub it with a paper towel and coarse salt


I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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21 minutes ago, The_Real_TCIII said:

I scrub it with a paper towel and coarse salt

I've read that too. Bottom line is I'm not putting a pan away with chunks of food stuck to it .

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I have 2 Erie pans too, also my Grandmothers. I think there are 2 or 3 more in the basement, including one made for corn bread. 

When I have a lot of really stuck on stuff I will add a little water to the pan, heat it up quick and then clean out with paper towels.  I also re-season right away while pan is still warm with light oil or Crisco.  

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My second at work is big on reclaiming old cast iron. He has a tank he uses hooked up to batteries etc that get rid of all the rust. He'll buy old ones at garage sales and reuse them. 

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Where can I find an old ass fry pan? My dad is obsessed with his grandmother's cast iron pan. What would be a pan that would be as good as the old ones? And where could I find such a pan?

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Are the old ones that much different from the Lodge ones you can buy at Walmart and Cabelas?


I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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19 minutes ago, The Jerkman said:

Where can I find an old ass fry pan? My dad is obsessed with his grandmother's cast iron pan. What would be a pan that would be as good as the old ones? And where could I find such a pan?

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Try an antique shop with old cabin decor, if you want old school.  Otherwise, try a Lodge brand pan.  
 

Etsy.com, Ebay, yard sales...

Edited by Bionic
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