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View Full Version : How do *you* season cast iron?



dragonfly
12-10-2015, 07:18 PM
​I love cast iron pans. I have some that I used a lot, then they started to get all gunky. I am trying a method of stripping them down to bare metal (This one: I Believe I Can Fry: Reconditioning & Re-Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware (http://www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2010/12/reconditioning-re-seasoning-cast-iron.html)) I'm just doing one small pan first, to see how it works. I know there are other methods, but this one is the most practical for me.

So, I will need to re-season them, and I thought I'd look into the "best" way to do it, and now I'm confused about which is really best. Flaxseed oil is popular, but there are some drawbacks that concern me, especially the time it takes, the expense, and the smell. I'm looking into Crisbee and Larbee (www.crisbeepuck.com (http://www.crisbeepuck.com) and Crisbee is a non-stick solution for seasoning cast iron skillets and cookware. (http://www.crisbeepuck.com/product/larbee-puck-sets)), but I wonder if I should stick with something easier to come by, like lard or Crisco.

So, I'm curious--what have you used, and how well do you think it works?

inmom
12-10-2015, 07:44 PM
We've always just used plain veggie oil or Crisco. We use our cast iron pots quite a bit. Can't bake killer biscuits without it!

murphs_mom
12-10-2015, 08:06 PM
I found that site back when I first got my newest skillet. I didn't have to do the stripping part, but definitely had to work on the seasoning. Like Carol, I just used regular canola oil. Really thin layers put on w/a paper towel and then I'd throw the skillet in the oven any time I had heat built up in it. Cast iron is awesome. :heart:

Avalon
12-10-2015, 08:11 PM
I've never stripped mine down to bare metal, but my husband occasionally scrubs them and takes a bunch of layers off. I find the best thing to do is make crepes. I brush the pan with butter after every crepe and after 20 or 30 crepes, the pan looks amazing. The crepes are also delicious :o

aselvarial
12-10-2015, 08:19 PM
My mom and mother in law both swear by just basic crisco in cast iron. They are completely confused by my refusal to have anything to do with them. :-)

Spread the crisco on, pop in oven, bake for an hour. But I've used everything from crisco, to lard, to butter, to coconut oil. I'm not 100% sure the oil matters.

RTB
12-11-2015, 11:52 AM
I've always just used a canola oil rub down and into the oven to bake. But I've also never researched it.

crunchynerd
12-11-2015, 07:58 PM
If they are horribly encrusted and you need to start over from scratch as if they were new pans, put them through the self-clean cycle of a self-cleaning oven. This burns them down to the bare iron. they come out gray and bare.

Then I smear rendered chicken fat aka shmaltz (but pork fat or lard is also traditional, and some people use oils, though those burn at lower temperatures generally than any solid fats) on them lightly with a natural-bristle paintbrush dipped in the melted fat, or else a paper towel, coat thoroughly, and bake in the oven at medium 350 or so, for a couple hours til the fat starts smoking and gathering in little beads. I use a paper towel or rag to smooth out the beads and redistribute the fat (quickly) and pop it back in the oven. Repeat til it's black and shiny front and back, let it cool in the oven overnight. Realize that using them as saucepans or boiling liquids or cooking acids in them frequently will constantly work at destroying the seasoning. Soups and spaghetti sauce are best left to saucepans.

I love cast iron too, for purposes to which it is suited. Nothing sears meat better, or makes crispier pancakes and waffles (back when I made those... I still can't part with my set of cast-iron waffle irons that made the best yeast-raised waffles I ever tasted...maybe someday we'll eat grains again).

I hear people use things like olive oil, but for me, since I'm not even close to vegetarian, I reserve chicken fat and keep it in the fridge for greasing pans and seasoning cast iron. Eggs fried in a seasoned cast iron pan in chicken oil are wonderful and never make a mess in the skillet! Better than nonstick!

dragonfly
12-11-2015, 09:39 PM
I'm afraid to use the self-clean cycle, because I've heard it may catch fire, plus it can be very stinky. I'm in an apartment, so I'm very wary of doing anything that might cause the fire dept. to visit! (Of course, I'd be wary of that in a house, too, but at least it would be my appliance that I ruin, not the landlord's. :)

I might try a larbee puck, but while I'm waiting for that, I think I'll try lard or something easier to come by. Maybe bacon grease? I don't really eat meat, but I make an exception for bacon occasionally. It should smell good, at least!

Thanks for all the responses!

alexsmom
12-12-2015, 12:51 PM
All this cast-iron talk has me in the mood for pineapple upside down cake.

Thats about all I cook in mine, sorry to say. Im a cast iron noob.

I loved seeing the SHS advice on how to properly season!

And oh such a contentious debate on the use of oven cleaners on dragonflys link!