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OT - Seasoning cast iron

HeavyGHeavyG Posts: 5,498
Wide range of opinions and practices when it comes to seasoning cast iron cookware. I've seen discussions on which method or oil to use in some cast iron oriented groups make the lump discussions here look pretty tame.

I know that some folks here are familiar with and fans of Cowboy Kent and his videos and a couple of his videos have been linked to on this forum before. He posted a new vid yesterday that I was watching this morning and thought some others here might be interested in seeing:



@Focker should probably just go right to the 3:00 mark. :)

Personally, I have no idea what the "holy grail" of cast iron seasoning oil or method is. I do know tho that the more often you properly use and care for your cast iron/carbon steel pans the better they get.
Camped out in the (757/804)
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Comments

  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 17,201
    edited September 2017
    Been using Crisco for years. Or just bacon fat. As of late I'm liking the Crisbee Stick or Puck. 
    But, I'm in the camp that any animal fat, especially if it has been clarified, works great. 
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,364
    edited September 2017
    Saw that vid yesterday.  Was a little saddened, when I saw my boy Kent with a flax bottle on the table. 

    I used EVOO for a while.  Then listened to the folks at the Griswold Wags forum and changed to grapeseed for the foundation.

    Pans would be stay brown with the EVOO. Grapeseed gets that nice, carbonized, shiney, jet black.  Not one has flaked out, and I've done enough to form a conclusion.

    After the initial grapeseed coats, I use ghee, lard, butter, EVOO..touch up with Pam or grapeseed as needed. 

    Cast Iron requires constant care, attention, patience.  Have tried just about everything available through the years, and I think I have it dialed in.  At least my old pieces look like I know what I'm doing.  :)
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • JohnH12JohnH12 Posts: 196
    Quite some time ago I called Lodge and asked what they use since they say their cast iron is preseasoned. They said flax seed oil.
    I normally just use some canola or vegetable oil after cleaning.
    I did like the tip in the video about cutting open some gel tablets to get the oil. I may try that sometime.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,780
    i just use some rancid lard in the back of the fridge or bacon. preseason doesnt work for me, flax doesnt work, ill just stick with what my great grandmother did. i dont have a problem with seasoning, but watching others at camp with my pieces is an eye opener, bacon or eggs in pan then turn the burner on, soaking in the sink, using my good fillet knife in the pan...its easy to see why theres so much problems with cast iron out there
  • Good info here on cleaning.  Additionally, many resources for the collector (identifying, restoring...)

    http://www.castironcollector.com/#

    A BGE chiminea, a small and a 17" BS in Las Cruces, NM

  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 6,082
    Whatever @Focker is doing works.  
    Steve 
    XL, Mini Max, and a 22" Blackstone in Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Flax here. No issues whatsoever.
    Upstate SC
    Large BGE
  • RobustoRobusto Posts: 15
    edited September 2017
    Grandma used lard, therefor, so do I.  Her 100 year old skillets and waffle irons are jet black and slicker the owl excrement.

    On a side note, anyone else notice that the cast iron on the old Griswold skillets or Dutch ovens is much smoother than the new stuff.  I think this is part of the problem with keeping cast iron seasoned.  My newer pans (Lodge and 1 Emeril brand) are rougher and don't seam to season as well or stay seasoned nearly as long as my Griswolds.


  • Hungry JoeHungry Joe Posts: 1,540
    I always used Crisco and never had a problem. Recently tried grape seed oil and like that a little better because it has a higher flash point and I felt it worked well.

    Today I bought some flax seed oil for a wok. Guess I see how that works.

    I get bored at times.
  • blastingblasting Posts: 5,957

    @Hungry_Joe

    You may not be board for long.  Soon you'll be stripping the flaking flax seed oil and re seasoning that wok.  jk - that was my experience, but wish you better luck.

    Hey, did you get the lodge wok?  I have one that is done seasoning, but hasn't been put in service yet.  lotta metal in that baby.


    Phoenix 
  • I always tell people new to cast iron to season them by frying a lot of food in Crisco in the pan. Leave the Crisco in the pan to cool. Heat and fry. Repeat until the Crisco needs to be tossed out. Repeat until well seasoned.

    Frying potatoes keeps the jetsom to a minimum, but any food works. Decades ago, when my son wouldn't eat much beyond chicken nugget and french fries, I seasoned a lot of cast iron this way.
  • GrateEggspectationsGrateEggspectations Posts: 2,241
    edited September 2017
    A note for those using flaxseed oil. It does not blacken the way Crisco does, but this is not a sign you have not seasoned correctly.  

    I was once chided on this forum for spots of "brown discolouration" on a flaxseed oil seasoned cast iron pan and was informed that this was symptomatic of the "iron not having been hot enough" during seasoning (http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1204327/next-level-cast-iron-seasoning/p1). After many trials, I conclude that this is categorically false.

    Upon receiving the feedback, I took a MAPP torch to the brownish spots for extended periods with no further darkening in colour. When I eventually stripped the pan bare and repeated the exact same seasoning process with Crisco, that same pan was uniformly jet black.

    Flax will not blacken a bare pan the way Crisco does, so do not expect it to (and do not equate brown spots with a botched seasoning). 

    While I initially liked the flax finish, it began to flake significantly only weeks after application. Personally, I will not be revisiting flax. 
  • @Focker mind showing the bottom of a Griswold so we know what to look for?
    Large BGE and Medium BGE
    36" Blackstone - Greensboro!


  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,364
    edited September 2017
    @Focker mind showing the bottom of a Griswold so we know what to look for?
    Sure.  This is the large block logo GRISWOLD pictured here, circa 1920-1930s.  And also a large slant logo where the GRISWOLD is in italics, they are slightly older than the block logo.   Another commonly found Griswold is a small logo, which was circa 1950s, towards the end of the Griswold run.  The small logos are not as desirable, but make a great user pan.  There are many more Erie skillets, but the 3 I mention are the most commonly found.

    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • @Focker - Do you usually find these beauties at garage sales? I've seen a few at Goodwill stores but they are crazy expensive, around $50 for the slant logo.
    Somewhere in Colorado
    LBGE, PGS A40 Gasser and too much Griswold cast iron cookware.
  • KayakKayak Posts: 171
    I notice no one seems to post pictures or discussion of cast iron grill pans. They seem like a nightmare to keep clean? Any tricks to cleaning one that may not have had a thick enough season to prevent a little sticking...?

    Bob

    New Cumberland, PA
    XL with the usual accessories

  • Kayak said:
    I notice no one seems to post pictures or discussion of cast iron grill pans. They seem like a nightmare to keep clean? Any tricks to cleaning one that may not have had a thick enough season to prevent a little sticking...?
    Maintaing cast iron of any variety is actually pretty simple:
    - keep it dry (as Finex's founder says, "we've never seen a dry pan rust") -including thoroughly heating it to dry after any exposure to water
    - try to clean in a manner that will minimize stripping the seasoning (e.g., clean with chain mail - https://www.amazon.com/Ringer-Original-Stainless-Cleaner-Patented/dp/B00FKBR1ZG -, minimize soap, use plastic scrapers, etc.)
    - reseason as needed

    Of course, building seasoning prior to putting CI into service greatly aids in the process, as it keeps food from sticking to begin with. 

  • HeavyGHeavyG Posts: 5,498
    Kayak said:
    I notice no one seems to post pictures or discussion of cast iron grill pans. They seem like a nightmare to keep clean? Any tricks to cleaning one that may not have had a thick enough season to prevent a little sticking...?
    If by grill pan you mean the type with the raised ridges then yeah...they are a pain in the butt. I quit using mine because cleaning them was too much of a hassle.

    The chain mail cleaners are nice (and great for ceramic/glassware also) but those grill pans need cleaning between every single ridge, every single time.
    Camped out in the (757/804)
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 13,579
    Personally I think the chain mail cleaners are hard on the finish. I prefer a regular kitchen brush. It doesn't take much to clean a well seasoned pan. 
  • HeavyGHeavyG Posts: 5,498
    Personally I think the chain mail cleaners are hard on the finish. I prefer a regular kitchen brush. It doesn't take much to clean a well seasoned pan. 
    You just need to ease off on them then Superman! :)
    Camped out in the (757/804)
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,488
    All I have are Griswold and Wagner. Not a Lodge fan - too thick, too heavy, too rough. Still, kudos for staying in business for all these years when the others closed their doors.

    Bought most of mine at antique shops and they were already seasoned from years of use. I put in whatever oil I want for what I'm cooking. When done, I wipe it out with a paper towel and then wash with a green scrubby and hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry immediately and wipe on a small amount of canola.

    I used to use a stiff brush and hot water, but one day I saw my 101 year old mother using soap on hers. I asked her about it and she said that's what she's always done. True or false is anyone's guess as her memory ain't what it used to be. Still, I've been using soap for a couple of years now and all is well. 

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • HeavyGHeavyG Posts: 5,498
    Modern dish soaps/detergents are of no harm to cast iron or seasoning.
    Camped out in the (757/804)
  • northGAcocknorthGAcock Posts: 11,324
    HeavyG said:
    Modern dish soaps/detergents are of no harm to cast iron or seasoning.
    I agree as long as they are well rinsed.
    Columbia, South Carolina with a Medium, MiniMax & a 17" Blackstone

    “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.”
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 17,201
    HeavyG said:
    Modern dish soaps/detergents are of no harm to cast iron or seasoning.
    Blasphemy :lol:


    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,364
    edited September 2017
    1voyager said:
    @Focker - Do you usually find these beauties at garage sales? I've seen a few at Goodwill stores but they are crazy expensive, around $50 for the slant logo.
    I have found one at a garage sale.  For those, I do a creepin' drive by and look at the tables.  If I see anything, I pull over or turn around.  Most times I roll on by.

    Majority are found at antique stores actually.
    The DO and waffle iron were from CL.

    A few cheap fleabay BIN snipes.

    $50 for a #8 slant with a heat ring isn't terrible.  I saw a large block logo aka EPU the other day for $45.  Like @blasting mentioned, sources are drying up a little, as time marches on.  So that $45 is tempting.  10 years ago, I would've laughed.  Fortunately, I have a #10, #8, #6, #5, and #3 EPUs.  :)

    The fleabay kicker is shipping, usually around $15.  Or damage either before or during that process.  Warpage, cracks, hard to give the spin and ring tests.  But I sniped a beautiful #16 large logo slant round griddle for $60!  (Smiley face above).  They are over triple that now!

    I need to hit up estate sales.  Have yet to explore that area.

    But cruise around, shops, flea markets, garage sales, fleabay cl, estate sales, I promise you it won't take long to come across something worthy of dropping the hammer on.  HTH
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,364
    edited September 2017
    As for cleaning,  Ringer and hot water, (soak if bad), do the trick, don't even need soap.  Even bought a second Ringer for the bbq camp tote.  They are worth every single penny.
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • Thank-you.
    Somewhere in Colorado
    LBGE, PGS A40 Gasser and too much Griswold cast iron cookware.
  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,364
    No problem, best of luck.  
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • CTMikeCTMike Posts: 1,835
    @Focker,

    Would you mind explaining what the ring and spin tests are?

    Thanks. 
    MMBGE / Large BGE / XL BGE (Craigslist Find) / SF30x80 cabinet trailer - "Ol' Mortimer" / Outdoor kitchen in progress.  

    Southeastern CT. 
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