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Cast Iron Skillet

crunkcrunk Posts: 94
edited 9:40PM in EggHead Forum
The wife and i recently aquired a couple cast iron skillets and am going to do some steak & chicken fajitas on the egg tonight and was wondering if anyone could tell me the best way to clean the cast iron skillets...Im pretty sure they havent been cooked on in 10-15 years and are kind of nasty.

Would hot water direct on the egg for a few minutes clean them up good or is there a better way?




  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    first try washing in hot water and then oil with crisco or wesson or even pam if that is all you have. if they are not rusty then you should be good to go. after washing always dry and wipe with a little oil.
    if they are very rusty then you will need to re season and there are step by step instructions for then on here or any where on the web. also we cut most the handles off ours to give more room on the egg.
  • Ham and EggHam and Egg Posts: 28
    Don't do the water in BGE - could be very unpredictable for the ceramics. I don't know this for a fact, just seems wrong...

    I have a cast iron pan, and a good wirebrush or even plastic scrub-brush with HOT water and soap, and some effort gets everything off.

    If you get a chance afterwards, seasoning the pan with oil to give it a non-stick layer may help you out. check online for instructions....

    Good luck...
  • crunkcrunk Posts: 94
    Thanks MainEgg.....Ill try that this afternoon.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    if its still all black i would heat it up stovetop, when hot add 3 or 4 pieces of bacon and cook them. remove bacon and while still hot, get it smoking hot, toss in a quarter cup cold water and stir quickly with a spatula to lift of anything thats stuck there, same thing as making gravey, lift the crud off the bottom of the pan, when water is about gone turn off the heat and wipe clean. never put your cast iron near the sink, soap softens the seasoning. if rusty or soaped, i reseason after cleaning. ive heard posted here that the cold water splash will crack the pan, guess they dont believe you can make gravey from scratch with castiron pans :ermm: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428

    A good hot water scrub and re-oiling may be all you need. If it's in really bad shape, here are the instructions I use for cleaning (with oven cleaner) and re-seasoning. It's not that hard of a chore.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    the inside of a well seasoned pan will look like smooth glass when you run it under water :) I love washing mine just to see that smooth sheet of water coming off it. that is also how I make sure my pan is spotless clean. soap does not touch my cast iron, NEVER EVER. it will take off the seasoning faster than a dremel LOL and like Fishless said bacon is the way to go LOL
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428

    Well, they can crack.... I bought the Griswold pan above from a collector and did a magnaflux test on it. He promptly sent me a replacement, and paid the return postage.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Ham and EggHam and Egg Posts: 28
    Looks like I have some re-seasoning to do of my own! Good advice - thanks...
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    im sure it wasnt from making gravey though on a stovetop :whistle: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  • LitLit Posts: 6,893
    Boiling water in cast iron is a good way to make them rust. I have bought some pretty nasty old cast iron pans before and I always throw them in the egg bottom up and let them sit at 700 degrees for about an hour. It will burn clean. After that I scrub them with a brillo pad and then wipe them with flax seed oil and put them in the egg at 350 for an hour. Do this a couple times to season completly. You can also season in your oven but it will make your house smell. If you have good quality older cast iron please don't cut the handles off.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    i will never understand the egghead need and desire to cut the handles off a good pan :laugh:
  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,335
    I inherited a pretty nasty pan many years ago, I used 100-grit sandpaper to get it clean, and then seasoned it.
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    good quality older stuff should never be exposed to the direct heat of the lump (as in, down close to or actually in it)... it can crack. the best older stuff is much finer than the new clunky lodge stuff, and has been ground mirror flat on the bottom, and very thin on the sides (compared to the junk from china or lodge).

    i dunno, i find too many people way over-clean them. it's not important to me, but if they are too clean, they can lose collector value too.

    when the pan is still hot from use, add just enough hot water to work anything free that is stuck. if you have to scrub it, a copper (not steel) scrub pad is ok, but take your time and don't be a scrubbing hero. just work the scrubber on the food, not the pan. it won't scratch the pan either way

    deglazing is a simple way to remove anything burnt on, but a well seasoned pan won't need much deglazing anyway. wipe the hot pan clean with a paper towel, then a moistened papertowel or dishtowel. dry it with a dry dishtowel, wipe with oil and hang to dry. it should be still hot when it is hanging. try not to let it cool with food in it.

    never sandblast a collector piece, never use power tools.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    rust is bad. anything else is patina :laugh:
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Austin  EggheadAustin Egghead Posts: 3,907
    Mainegg, what do you use to cut off the CI handles?
    Large, small and mini now Egging in Rowlett Tx
  • LitLit Posts: 6,893
    All my pans are older Griswold and have all been cooked in the egg at 700 plus. I put them on the grate though not down in the fire but they are cooked direct. Never had any problems with cracking but might think twice about doing it now. I am looking for a full writing Griswold top for my #4 if anyone has one laying around. Heres some of my pans. As you can see I keep them clean.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i use mine on the grate, around 500 max. don't forget, '700 dome' is pretty harmless sounding, except when you consider the radiant heat on the bottom of the pan is much much higher. there's so much lump going in order to hit 800, i'd bet the underside of that pan is flirting with 1500-1800 degrees of direct radiant energy

    no sense losing a griswold to that, when it will sear just perfect at 400-500 (which is admittedly probably close to the same lump temp as 800, there's just a lot less of it)
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    hubby uses something out in the garage :whistle: LOL he is a mechanic and has something he hooks to the air compressor. zip zip and it is gone. then just grinds it smooth. I have a cool little tool that came with a handless pan and it fits most of my pans. It is only the imports I hack off. none of my good stuff is. and again mostly it is the smaller pans for the mini or ones I have doubles of. I do it so I can cook a side dish and bakers and meat say all in the med egg. I have a number of old Wagner and Griswold pieces and would cry if anything happened to then.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    The Griswold 4's are a little more rare than the 3's and 5's. I've been looking for one for years. One with a lid would be easily be valued around $200.

    If you hit enough garage sales chances are you will stumble onto one...
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • LitLit Posts: 6,893
    I got my #4 large slant logo pre EPU with a heat ring for a decent price but at the time didn't realize it was more rare. The lids I have seen sell before are usually $400-$600 which is rediculous. I would have just gotten a #5 with a lid if I knew. I hope to get lucky someday and find one in my price range.
  • If it isn't rusted, put 1/4 cup of oil in the pan and then two tbl spoons corse kosher salt in the bottom of the pan. Heat it up over low heat. With tongs and a paper towel scrub the gunk off and rinse. I might take two or three cleanings to get it spiffied up. It is important to warm it because this will open the pan up to get a deeper clean.

    After that I would recommend getting one of those $3 nylon pan scrapers and a brush. I never use hot water or soap. Just cool water and the scraper or brush.

    For food safety you always pre heat a CI pan or pot before you start to cook in it. This will kill any bacteria on the cooking surface.

    Tomato sauce is a killer. Always watch for acidic sauces and re-season after cooking with these. Just a wipe of oil on high heat will do it.

    I gave all of my teflon pans away because they were two sticky.

    When I make over easy eggs that are easy to slip I always smile and think about my $24 high end cooking equipment. :P
  • Clay QClay Q Posts: 4,435
    You can recondition iron by scrubbing/sanding the pan clean down to bare iron but then you need to re-season. Eventually it gets a nice black color again.



    Hammered carbon steel wok, seasoning is the same as cast iron.

    If I need to, I whack the handle off.


    Cooking with cast iron is great. Have fun!

  • How could I have guessed so many eggers are also CI collectors, like me.... Who knew? My first Griswold was given to me by my grandmother. It was given to her as a wedding gift, that makes it a keeper.

    Here's an oddball factoid for you CI collectors. Back in "the day" all CI was made from iron ore.. right from the earth. After the turn of the century, many makers started to throw (recycle) engine blocks and such into the smelters thus producing a lower grade of CI which ended up thicker and coarser as you see in the stores today. The really old CI is thin and has a glass like finish to it which cannot be duplicated today. I love my old CI, now I know how to season it on the egg thanks to my fellow eggers.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    that glassy finish is from grinding, not the casting process... you will occasionally see some pieces that are ground poorly (modern pieces), leaving circular rings in the bottom. these aren't ridges for grilling, but left over from a perfunctory grinding.

    i honestly think that the sand-cast finish has its virtues among some cast iron users (they say it helps hold the seasoning for example), but there's nothing like a beautifully smooth old vintage piece.

    that rougher sand-cast surface wouldn't be from reused cast iron being melted down (we've melted and reused metal since the iron age :laugh: ). it's just what you get when you bust open the casting mold. the extra step to grind it is an expense, and today, when someone reaches for a brand new 'Lodge" piece in the store, remembering 'my grandma had one of these', they likely don't remember hers was smooth as glass. and so why should lodge (or the cheaper chinese importers) bother? some folks prefer the roughness too, actually. ...not me, but to each his own

    and frankly, i only care about the smooth finish on my skillets. there's nuthin wrong with a rough finish on a Lodge Dutch Oven or other piece... like the vintage corn muffin tins, too. they didn't grind them all smooth, just the skillets
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Amy S.Amy S. Posts: 70
    Your collection is very nice! I have a few and I will take a look at them this morning.

    I have picked up one or two that were so rusty, that I had to use a metal rotating "grinder" on them. The handle broke off of one, when it got dropped on concrete, so I am going to use that one as a drip pan, this AM.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    I'm not big on cutting the handles off either. Especially when you consider a typical 12" skillet will fit on a Large Egg with handle intact.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,000
    I have several old 8-12" Wagner Ware skillets that are smooth as a baby's butt. Same with the 2-3 DOs I have. But I also have a small Griswold skillet (#3, I think), that's rough as a cob.

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


    Central Connecticut 

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