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How To: Seasoning Cast Iron
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 316
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with manatus22 from a few posts above: animal fat, not vegetable oils.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Cooley wrote:
I'm with manatus22 from a few posts above: animal fat, not vegetable oils.


You wanna see your cast iron smile? Render your own lard and start using that, it's absolutely amazing how the two get along so well together. Lard is your friend.

xo, Biggles
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 316
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrBiggles wrote:
Jim Cooley wrote:
I'm with manatus22 from a few posts above: animal fat, not vegetable oils.


You wanna see your cast iron smile? Render your own lard and start using that, it's absolutely amazing how the two get along so well together. Lard is your friend.

xo, Biggles


LOL -- would filtered bacon grease suffice? Love the stuff.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Cooley wrote:
DrBiggles wrote:
Jim Cooley wrote:
I'm with manatus22 from a few posts above: animal fat, not vegetable oils.


You wanna see your cast iron smile? Render your own lard and start using that, it's absolutely amazing how the two get along so well together. Lard is your friend.

xo, Biggles


LOL -- would filtered bacon grease suffice? Love the stuff.


In a pinch! The two are different though, consistency and flavors. Oh great, now I'm getting hungry.
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 316
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrBiggles wrote:
Jim Cooley wrote:
DrBiggles wrote:
Jim Cooley wrote:
I'm with manatus22 from a few posts above: animal fat, not vegetable oils.


You wanna see your cast iron smile? Render your own lard and start using that, it's absolutely amazing how the two get along so well together. Lard is your friend.

xo, Biggles


LOL -- would filtered bacon grease suffice? Love the stuff.


In a pinch! The two are different though, consistency and flavors. Oh great, now I'm getting hungry.


Hey Biggles, if you're still around, see my thread Sad Day for Grandma's Cast Iron pan

I'm going to try lard.

I'm reminded of living in the Central Valley of California as a kid. We'd drive through it and someone would inevitably say, "Hey look! We're passing through the town of Lard!" Manteca is Spanish for lard, and why anyone would name a town "lard" is beyond me!
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Cooley wrote:
DrBiggles wrote:
Jim Cooley wrote:
DrBiggles wrote:
Jim Cooley wrote:
I'm with manatus22 from a few posts above: animal fat, not vegetable oils.


You wanna see your cast iron smile? Render your own lard and start using that, it's absolutely amazing how the two get along so well together. Lard is your friend.

xo, Biggles


LOL -- would filtered bacon grease suffice? Love the stuff.


In a pinch! The two are different though, consistency and flavors. Oh great, now I'm getting hungry.


Hey Biggles, if you're still around, see my thread Sad Day for Grandma's Cast Iron pan

I'm going to try lard.

I'm reminded of living in the Central Valley of California as a kid. We'd drive through it and someone would inevitably say, "Hey look! We're passing through the town of Lard!" Manteca is Spanish for lard, and why anyone would name a town "lard" is beyond me!


Awww, Gram's pan. It happens. For me I'll, against my better judgement, will warm the pan gently to dry it. And nearly always forget and let it sit on an open flame for 10 minutes unattended. Feh, no real harm done, wipe with fatty oil and off we go.

Don't ever sand blast a pan. Use spray oven cleaner, toss to black trash bag and leave for a few hours. Rinse and repeat if necessary, then get back to cooking. That's all there is to that!

xo, Biggles
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IronRinger



Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sandblasted a CI pan I picked up in a thrift while on vacation. Oven cleaner didn't budge the gunk that was on it - it looked like thick globs of enamel. Anyway, after seasoning, it is now my favourite pan. I couldn't find a maker's mark on it, but it much thinner and smoother than any of the pans I've purchased new.

BTW, at the same time, I blasted a Le Crueset fry pan, one that originally came with a non-stick teflon type coating which was chipping and peeling. It now has life....
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vardogr
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:08 pm    Post subject: seasoning cast iron PROPERLY Reply with quote

Just popped in to say that YOU are doing it wrong. It DOES matter what type of oil you use. If you are a "cooking engineer" it follows that you would understand what is happening to a drying oil on cast iron at a chemical level AND inform your readers about the polymerization process. Stop posting nonsense. Any web-informed younger reader should have pointed this out to you instead of letting you brag about yourself. By the way, I came here looking for advice and it took me all of five minutes to discredit your entire theory with 2 google searches. Analytical cooking my ass.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1622
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:58 am    Post subject: Re: seasoning cast iron PROPERLY Reply with quote

Although I'm not sure vardogr will ever return, I have to point out that community forums are open to the public and are not fact checked except by other members who might reply and make corrections or assert a different viewpoint. I fact check ARTICLES on Cooking For Engineers as best as I can with the information available at the time of the articles (and provide the ability for people to comment to foster discussion). I try not to get too involved in the forums unless I have expertise in a particular area of discussion. Unless the post says the author is "Cooking For Engineers" or "Michael Chu", it is not the opinion of the website that is being posted.
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IronRinger



Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think vardogr raises a valid point. If you do a web search on "seasoning cast iron cookware" you will score thousands of hits, relating almost as many ways of perfecting your seasoning. Many (most???) of them are anecdotal, or heirloom methods, and very few offer any scientific rationale. As an engineer (as well as a cook), I care about the science, as I'm interested in optimal methods, as I don't have several generations to wait to make my CI non-stick.

The best discussions I've read on seasoning have been on Garden Web fora, particularly, http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cookware/msg0918171717144.html

The resident expert there, Dan, is not an engineer, but a retired chemist. He has written the most comprehensive explanations I've yet read on the care and use of cast iron cookware. Basically, he advocates the use of a thin layer of high smoke point oil, heated above the smoke point as the best way to season CI.

However, lots of folks over many generations have successfully seasoned their pans with other fats, and other methods. This just shows that there are many paths that lead to the same destination, but some of them get you there faster. I don't think anyone argues that repeated use and proper care, of CI enhances the seasoning, improving its performance. But why use half-assed rituals based on somebody's granny's backwoods experiences, when better and faster methods are available at your fingertips?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1007
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FeRinger -

hold on a sec...

>>I think vardogr raises a valid point.
uhm, what point? the "It does matter what type of oil you use."
what oil did vardogr suggest as "the real truth?"

>>The resident expert there, Dan
>>he advocates the use of a thin layer of high smoke point oil,
and that fits in with vardogr's (non specified) suggestion(s) exactly how?

>>when better and faster methods are available at your fingertips?
and those non specified methods would be: ______________________

I suggest one pay more attention to widely supported folk lore / "Granny's backwoods experiences" - one may not live long enough to become so smart as the preceding 3- 4 -5 generations.. if them people didn't survive by their "backwoods experience" one would not be here to complain about it.
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IronRinger



Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Dilbert, did you go to the link I posted? I offered a one sentence summary AND A LINK so you too could read up on the science of seasoning cast iron. It would be improper, as well as a PITA, to copy the information posted on another site.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1007
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to the link and read thru it. having done that, before I posted, I'm simply unable to grasp what point you are trying to make.

I simply disagree with the idea that there is one and only one way to do things in the kitchen.

your resident expert dan recommends oil, lard, Crisco, bacon grease and a shot of Pam.
which aghasts me as the spray stuff uses lecithin as an emulsifier and lecithin will stick even on pfte and create a brown layer that is no longer non-stick.

so what "fat" does dan not recommend? - which I can only guess is your point since you seem to support vardogr's theory that everyone is doing it wrong? dan seems to use pretty much everything in the kitchen - he does a good job explaining the whole theory of what "seasoning" is - he apparently is not all too rabid about what "fat" is used.

and some of dan's expert suggestions I have to challenge: for example, never use cooking oil as it (among other things) it will go rancid - prevent this by using Crisco or lard. not sure where the idea that Crisco or lard doesn't go rancid got started, but it's not quite true.

with 9 pages of messages suggesting a whole lot of ways to do it, frankly vardogr's post simply doesn't identify his issue.

it's like "never sandblast a ci pan" - sandblasting is a bit of a generic term and can 'indicate' use of a lot of media materials from "classic" to pecan shells.

I picked up an old cruddy Griswold.
we have a sandblast cabinet in the shop.
I blasted it.
we use a fairly fine silica media and it did not harm the smooth finish of the pan at all.
there are more aggressive media that would without question have micro-pitted the surface.

valid sweeping generalizations are really hard to construct.
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IronRinger



Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think my point is pretty clear. Lots of oils work, but some work better/faster.
This quote of Dan's is a good summary:

"Seasoning a cast iron pan is not rocket science; however, a little science knowledge can be used to better season a pan. The type patina that develops on your pans is a function of the type of oil you use, the temperature that you heat it to, and how you clean your pans."

Over the time span of that Garden Web thread, Dan used several different oils/fats, and ultimately recommended grapeseed oil, which is one of the highest smoke-point oils commonly available for kitchen use. He has posted since on other fora, recommending that oil.

Gotta agree with you about the sandblasting though. As I posted last Nov, I have two pans that were otherwise unusable, but are now favourites. They were blasted clean, then seasoned and used constantly.
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 316
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which of you two will sandblast Grandma's Pan for me? Big smile

Since I wonked her 60 years of seasoning, I've just been using peanut oil, which like grapeseed oil, has a really high smoke point. I haven't tried to "season" it per se, but it's already built up a nice finish which inhibits sticking.
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