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How To: Seasoning Cast Iron
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criticalflicker
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:37 pm    Post subject: gummy seasoning Reply with quote

Hi

I tried to season my cast iron based on everything I read, but even after baking it for a really long time the seasoning is still gummy. Should I just start cooking on it and hope that it works itself out or should I completely clean it and start over?

Thanks
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pbone



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Dutchess County, NYS

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you dehydrated the oil you were seasoning the pan with when it was in the oven all that time....one suggestion if you season again: put it in the skillet upside down in the oven, so the heated oil doesn't collect and go gummy. This is the best way to PREVENT the problem, but now that you've got it, don't go nuts over it: this happened to me, and I just used some dishwashing liquid, warm water and copper chore-boy or -girl (your call))))) and briefly scrubbed it out, then dried the skillet. But you could certainly just go ahead and use the skillet. Everything gets back to perfect with use in the case of cast iron.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problem. Just put it back in the oven. Your initial seasoning temperature was too low. Crank up your oven. The temperature has to be at least 30 degrees F higher than the smoke point of the oil you used and left there for an hour, or else you will end up with the gummy pan you describe.
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Blue Pilgrim



Joined: 03 Sep 2007
Posts: 25
Location: Ilinois

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds to me like the coating is too thick and so hasn't oxidized properly. I would try cleaning it with a mild abrasive and/or baking soda to thin it out (rinse well), then heating it, and then adding a final thin layer of grease/oil if there are some bare spots. Baking it upside down might help keep the excess grease from building up. Several thin layers seems to be much better than one thick one -- something like how you put several coats of paint on something, letting each dry thoroughly before the next one.

Or you might try just putting it upside down in the oven and forgetting about it for some time (a few weeks?) while you bake other things.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why don't you just put it back in the oven for an hour or so. I can be lazy sometimes, but this is easy to do and will yield a positive result. I promise.
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Matt G



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 1
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This page has an interesting explanation of the seasoning process.

http://dutchovendoctor.com/CastIronSeasoning.htm

I previously used vegetable shortening to season my cookware. I would melt the shortening onto a partially heated pan and then coat the pan with a paper towel. I recently switched to canola oil because I don't have to melt it and becasue it doesn't contain any preservatives. I don't think the preservatives interfere with the seasoning process, but I like the idea of not using any additives.[/url]
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egm
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:53 pm    Post subject: Seasoning Cast Iron Grill Grates Reply with quote

Hello All,

I just purchased a gas grill and I have cast iron grill grates. How can I season them using my grill and not having to do it in the oven?

Thanks,
Eric
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1008
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric -

fire up the grill
get it hot

use a paper towel with a liberal dose of oil to rub/coat the grates just before you plop stuff on.

that's it.
no oven
no seasoning (the hot fire will burn it off anyway, probably)

"seasoning" a cast iron pan for (indoor) stove/cook top use is a bit of a different animal than a grill.
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DrBiggles



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

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Seasoning Cast Iron Grill Grates Reply with quote

egm wrote:
Hello All,

I just purchased a gas grill and I have cast iron grill grates. How can I season them using my grill and not having to do it in the oven?

Thanks,
Eric


A friend many years ago showed me something that worked GREAT, even for chromed grills as well. Fire up your grill, and right before you begin cooking, take some chicken skin, fat side down and rub it over the grill. No sticky and for the cast iron, perfection. If you aren't cooking chicken, then never mind.

For grilling with cast iron grates, before they cool down, use your grill brush to clean them up. You don't have to be anal about it, just get the schmutz off. Rub with a little cooking oil/fat and you're done. Once your grilling season ends for the year, if it ends, do that and once they cool, install to plastic bags and store in a dry place for the winter.

Biggles
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manatus22
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Reply with quote

Just jutting a follow up...

I have been cooking with cast iron on a ceramic stove top for nearly 3 years. My Ceramic Top has survived w/o a blemish.

My Cast Iron pans are working beautifully, but more so since I changed my ways. I used to season them with vegetable oil, but I needed to re-season constantly. The coating was not very strong and it never got to that desired black stage---my scrambled eggs stuck-Uhg what a pain to clean!.

One time of making bacon in the skillet in the oven converted me from my errand ways. Animal fat is far superior for cast iron coating than vegetable oil will ever be. My pan came out beautifully black after one time in the oven with the precious bacon fat. And the bacon... was just delish! Seasoning with bacon is by far the better method.

[just in case you wondered.. I cut the bacon strips in half. I make my bacon by separating and placing the slices carefully in the pan (no overlaping). Bake at 425oF for about 20 minutes (cover with foil to limit splatter), 15 min into the cycle, turn slices over; in 5-7 min remove pan from oven and move the strips to a paper towel for drying and cooling-this firms them and the internal heat finishes the cooking w/o buring. Strips come out crispy and are very addicting. The lipids left I let cool down and filter through a coffee filter into a small container. I use the fats for reseasoning or cooking.]

Another thing I discovered is that if I preheat (medium heat) and oil the pans/skillets before I place the food on them then, food will be less likely to stick. Frozen food will tend to stick to, even more so on a cold pan.

As a norm, I still only cook on settings 4 or less.

I rediscovered the love of cooking with dutch butter (made with cream and salt- not with pasturized milk). It is rich in flavor and my pans love it. It seasons them every time I cook.

If I cook fish in them, after cleaning, I like to give them a rinse with a dilution of water and vinager. Then I will dry on the stove on low. Re-oil and store.
---
On another note, Yesterday I bought an iron skillet at a garage sale. Poor thing. Very neglected (gooked and rusted). After a cleanse in the clean oven cycle of my oven it is almost as good as new. I do have to sand it to remove the areas of rust. But before long it will be ready to be seasoned. I'll let you know if I was able to rescue it.
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DrBiggles



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

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Reply with quote

manatus22 wrote:

---
On another note, Yesterday I bought an iron skillet at a garage sale. Poor thing. Very neglected (gooked and rusted). After a cleanse in the clean oven cycle of my oven it is almost as good as new. I do have to sand it to remove the areas of rust. But before long it will be ready to be seasoned. I'll let you know if I was able to rescue it.


mMmmMm, bacon. Careful with the cleaning cycle, can crack and/or warp the ol' cast iron. Try spray oven cleaner, toss to plastic trash bag for a few days. Don't sand, not good. Fine steel wool and cooking oil is good. I've got 3 old pans that need some serious cleaning, going to set up an electrolysis tank here pretty soon.

Biggles
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Reply with quote

[quote=DrBiggles]mMmmMm, bacon. Careful with the cleaning cycle, can crack and/or warp the ol' cast iron. Try spray oven cleaner, toss to plastic trash bag for a few days. Don't sand, not good. Fine steel wool and cooking oil is good. I've got 3 old pans that need some serious cleaning, going to set up an electrolysis tank here pretty soon.

Biggles[/quote]

--


thannk you Biggles...
providentially it did not crack. Teasing but i found amound of rust as it had been neglected. Have been scouring profuesoy and not been able to take the las part of the rust out from the inside of the pan. Called lodge and they said tosnad it if the rust was to engrained. I hope not have to follow that last recourse.

they said the rust would prevent the pan from taking on a good seasoning. Any recommendations? have done the wool scrub, the fine water sand paper. Nearly most of it is gone, but really would like all of it gone (if possible).
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DrBiggles



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

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
DrBiggles wrote:
mMmmMm, bacon. Careful with the cleaning cycle, can crack and/or warp the ol' cast iron. Try spray oven cleaner, toss to plastic trash bag for a few days. Don't sand, not good. Fine steel wool and cooking oil is good. I've got 3 old pans that need some serious cleaning, going to set up an electrolysis tank here pretty soon.

Biggles


--


thannk you Biggles...
providentially it did not crack. Teasing but i found amound of rust as it had been neglected. Have been scouring profuesoy and not been able to take the las part of the rust out from the inside of the pan. Called lodge and they said tosnad it if the rust was to engrained. I hope not have to follow that last recourse.

they said the rust would prevent the pan from taking on a good seasoning. Any recommendations? have done the wool scrub, the fine water sand paper. Nearly most of it is gone, but really would like all of it gone (if possible).


You're welcome! You really need to spray it down with the oven cleaner, put in a better heavy duty trash bag, 30 gallon or so. 2 to 4 mil thickness would be nice. Put it in the sun during the day, tuck in the garage at night for 2 days. You should really have to do very little scrubbing after that. Sanding the cast iron is too coarse and won't get in to the nooks and crannies, like what you're experiencing. This will leave you a completely clean cast iron pan that you can season and put in to immediate use. You're right, there shouldn't be any rust in there at all and the oven cleaner will take care of that for you without causing you any more grief. It's worth the time and effort and your family will get years of love from this piece.

Biggles
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Rolf
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:03 pm    Post subject: Instructables on cast iron cleaning Reply with quote

Instructables has this great article on how to get your cast iron clean:

Probably best for engineers ;-)

http://www.instructables.com/id/Electrolytic-Rust-Removal-aka-Magic/
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Chemistry Reply with quote

I've done a lot of reading on the internet about cast iron seasoning recently. To me, the most plausible explanation for the non-stick property is oil polymerization. Here are a couple of links.

http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/detail.php?docid=19356

"Sticking occurs because fish muscle protein fibers are much shorter than protein fibers in meat. The muscle protein in fish contains much less connective tissue as well. The net result is that muscle fibers in fish are much more delicate than the fiber in meat. Additionally, the muscle fibers in fish shrink and break down at much lower temperatures (about 20 degrees lower) than meat proteins. The nitrogen and sulfur atoms in the broken-down fish protein chemically bind with the metal surface of the grill, causing the fish the stick.

To understand how to prevent sticking, we need to focus on the science of oil. The molecules that make up the oil (called triglycerides) will polymerize (chemically link together to form very large molecules like a plastic) when exposed to high heat and oxygen in the air. The oxidized polymers then bind and coat the metal surface of the grill. However, a metal grill gets so hot, most of the polymers from a single coating vaporize. Applying multiple coatings of oil forms a layer of polymerized oil that acts like a plastic film, preventing the fish from sticking."

http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

Anyway, the coating is brown, not black. It looks like there may or may not be carbon/graphite in it, but it's definitely not pure carbon. Also, when you heat your cast iron to a really high temp (like leaving it on a camp fire for a long time), you actually destroy the seasoning by burning it down to charcoal.
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