Cast iron pots ?

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Smokin Okie

Master of the Pit
Original poster
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Jun 27, 2018
Oklahoma City
I've dug out two cast iron pots my Dad used to fry catfish. He passed in 1996 and its been 30 years since these pots have been used.

I'm thinking about using them to fry catfish and maybe some other uses on the smoker. Is there anything I need to do to them ?

Hard to get good pics, but here's what I got. They're 4 qt in volume. The lid has a " 10 " on it. I don't think the lid fits either one.

Looks like they are in great shape to have been sitting up for 30 years. I'm thinking just a general cleaning and fry away. But, I'll let more knowledgeable people chime in.

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The lid has a little rust spot, but there's no rust on the pots. That one pic gives an appearance of rust on the inside, but that's just the pic.
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Look fine to me. I'd give them a quick clean and then season them. I have a 5 qt Lodge I use to fry fish outside on the gasser side burner.

I have a dedicated propane fish fryer.

My Dad had family in the Conway, Arkansas area who would have a big fish fry when we would visit.

They used a big cast iron kettle. They'd fill it with grease and then throw a match in. Whenever the match lit, the grease was hot enough to fry fish.

These pots were Dad's version.

What would be the seasoning procedure ?
Unless you want to totally start over to season them I'd just boil some water in them, dump the water out and dry them. Then a little olive oil or something similar, start with a teaspoon maybe, heat them up and a very thin coat of oil spread out with a paper towel. Commence to using them... it's what they like best. Can do the same thing with that lid, just use a green scotch pad to remove the rust, then dry, and oil.

Maybe a light sanding followed up by a wipe down(both inside and out) with grape seed oil and then into a 450* oven for an hour. Also leave the pot in the oven while the oven cools down. Repeat a few times.

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Those will work ^^^ but for general seasoning scrub them clean and remove any rust spots, then make sure they are good and dry. Then coat them with some oil... this is where the arguments usually start regarding types of oils, but I've used several different ones over the years... canola, vegetable etc etc. Then I toss them in a 400 degree oven for an hour or so then turn the heat off and let them set in there till cool. Big thing is not to use to much oil. They'll be sticky if you did. Some times you may need to do it a few times to get a good season on them.
Nice pans, glad you are going to put them to use. A good scrub and dry and a light coat of oil and you should be good. I'm in the avocado oil camp. If they were an egg frying skillet I would season 3-4 times. Since you will be adding fry oil using outside, I would not worry too much about layer after layer. Just keep clean and dry, lightly oiled between fish frys and you should be good. Oh, and a picture of the bottom to see brand would be great. The cast iron forum has a couple good threads about seasoning and high quality brands. And some recipes!
I would start by washing with soap and water . Wipe it dry , then put on a burner to make sure it's completely dry .

Cool enough to handle and use kosher salt and a coffee filter or a cloth towel to scrub the inside with the salt . Might take a few times .
Get all the loose stuff out , then rinse with hot water , hand dry and reheat to dry completely .

Lightly oil inside and out , then into a 350 degree oven upside down . Put a sheet pan on the rack below . Heat 3 hours then turn the oven off and let it cool .

I use flaxseed oil for a total redo , but veg oil for clean up and maintenance .

Like said above . To much oil and not high enough heat will leave it sticky .

The salt or even uncooked rice makes a great scubing agent .
Coffee filters don't shed particles like a paper towel . I use them to re oil .
Also like said above , use is the best way to build a seasoning .
I'd address that rust spot on the lid and re-season it. The other parts you could probably just wipe down with some vegetable oil on the inside and start using. If you wanna go all out you could strip them with oven cleaner and completely re-season. I'd do this if you were buying them from a stranger, but I wouldn't do it if their your dad's old pans. There's some history in that seasoning!
My Dad had family in the Conway, Arkansas area who would have a big fish fry when we would visit.
Conway! Lord! That brings memories! I used to live just before the bridge on 89. There used to be a small trailer park there. Loved that area. And the crappie fishing was top notch.
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Conway! Lord! That brings memories! I used to live just before the bridge on 89. There used to be a small trailer park there. Loved that area. And the crappie fishing was top notch.

I've not been there since the 1960's, when I was a kid and before I got too busy to go on vacation with mom and dad.

Dad's family lived in Greenbriar. His Uncle Irv had a house with a breezeway through the middle and ya got water out of his well with a contraption similar to a bucket. They all had big gardens and we'd have huge feasts.

They got their catfish from the White River. They said the best channel cats in the world came from that river. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.