I'm goin' in!! Seasoning an old cast iron pan.

Discussion in 'General Dutch Oven Information' started by mdboatbum, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well it's done. Let the 7th coat bake for about 3 hours just to see if it made a difference. It's very glossy, more evenly coated and almost black. Under a very bright flashlight it's a deep mahogany color, but under normal lighting it just looks black. Didn't take any more pics because I just didn't feel like messing with it. It probably wouldn't look any different from the last pics anyway. Overall I'm beyond thrilled with the results. Although time consuming, it was not difficult at all. I'm thinking with normal use and maintenance, it will just get deeper, smoother and more stick resistant.



    Here's what I did. I differed slightly from the original method to save a little bit of time.

    Step1: Wash thoroughly with hot soapy water and steel wool. Dry.

    Step 2: Run through self clean cycle in oven.

    Step 3: Heat to 200˚ and apply a thin coat of flax oil taking care to wipe off all excess.

    Step 4: Place in oven, crank to 500˚ and bake for one hour.

    Step 5; remove from oven, let cool and repeat step 4 until 7 coats have been applied, letting the final coat bake for 3 hours.
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow looks like new.
  3. Wow, makes my griddle look like crap! I am going to preseason it now!!!!!


    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk 2
  4. Truly amazing!!! You should be doing infomercials!!! It's really impressive!!!!! Cheers! - Leah
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great MD! Did you do the exterior bottom too? If so I'll be interested to see how it holds up when used on the burner. I haven't flaxed the exterior before.
  6. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I did the whole thing, including the exterior bottom. I'll let you know how it holds up. I would imagine it'll be as tough or tougher than traditional veg oil or lard cure. I do have a question on maintenance. What I've done before is just scrub cast iron with a plastic brush and maybe some salt for the stubborn bits, then dry on the burner and wipe with whatever oil is handy. I'm wondering if I should wipe this one with flax oil every time I use it?
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just scrub and dry, I haven't found a need for adding additional oil. The flax finish is super tough.
  8. Hey Andrew, do you have any advice/expertise, on how to clean an old Iberian Copper Paella pan, (that has rust and also green and just faded/dirty looking gray hues and such too throughout it now), seeing as you did such a magnificent job with your cast iron one?

    Or does that mean the copper pan is sort of ruined and should be tossed?

    Thanks for any input!!!! Cheers! - Leah
  9. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I certainly wouldn't toss it!! A copper paella pan sounds like something to treasure. One thing though, being copper it shouldn't have rust. If there is in fact rust, it might be copper clad steel or something and could be beyond repair. Put a picture or 2 up and maybe someone can tell for sure.

    I don't have a lot of experience with copper cookware, but I have tried this one and know it works. Ketchup, believe it or not, is a great copper cleaner and despite it's dubious status with the US gov't as a vegetable, is food safe. Just smear it on and wait 15 or 20 minutes and then wash it off. May take a couple applications, but it should bring your pan back. You can also try the old baking soda and vinegar trick. If all else fails, a decent kitchen store should sell a non toxic copper polish that should certainly bring it back. Copper is usually really easy to clean and is pretty resistant to pitting and corrosion, hence it's use in coating the bottoms of boats for hundreds of years. Even today, modern antifouling paints contain copper powder.

    Way back when I was a wee lad working my first bartending job, it was in this old fashioned place with the most beautiful copper bar top. It had a wonderful patina, like a mottled old penny. The place was one of those somewhat dark, quiet places where not much happened and old men would come in and wile away the afternoon while their wives shopped. One particularly slow day I got bored and spent about 3 hours polishing the bar with some copper polish I'd found in the back. I did a GREAT job, the thing was like a mirror! One thing I didn't notice though, as I was standing BEHIND the bar the whole time, was that due to the slight angle of the bar the overhead lights were perfectly reflected into the eyes of whoever happened to be sitting AT the bar. IE, our customers. When happy hour began and folks came in to sit it at the bar, they were all bathed in this beautiful golden glow, in addition to being completely blinded by the glare coming off the bar. Needless to say neither the patrons nor my boss were happy about my cleaning efforts. Luckily an overnight application of lemon juice brought the bar back to it's former patina.

    By the way, I believe I must've done something horribly wrong in the seasoning of my  cast iron skillet. It looked absolutely gorgeous, however after 2 or 3 uses, the seasoning is flaking off. I'll have to try again!
  10. Thank you Andrew!

    Such interesting stuff! I throw out EVERYTHING (except for food - as I cannot, ever, ever, ever, even throw out so much as a couple spice kernels or oil left on a plate or whatever it be) but clothes, ex-husbands, furniture, appliances, I either give them to someone, donate, or throw away! 

    OK, OK, enough editorial commentary, but yes, here is the dastardly pan!

    I stopped using it a couple years ago and have just let it sit, because once cleaning it, the middle shows rust? Or copper? And blue & green hues too?

    Maybe the inside is steel or silver or something else, but then what is the rust colored stuff and the green? (This is where Chef Jimmy tells me that I am consuming mega plague ridden bacteria right)? Smiles. I adore him! Can he help? JJ, where are you???

    And then the outside or copper part for certain, looks more worn to me now, although also not "pretty." I don't have ketchup in the house but if you swear it will help, I may go buy some???

    Thanks for anyone's input here.

    It would be fun to get more use out of the pan, as yours, (Andrew) looked so very beautiful, and I realize that's cast iron, but you have a knack - and fabulous story from your bartending days!

    That's a job I always admired yet never tried (feared I couldn't master) although my zany and fabulous Mom DID make a fondue that all guests got downright drunk on, and so perhaps my "mixologist skills" could emerge at any time??

    Thanks for help with this pan. You inspired me for certain! Maybe I'll even stop throwing pans out!!!! Cheers! - Leah

  11. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That looks like copper on the outside and carbon steel on the inside. It'll clean up BEAUTIFULLY! First I'd scrub the dickens out of the inside with steel wool to remove any surface rust. Then season it in much the same way you'd do cast iron. You may not want to do the whole 500˚ oven thing as I'm not sure how the much thinner steel/copper sandwich would hold up to it, but hopefully someone with more knowledge than I about these things can chime in. Plus, with a paella pan you kinda want some sticking on the bottom to form that delicious, crunchy part. I can't remember the name for that part of paella but I'm told it's the favorite part for many folks. Anyway, a basic seasoning at 350˚ in the oven should do the trick to protect the metal from future rust. Once you get the inside where you want it, I'd just go with regular copper polish on the outside. Since it's not contacting food, you can use a good, aggressive polish and buff it back to a mirror finish. I believe Brasso makes a copper polish, as does Flitz. Can't wait to see how it turns out!!
  12. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    On second thought, hold off on the steel wool. I just looked again and it almost looks like the steel is wearing away on the inside and the copper is showing through. At first I thought it was the steel rusting on the surface. You should be able to give it the same treatment, but maybe go easier on the initial scrubbing.
  13. Thank you!!! I've ignored this pan for a couple years (oddly not throwing it out so much as I wanted to) and will give it a try!!!!! You're amazing!!!! Cheers! - Leah
  14. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    One last thing, and this might be where JJ saves the day yet again. I seem to remember reading something about untreated copper in contact with food being a not so good thing. I could be wrong, and I'll look it up to see if I can find anything, but if that is in fact the steel wearing away I'd wait on using it until you get an expert opinion on whether it's safe.
  15. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here is something from Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt but it does sort of confirm my concern:


    When acidic foods are cooked in unlined copper cookware, or in lined cookware where the lining has worn through, toxic amounts of copper can leach into the foods being cooked.[8] This effect is exacerbated if the copper has corroded, creating reactive salts.[9] Actual cooking may not be required for copper to leach into acidic liquids if they are stored in copper for a period of time.[10] Many countries and states prohibit or restrict the sale of unlined copper cookware.[citation needed]

    Copper oxide glaze on cups used for hot liquid might also be a concern, as well as copper pipes for conveying water to the home.
  16. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    The caramelized crust on the bottom of a properly cooked paella is known as  the socarrat. It's my favorite part.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  17. David you are a ROCK STAR of food!!! And wine!!! Love it! (Socarrat). Of course you would know this!!!!

    And Andrew, thank you so much on this! Your pan was so fantastic that I knew you would be a pro about it!

    And Cheff JJ??? If you can kindly educate me on the color of my pan???? I'd be so grateful!!!!

    Thanks to all! This site is a gift!!! Cheers! - Leah
  18. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    AWESOME!! Thank you for this. I like that word. It might be a good name for a yet to be named boat I've been procrastinating, er....RESTORING for a couple years now.
  19. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Wow , that's too bad ! What do you think ? Too much oil? I've been following your progress because I just got a lodge CI DO , AND I WANT TO SEASON IT.....WOOPS . Caps off........I want to try flax oil , but maybe since it's brand new I only need a few coats ?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  20. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi all. Leah the Lining is most likely Tin, most common, but they are also available with Stainless Steel and Silver (EXPENSIVE). The Tin lining is very thin and over time scrubbing will wear it away exposing the copper underneath. Except for sugar/candy making pots and copper bowls for whipping egg whites, the majority of copper cookware is lined. Tin does not rust so unless that is lined with a low budget Stainless Steel, what you see in the interior is copper showing through in places where the tin has been worn away. I understand that they can be re-plated but I have no idea where to get that done. As far as copper toxicity, it is only a major concern with acidic food. I understand unlined copper pots are commonly used for making Carnitas in Mexico and Mexican Restaurants. Any how many Paella recipe have Tomato or a Tomato Paste component. The Acid could cause an issue. Will making and eating one pan of Paella a month Kill you? I doubt it. But  have no idea how much copper is too much. The pans can be expensive so I would look into re-plating...JJ

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