1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Reseasoning Cast Iron Pan, What Did I do Wrong?

Discussion in 'General Dutch Oven Information' started by ghostguy6, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. ghostguy6

    ghostguy6 Smoke Blower

    I recently stripped my Cabela's ( presumably made by Lodge) 10" cast iron pan down to bare metal and sanded the cooking surface down with an orbital sander down to a smooth 80grit. I also removed the embossed Cabela's logo so it would sit flat on my stove top. The pan was completely bare of all the old seasoning, I made sure of that with the use of an angle grinder and wire wheel as well as rubbing alcohol to remove any grinding dust. I then seasoned it with flax seed oil according to the directions from this link.
    The only difference was I used the BBQ instead of the oven. All was well, the pan looked perfect, the cooking surface was like black glass when I was done, hard and not tacky at all.
    The first problem arose when I tried cooking with it. The first run was some onions and bacon on medium heat. The surface was far from non stick, not a big deal, it was manageable with wooden spatula. The second and major problem arose when I tried to clean the pan. While I was eating I had put some water in the pan on medium heat so I could clean the pan when I was done. The water had just come to a low boil. I used the wooden spatula to lightly scrape off the food residue when the flax seasoning just came off with no effort at all. I would say 70% came off. All the seasoning on the sanded surface was soft.
    At that point I just sprayed the pan with some oil to prevent any rust, poured a glass of scotch then called it a night.
    What could have caused this? I know the pan was clean before I started seasoning. The final paper towel I used was so clean I could have dried it and reused it. I followed the directions to the letter ( aside from using the bbq of course). The seasoning on the bottom and sides of the pan seem to have held up. I was hoping to snap of picture this morning but never got the chance so I will do that once I get home.
    Any ideas?
  2. zippy12

    zippy12 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I have all lodge and 1 CI 6 inch that is not lodge. my Lodge CI holds seasoning.... but that 6 inch CI will flake the seasoning right off. I trashed a non Lodge CI with ridges because it would not hold seasoning. I figured these were china made pans with bad CI...
  3. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    The flax seasoning was recommended by all sorts of professional sites, including the folks at Cook's Illustrated. However, for many people it has turned out to be a really bad recommendation, for exactly the reason you found: the stuff flakes off.

    I just quickly re-read half a dozen posts on this subject, and some of them still recommend flaxseed oil, but the newer posts mention all the problems people have had with the stuff flaking off and now claim that these people didn't use the "right" flaxseed oil. I'll leave it to you to read these stories and see if you can get a more pure form of flaxseed oil, but the gist of the stories is that some of the brands contain contaminants which lead to flaking.

    [edit]Here's one good story on what I just described. It includes ideas on how to solve the problem:

    I Seasoned My Cast Iron Pan with Flaxseed Oil, and Here's What Happened

    P.S. Speaking for myself, you couldn't pay me to use flaxseed oil. It is, of course, a very trendy food right now, with all sorts of supposed health benefits. My wife bought some flaxseeds to put on cereal, which I did.


    Back in the 1950s my parents would have the house painted and the painters mixed their own paints from turpentine and linseed oil. Flaxseed is the edible version of linseed oil. To me, the stuff tastes and smells exactly like that old paint used to make my nose and tongue feel when I walked around the house while they were painting.

    I really don't like eating paint.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
    Danno44 and SecondHandSmoker like this.
  4. I learned a great trick to clean iron skillets and stainless skillets. Once you are done cooking, just put some course salt in it and I use a green scratch pad (nothing too strong) and just a little water and the salt cleans up everything great. I heard flax seed oil is good too. The only thing I can think of is maybe the pan wasn't hot enough when you put the food in it which made it stick. Plus, you have to give it some time for the meat to release from the pan when it's cooking.
  5. ghostguy6

    ghostguy6 Smoke Blower

    The thing is, it didn't really flake off. Its almost as if the seasoning on cooking surface had somehow softened and then separated when in the water. Almost like a gravy skin look if that makes sense. The inner sides of the pan that were also exposed to the hot water were fine. The outside of the pan, including the bottom which I also sanded appear to be fine.
    If it had flaked off in hard pieces I would have suspected surface contamination, but as I said the surface was well prepped.
    Here is the oil I used, it says its 100% pure.
  6. I've never heard of anyone stripping a pan the degree you did. Maybe that's the reason? I'm not sure.
  7. zippy12

    zippy12 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    He stripped it to attain a smooth surface. CI from Lodge today as a ruff surface to help in factory seasoning.
  8. SecondHandSmoker

    SecondHandSmoker Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    What temperature was your BBQ during the reseasoning? If it was too hot, that may have affected the polymerization process.
  9. oldsmokerdude

    oldsmokerdude Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    My thought was that you made the pan TOO smooth causing the seasoning not to stick as well as it could. This may have allowed the hot water to get "under" the seasoning allowing it to become soft.
    SecondHandSmoker likes this.
  10. That's a good point b/c if memory serves, when an iron skillet is unseasoned, you can see the pores.
  11. SecondHandSmoker

    SecondHandSmoker Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That is a definite possibility.
  12. ghostguy6

    ghostguy6 Smoke Blower

    I don't think the temperature ever got above 500f but it could have possibly spiked as high as 525f when I wasn't looking.

    I was thinking the same thing however I watched a youtube video where they went all the way to 220 grit without a problem. This does make sense though.
  13. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Can't help you with the flax seed oil. I've always used peanut oil on my CI and never had a problem.
  14. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This thread got me thinking. My son used one of my grandmothers old CI pans to catch the oil from his car during his last oil change( I was not a happy camper). Is it possible to burn it off and reseason it somehow or is it a complete loss?

  15. weev

    weev Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I did the same thing to one of my pans except I redid mine in the oven but mine keeps flaking off every time I wash it
    I was thinking I ruined it by getting it to smooth Guess I was right
  16. crazzycajun

    crazzycajun Smoking Fanatic

    Wash with dish soap and burn off any residual oil cook fried potatoes for son. Repeat until son no longer gets the s**ts. Re-season and use for the rest of the family :cool:
    GATOR240 and chopsaw like this.
  17. ghostguy6

    ghostguy6 Smoke Blower

    Here are the pictures I promised, The cooking surface looked the same as the bottom before I cleaned it. 20180808_154042.jpg 20180808_154018.jpg
  18. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Look for the Kent Rollins videos on cast Iron . It worked for me , as I was having trouble with a new Lodge skillet . I used his methods and had great results . He talks about sanding in one of the videos .
    SonnyE likes this.
  19. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    Gosh, I wouldn't worry about cleaning off motor oil. Just scrub it really well using almost-boiling water and dishwasher detergent. That combination will remove all traces of the motor oil. Then, re-season.
    gmc2003 likes this.
  20. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What was the viscosity ? Might pass right thru , and high mileage might add some life to you ,,,