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Reseasoning Cast Iron Pan, What Did I do Wrong?

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

  1. I guess you could strip it down and try again. I've read about the flaxseed method but never tried it since it seemed way too time consuming to repeat the steps 5 to 7 times to build up the seasoning.
     
  2. Danno44

    Danno44 Fire Starter

    I would also strip it down and start over. I suggest going with the easy off oven cleaner (yellow cap) process seeing as it’s only 1 pan.
    I have used crisco, vegetable oil and olive oil to season pans. All with good success.
    Also, and not that it really matters, but my understanding is that Cabela’s pans are made in China by Camp Chef, not Lodge.
    As mentioned, using flax seed has more negative results than good from what I have read/researched.
     
  3. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    I would stay away from olive oil because it has a pretty low smoke point and I don't think it polymerizes as well as other vegetable oils. If you don't have peanut allergies, the peanut oil recommendation sounds good to me. I just use the vegetable oil I use for all my cooking. It was the winner, several years ago, of the Cook's Illustrated vegetable oil taste tests:

    Crisco Natural Blend Vegetable Oil

    Crisco's Pure Vegetable Oil is my second choice for general purpose oil.
     
    SecondHandSmoker likes this.
  4. kelbro

    kelbro Smoke Blower

    I experienced a similar thing with a very smooth old Griswold 10" skillet. It always did pretty well with lard or crisco seasoning but I had the bright idea to strip it down and re-season with the flax seed oil that I heard was the 8th wonder of the world.

    Bought the expensive pure flaxseed oil.
    Scotchbrited and sanded the surface of my 8" and 10" skillets.
    Cleaned up completely.
    Went through the whole process 6 times at 400 - 425 just as they described.
    They both looked like smooth black mirrors. Wow!
    Cooked some Jimmy Dean Hot pan sausage. Stuck a little but no big deal.
    Same as above, boiled some water to cleanup as I have done for 40 yrs with this skillet.
    That stuff came off like paint peeling!

    Stripped it back down. Tried again. Same results.

    Funny thing is, the 8" took and held the seasoning great. No flaking or peeling. Crazy.

    Here's the solution that I found.

    Scotchbrite it back down.
    Wipe it with olive oil (probably any oil or lard)
    Cook with the thing.
    Wipe it out.
    Cook some more. And then some more.
    Now a seasoning is building up.
    Eggs don't stick. Bacon doesn't stick.

    Our grandmothers didn't go through all of these gyrations. Shoot, mine scrubbed hers out with doggone Brillo pads!

    My more textured Lodge pans never had a problem seasoning or with stuff really sticking. I'm thinking that super smooth may not be the most optimal surface for cast iron cooking.
     
  5. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    Cast iron should be a somewhat rough surface; super-smooth is not what you want.

    I thankfully never did the flaxseed seasoning. The people at Cook's Illustrated were one of the main proponents of using it, and they never did a follow-up, even after people complained of the flaking problem.

    I also cannot stand the taste of flaxseed or flaxseed oil. I think I mentioned before that when I grew up, the painters that came to our house would mix their own paint with turpentine, linseed oil, and pigment. Linseed oil is the same thing as flaxseed oil, and I can't taste flaxseed without remembering the stink in our house when the painters left for the day.

    I've always done the seasoning the same way: slather the pan with oil; turn upside down over a pan lined with aluminum foil; heat for an hour at 450 degrees. I'm still not sure if that is the right temperature, but the rest of the process I'm pretty sure it right.

    My two CI pans are the best non-stick I have, including my All-Clad non-stick. When the cheese oozes out of a panini sandwich and burns, it just pops off with my fingernail when the pan is cooled.
     
  6. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I've been using 350 for a couple hours . Seems to work . After getting a newer Lodge 12" just about where it needed to be , I had it heating up on the stove today and got a phone call . By the time the dog told me to get my head out of my ,,, Backside , I burned all the seasoning out of the middle of the pan . not sure if I need to re do the whole thing , or if I can just re season the middle .
     
  7. kelbro

    kelbro Smoke Blower

    You can easily re-season just the middle. Run it up hot enough to start smoking a little. Remove it from the heat. Quickly put a little of your favorite oil in there and smear it around. After it cools, wipe up the excess.

    That method also works to maintain the seasoning when you scratch up the surface using forks, metal spatulas or the stainless steel scouring pads.
     
  8. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    I'm still looking for some definitive source on what temperature to use. Lodge recommends 350°; Cook's Illustrated recommends the maximum temperature you can set your oven (550° for my oven). I've seen everything in between.

    You would think Lodge would be a "definitive source," but when I went looking for sites that attempt to understand the science and found these:

    Bon Apetit
    500°

    Cast Iron Collector
    350° (they claim oil does polymerize at this temperature)

    Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning
    500°

    Some sites say that polymerization happens at very low temperatures (some even claim it happens at room temperature), but that to get the oil to bond to the pan requires the higher temperatures. Some say that you want to keep the temperature below the oil's smoke point, and other sites don't seem to think that matters (500° is certainly above the smoke point of pretty much any oil).

    So, I've always just compromised and done it at 425-450°, which is just below the smoke point of the oil I use. I've never had to re-do it, although I always re-oil the pan and heat it on the stove to 375° (as measured with my IR thermometer) after each and every use, just after I clean and dry the pan.
     
  9. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    A few comments from the peanut gallery...

    Been using cast iron as long as I remember. I was taught the old-school way that has been successfully for centuries. Never gave a thought to reinvent the wheel with any of these newer ideas, oils, and methods. They just all seemed unnecessary to me.

    The only thing I have noticed is if I'm cooking something that is highly acidic- vinegar, citrus juices etc, that can soften the seasoning, but it doesn't take much to bring it right back. In fact I have used vinegar to boil out and clean used CI I acquired so I get a good clean base metal. Works better for me than dish soap. Im guessing it has to do with the residual detergent.
     
  10. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    And the "old-school way" is ... ?
     
  11. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Like to know that myself ,,,,
     
  12. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sorry. That sounded rather cavalier. I apologise.
    Lard or bacon grease and just use the dang thing. Doesn't have to be fancy is all I was saying. No need for modernization. There lies the root of my meaning for "old school".
     
    SonnyE likes this.
  13. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    100 % agree with that . I did just that when I got my black stone . So I did the same with my cast iron . I fried bacon in it over and over , and just used it . The more it was used the better it got . Was heating it up to clean and oil , and burned the middle out .
     
  14. chilerelleno

    chilerelleno Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Old school... Fry everything... If it could be fried, it was fried and fried in cast iron.
    Clean up consisted of scraping out the big bits then wipe it out.
    My Granny on my Dad's side, I don't think her cast iron ever saw water.

    I had to re-season my Dutch Oven after cooking that Goat Shoulder in the chile sauce, too much acidity.
    A couple of spots had noticeable changes in color/consistency of seasoning.
    Heat it on the stove till just hot, wipe with olive oil and into the oven upside down for an hour at 450°.
     
  15. kelbro

    kelbro Smoke Blower

    And old school didn't have silicone spatulas and spoons either to 'baby' those skillet surfaces either.

    I will give a thumbs up to one of the new-fangled cleaners, the chainmail scrubbers are amazing! My metal spatula cleans most everything up but the chainmail thing will get every last bit.
     
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did you invert the skillet while seasoning ?? You know, cooking side down ?? Maybe the oil was too thick to season properly and an "un hardened" layer was next to the cast iron...
     
    SonnyE likes this.
  17. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I had issues with flaxseed oil too. It does give a nice glass like finish but it does not last (in my case).
     
  18. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Fry, fry, fry, till your Cardiologist dies. :rolleyes:

    I sanded my CI smooth-er and re-seasoned it.
    First run was in the house oven. Bad mistake.
    I moved it to my gasser BBQ and continued while I cleared the house out. :p
    Then I just fry in my 12". Bacon, Beef (80/20 Hamburger), took the wife's Bamboo spatula to the shop and gave it a proper edge by hand sanding. Works great now.
    I don't get mine wet, and it always has a film of oil (grease) very thinly wiped on it.
    Pan, Dutch Oven, Griddle. All I need.

    Kent Rollins
    I consider him a guru of the cast iron.
     
  19. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have said this before but will reiterate-if you want to clean or start over with a CI pan just throw it on some good hot coals in your wood stove overnight and it will be brand spanking new in the AM