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Old 03-24-2008, 09:25 PM   #1
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How do you season cast iron cookware?

Ok, this seems like a pretty basic question, but I'm having trouble with my Dutch Oven. It's one of those three legged kind I got for cooking at rallys. I have used it a couple times while camping, and I use it at home in the oven sometimes. I have an old 12 inch skillet I have had for years, and it is perfectly seasoned to the point where it is black and slick. But the DO , which I seasoned with veg oil in the oven to start with, the seasoning burned off the first time I used it in a fire while camping. So I re-seasoned it with crisco in the oven and it came out all patchy looking, and even sticky in spots. I oil it with veg oil every time I finish using it, but it's not getting any better. Any suggestions on what I should do now?


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Old 03-24-2008, 09:35 PM   #2
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Try rubbing your dutch oven with coarse salt to clean it real well, then rub it again with veg. oil (lightly) and set into a 250 degree oven for a few hours. Never use soap, and use the coarse salt when you clean it for awhile. After you put veg. oil in it, for the next several times put it in the oven for a while.


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Old 03-24-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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Stef - I've heard that the best way to season a cast iron pan is through repeated use.... So I'd like to offer myself up as your test subject. I am willing to be cooked for as many times as is needed to properly season your pan.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:38 PM   #4
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Thanks JJ, I'll give the salt and baking it a try.

Janet, I'll be glad to continue seasoning my DO at the next rally. When will that be, anyway? I guess it's about time I organized one...

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Old 03-24-2008, 10:39 PM   #5
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I have cooked with nothing but cast iron for over thirth years. The SAME cast iron. I used to season with vegie oil in the oven. I now do it on top of the stove. I coat the inside edges and put about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan or Dutch Oven and turn the heat to Med/High. When the oil starts to smoke, I carefully pour the oil into the next pan to be seasoned, and let the first pan cool. I pour the oil from one pan to the next, heating and pouring and letting the pans cool some. After the oil has made the rounds three or four times, the game is over. I let all cool and the pans are seasoned until the next time they need it.

I have found that the seasoning diminishes over time, especially if water is allowed to boil in the pan. Knowing that, I just re-season as needed.

My pans are very old, but very good stuff (Griswold, SK and other good makers). I don't think I would want to try new.
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:08 AM   #6
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I think they key to a perfectly seasoned cast iron pan is to fry bacon repeatedly. There's something magic about bacon. I'll bet your old pan has seen a few slices.

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Old 03-25-2008, 07:24 AM   #7
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Cast Iron loves bacon fat or lard (not crisco), very high burn temp. I use the stove top method mentioned above with bacon fat. So much better than veg oil and oven. Remember they didnt' have ovens on the wagon trails, just open fire
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:43 AM   #8
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The quickest way to season a dutch oven is to fry in it. Strain the oil after each use but keep the oil in the vessel and it will self season.
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
it came out all patchy looking, and even sticky in spots.
To avoid this, try giving it a light coating of whatever type oil or fat you prefer and then place it in the oven upside down over a drip pan. I do mine at 375 degrees for at least an hour. Let cool completely and then do it again if you want. The more times the better. I have an old iron skillet that I bake cornbread in. I coat it with Pam cooking spray before pouring in the batter. Over the years this has made the pan as non stick as any non-stick cookware I own.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:36 AM   #10
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I love my 14 inch Iron Skillet and Dutch oven. I have the surfaces as slick as a non stick fry pan. I can cook eggs and they will almost slide out of the pan on their own. The secreat to keeping the surface on is not to get it too hot. If you keep the temps below about 450 it will last a long time once they are seasoned properly. It take maybe three time or more to proper season a pan and then about every 6 months I redo my Iron. I only need to cook it once at that point.

Its real simple actually, it just takes patience to be a good Iron cook.

I use the best Iron whitch is Lodge. I use Crisco vegitable oil to season.

Make sure the pan is cleaned throughly with soap and water. Take a paper towel and liberaly coat the entire pan/dutch oven inside and OUT with crisco.
Heat your oven to 350 and put the pan UPSIDE down in the over and cook it for one (1) hour and let it cool overnight in the oven. Do not take it out of the oven till cool. This is important for the process. Repeat 3 times if your pan has never been seasoned. This meathod works great. is the mistake most make after they season their Iron.....washing....NEVER....I repeat NEVER wash your skilled. Use warm water and a brush to scrub it out. When seasoned proper it will come clean by just brushing it. Bushing does not remove the soap removes the seasoning. If you wash you Iron with soap ....all is lost. After rising the pans out dry them with a paper towel and coat the inside ligtly with Pam till next use. MINE are slick as ..well..they are slick. I love my iron.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:29 PM   #11
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I havent actually had to season one, since I inherited them from my mom. But when I was young, I remember the old timers would rub them down with lard and throw them in a fire outside. I would say using the oven would be easier. My dad still has a few of them that he uses to make cornbread in, and he washes them right along with the dishes, but maybe its because they are 50+ years old! They never had a problem with it sticking. I dont wash mine, I wipe it out with a cloth, then coat it with oil before storing it in the oven.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:47 PM   #12
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I think the trick is to NOT use cooking oil since the burn temp is too low. As recommended above use bacon fat/lard which can take higher temps before burning. I like the two-pot technique mentioned above, when one starts to smoke pour it in the other and keep going that way as long as you can. of course, never clean with deterg, use water or salt only...
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:01 PM   #13
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Thanks for the great advice, I guess I better start cooking up some bacon!

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Old 03-25-2008, 07:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
Thanks for the great advice, I guess I better start cooking up some bacon!
I also agree. I have never seasoned cast iron, and I have used it all my life. Plus, you get a bonus with this method. BACON!!!

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