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Seasoning the pan?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I know everyone who will read this will laugh saying, "Wow, what a retard." (No offence to anyone who might be!) But I was really curious as to what "seasoning the pan" means? Is it like using Pam(c) cooking spray to get a non-stick surface (well, a semi-non-stick surface :D )?
Thanks,
Mike Hartman


("There is no such thing as stupid people, just stupid questions" -Anonymous
"There is no such thing as stupid questions, just stupid people." - Rephrase from the famous proverb.) :D Just kidding!
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post #2 of 10
Usually seasoning is for cast iron, but, you can season any metal
saute pan. Never use soap to clean. Everytime you use the pan
clean it with fat or oil of some sort and 3 or 4 tablespoons of salt.
Make sure the pan is hot. When the pan is hot the pores of the
metal open up and, from what I understand the salt fills these pores
and creates a more non stick surface. I use cast iron at home for
90% of my cooking and just wipe the hot pan out with corn or veg
oil and salt with a couple of paper towels. You can wash with water,
but, don't use salt. Someone out there will follow with a more
scientific explanation. thanx.

Stephen
post #3 of 10
Seasoning usually refers to the inital break-in of a cast iron piece or even a steel wok or maybe a grill, anything that's a raw uncoated metal that could rust. Obviously iron and steel rust, and they are all usually shipped from the factory with a nasty oil on them to prevent this while sitting in the showroom. From my understanding, you usually want to clean the heck out of it for the first and only time, quickly dry it, then immediately rub it down with something like vegetable oil, then heat it up. Typically with cast iron you put it in the oven but I think you can also heat it on the stovetop until it starts smoking a little. The reason you do this was outlined by the previous reply, it gets into the pores, creating a more non-stick surface and preventing rust. Anymore alot of stuff comes pre-seasoned so you don't have to do this as often as you used to.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
WOW, great thanks alot! EXTREMELY helpful! Those last 2 replies answered all my questions I had! Thanks ALOT you two!

Thanks,
Mike Hartman
"Jump for joy."
"I'll drink to that!"
"Oh...my....god!"
"HAHA! You're so funny!"
"Trippy!"Sorry, just wanted to add captions to the smilies.
Reply
"Jump for joy."
"I'll drink to that!"
"Oh...my....god!"
"HAHA! You're so funny!"
"Trippy!"Sorry, just wanted to add captions to the smilies.
Reply
post #5 of 10
The salt is a scouring abrasive. You don't want salt in the pan's pores or you're asking for corrosion. Besides, salt doesn't dissolve in oil. You want the oil in the pores as that's where any sticking starts first.

Phil
post #6 of 10
When seasoning cast iron, you are burning a -hopefully thin- layer of oil on all the surfaces. You want the stuff real freakin' hot, in the 450 range, and smoky. (Lodge recommends 350, but that's just they don't want to get customer complaints about the smoke. The results aren't too good at that temp. Besides, they use high temp for their pre-seasoned line.)

What you're doing is converting the oil molecules into a polymer. It becomes very smooth and hydrophobic. I.e., "non-stick."

Soap, prolonged water contact and scraping can screw this surface up. So, don't use soap (as stated above, the salt is merely a convenient abrasive. Plastic "scrubbie" will work just as well), don't let cast iron sit around wet (and for God's sake don't store food in it!) and be careful with utensils.

BTW, if you get stuck-on food anyway, be gentle. An inch or two of water boiled with the lid on will loosened darned near anything.

Also, the surface can always improved with a "touch up" after use. Rub a very, very thin coat of oil and heat until smoking. Avoid any oil pooling.

Treated properly, your grandkids will be passing a great piece of cookware on to their grandkids.
post #7 of 10
I just love my cast iron skillet! Unfortunatly, I have only one cast iron skillet that is properly seasoned to a nice black finish.

The first treatment, like others have said, was in the oven and oil rubbed on all sides and surfaces. Only cleaned in warm water in the sink (with an Dobie pad) or using boiling water and a wooden spoon on the cooktop.

From time to time...I'll cook a nice bit of bacon in the skillet for breakfast. This gets a real nice re-season on the inside of the pan. On occasion I'll also use the pan to cook eggs over easy as well...very little butter needed. Plus...if you need a nice sear...it's the king (or for cornbread...or for pineapple upside down cake...or shrimp...oh scallops too. ok...I do love my cast iron!):D

dan
post #8 of 10
Mike,
I hope now you know that there are no stupid questions here. These professionals would not be answering. You have no idea how we all pick up tidbits from all questions and answers. Nice to have ya here
pan
My pic is too large to send, my son will reduce it and send it off for me.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #9 of 10
For whatever it's worth, I read somewhere earlier that using vegetable oil makes things alot stickier than if you used lard or bacon grease for the initial seasoning.
post #10 of 10
Maybe, maybe not.

Lard and Bacon grease are very saturated and highly saturated fats tend to behave better for seasoning purposes than less saturated fats. However, bacon grease is fairly contaminated and has a lowish smoke point. You will not be able to get the pan as hot before it polymerizes/carbonizes. Plus some risk of salt.

Many vegetable oils have high smoke points and you can get the pan quite hot before it carbonizes. A very hot pan creates better seasoning for non-stainless pans (woks, cast iron).

But the other part of the equation is fat stability, meaning how the oil resists rancidity. High saturation fats are more stable than low saturation fats. Over time, even without heat, oils polymerize a bit and can get sticky.

Even after seasoning, a pan should be wiped with oil so the pan doesn't rust. If the pan is going to sit in storage for a while, a highly saturated fat is a good choice. Cast iron actually encourages fat to go rancid.

Phil
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