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Questions about new cast iron skillet

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi all!

Just found this site and looks like some good stuff to be learned from the people here. Please be gentle with a noob poster. :peace: I do have a question about a new cast iron skillet I got for christmas. It is a 12" Lodge. Directions say it is "pre-seasoned" but it also give instructions for seasoning prior to use, which I did. Involves getting the skillet warm in the oven then melting a little shortening in the pan, wipe wtih a paper towel, turn pan upside down and back into the oven. I did this without problems. I have used the skillet a couple of times so far for bacon. Figured that would be helpful with the seasoning. When the bacon was finished I noticed you could see clearly where the strips of bacon were sitting on the pan. Question is, do I clean that off and if so how without hurting the seasoning I have already done? I have thought about taking a bamboo wok brush I have to it with some hot water and soap. Other thoughts? Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 14
Don't worry about the seasoning. Get out that brush and scrub away with hot water only, no soap! Keep on scrubbing until you don't see anymore bacon bits.

Truth be told the Lodge pre-season is quite misleading. Everything sticks to the pre-season if you're thinking of oil-free cooking like your non-stick. If you plan to hang on to your 12", I'd go as far as to say skip seasoning altogether and just start frying bacon/steak/sausages on it. Anything greasy will do. And remember to pour in some oil while you're starting out. Whenever you are done cooking, either A) Wipe the pan down with a paper towel and set aside, or B) If you feel the urge to clean it, scrub with hot water only, towel dry, heat over stove, lightly coat with a vegetable oil of your choice, then set aside. The trick here is to never touch the cast iron with any sort of soap or chemical cleaner. After a few months of such use you'll eventually develop a very good seasoning that will be as good as, if not better than, many non-sticks.

It also helps to realize that cast iron is best at searing food. Cook with a hot cast iron skillet for best results.
post #3 of 14
You're seeing sugars from the bacon mostly. Some fond as well. Yes, scrub it off with a teflon safe scrubbie and hot water.

It is good to season more than the pre-seasoning creates. You're creating a carbon patina that will only improve with use over time and become more and more non-stick.

Phil
post #4 of 14
Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something. -- The Princess Bride
Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean...
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Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something. -- The Princess Bride
Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean...
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post #5 of 14
All excellent points so far.

The Lodge pre-season isn't useless, but it's far less than perfect. Adding to it is exactly what you should do.

Phatch (Phil) is da man (or one of an elect few) when it comes to cast. Not a reflection on Akilae (who makes beaucoup sense) or Unknown (some valuable linkage), but I've read Phil for a couple of years and learned a lot. You could do worse.

Basically, what you're doing when seasoning is filling the irregular surface of the pan with fats which have a lot of carbon in them. The non-carbon parts eventually cook off and leave just the carbon which forms a very hard, smooth, and slick surface. Better, as has been said, than (teflon type) non-sticks.

You can see that cooking with the pan is part of the process of converting the fat at the bottom of the pan's "pores" to pure carbon, as well as adding a new layer above it. The more you use it, the better the season becomes.

What you want to do is encourage the process, and leave as much carbon in those pores as possible -- while balancing your need to keep the pan clean enough to use. So, yes to the wok-brush and non-stick scrubber. Any cleaning brush, pad, or other tool safe for "non-stick" is safe for the season in a cast-iron pan.

A little dish soap won't really clean out a well established season -- because that's pure, baked on carbon -- but it will dissolve and otherwise lift out fats and oils which haven't completely converted. So, stay away from soap and any other "degreaser" as much as possible. Ditto, harsh abrasives. If you do have to use dish soap, or someone else does so unwittingly, with the best intentions (hi honey, didn't see you there) -- it's not a big deal. Whatever season is lost can be replaced by reseasoning.

You can season just the way Lodge described as often as you like. It, as they say, "couldn't hurt."

When you wash cast iron or carbon steel cookware, consider the following: After washing and rinsing, don't let it sit in the rack, but immediately dry it with a towel. Set it (the pan, not the towel -- a subtle but important distinction) over a low fire to completely dry. As soon as it is dry, rub a little oil in it with a paper towel, let the oiled pan continue to heat on the same low fire for a couple of minutes, then turn off the fire. Wipe the pan again with a fresh paper towel to make sure there's no leftover oil, let it finish cooling in place on the stove, and finally put the tiresome thing away.

The bulk of the part of the seasoning process involving setting the fats from the oil into the pores occurs as the pan cools.

This regimen renews and adds to an established season, and by preventing rust makes it less likely the pan will need aggressive cleaning later.

Hoping this helps make sense of the issue,
BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
All good information! Thanks to all! My mom as a big cast iron skillet that I would love to have! It is probably 40+ years old. The cooking surface looks like black glass and nothing even thinks about sticking to it. All the new skillets I have seen seem to have a much rougher surface than her's has but perhaps that is what boar_d_laze is talking about with "filling in the pores with carbon". I will give some sausages a try in it as well. I know it will take a little while for it to come into its own but should be worth the wait. Thanks again to all!! :thumb: Cool forum by the way.
post #7 of 14
I'm looking for one with enamel on it. Anyone know if they work as good?
post #8 of 14
http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/cooki...-question.html discusses enameled vs bare cast iron pans/dutch ovens.
post #9 of 14
Most of my cast, aside from some enameled Fontinac I got recently, is on its third generation. With proper care, there is nothing in the kitchen more long lasting than cast iron, not even the kitchen itself.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #10 of 14
I've never bothered to preseason cast iron cookware that was already seasoned before I bought it.

Seems a little bit dumb to have to do that, especially when the purpose of buying it that way is so that you don't have to go through that long slow dragged-out process!

Unlike previous years back where you had to season the cookware from it's gray color. :rolleyes:
I'm a Supreme fan of Bentley Green & Aaron McCargo Jr.!


~Shermie.
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I'm a Supreme fan of Bentley Green & Aaron McCargo Jr.!


~Shermie.
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post #11 of 14
The pre-seasoning is as much about shipping and storage protection as the wax/grease coating was in the old days. But it's not a very deep or slick patina compared to what a little extra treatement buys you with the cast iron.
post #12 of 14
Usually, just using it to fry something in it gets it black, in time.

That's how my mom did it. :thumb:
I'm a Supreme fan of Bentley Green & Aaron McCargo Jr.!


~Shermie.
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I'm a Supreme fan of Bentley Green & Aaron McCargo Jr.!


~Shermie.
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post #13 of 14
Frying is a great first use.
post #14 of 14
Thought so. :smiles:
I'm a Supreme fan of Bentley Green & Aaron McCargo Jr.!


~Shermie.
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I'm a Supreme fan of Bentley Green & Aaron McCargo Jr.!


~Shermie.
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