Cast Iron Skillet Care
Cast Iron Skillet Care
Ok. A few things. There is an uneven layer of coating on the bottoms, especially the largest one. That makes food stick. Also, it doesn’t appear that you oil down your pans before storing. Could be the light, but I don’t see a thin patina of oil on them.
Get a piece of steel wool and try to smooth out the bottom. You can use an SOS pad, but you must be extra diligent to remove the weird soap. One of those weird metal scrub sponges might also work, but the finer texture of steel wool will give you a better finish. Even a scrubby sponge is better than nothing.
Once the bottom looks smooth, even if you’ve removed the seasoning, dry the pan over heat on the stovetop for a while. It needs to be completely dry before applying oil.
- Coat the entire pan, even nooks and crannies and handle and top rim and bottom with a layer of your preferred neutral oil. You can use any food grade oil. Crisco seems over kill but I guess it will work. I’d melt it before applying if you use that.
- Once you’ve got a generous layer of oil. Wipe it all off with a paper towel. There should be a lovely gloss but no oil. If you look in my pan picture, you will see a drip of oil on the side where I didn’t follow that rule. Eventually, I’m going to have to scrape that away and re-season that spot.
- Place the pan in an oven set to 500º leave it, upside down, for at least one hour. Leave it in the oven to cool completely. Of course, you can do multiple pans at once.
- Do this at least twice, but I would do it thrice. If you want a really tough coating 5 or 6 times. But, if you follow the maintenance instructions, I don’t think 5 or 6 is immediately necessary.
- Concentrate on thin layers of oil. You can just re-use the oiled paper towel to spread the patina if you’re doing this multiple times.
Stovetop Method (for regular maintenance)
After your pan is clean, dry it on the stovetop of all water is completely evaporated. Spread a thin patina of oil over every pan surface. Sometimes, when I’m lazy, I just spray it with cooking spray but that’s how I get drips and also cooking spray has chemicals in it that are probably giving me cancer. This is actually a science project, so precision is best. Sometimes, I don’t do the bottom because I’m lazy, but my pan is well seasoned so that’s ok.
Heat the oiled pan on the stop top for a while. If you get more than a little bit of smoking, you’ve added too much oil. If you see pooled oil, same. I just leave it on while I’m doing something else in the kitchen. Cleaning up the counters, etc. Food prep. If you look at the pan and the oil, you will see some change that is hard to describe happen as the oil polymerizes. It starts to look dry. Once that happens, I turn off the pan, let it cool completely, and rub a final coating of oil on the pan. I ALWAYS rub on oil before storage.
Remember, not too much oil coating. It shouldn’t look oily it should have a sheen or patina. The thicker the oil you apply, the longer the polymerization time and the more likely you will have an uneven surface. Better to add more layers.