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Spur08

Re-season Cast Iron Pans

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Long story short, I have to re-season 2 of my CI pans. I did each one of them 3x with grapeseed oil on the grill at 600 for 45 min to an hr. All times, the end product showed flakiness as seen in the picture.

 

Does anyone know why this is happening? I really loved to cook on them so I hope I didn't screw them up royally during seasoning.

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Long story short, I have to re-season 2 of my CI pans. I did each one of them 3x with grapeseed oil on the grill at 600 for 45 min to an hr. All times, the end product showed flakiness as seen in the picture.
 
Does anyone know why this is happening? I really loved to cook on them so I hope I didn't screw them up royally during seasoning.
Did you thoroughly clean/scour them with soap before the grapeseed oil?

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Posted (edited)

No pic but I would suggest putting a very light drop of oil (the size of a quarter) and then take a lint-free rag/towel and rub out the oil, then put it in the oven at 350 upside down for an hour or so.

You could also get crazy with it like I did on my Lodge and take it down to the metal with a drill and a wire brush and then start seasoning from scratch and cook with it as much as possible. 

I doubt you screwed them up, whatever you did is most likely forgiving with cast iron. If it looks spotty or splotchy, you just used too much oil in the seasoning process. Just keep cooking with it and it will even out, but don't use any acidic foods like tomatoes. 

Edited by Gourmand

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No pic but I would suggest putting a very light drop of oil (the size of a quarter) and then take a lint-free rag/towel and rub out the oil, then put it in the oven at 350 upside down for an hour or so.
You could also get crazy with it like I did on my Lodge and take it down to the metal with a drill and a wire brush and then start seasoning from scratch and cook with it as much as possible. 
I doubt you screwed them up, whatever you did most likely forgiving with cast iron. 
Love it, I would add that a foil lined or disposable pan on a lower rack to catch any drippage would be advisable.

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Also I think 600 is too hot of a temperature to season your pans, that could result in flaking. But even if that's the case, you didn't ruin them.

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Before you scour it, try putting it over some heat, adding some table salt, heat up the salt, and rub it around with a paper towel until the pan is smooth.  Wipe the salt out.

Now, add a very small amount of oil.  Rub the oil in with paper towels or lint free cloth until there is absolutely no look that there is oil on the pan (or the rags).  It's still there, but anything more than undiscernible oil is too much.  Now, preheat the oven for 5 degrees over the smoke temp of whatever oil you're using.  Upside-down for an hour at that temp.  No need for foil underneath it since there isn't going to be any oil dripping off it. 

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I did the skillet that was my grandmother’s.  Easy-off oven cleaner (super duty).  Placed in a garbage bag for a couple of days wiped and re-applied easy off once.  Soaked in Coca Cola after that.  That’ll get it ready for seasoning.

Tons of methods after that.  Gotta make sure the base is ready though.

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It sounds like you went too heavy on oil. Flaking means too much oil. Dripping means too much oil. You basically shouldn't be able to see oil on the surface after your wipedown prior to bake. Wipe it down with oil, then wipe it well with a dry cloth. The residual oil is about right.

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Long story short, I have to re-season 2 of my CI pans. I did each one of them 3x with grapeseed oil on the grill at 600 for 45 min to an hr. All times, the end product showed flakiness as seen in the picture.
 
Does anyone know why this is happening? I really loved to cook on them so I hope I didn't screw them up royally during seasoning.
Sorry. Forgot to add pic bc drunk from dinner

061671ec0fa505f02f5f71c6cfcb5ba6.jpg

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1 hour ago, Spur08 said:

Sorry. Forgot to add pic bc drunk from dinner

061671ec0fa505f02f5f71c6cfcb5ba6.jpg


They look blek to me.


 

How To Season Your Cast-Iron Skillet:

  1. Scrub skillet well in hot soapy water.
  2. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Spread a thin layer of melted shortening or vegetable oil over the skillet.
  4. Place it upside down on a middle oven rack at 375°. (Place foil on a lower rack to catch drips.)
  5. Bake 1 hour; let cool in the oven.


https://www.southernliving.com/food/how-to/how-t0-season-a-cast-iron-skillet

 

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Remove the flaking and get a smooth surface then make a roux, fry some chicken or CFS. Any of those always results in a well seasoned cast iron skillet.

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2 hours ago, Napoleon said:


They look blek to me.


 

How To Season Your Cast-Iron Skillet:

  1. Scrub skillet well in hot soapy water.
  2. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Spread a thin layer of melted shortening or vegetable oil over the skillet.
  4. Place it upside down on a middle oven rack at 375°. (Place foil on a lower rack to catch drips.)
  5. Bake 1 hour; let cool in the oven.


https://www.southernliving.com/food/how-to/how-t0-season-a-cast-iron-skillet

 

 

DO NOT USE SOAP!  It actually gets in any exposed pores of the cast iron and interferes with the oil filling those pores in the seasoning process.

The recommendations of oven cleaner or electrolysis are what you want.

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2 hours ago, drt said:

DO NOT USE SOAP!  It actually gets in any exposed pores of the cast iron and interferes with the oil filling those pores in the seasoning process.

The recommendations of oven cleaner or electrolysis are what you want.

Conventional dish soap doesn't hurt cast iron. That's an old myth born out of the time when soaps contained lye. 

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6 hours ago, Spur08 said:

Sorry. Forgot to add pic bc drunk from dinner

061671ec0fa505f02f5f71c6cfcb5ba6.jpg

They don't look that bad to me. Is this flaking just on the bottom or is it flaking off from the pan into the food?

I would suggest to just keep cooking with them, especially foods like bacon, steak, ground beef, heavily seasoned potatoes, chicken thighs, etc. Cornbread is also a great way to build up a good seasoning base. 

If the aesthetic of the bottom of the pans bugs you, apply a very small amount of oil, take as much of it off as possible with a towel or old tshirt/piece of clothing, put em in the oven at 200 for 20 mins, take em out and wipe them down again with a different towel to get more of the oil off, then put back in the oven at 350 or so for an hour. 

If you repeat this process frequently, that seasoning will even out. 

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I haven't tried this method, but was considering it.  Main thing holding me back is that it involves a substantial amount of time, esp. considering I'd have to strip my pan before trying it.  But there are some who say that using flaxseed oil to season cast iron is the absolute best way to go.  Advocates say to make sure you use 100% pure flaxseed oil that must be refrigerated after opening.  You can also check out Sheryl Canter's blog -- she's a big adherent to using flaxseed oil with multiple cycles through the oven.

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/5820-the-ultimate-way-to-season-cast-iron

 

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Oh damn you fucked up they're garb now.

I'll do you a solid and take them off your hands for you.

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Still hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the matte areas area correctly seasoned and the smooth glossy black areas are where there was too much oil.

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Posted (edited)

I'm with the cook something greasy gang, where it doesn't matter if it sticks or not.  Once you get the seasoning started, it's kind of self-healing if you're cooking bacon and other fatty stuff in it.

The salt scour is a good idea too to remove anything loose.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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If you need to strip cast iron down to bare metal, toss it in your over and set it to self clean. Line the bottom of the oven with foil or you will have a hell of a mess to clean up.

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7 minutes ago, Smax said:

If you need to strip cast iron down to bare metal, toss it in your over and set it to self clean. Line the bottom of the oven with foil or you will have a hell of a mess to clean up.

rotary tool or hand sand it with 50-100 grit.  also get a nice surface as a byproduct. 

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3 hours ago, Smax said:

If you need to strip cast iron down to bare metal, toss it in your over and set it to self clean. Line the bottom of the oven with foil or you will have a hell of a mess to clean up.

And turn the pan upside down when you put it in the oven.  

I've read where some people have had their pans catch fire in the oven when doing this method of stripping CI.  I suspect they were dealing with pans that had a lot of cooked-on gunk.

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JFC.  Grinders?  Sandpaper?  Self-cleaning-oven settings?  Electrolysis?  

 

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10 minutes ago, Upgrayedd said:

JFC.  Grinders?  Sandpaper?  Self-cleaning-oven settings?  Electrolysis?  

 

The lengths people will go for their beloved cast iron.

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1 hour ago, Upgrayedd said:

JFC.  Grinders?  Sandpaper?  Self-cleaning-oven settings?  Electrolysis?  

 

Smitheys command a $100 premium over lodge, on the basis of 15 minutes of labor for polishing.

 

It is literally their marketed differentiator, "our pans have a nice smooth interior compared to the rough surfaces of existing commercial pans"

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9 minutes ago, 52-80 said:

Smitheys command a $100 premium over lodge, on the basis of 15 minutes of labor for polishing.

 

It is literally their marketed differentiator, "our pans have a nice smooth interior compared to the rough surfaces of existing commercial pans"

Oh, I get it.  I refurbed my grandmother's cast iron skillet.  Almost 100 years old.  Wagner.  The good stuff.  

Easy off oven cleaner.  Little steel wool and a little more easy off.  Rinse.  Coca cola bath.  Rinse.  Oven-dry.  Season.  Easy-peasy.

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1 minute ago, 52-80 said:

Smitheys command a $100 premium over lodge, on the basis of 15 minutes of labor for polishing.

 

It is literally their marketed differentiator, "our pans have a nice smooth interior compared to the rough surfaces of existing commercial pans"

And one would think they wouldn't season very well if they're smooth.  Depends on how smooth.

Cast iron isn't that mysterious.  It has nice heat conduction and retention properties and part of that is sheer thickness.  The porous surface lends itself to seasoning, which is sort of the original teflon or t-fal or what-have-you in that it's pretty non-stick.  And seasoning keeps it from rusting, which it would do in spades without it.

Funny that flaxseed oil is mentioned.  As "boiled linseed oil," it is the original and still champion wood varnish and also oil paint carrier.  It dries and hardens into a natural polymer, ie plastic.  All oils do this to one degree or another.  When you boil flaxseed oil, it cooks off some of the volatiles so it hardens faster and more completely without heat.  By seasoning, you're just making a variant of plastic on the surface of the skillet or griddle or dutch oven.  That gives you some non-stick properties and prevents rust.  Like teflon, the smoother and more complete the coating, the more non-stick and rust inhibitive it is.  Unlike teflon, it's capable of sort of regenerating itself, or filling itself in.

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2 minutes ago, Upgrayedd said:

Oh, I get it.  I refurbed my grandmother's cast iron skillet.  Almost 100 years old.  Wagner.  The good stuff.  

Easy off oven cleaner.  Little steel wool and a little more easy off.  Rinse.  Coca cola bath.  Rinse.  Oven-dry.  Season.  Easy-peasy.

My friend does that as a hobby.  Apparently theres a not-insignificant community of cast iron fetishists who seeks this vintage stuff and 'restores' them for fun.

2 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

And one would think they wouldn't season very well if they're smooth.  Depends on how smooth.

Cast iron isn't that mysterious.  It has nice heat conduction and retention properties and part of that is sheer thickness.  The porous surface lends itself to seasoning, which is sort of the original teflon or t-fal or what-have-you in that it's pretty non-stick.  And seasoning keeps it from rusting, which it would do in spades without it.

Funny that flaxseed oil is mentioned.  As "boiled linseed oil," it is the original and still champion wood varnish and also oil paint carrier.  It dries and hardens into a natural polymer, ie plastic.  All oils do this to one degree or another.  When you boil flaxseed oil, it cooks off some of the volatiles so it hardens faster and more completely without heat.  By seasoning, you're just making a variant of plastic on the surface of the skillet or griddle or dutch oven.  That gives you some non-stick properties and prevents rust.  Like teflon, the smoother and more complete the coating, the more non-stick and rust inhibitive it is.  Unlike teflon, it's capable of sort of regenerating itself, or filling itself in.

surface supposed to aid adhesion.. but people dont have problems developing seasoning on carbon steel pans and woks.  personally i think dealing with either for daily use is a PITA.  i get the appeal for doing a rustic outdoor cook, but for day to day stuff i just go with SS

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3 minutes ago, 52-80 said:

My friend does that as a hobby.  Apparently theres a not-insignificant community of cast iron fetishists who seeks this vintage stuff and 'restores' them for fun.

surface supposed to aid adhesion.. but people dont have problems developing seasoning on carbon steel pans and woks.  personally i think dealing with either for daily use is a PITA.  i get the appeal for doing a rustic outdoor cook, but for day to day stuff i just go with SS

In the case of carbon steel, I think the seasoning is more a rust preventative than anything else, like patina on a knife.  But it's still capable of adding some smoothness to the surface.

As-cast cast iron without seasoning would rust to nothing pretty quick and the surface would be sticky as hell and hard to clean.  It would season itself pretty quick as long as you're cooking in oil mostly.

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6 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

And one would think they wouldn't season very well if they're smooth.  Depends on how smooth.

I took a sander to the cooking surface of a $20 Lodge that wasn't great at being nonstick despite several years of building up seasoning.  I didn't take the grit too fine.  Just smoothed it out a bit.  Season built back up slowly and it's much better, albeit not as nonstick as my carbon steel pans. 

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Picked up a lodge from a friend today, cooking surface is pristine but looks like they neglected oiling the bottom and there’s a pretty significant amount of rust. Is this something I need to address or can I just start oiling all of it frequently and it won’t carry through to the cooking surface? Will post pics when ImgBB gets its shit together 

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On May 12, 2020 at 3:47 PM, Upgrayedd said:

JFC.  Grinders?  Sandpaper?  Self-cleaning-oven settings?  Electrolysis?  

Distilled white vinegar. A little soak, a little scrub, rinse, dry, reseason. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2020 at 12:34 PM, Gourmand said:

Has anyone here ever done the electrolysis method?

Yes. It totally kicks ass. Wife was very skeptical when I did the first one....soon there was a couple hundred pounds of cast iron on my workbench. She now wants me to do the grates on the Thermador.  She prefers grapeseed to flaxseed...

Edited by otisdog

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47 minutes ago, Hank_Hill said:

Picked up a lodge from a friend today, cooking surface is pristine but looks like they neglected oiling the bottom and there’s a pretty significant amount of rust. Is this something I need to address or can I just start oiling all of it frequently and it won’t carry through to the cooking surface? Will post pics when ImgBB gets its shit together 

Just grease it up and don't worry about it.  A fresh oil coat could catch fire though.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, no problem.  If you use cast iron on gas with cast iron grates, any "seasoning" type coating is going to get scraped off and the gas flame can cause rust all by itself.  All you really want to do is inhibit that rust from falling off, regenerating, falling off, which will eventually eat the pan.  So enough oil to knock down the orange-y rust, but don't put it on the flame still glistening or dripping.

In fact, that brown probably isn't active rust, which is bright orange.  It's knocked down already but you still want to keep it lightly oiled.

Rust in itself isn't a problem, it's actually protective.  When it becomes a problem is when it progresses enough to fall off and regenerate, which takes a little bit more iron every time.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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On 5/12/2020 at 2:48 PM, TwiceHorn said:

And one would think they wouldn't season very well if they're smooth.  Depends on how smooth.

Cast iron isn't that mysterious.  It has nice heat conduction and retention properties and part of that is sheer thickness.  The porous surface lends itself to seasoning, which is sort of the original teflon or t-fal or what-have-you in that it's pretty non-stick.  And seasoning keeps it from rusting, which it would do in spades without it.

Funny that flaxseed oil is mentioned.  As "boiled linseed oil," it is the original and still champion wood varnish and also oil paint carrier.  It dries and hardens into a natural polymer, ie plastic.  All oils do this to one degree or another.  When you boil flaxseed oil, it cooks off some of the volatiles so it hardens faster and more completely without heat.  By seasoning, you're just making a variant of plastic on the surface of the skillet or griddle or dutch oven.  That gives you some non-stick properties and prevents rust.  Like teflon, the smoother and more complete the coating, the more non-stick and rust inhibitive it is.  Unlike teflon, it's capable of sort of regenerating itself, or filling itself in.

Flaxseed is what I used on three pans.  Light coating, top and bottom, in the over cool, allow to preheat to 500 for one hour, then leave in oven as it cools down.  Repeat as needed.  I use mine for steaks, meats, etc.  I have a cheap non-stick pan with a glass lid for all the other stuff like eggs, sauces.  Don't overthink it.  I clean the cast iron with a little dish soap if needed, but primarily salt and a rag, then re-oil lightly.  

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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2020 at 11:05 AM, BabaYaga said:

Flaxseed is what I used on three pans.  Light coating, top and bottom, in the over cool, allow to preheat to 500 for one hour, then leave in oven as it cools down.  Repeat as needed.  I use mine for steaks, meats, etc.  I have a cheap non-stick pan with a glass lid for all the other stuff like eggs, sauces.  Don't overthink it.  I clean the cast iron with a little dish soap if needed, but primarily salt and a rag, then re-oil lightly.  

Sorry if I missed this somewhere, but what is it about flaxseed oil that makes it so good for seasoning.  It has a pretty low smoke point compared to grapeseed oil or canola oil.  Seems like it would start to degenerate when you cook things above that temperature, much less bake it on at 500 F.  Not trying to be critical, but I hear that from a lot of people about flaxseed oil and was curious.

/edit.  Nevermind.  Delete post; ban user.  Read your post above about plastic.  Too late for me now.  I've used canola on all of my pans.

Edited by dcbc

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I dont want to be the debbie downer, but all this fussiness is why im down on CI as common use cookery.  Imagine dumping a glob of salt to scrub the pan.  Imagine burning like 4kWh to reseason the pan. 

 

Even though I didnt have to do this every use (mostly just light scour with brillo and water), but its just overall more effort than i care to exert

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, 52-80 said:

I dont want to be the debbie downer, but all this fussiness is why im down on CI as common use cookery.  Imagine dumping a glob of salt to scrub the pan.  Imagine burning like 4kWh to reseason the pan. 

 

Even though I didnt have to do this every use (mostly just light scour with brillo and water), but its just overall more effort than i care to exert

Most days, I wipe mine with a paper towel and put  it away when it cools.  It's got a good overlapped layer of season on it.  Most of my messing with it came before I figured out how to season correctly.  So there was some trial and error before I finally took the correct advice.  Since then, I only occasionally have to mess with it.  But this has been a more recent figuring things out moment for me for sure.

Edited by dcbc

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, 52-80 said:

I dont want to be the debbie downer, but all this fussiness is why im down on CI as common use cookery.  Imagine dumping a glob of salt to scrub the pan.  Imagine burning like 4kWh to reseason the pan. 

 

Even though I didnt have to do this every use (mostly just light scour with brillo and water), but its just overall more effort than i care to exert

I hear that, but part of it is a labor of love for cast iron fans because many pans are hand-me-downs or hand-me-downs-in-waiting. There's something romantic about the story in them and the idea that if you just take some basic care of them and use them all the time, they will last forever. 

I think the fussiness is in the eye of the beholder. Once they are restored from rust or whatever condition they may be found in and re-seasoned, just cook with them a lot, wash them in hot soapy water, rinse and dry them on the stove. Repeat. There's not that much effort to worry about. I clean mine like any any other pan except I dry in on the flame and then wipe a very light coating of avocado oil on it. 

I like to think of it as the kitchen version of keeping a green lawn.

 

Edited by Gourmand

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If there is a lot of rust, I would rub on it with a wire brush or steel wool to get the flakes off.  I had to do that with an old cast iron pan I got that was my grandmas that had rusted really badly.  It looks great now.

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