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Old 06-15-2010, 07:16 PM   #21
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How can you go wrong with someone named Cast Iron Jack McGrew? - but seriously, i'm a dilettante - I refer you to post 13 here. Somebody's an adept!
http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f27/bare-cast-iron-vs-enameled-cast-iron-cookware-47111.html
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:43 PM   #22
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I use course salt and a paper towel to clean mine- I too stay away from soap. When it looks a bit dry, i rub a very ligt coating of vegetable oil, and wipe it away the best I can with a paper towel.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:17 AM   #23
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I have a good friend who is a fantastic dutch oven chef. He always cooks some sacrificial bacon prior to use, then uses his new cast iron to deep fry food several times before he will use it for anything else. He does use dish detergent to wash but always dries it thoroughly on the stove, coats it lightly with oil and heats it again (not quite to smoking). It is then cooled and put away.

My dad's process is very similar, but he does not use detergent.

I have a Lodge dutch oven that I have done the same with - works fine, stays seasoned with no trouble. I also have a knock-off from China...always have problems keeping that one seasoned properly, but it may be because it does not get enough use, but it could be inferior material.

R
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:33 AM   #24
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I use course salt and a paper towel to clean mine- I too stay away from soap. When it looks a bit dry, i rub a very ligt coating of vegetable oil, and wipe it away the best I can with a paper towel.
Wow, this is a good thread. My cast iron pans, steel woks, and calphalon type pans have never been properly seasoned. Jack McGrew's article may get me back in business. I have found that heating one of these poorly seasoned pans up on the burner, dropping in a little oil and scrubbing it with sea salt will get a good single use out of the pan.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:45 AM   #25
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I have a good friend who is a fantastic dutch oven chef. He always cooks some sacrificial bacon prior to use, then uses his new cast iron to deep fry food several times before he will use it for anything else. He does use dish detergent to wash but always dries it thoroughly on the stove, coats it lightly with oil and heats it again (not quite to smoking). It is then cooled and put away.

My dad's process is very similar, but he does not use detergent.

I have a Lodge dutch oven that I have done the same with - works fine, stays seasoned with no trouble. I also have a knock-off from China...always have problems keeping that one seasoned properly, but it may be because it does not get enough use, but it could be inferior material.

R
I do the same and sometimes use this cookware:

Swiss Diamond
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:49 AM   #26
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I need to dig up the link I found after this was discussed a while back. It was a cooking forum and these people were INTENSE about seasoning their cast iron. The amazing thing to me was that I recall three separate posters that each claimed their pans were remarkably stick-free. They seemed very well informed and gave the details of their process. Their processes were all different, so I assume there are many ways to achieve a good result. But what was amazing was that each of them said "NEVER do X,Y, or Z", and X Y Z was part of the other guys process that he claimed worked.

So I don't know.

I just had to strip-down and re-season a wok. DW had kept cooking stuff in there with a sugar-y marinade, and she had burnt layer on top of layer of sugar on there. It was a carbonized mess. I took the approach of very light layers of oil, heat it to smoking, then cover it and let it sit on low heat for 10 minutes, let cool, repeat. With the cover (I used a baking pan and some foil), very little smoke escapes. About 5 cycles and it looks pretty good, but have not cooked on it yet. First cooking will be with nice oily things to get it broken in.

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:05 AM   #27
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I just had to strip-down and re-season a wok. I took the approach of very light layers of oil, heat it to smoking, then cover it and let it sit on low heat for 10 minutes, let cool, repeat. With the cover (I used a baking pan and some foil), very little smoke escapes. About 5 cycles and it looks pretty good, but have not cooked on it yet. First cooking will be with nice oily things to get it broken in.
That's pretty close to this method:

How to season a wok
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:11 AM   #28
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The only thing not mentioned yet is how HEAVY a large iron pot/skillet is when filled with food! Or, for that matter, empty. They are sometimes hard to lift. Enamelled cast iron is heavier.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #29
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Oh! Anodized aluminum. Same principle... less coarse than cast iron but still needs seasoning. (Yeah, it is done at the factory and harder to destroy but nevertheless.)

I do have a couple Calphlon, including a most wonderful Paella pan, along with a ton of Magnalite. I like anondized aluminum and, truth be known, I gravitate toward it but... there are certain foods (recipes?) that only cast iron can do justice to -- fried chicken and corn bread come to mind.
Actually I use the commercial non-stick Calphalon, mostly.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:27 AM   #30
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This isn't the link I was thinking of,

Cooking For Engineers :: View topic - How To: Seasoning Cast Iron

but it covers some of the same ground. I just skimmed it, and it triggered a few memories of what some of the conflicting MUST DO, NEVER DO, MAKES NO DIFF comments were from people with well seasoned pans:

Oil versus, lard, bacon fat, coconut, palm, Crisco....

Shiny, smooth versus rough metal...

High heat versus low heat... (some claim high heat just burns and it will flake off)

Stove top versus oven...

Upside down versus right side up... (that one got very, ummm 'heated')

Thin coat of oil versus thick coat....

Soap versus no soap...

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. And yet, they all seem to work.

I went with the thin coat, as it seemed to me yo were just smoking off the rest of the oil. I think we are talking very thin coats to get it started. I also think that the difference in success reported has to do with what you cook in it until it develops a really good seasoning. Some foods will build up the coating, while others (acidic) will strip it. I'm guessing that at some point, it doesn't matter much anymore, but that may take a lot of use, so beginners get discouraged.

-ERD50
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:50 AM   #31
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Actually I use the commercial non-stick Calphalon, mostly.
Yeah, I have an 8" pan that gets used a couple times a week... or more:

Amazon.com: Calphalon Commercial Hard-Anodized 8-Inch Omelet Pan: Kitchen & Dining

The pan I referred to earlier as a Paella pan is also the "commercial" variety:

Amazon.com: Calphalon Commercial Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Everyday Pan with Lid: Kitchen & Dining

I also have two pans that are quite old that are simply labeled "Commercial" (before they changed the name to Calphalon) that are used several times a month.

Calphalon DR1390 Calphalon 10-inch Frying Pan: Compare Prices, View Price History and Read Reviews at NexTag

Anyway, they all benefit from the same "seasoning" treatment that the cast iron ones get.

BTW, I used the "Paella" pan last night while making Eggs Benedict -- it was the only "skillet" the was deep enough for the Egg Rings and a lid. Very little oil and the eggs did not stick -- that's my acid-test for non-stick... especially scrambled eggs.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:29 AM   #32
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I always wondered about cast iron dutch ovens. What do you cook in them? If you cooked like stew or beans or something, wouldn't it strip the well seasoned coating?
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:40 PM   #33
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Have a hard time keeping my gal from cooking tomatoes in the cast iron. Acid strips the finish big time. Beans or posole do just fine in my cast iron pot, but I mostly use iron pans. and bacon.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:48 PM   #34
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I always wondered about cast iron dutch ovens. What do you cook in them?
Peach cobbler...
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:03 PM   #35
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Cherry cobbler?
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:07 PM   #36
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A few things I was doing wrong - I need to do it longer, with less grease, upside down!
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Cherry cobbler?
When I posted I was referring to the first quote..........but I was on page 1.......so it didn't make sense with the last post on page 2.

I had to fix it...

....and yes...I vote for cherries!
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:12 PM   #37
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I always wondered about cast iron dutch ovens. What do you cook in them? If you cooked like stew or beans or something, wouldn't it strip the well seasoned coating?
the later posts in this thread have caught onto the most important point about cast iron cooking, there is a million and one ways to "season" your pan.

i enjoy dutch oven cooking. i've cooked stews, breakfast dishes, and even baked in it. if you know how to get your temp right, bread in a dutch oven is a special thing. it keeps the moisture all locked in and more resembles a bread oven with steam. i never use soap in my dutch oven. while it is still hot, i dump the contents out and scrap out any chuncks. i do a quick rinse with only water (why i do it while the oven/pan is still hot is so the heat will evaporate the water so i don't have to worry about drying it). i then do a quick coat of oil (i use veg oil, i can't remember what you are suppose to use, but the point is to not let it spoil, frequent use makes the type of oil less important). then i store it. it never smells rotten or i've never had rust. part of seasoning is that you loose some while cooking, but replace it afterwards. ymmv.

the best thing about the dutch oven is in the dead of the heat here in texas, i can bake outside without heating up the entire house. same goes for the grill.
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:38 PM   #38
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i then do a quick coat of oil (i use veg oil, i can't remember what you are suppose to use, but the point is to not let it spoil, frequent use makes the type of oil less important). then i store it. it never smells rotten...
You may be thinking of Mineral Oil. I use it on my Cutting Boards -- all of which are wood. (You can find it, for example, in the Pharmaceutical department in most supermarkets.) I have not heard of anyone using Mineral Oil on pots and pans, however.

All other oils have a tendency to become rancid -- vegetable oils in 12 to 18 months and animal fat much sooner. Therefore, not a good oil for Cutting Board use. I would guess that the thin coat of oil left on a pan would take a very long time to produce the odor of rot.

Anyway, the generally recommended (from old-timers) best oil for seasoning has always been Lard -- thus the earlier suggestion of Bacon.
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:53 PM   #39
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i do a quick rinse with only water (why i do it while the oven/pan is still hot is so the heat will evaporate the water so i don't have to worry about drying it).
My mother did it that way... up until the day the temperature change cracked the pan in half.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:32 PM   #40
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All other oils have a tendency to become rancid -- vegetable oils in 12 to 18 months and animal fat much sooner.
I really don't know, but if the oil is baked on as part of the seasoning process (rather than just wiped on cold at the end), I think that the high temperature converts it and keeps it from becoming rancid after that?

I can see fresh oil wiped on becoming rancid, but it doesn't seem like the seasoned layers go bad - maybe I never noticed.

-ERD50
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