Cast iron help

Thread starter #1

nrh0011

Senior Member
I bought a new skillet last year, and most often times when I use it I find myself having to scrape off black, burnt stuff from the pan (pictured below). Usually try to simmer water and salt then get it off with spatula.

I’ll admit I’m not very experienced cooking with cast iron. So, what am I doing wrong that this occurs all the time? Pan needs to be seasoned more or better cooking practices? Thanks
 

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BeerThirty

Senior Member
That just looks like buildup. It happens in spots. You might need to cook with a little more lube. Or, make sure you are thoroughly scrubbing the whole pan when you clean it, as it might be the spots with leftover residue where you are setting yourself up for your problem next time you use it.
 

gawildlife

Senior Member
Scrub it under HOT water with a stainless or copper scrub pad. I like to go over all surfaces with a circular burnishing scrub. Tuck it upside down into a hot oven to dry. If seasoning needs a little help rub on a LIGHT, wipe on wipe off, coat of high smoke point oil/fat. Leave in hot oven for an hour then kill the heat and let cool in the oven.
If starting from scratch or cleaning up a crusty one soak in a bucket of cold water with one can lye until stripped to bare grey. Season with the hot oven oil method, very thin light coats. I prefer flaxseed seed oil for the base coat seasoning, three coats.

The science is your creating a polymer coating using oils that form long chain polymers.

BTW, flaxseed is food grade linseed oil.
 

nkbigdog

Senior Member
I have been cooking with Cast Iron for near 50 years..I found one of my large pans under my Egg table rusted over bad..I didn't even remember when I got it, or why I left it there for so long..I had it bead blasted and then I reasoned it, now it's good to go..
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Before
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After
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
Looks like it needs more seasoning. Sometimes when you cook sweet stuff or ground meat, you will get a bit of that, just hit it with a stainless scrubber pad. Always hit it with a thin film of olive oil or similar before you put it back up, too.
 

nkbigdog

Senior Member
I have several that I dedicated to just baking Pineapple Upside down cakes..I always wash them when they are still hot from baking..After which I wipe down with a thin coat of Veg Oil and lay a paper towel over the inside. I have baked so many times they are jet black in color..
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Dub

Top Chef
I've been very, very pleased with the results of grapeseed oil.

After I'm done cooking...while the skillet is still hot....I rinse it off quickly with running hot water and a scrub brush. Then dry it off with a towel and apply some grapeseed oil....a small amount then wipe it around the surface.

Place the skillet back in the hot oven or burner and cut them off and allow it to slow cool in there.


Cooking with cast iron is effortless and very, very easy to maintain a nice nonstick surface. It's best done in real time...as soon as possible. I'll pull out my morning bacon and/or eggs and then rinse, dry, re-oil and back in the heat in seconds. Nothing to clean up later.
 

JustUs4All

Slow Mod
Staff member
Looks like that pan might need to be seasoned a bit more. As mentioned above, grape seed oil works. I have heard that flax seed oil is the best but I use bacon grease because I have it and it is free since I didn't throw it away. The more times you cook fatty foods in the pan the more seasoning it will take on naturally but cooking non fatty foods or acid foods like tomatoes will act to remove seasoning from the pan.

The best way to clean that sort of thing is immediately after removing whatever you cooked in it. The cleaning process can create the start to gravies or sauces. The Frenchies call it deglazing the pan. While the pan is still hot on the stove with the burner on, add a small amount of liquid the the pan and scrape the pan to dissolve the stuck material into the liquid. The Frenchies call that stuff fonds or something. It is absolutely full of flavor from the cooked food and seasonings.

This can actually be done in the last few minutes of cooking while the food is still in the pan. The material can be basted over the food with a spatula to enhance the flavor of the food. The liquid can be and sort of meat stock, wine, lemon juice, a little butter or even water. The deglazed material can also be reserved to make a gravy or sauce. The Frenchies like their sauces.

If you just want to clean the pan:
This is going to sound like a lot of work but it is not and can be finished almost as quickly as this can be read. Immediately after cooking while the pan is hot, add a little water (a shot glass or so) to the hot pan. If you had to let the pan cool, heat it back up. The pan should be hot enough for the water to flash boil. Scrape and agitate to botton of the pan immediately with a stiff spatula. 99+% of the material will dissolve into the water in a matter of seconds. Continue to scrape and swirl as needed. (I like to cook with flimsy spatulas and clean with a stiff one). When the pan feels smooth and clean empty the water and rinse well with hot water. I then return the warm pan to the stove with the burner off and wipe it down with a paper towel which usually removes some sooty looking stuff. I then add a bit of bacon grease to the pan and wipe that down with a paper towel. That might produce a little more discolored stuff. I then use paper towels to wipe out all the grease I can get out of the pan. You can't get it all but the pan should feel dry to the touch. I use one of those greasy paper towels to lightly grease the outside and bottom of the pan and again wipe that off too.

I have one of those chain mail looking scrubbers for cast iron but I have not had to use it except in the rarest of occasions and then it was usually my fault for not getting the cleaning done promptly.
 

pjciii

Senior Member
I use a nylon scraper thing from pampered chef for years. Works great for me. You can find them at other places also. Then reseason and into the oven. 2021-12-0409.08.03318173396898111495.jpg

That is what it looks like.

This pan is most likely 40 or 50 years old

2021-12-0409.11.263093653290055398951.jpg

My 10 inch cornbread Pan and my 12 inch high sided look the same. I think they were my grandmother's and I got them. Yeah me for the score.
 

DannyW

Senior Member
A good trick if you simply want to start over and re-season your pan is to place it in the oven and turn on the "clean" feature. This heats it up to about a zillion degrees and essentially burns off the old uneven seasoning. Then you can re-season it from scratch.

My wife shakes her head at how I treat my cast iron. After cooking I wash the pan and place it back on the stove. I let it heat up again to quickly dry it. They I wipe it down with a little oil. Yeah it's a little more work than a regular steel pan.
 

JustUs4All

Slow Mod
Staff member
The self cleaning oven trick will work on modern iron and on heavy old iron and it removes just about everything. But -- a warning -- be careful with the thinner stuff.

Most makers made more than one grade of pan and sold a less expensive version that was not as thick. They branded these differently, Favorite was a name used by Wagner Ware, I think. These pans are more prone to break if heated unevenly. Please don't ask me how I know this. It was not a good day. If you want to use the self cleaning oven trick on these warm them up slowly in the oven to as hot as it will get before turning the self cleaning cycle on.
 
You may also be cooking at too high of a temperature.
 

RoosterTodd

Sinister Operative
Thread starter #17

nrh0011

Senior Member
Update:

I started with a good scrubbing using a scotch brite stainless steel scrubber. Then I gradually heated it up in 50 degree increments over 3-4 hours then ran the self clean oven cycle to burn all old seasoning off. Cleaned it with hot water and soap, and the pictures you see below are the result of several thin layers of grape seed oil. I did one a day over a week. Thanks for all the help!
 

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DannyW

Senior Member
Update:

I started with a good scrubbing using a scotch brite stainless steel scrubber. Then I gradually heated it up in 50 degree increments over 3-4 hours then ran the self clean oven cycle to burn all old seasoning off. Cleaned it with hot water and soap, and the pictures you see below are the result of several thin layers of grape seed oil. I did one a day over a week. Thanks for all the help!
Looking good! That is an unusual handle on that pan, but it looks like the forked design could make the handle cooler than the standard one on Lodge's and others.

The hot handle is the only thing I can complain about on most cast iron pans. I have a silicon thingy to slip over the handle but even it heats up on a long cook.
 
Thread starter #19

nrh0011

Senior Member
Thanks! Hopefully it’s where it needs to be now. The handle does get hot since it’s so thick but it’s just part of it I suppose. I’ll check out those silicon covers.
 
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