From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Cast Iron Seasoning
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 20:10:33 -0400
> Does anyone know how to keep a cast iron frypan seasoned so it will not
> rust when stored in the camper trailer? I like to use this type of
> cookware because it holds up so well on camp fires but am having trouble
> keeping it seasoned so it doesn't rust between trips.
Well the first thing is to not wash it. Just wipe out/scrape out
the residue and put it up greasy. That's the best preservative.
No real big deal if it does rust, however. Just give it a good wipe
with a Scotchbrite pad, re-season and cook.
BTW, while the seasoning instructions Lodge gives works, it is
We serve a blackened uSDA prime cajun blackened ribeye steak in my
restaurant. Proper blackening requires the use of a skillet heated
to bright glowing red. I have skillets designated for that purpose
but if we get backed up, I'll just grab one of the regular ones and
heat it up. When the blackening's finished, I just wipe it off,
place a little cooking oil in it and put it on the fire to heat. I
let the oil just barely coke, that is, go through the smoking phase
and just begin to carbon. Let it cool, wipe with oil and it's ready
to cook. This puts the necessary carbon surface on the skillet
without having to bake it off in an oven.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Corn bread & cast iron
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 2005 18:43:52 -0500
This is what I do in my restaurant. I use my cast iron skillets a lot
and need to burn them clean fairly often. After cleaning, I season
them as follows. If you do this at home, I suggest doing it outside,
as it makes a lot smoke and flame. It'll smoke up the house if you
don't have a commercial hood to work under.
Lard works better than anything else for seasoning because it leaves
the most residue. The goal is to leave a carbonaceous coating on the
cast iron that seals it from the food to follow.
I put a liberal amount of lard in the pan, perhaps 1/16" thick, and
melt it. I swirl it up on the sides. Then I heat the pan until the
lard is strongly smoking. At that point I ignite the smoke and allow
it to burn while continuing to heat the pan. When the lard is almost
burned off (still just a film of wet on the pan), turn the heat down.
When the flames go out, turn the heat off and let the pan cool. Wipe
the pan with a paper towel moistened with more melted lard or oil.
The finish should be shiny black and smooth. Depending on how well
finished the pan surface is, some but not much pattern should show
through. The carbon should fill the pores and smooth over the
The key is to burn off the lard but not get it hot enough to oxidize
the carbon residue.
Never wash a cast iron skillet. Just wipe it out with a paper towel
while still warm and put it up. Rinsing without soap is OK if you've
made gravy after frying or something like that but quickly and
thoroughly dry it afterward. I heat mine a little after rinsing to
make sure they're dry. It MUST stay oily to preserve the seasoning.
Yes, it gets stained on the outside but that's just how cast iron is.
If you need display pieces to hang over your stove, buy some more
pieces that you never use. Keep the seasoned ones for cooking.
The Lodge procedure is, IMO, barely adequate at best. It is designed
to do SOMETHING to the iron while not smoking up the home kitchen too
much. I think they hope that one will fry in the thing a few times
before using it for something that requires seasoning. Frying
sausage, bacon and so on will slowly build up the seasoning coating.
If I had to stick with the Lodge procedure, I'd do it several times
before cooking anything critical in the skillet.
BTW, the brand name of the skillet doesn't matter at all. The carbon
coating insulates the food from the cast iron itself. I have some
Lodge pieces (seconds, bought from the outlet store in S. Pittsburgh)
which are fine. I also have several cheap ChiCom made skillets that
work just as well, only they cost $5-10, depending on the size.