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Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
LSF Member
Joined:
09/16/2014
Posts: 184
I have a question for someone who's knowledgeable about seasoing cast iron. I've recently jettisoned the non-stick teflon skillet in favor of cast iron, and for some odd reason, I'm really enjoying the experience. It's easier to control the heat, cooks more evenly, and I get some enjoyment from the care and cleaning of the pan.

I bought a Lodge 20" skillet at Wallyworld around Christmastime. It came pre-seasoned - meaning oil was already baked into the iron. I've been using it very regularly; never cleaning with soap; using only a plastic scraper, hot water and plastic scotch-Brite pads to clean, along with kosher salt as an abrasive when necessary. After cleaning, I dry thoroughly, warm the pan back up on the stovetop, and then rub in a thin layer of vegetable oil. It is mostly stick-resistant, with the occasional exception of lean meats that'll require some scraping.

Here's my question: My goal in seasoning the pan has been to develop a nice, rich, black, smooth, shiny patina on the entire cooking surface. All the well-seasoned skillets I've viewed online have this appearance. The grain of the iron is not visible on these pans, but it is on mine. It has developed a nice, dark, stick-resistant layer of seasoning - particularly in the center of the pan. But the grain of the iron is visible across the entire surface, and there is a perimeter ring around the center of the cooking surface that is not turning black, but rather brownish/metallic.

Am I doing something wrong? Anyone have advice on how I can achieve my goal? Any help would be appreciated.

Posted on: 4/25 12:55:18
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
LSF Member
Joined:
02/17/2010
From White Bear Lake
Posts: 1396

Posted on: 4/25 13:06:00
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
LSF Member
Joined:
09/16/2014
Posts: 184
Thanks bentpole. That's all stuff I've been doing, as far as maintenance goes. What I'm hoping for is maybe someone has had a similar outcome and has found a way to overcome it... or perhaps someone to tell me that I just haven't waited long enough. I guess that's one specific question I didn't ask... I can find all kinds of info on what to do and not do, but no info on how long it takes to create that nice patina finish.

Posted on: 4/25 14:40:12
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
LSF Member
Joined:
02/28/2005
Posts: 3000
I have had no two skillets season the same.

Some took it right off, others were years of Bacon before they were the way I like them.

Same with WOKs.

You just have to keep hitting it until it's like ya like it!!

Posted on: 4/25 15:12:29
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
LSF Member
Joined:
01/09/2008
From Mn
Posts: 3134
That ring of well seasoned is because you have a small burner on yer stove,Do you have a outdoor turkey/fish fry cooker with a larger fire burner? You can season the pan in the oven BUT every time you use it on the stove that small area gets all the heat and it will always be that way,I got CI pans from 20 inches down to 4 inch a whole set and even a 16 inch is hard to temper/season.Keep useing it and keep seasoning it in a number of years it may????? season all around
My large 20 is 2 years old and the same as yers I season it 1 time a month stove top or oven hoping to speed the process!!
I didnt read the instructions posted but that seasoning/temper is carbonized oils burnt so hot all thats left is the carbon an thats the trick of nonstick castiron. The older the pan the better!! Not really older but more usage

Posted on: 4/25 15:12:38
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
Staff Team
Joined:
11/19/2004
From S.E. MN
Posts: 1820
Great information on seasoning pans!
Thanks for sharing.

Trick

Posted on: 4/25 15:54:08
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
Anonymous
Your Lodge is not finished at all after the sand casting which is why you will always see some texture on the seasoned surface. In fact, if that texture disappears you probably have a seasoning layer that is too thick. When it gets too thick it becomes delicate and can chunk off.

The Lodge will smooth out some as you scrape it for a few years with your stainless turner (you are using a stainless turner, aren't you?). The stainless is harder than the CI, so it will take down those bumps.

The internet skillets are probably antique ones that had a machining process done on the cooking surface after the casting. This leaves a much smoother surface that takes that glassy season. There are some modern skillets that have this machining, but they are $$$.

A trick for getting the seasoning built up quickly:
After cleaning, brush with a THIN layer (like oiling a gun) of high smoke point oil. I use peanut oil. Then heat empty over a medium stove until you see the first wisp of smoke, then remove from the heat. Let the pan cool, and then wipe again with a thin layer of oil. This mini-seasoning after use builds up a nice layer of hard seasoning really quickly. I only do this about twice a month.

Here's my 12" lodge after about 10 years of every day use. Fried eggs just skate across this guy.

Attach file:



jpg  skillet.JPG (85.03 KB)
15265_58ffc14567259.jpg 706X696 px

Posted on: 4/25 16:36:05
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
LSF Member
Joined:
09/16/2014
Posts: 184
Quote:

dew2 wrote:
That ring of well seasoned is because you have a small burner on yer stove,Do you have a outdoor turkey/fish fry cooker with a larger fire burner? You can season the pan in the oven BUT every time you use it on the stove that small area gets all the heat and it will always be that way,I got CI pans from 20 inches down to 4 inch a whole set and even a 16 inch is hard to temper/season.Keep useing it and keep seasoning it in a number of years it may????? season all around
My large 20 is 2 years old and the same as yers I season it 1 time a month stove top or oven hoping to speed the process!!
I didnt read the instructions posted but that seasoning/temper is carbonized oils burnt so hot all thats left is the carbon an thats the trick of nonstick castiron. The older the pan the better!! Not really older but more usage


The pan is definitely larger than the burner. I try to let the whole pan come up to full heat before I start cooking, so that to the greatest extent I can, I eliminate hot/cold spots in the pan before cooking. But I suppose the direct heat of the burner would have the greatest effect on the metal no matter how much I let the pan heat up before cooking.

I'm probably over the top, but I'm not ever using the pan without heating it up and oiling it after washing, and I'm probably using it 5 or 6 days a week for one thing or another. Sometimes more than once a day.

I'm enjoying kind of nursing it along, watching it change over time. But I'm asking these questions because I assumed that by now, it'd have that shiny smooth patina look, and it really doesn't yet. Just kinda, in the middle. Maybe I'm just impatient LOL.

Posted on: 4/25 16:37:18
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
LSF Member
Joined:
09/16/2014
Posts: 184
Quote:

HawgFarmer wrote:
Your Lodge is not finished at all after the sand casting which is why you will always see some texture on the seasoned surface. In fact, if that texture disappears you probably have a seasoning layer that is too thick. When it gets too thick it becomes delicate and can chunk off.

The Lodge will smooth out some as you scrape it for a few years with your stainless turner (you are using a stainless turner, aren't you?). The stainless is harder than the CI, so it will take down those bumps.

The internet skillets are probably antique ones that had a machining process done on the cooking surface after the casting. This leaves a much smoother surface that takes that glassy season. There are some modern skillets that have this machining, but they are $$$.

A trick for getting the seasoning built up quickly:
After cleaning, brush with a THIN layer (like oiling a gun) of high smoke point oil. I use peanut oil. Then heat empty over a medium stove until you see the first wisp of smoke, then remove from the heat. Let the pan cool, and then wipe again with a thin layer of oil. This mini-seasoning after use builds up a nice layer of hard seasoning really quickly. I only do this about twice a month.

Here's my 12" lodge after about 10 years of every day use. Fried eggs just skate across this guy.


Awesome info! Exactly the kind of comments I was looking for! This site is great!

Posted on: 4/25 16:39:05
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Re: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
Anonymous
Quote:

IronDioPriest wrote:


I'm probably over the top, but I'm not ever using the pan without heating it up and oiling it after washing, and I'm probably using it 5 or 6 days a week for one thing or another. Sometimes more than once a day.

I'm enjoying kind of nursing it along, watching it change over time. But I'm asking these questions because I assumed that by now, it'd have that shiny smooth patina look, and it really doesn't yet. Just kinda, in the middle. Maybe I'm just impatient LOL.


What do you mean by "washing"? Never soap, seldom water?

Posted on: 4/25 16:40:32
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