Author Topic: re-season cast iron  (Read 6488 times)

Uturn

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re-season cast iron
« on: November 29, 2015, 07:37:37 PM »
I have a dutch oven that I burned a meal in.  It still smells burnt.  Anything I cook in it now tastes burnt.  How do I re-season to get rid of the burnt smell?  Is there a way to get back to default?  I have a big green egg that I can get up to 700*.  I was thinking of putting it in there for about an hour and see if I could fix it that way. 

brotatochip

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2015, 07:46:17 PM »
Get that pan red hot and let it go 20 minutes.  That should be plenty of time to replace the carbon in your skillet.

CU Tiger

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2015, 08:54:00 PM »
Anything that would get the iron hot enough to get rid of the seasoning would work. I have watched some YouTube videos where people build fires and lay the skillet on the coals, cover with more coals, etc.

Or use your Egg, or a blowtorch or blast furnace, whatever you have laying around.

SingleMomDebt

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2015, 09:15:08 PM »
I put a bit of water and baking soda in mine over med fire. scrape out. Re-season with coat of oil.

Uturn

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2015, 09:44:57 PM »
So basically incinerate the hell out of the pot.  got it.

Al1961

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2015, 11:35:51 PM »
Put it in the oven, then put the oven through a self-clean cycle. That will remove the carbonized food and take the dutch oven back to an unseasoned state. You'll have to reseason the pot.

bacchi

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2015, 11:54:12 PM »
Sand paper. Start with something coarse, maybe 50, to get the burnt carbon off and then switch to a higher grit, maybe 150. Reseason.

windypig

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2015, 11:55:39 PM »
Make a big wood fire. Put your cast iron pot in it. Keep the wood fire roaring for about an hour. This brings it back down to the raw iron.

Now re-season it. You can either lather it in lard and put it in the oven at ~300 for an hour. Repeat multiple times to get a few layers or you can simply use it. Frying bacon etc.

Gone Fishing

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2015, 08:41:11 AM »
Scour it out with a heavy duty pot scrubber.  This will preserve more of your existing seasoning than the high heat methods.  Then just build it back up a bit with the normal process.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 09:21:56 AM by So Close »

cjottawa

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2015, 09:10:47 AM »
Yeah, you can burn off all the existing coating and start over.

Another option: "Easy-Off" oven cleaner. Clean the pan with soap and water first so the Easy-Off can get to the surface.

Give it an hour and then carefully scrub with a nylon dish brush. (wear safety glasses - ask me how I know)

Lather, rinse, repeat. You'll get down to bare metal.

Spork

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2015, 10:10:34 AM »

My wife is a big cast iron aficionado.  She swears the "get it red hot in a camp fire/on the stove/in an oven cleaning cycle" is damaging to cast iron.  It supposedly re-tempers the iron.

She swears by either the Easy Off method or electrolysis.  She's had some awful nasty estate sale finds that took 4 or 5 repeats with easy off.  Cover it in oven cleaner, put it in a plastic bag and let it sit.  Wash/rinse/repeat.  Make sure you use the lye based formula of oven cleaner.

The older the cast iron, the more damage you're likely to do.  Older cast iron is much lighter and has a super smooth honed finish.  I guess the lighter iron is more brittle.

Al1961

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2015, 10:38:31 AM »

My wife is a big cast iron aficionado.  She swears the "get it red hot in a camp fire/on the stove/in an oven cleaning cycle" is damaging to cast iron.  It supposedly re-tempers the iron.

She swears by either the Easy Off method or electrolysis.  She's had some awful nasty estate sale finds that took 4 or 5 repeats with easy off.  Cover it in oven cleaner, put it in a plastic bag and let it sit.  Wash/rinse/repeat.  Make sure you use the lye based formula of oven cleaner.

The older the cast iron, the more damage you're likely to do.  Older cast iron is much lighter and has a super smooth honed finish.  I guess the lighter iron is more brittle.

Agreed that there is no need to make the cast iron pots red hot. You just need enough heat ~600F to turn the built up coatings to ash over the course of two hours or so. Excessively high heat (let alone making it red hot) can warp a cast iron pan, making it essentially useless for use on anything other than a gas range.

Cast iron has a very high carbon content. It is the carbon that makes it brittle. The carbon also prevents tempering cast iron in the way that we think of tempering low carbon/tool steels. Controlled heating and cooling can anneal, or relieve stresses that may be in the pan. I don't think you can predict what will happen in an open fire - there are just too many variables.

Koreth

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2015, 09:45:54 AM »
I had success in cleaning cast iron by using electrolysis. An internet search can find you more info, but the basic idea is submersing the piece of cast iron in a conductive solution (I use washing soda and water) with another piece of metal, and applying a current, with the cast iron as the cathode (negative) and the other piece of metal as the anode (positive). This will strip any carbon, rust, and any other accumulations until you're back down to raw cast iron. This method minimizes any scrubbing needed, and you don't have to deal with harsh toxic chemicals, nor risk damaging the piece by superheating it in an attempt to burn everything off.

Capsu78

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2015, 11:54:16 AM »
The definitive deep dive thread for all things cast iron:

http://www.tnttt.com/viewforum.php?f=44&sid=7035dd24c8c1676ab6ea3ba0788f05c4

Fishindude

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2015, 12:04:49 PM »
Scour it out with a heavy duty pot scrubber.  This will preserve more of your existing seasoning than the high heat methods.  Then just build it back up a bit with the normal process.

I'd go by the above advice.

StetsTerhune

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2015, 12:31:53 PM »
Scour it out with a heavy duty pot scrubber.  This will preserve more of your existing seasoning than the high heat methods.  Then just build it back up a bit with the normal process.

I'd go by the above advice.

Yep. I think people take the "don't clean, don't ever use soap" advice too far with cast iron pans. If you don't like the way things are tasting from there, hand wash the damn thing like you would any other pan. Re-season after if you want to. Or don't. Maybe you'll have to put a little more oil in to cook eggs for a while, but that's a hell of a lot easier than the high heat things people have mentioned.

If elaborate cast-iron care is a hobby of yours, there's lots and lots of rabbit holes to go down. Otherwise just handwash (as needed ) and use it like you would anything else.

QueenAlice

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2015, 12:51:11 PM »

My wife is a big cast iron aficionado.  She swears the "get it red hot in a camp fire/on the stove/in an oven cleaning cycle" is damaging to cast iron.  It supposedly re-tempers the iron.

She swears by either the Easy Off method or electrolysis.  She's had some awful nasty estate sale finds that took 4 or 5 repeats with easy off.  Cover it in oven cleaner, put it in a plastic bag and let it sit.  Wash/rinse/repeat.  Make sure you use the lye based formula of oven cleaner.

The older the cast iron, the more damage you're likely to do.  Older cast iron is much lighter and has a super smooth honed finish.  I guess the lighter iron is more brittle.

^
This is exactly what I came here to post.

I revived a few pans I found in our attic a few months ago. If you really want to go crazy, soak the pan in a lye bath for 24-48 hours, scrub, rinse, soak in vinegar for a few hours, rinse, then do a few rounds of seasoning.

« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 12:53:05 PM by QueenAlice »

Fishindude

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2015, 01:41:18 PM »
Normally the "don't clean, don't ever use soap" remarks are from people that rarely ever use cast iron.
Those lines are based on something they overheard their grandma say.

I cook with a cast iron dutch oven and cast iron skillets a couple times every week.
To clean them up, they go into the soapy water like everything else, scour off anything stuck with a scratch pad, then, lay them on a towel to drain and dry.
after drying, wipe a real thin film of oil on them with a towel and they're good to go.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2015, 05:10:08 PM »
For an ordinarily dirty/carbonized pan I've never needed to do more than scour with steel wool, wash in hot water with a little soap, dry off immediately and then wipe with oil.

Oven cleaners sound like a terrible idea for something that comes in direct contact with food. And doesn't the lye react with the cast iron?

QueenAlice

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2015, 06:03:32 PM »
Oven cleaners sound like a terrible idea for something that comes in direct contact with food. And doesn't the lye react with the cast iron?

You would definitely wash the pan after using the oven cleaner...

Lye does not react with the cast iron. I left a pan in a lye solution for 1 1/2 weeks because the crust was so bad. Vinegar, on the other hand, will react of the cast iron, so you don't want to leave cast iron in a vinegar bath for more than 24 hours.

Jack

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2015, 07:00:55 PM »
Nota bene: It should go without saying that the entire thread up to this point has been about plain cast iron, not enameled cast iron. (I just don't want some poor fool to read this and put their $300 Le Creuset pot in the oven self-cleaning cycle...)

Spork

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Re: re-season cast iron
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2015, 08:08:47 PM »
I'll second (third?) the whole "oh my god, don't wash it."  We wash ours. We wail on them with utensils.  They work fine.

I'll also poopoo the folks that have this whole scientific "must use flaxseed oil to season."  I am sure it works.  But so does cheap ass lard.  Flax is expensive and goes rancid really quickly.  We have tons of cast iron, much of it 100+ years old.  We use it every day.