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Topic: What did I do wrong with my cast iron pan?  (Read 1480 times)
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sincap
« on: October 11, 2009 06:42:11 PM »

Help! I bought a pre-seasoned cast iron pan from Lodge. I have read that it is a good idea to season it again anyway, so I did. I washed it with a tiny bit of soap and water, then dried it really well on top of the stove. I rubbed a little vegetable oil all over it and put it in the oven, upside down, at 300 for 1 hour. Then I turned the stove off and let the pan cool in the oven.

Now the pan is sticky all over. What have I done and how do I fix it?

Thanks for any advice.
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twylag
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009 07:08:40 AM »

sounds like the sopa just reacted with whatever they used to 'preseason' it.  try baking it in the oven with a smidge of oil in it, then scraping it allout with those mtal scrubbies and wipe it off with a paper towel.  No water, no soap.  then add a smidge more oil and bakie it again and this time just wipe the majority of the oil out with a paper towel.  If there is stickiness on the outside of the pan still I wouldn't worry about it; it'll go away eventually as you use it and continue to keep it in good season.
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shewolf
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2009 11:57:04 AM »

Never use soap on a cast-iron pan.

I like to start after the oven seasoning, using the pan for high-fat stuff, like browning hamburger. After I've done that a few times, I start with bacon and sausage. Seems to work great. I've got a pan almost as dark as the one my MIL has - her grandmother used it.
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2009 10:50:12 PM »

Never use soap on a cast-iron pan.

I like to start after the oven seasoning, using the pan for high-fat stuff, like browning hamburger. After I've done that a few times, I start with bacon and sausage. Seems to work great. I've got a pan almost as dark as the one my MIL has - her grandmother used it.

I've been told this as well in regards to no soap in a cast iron pan, though I still do it when cleaning IF there are hard parts stuck to the pan. However I always just rub some oil in it and just store it away, I dont normally if ever put it inthe oven to 'season'. Why is this recommended?? (the latter part)

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shewolf
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2009 04:14:39 AM »

I think, based on high school chemistry, random foggy memory, and just pulling stuff out of thin air, that the heat makes the iron molecules more active, boucing around more and more likely to bond with the oil. I want to say then when it cools, it "holds" the oil better in the pores of the skillet.

Washing it strips this oil out, making things more likely to stick.
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bluesaranwrap
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2009 11:25:57 AM »

The easiest way to clean a cast iron skillet without using soap is to scrub at it with salt after cooking. It's course enough to get off what ever is stuck, and won't undo any seasoning.
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Diane B.
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2009 10:41:43 AM »

The soap probably wasn't the problem re the stickiness since if the pan is rinsed thoroughly afterwards, all the soap should get rinsed off and out of any crevices in the surfaces so you won't taste it, etc..  Actual detergent ("grease-cutting" stuff) isn't recommended for cleaning cast iron at all because it will remove the baked-on fat you've so lovingly been building up to improve the pan.
If you need to use soap (rather than just boiling a little water inside, scrubbing, and rinsing... or scrubbing with salt, as mentioned), just be sure to follow the soaping/rinsing after the pan dries thoroughly with a good wiping of oil which you should be doing anyway.

Also, a solid fat like Crisco or lard/bacon fat (usually melted first) is usually recommended for heat seasoning (as opposed to the normal oiling between uses), but not sure why those fats work better.   The Crisco is good too because it won't become rancid like animal fats.
You might want to wipe out any excess fat about halfway through the seasoning process, but it's good that you have it upside down.

You might want to use a higher temp too--at least 350 (some people use a really high temp like 400-500 if they do the seasoning in a grill, and for 2 hrs or so).  And you might want to do the oven-thing several times to get the best result.  
It's also recommended to cook something very fatty in cast iron the first time it's used, and a few times afterward if you can.  

Diane B.

And p.s., cast iron is seldom ever "ruined."  It can always be heat-reseasoned, but it'll take time to build up the depth of seasoning it might have had before.  Even if cast iron has rust on it, that can just be removed with steel wool then the pan reseasoned with heat.

ADDED LATER:... look what I found:

Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake your cast iron pieces for about an hour. Remove them, blot up any puddles of oil with a paper towel, then let the iron pieces cool. Do not be alarmed if at this point the cast iron feels sticky; it'll lose this once the cure is complete.
Cast iron makers will tell you that the cookware is now ready for cooking, though most recommend that you use it only for frying the first few times. We find that oiling and heating the iron at least one more time before use effects a hotter initial cure. In this case, grease the piece lightly, and the stickiness should disappear; if not, it will the first time you cook with it.
After you've completed the second coating, it's okay to cook in the cast iron pan, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's suggestion and use the piece for frying only. Your ironware will be slightly discolored at this stage, but these first few frying jobs will complete the cure, turning the iron into the rich, black color that is the sign of a well-cured, well-used cast iron skillet or pot.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009 11:10:29 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2009 10:57:45 AM »

First of all don't worry about the stickyness, mine did that to it has to do with the preseason just rub it with kosher salt and a little oil and then the next time you cook something high fat use it, duck breast works great. Also a cast iron pan is NEVER ruined even if it starts to rust. You can always reseason it. Grin
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DeliaRana
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2009 06:28:57 PM »

I have followed the same instructions you used and had the same problem.  I believe as the oil heats up it congeals and causes more problems.  I have used soapy water on my cast iron with no problems. I season my cast iron by washing it with hot water.  I dry it then heat it on the stove until very hot, remove from heat then pour on olive oil.  I let it cool.  I have also done this on a grill outside. 
I found these instructions online many years ago, the explanation given was that the heat opens the pores of the cast iron and as it cools, it traps the oil.  Don't know if that is true but it works for me.
I have bought cast iron that was rusty, scrubbed well and used this method with good results.   
Other oils can be used, just make sure they are appropriate for high heat.
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sincap
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2009 11:43:48 AM »

Thanks for the advice all! I washed it out in hot water (no soap) and just cooked some sausage in it. It worked fine, and the stickiness on the outside seems to have burned off.

I will definately scrub it with salt as suggested too. Thanks again!
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