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Cleaning a cast iron pan

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  • Cleaning a cast iron pan

    I recently bought a Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron pan, and I'm having some concern with it. Every time I cook with it, I get little black pieces in my food - it looks like black pepper, but it's from the pan. Is the pan flaking off, or is this burnt up residue from past meals? The way I clean it now is scrub it with a nylon brush under warm water, and sometimes put water in the pan, and boil it, then dump it. I have read that you should put a thin layer of oil on the pan after cleaning it. Will coconut oil suffice?

  • #2
    I heard that you're not supposed to apply water to a cast iron pan, at all.

    I have the exact same pan, a 12" Lodge, and I haven't "cleaned" it with water in the 4 months I've had it. When something sticks, like melted cheese or burnt ground beef, I'll sprinkle in some coarse salt and scrub the inside of it with a dry rag. I'll finish by adding some oil and smearing it around the pan while it's still hot. I haven't had any problems with flaking after the first week or so, and I use it a lot (which probably helps).
    I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.


    • #3
      I wipe mine out with a paper towel. If something is really stuck on, I'll add some water to the pan and let it simmer to loosen up, then dump and wipe.

      Water isn't a problem, as most things you cook will release moisture, but soap is forbidden.

      Always apply a light coating of your favorite food lube when you're done cleaning.


      • #4
        I have the same pan, and I've had the same problem. But when I started scrubbing the hard stuff with just a copper scrubbing pad, that works well. And I'll also smear on some canola oil (since I don't use it in food any more) on the inside and outside, turn upside down, and bake it on 300 for about an hour. You will want to make sure windows are open because this doesn't smell very good while it's "cooking" and it can get smoky. Make sure also that you have foil on the rack below the pan because it will drip.

        I got that information from the Lodge website on how to care for it. I love my cast iron!
        Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.


        • #5
          I don't season my pans with an oil I wouldn't eat, as a general rule. I rinse mine out, attack with pickling salt or sea salt as need be to remove gunk, heat dry on stove, apply lard or bacon grease and let it sit until the next time I use it. I actually season with lard in the oven maybe once a year, or whenever things start sticking.
          Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
          My Latest Journal


          • #6
            I find that I have to be careful what I cook in the cast iron pan - food that is too watery or too acidic will cause the "seasoning" (black, oily coating) to come off. I don't cook anything with tomatoes or tomato sauce in it for instance - that strips the seasoning right off! After cooking some kinds of meats - like pork chops - that cause a bunch of stuck on gunk, I use a spatula to scrape out all the sticky bits I can. Then if there is still stuff stuck to it, I let it soak for a few minutes with some hot tap water. I don't boil the water in the pan, that leads to loss of seasoning. I do NOT use an abrasive kitchen scrubber - I find those scrape too much of the seasoning off. I use the spatula once again to scrape after soaking because the flat surface gets the stuck on stuff off, but doesn't get the seasoning off. AFterwards, I dry it with a paper towel and then rub it with whatever fat/oil is handy.

            As others have said, never ever use soap or detergent. Enjoy your new pan!


            • #7
              With a well seasoned pan, there are no issues with deglazing, making pan sauces, or cooking with acids.

              The factory "pre-seasoning" really requires a good build up from use. Use it often and it will get better. The 10" I use daily for my eggs has been cooking bacon since long before my parents were born. I have yet to experience and loss of seasoning due to cooking with liquids.


              • #8
                I used to wash mine with a paper towel and kosher salt but then switched to just our regular Dobie brand dish scrubber. If it is really messy or greasy I may add salt (but felt it was too wasteful to use salt every time) and/or let water soak in it for a bit. I dry it by hand and set it on the stove to fully dry before I put it away. I don't apply heat (many years ago I did it that way) or regrease it. I don't put cook tomatoes in it regularly but when I do I just regrease it after washing if the finish looks dull. They are so durable once you get them good and seasoned. I cook it ours all the time. Use it a lot, wash with salt and a paper towel until it gets fully seasoned and enjoy! It will be perfect soon!


                • #9
                  Scrub with coarse salt and a scrubber for regular cleaning.

                  For tough stuff, or maybe the initial uses, pour baking soda in and add water. Boil that and turn it off, let it sit overnight, and wipe clean.

                  And always, always, all the time condition it with coconut oil, all over it.

                  Little Saiyan