Cast Iron Seasoning

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
There are tons of ways to season cast iron. This method was concocted by an up and coming (probably now "the guy" in seasoning cast iron now) in a well known cast iron collecting organization I was a member of. If you follow these methods, they will produce an awesome patina off the get go. If you repeat the method a few times you'll get a nice black patina. His method is now "the method" by alot of the well known collectors. I've bought a couple pieces from him he had bought rusted over. When I got them, I could've swore he had simply sent a well patina'd piece. I only use this method now. Thankfully, once you have a patina on it, you can simply do the reseasoning method, you won't need to do the scrubbing aspect. I left it verbatim..........WAGs is the Wagner and Griswold society. I was a member for a bit. I just am more of a cast iron user then a collector. If you're looking into collecting, it's a wonderful place to go and get info.

1. Clean your CI down to the raw surface. I use the electrolysis method for 24 hours minimum. It's all I've ever used, so I don't know how this seasoning method will work with other cleaning methods.

2. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. I know, this sounds like baking instructions.

3. Scrub the piece with cold soapy water, and a SS scrubber of your choice. I use Scotch Brite ss scrubbing pads. I wad a couple together. I never throw them out, I just wad another one in with the old one as it wears away. I also use a ss brush, both large and small for a little harder scrubbing, or to get into lettering. I usually use these in a small circular motion. Remember though, if you do one area on the piece with a wire brush, you should do the whole thing, or at least that whole surface, ie, the bottom. If not, the seasoning will look uneven.

4. Rinse, rinse, and rinse again with cold water. This includes your gloves. They are soapy also, and will just get soap back on the piece. Just make sure that you don't have any soap on the piece after your done. If you see streaking, it's probably soap streaks, and you need to do a light rub with the ss scrubber again to get it off. The cold water rinse seems to keep the flash rust away as compared to a hot water rinse.

5. Dry quickly, and completely. I use paper towels because they will get dirty, and I can just toss them. When it's dry, look for dirty streaks, and go over the whole thing again with dry paper towels to get them off. No matter how well you rinse, the black never seems to stop until its dry, and you go over it with dry paper towels. I never use mechanical means of cleaning, ie. a drill with a ss brush. The seasoning just doesn't seem to get as dark if I do.

6. Place the piece in the oven that is preheated to 250. NEVER fully heat the oven first, to the higher temp listed later in these instructions. If you put a piece in at the higher temps, it could crack, or warp. You can load up the oven with as many as wil fit without touching each other or the sides. I actually have 2 extra oven racks that I kept from our old oven so that I can get more skillets, or larger skillets, in at one time.

7. Wait about 15 - 20 minutes, and turn the oven up to 500 degrees F. I used to go up to 550, but I found I have less "bleed out" issues at 500. I'll explain "bleed out" later on.

8. Go to your P.C. or lap top, log on to WAGS, and get up to date on some of the posts.Once the oven reaches 500, wait another 15 - 20 minutes, or longer if it's an intresting post.

9. Place a thick piece of cardboard with a back on it, on top of your stove to protect your stove top, and the back of your stove. Using a terry cloth towel, folded thick, remove the piece from the oven, and place it on the cardboard. I don't use leather gloves because they transfer, and hold the heat right to your hand, and the oils in the leather get on the iron, and leave marks in it. Pot holders or oven mitts usually melt at these temps, and if it's a good enough one not to, you don't want to get it all oil soaked from seasoning anyway. Your paper towels will show some black or gray, along with brown from the Pam. You wan't see this with the second cycle. It will only show brown.

10. Now it's time for the Pam. I use Original Pam just like I learned here on the forum. If it's a skillet, WI, a DO, or something like that, I spray the inside first, then flip it over to do the outside. I do this so the heat is trapped inside of the piece, and cooks that Pam on real well. Be sure to coat the whole thing. Use the Pam can to spin the piece so that you can get the entire piece. Why not use the terry cloth rag and your hand to spin it, you ask. The rag soaks up the Pam, and it causes dry spots. Be sides, once the terry cloth rag is oil soaked, it will transfer heat to your hand real fast.

11. Let the piece sit for 3 - 5 minutes. You want to give it time to soak in and cook a little, but not enough time to cool down a whole lot. Use a wadded paper towel, I use 3 full towels, to dry a spot so you can grab it with the terry cloth rag. Again, your trying to keep the terry cloth as free from oil as you can.

12. Now this is where it get a little dangerous. This piece is still about 450 degrees, so be real careful not to burn yourself. Like I just did on a Wagner Bundt Pan. Wipe the piece dry with wadded paper towels. Remember, your drying, not scrubbing. If you scrub, you'll take off part of the seasoning, and dull the finish. Keep wiping untill the paper towel comes out dry. If the piece looks shiney, and you wipe it with clean paper towel, and it's still shiney, leave it. You want a nice shine. I use a terry cloth towel for the final wipe so that the little fibers of the towel get in to the lettering, and little nooks and crannies.

13. Once you're satisfied that the whole piece is wiped dry, place it back in the oven, upside down. Set a timer for 60 minutes.

14. Return to your PC, or laptop, log back onto WAGS, and tell us how many times you burned yourself.

15. After an hour is up, repeat steps 9 through 12. When you remove it this time, this is when you will notice the "bleed out" if it's going to happen. It's caused by little pinholes that open up in the iron when it gets this hot, and they fill with Pam. When you wipe it the first time, you can't get it out of the holes, but when heated for the second time, it cooks out, and leaves a dark spot. I've had better luck at 500 with this problem. This is also when you'll notice that impossible to see hairline crack, if you have one. The same thing happens with the cracks, and they will show quite well. To bad we can't do this before we buy the iron to check it for cracks.

Once finished, place it on a good cast iron trivet or two, or three, whatever it takes to keep it off the countetop, and keep it from tipping over. Once it's cool, you may want to give it a light wipe with a clean terry cloth towel.

So, that's it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

P.S. Did I forget to mention, that your kitchen will fill with smoke, and your house will smell like you make french fries all the time. Good thing I like that smell, and it's also nice to have a wife that's right in there scrubbing, and brushing, and wiping, with me.

Gotta go, the timer just went off on the stove, and I gotta do some spraying, and wiping.


Remember, after you've done the initial cleaning and seasoning, you can bypass all the steps and go straight to Step 6. :) Substitute WAGs for and you're good. :)

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