The easy way to season cast iron

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I can’t recall if it was here or not but i vaguely recall that some types of oils can give the cast iron much better protection and finish vs others. I don’t have any cast iron cookware so i can’t really give advice on that, though i have been considering buying one.


The way you mix BBQ and grill and then imply that your grill is gas powered (“turn it off”) would get you banned from my family’s fourth of July gathering. At least that’s how I finally managed to get uninvited (thank god).


Flax oil is the recommended for your base coat, but once you have a base coat just cook a lot with fatty things.


Yeah i meant the base coat :slight_smile: And i thought it was flax oil but not being knowledgeable i wanted to wait and see if someone knew.

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Flax oil is a good choice. I start with vegetable oil, cook it in the oven. Light rinse. Dry. Then vegetable shortening (Crisco), cook it again, then, if it’s a brand new or newly restored piece, I’ll do a third coat with vegetable oil and cook it again. Overkill, but I’m like that. If I’m just re-seasoning my existing cast iron, I use shortening. The key is to make sure you cover the entire iron surface with whatever you use. Flax oil is good because it clings and it polymerizes relatively easily. Vegetable oil takes longer, but I don’t like the smell of flax oil. Basically all you’re doing is creating a moisture resistant non-stick surface to prevent rust.

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we have all cast iron pans, and we never fawn over them like this. My advice - just use the mothers.


But what if I’m holding it wrong or something?


I think any kind of oil is acceptable as long as it’s artisanal oil.

Oh wait, you’re all talking about cast iron!? Everyone who knows anything has switched to hand-hewn iron, lovingly smelted in small batches from home bloomeries.


btw, that whole “no soap” thing is just ingrained holdover knowledge from our (great) grandparents, back when soap was made with lye, which WILL strip your seasoning. modern dish soaps are much gentler. i use them on my cast iron with no trouble.


Yes - ATK has tested that very thing. Hard scrubbing and soap will remove some of the seasonings to be sure, but is also an effective way to smooth out any rough spots in the uppermost layer of seasoning before adding more.

Seriously, once you have a properly seasoned pan (or, if you buy a new, preseasoned one) is to always use sufficient oil to cover the cooking surface (including the sides) - if you’re just searing in the pan then use some extra oil in there. If you’re making a sauce where extra oil would make your food greasy, then just wipe some around the whole pan before you start.

cast iron / carbon steel seasoning has taken on an almost mythic quality now, but really, just keep the thing oily-but-not-too-oily, don’t forget to smooth out and wipe out stuck on or rough spots, and if you don’t regularly cook at high temperatures with reasonable oil in the thing, follow @jlw’s BBQ method to literally bake more oil into the pan regularly.


Is it organic iron?


I season all of my silverstone.

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Yes, pig iron, raised organically.


Thunderbolt iron that fell from the sky.

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If you’re seasoning your cast iron on the grill, you should season the grates on the grill while you’re at it.

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This seems to be a major hang up when people have trouble seasoning. In part due to claims that allowing oil to hit its smoke point will give instant cancer to 7 generations of your family.

But if the oil isn’t smoking it isn’t turning into season. So its the first thing to change if you’re having an issue.

There was an article a few years back, from I forget who, advocating the use of Flaxseed Oil/food grade Linseed oil. The idea being since it is a drying oil that is prone to producing a hard coating as it sits, it would produce a better season. But everyone who has tested it long term vs other oil has found that it isn’t any slicker and is much more prone to flaking off with use. It will produce a shiny, deep black coating in fewer coats though. Regardless of whether you heat it enough or not. So it remains popular.

I’ve found that oils with higher smoke points work best. I was using Avocado oil for a while, smoke point is something like 525. But its pricey so I’ve switched to refined safflower oils. Practically the same smoke point for a 3rd the price.


I’ve been using cast iron pans my entire adult life and have never needed to re-season them.

The Internet would have you believe it’s a weekly thing.


Flax oil isn’t necessary, it’s expensive, requires too many coats, and many, many people report issues with it flaking over time, and becoming a mess.

Flax looks beautiful and smooth and shiny in the few days or weeks after it’s done, which is why there are so many blogs and YouTube videos extolling its virtues.

Any type of shortening (Crisco) or lard will work well, vegetable oil will work in a pinch, and cooking bacon several times in the beginning is great.