Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How To: Reseason Cast Iron

If you're a cast-iron disciple, you know to hold it dear. To gather the rest of your household and solemly tell them, "You see this skillet? Don't worry about this skillet. I will care for my precio—I mean, my skillet. Thanks for listening, you are dismissed."

The basic tenets in cast-iron care are these:
  • Do not put it in the dishwasher.
  • Do not even let it near soap.
  • Do wipe it down gently with a towel using vegetable oil or shortening and hot, hot water.
  • Do throw in a lilting Irish lullaby if you happen to have one handy.
But, as Bender tells us in The Breakfast Club, the world is an imperfect place.

Should tragedy (or stubborn food or old-age or *gasp* soap) befall your cast-iron, there is a road back. Here's a short tutorial for stripping and reseasoning your pans. I made good use of these instructions this weekend while setting up a new kitchen. A little online authority and a well-ventilated kitchen (It might get a little smoky, so open up those windows) will result in some gorgeous pans. Have a celebratory dinner recipe at the ready!

How To: Reseason Cast Iron

1. Preheat oven to 200. Line bottom rack with foil to catch any drips from the pan (this comes later down the line).
2. To strip your pan of rust and stubborn food, sprinkle the inside with lemon juice and kosher or sea salt. Scrub out with a towel or steel wool.
3. Dry your pan in the oven. Then remove and adjust heat to 350.
4. Pour just a little bit of vegetable oil into your cast iron, then use a clean towel to spread a thin layer of the oil all over the pan, inside and out. Apply more as needed, but err on the side of caution.
5. Place pan upside down on the top rack of the oven. If your oil layer is thin enough, you should see no drips onto the foil below.
6. Bake for one hour. Turn off oven and let pan cool inside for another hour.
7. Whoop in triumph! You've got a rejuvenated cast iron to enjoy.

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