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How to Season Cast Iron

Cast Iron typically receives its share of wear and tear. Skillets, Dutch Ovens, Griddles, and Pots can get rusty over time but can easily be brought back to life with seasoning. If you have just recently purchased some cast iron cookware, you can follow these easy steps as well as if you are re-seasoning older, handed-down cast iron. Seasoning is the process of making the pan non-stick as well as adding a protective coating against the elements. Keep reading below to learn how to season your cast iron as well as how to clean and remove rust from cast iron.

Cleaning is another easy step with cast iron. After each use, your cooled cast iron should be cleaned so that harmful bacteria and other pests are not attracted to the leftover residue. For basic cleaning, wipe the cookware out with a dry paper towel then use salt, if necessary, to scrub the pan clean. If harder scrubbing is necessary, a potato cut in half makes a great scouring pad with the salt. After wiping out the salty paste, make sure the pan is completely dry of any water before storing.

If you find your cast iron with rust, simply scrub the pan in hot soapy water and dry completely, before seasoning the pan again. Never soak cast iron in water or use solvents to clean with.

The best method for seasoning cast iron is to clean, if necessary, then line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 350° F. Lard or animal fats are preferred, but vegetable oil can be used as well. Coat your cast iron evenly with a thin coat of oil, lard, or shortening, then place the pan upside down in your oven. Make sure the cast iron is over the foil so that excess drippings can be collected without burning. The process could get smoky depending on which oil or fat is used. After baking for 1 hour, remove and allow to cool before wiping off any excess drips. Repeat the process for even better seasoning (similar to adding coats of paint to your wall).

Whether your cast iron is a found treasure or a new Carolina Cooker® pan, with proper seasoning, you can make your cast iron skillet your go to skillet! Quick and easy steps no how to season cast iron, cleaning, and/or removing wax can be found below. Enjoy!

  • Step 1 – First, prep you pan for seasoning. Using warm soapy water, use a nylon brush to clean your cast iron. Immediately dry with a cotton towel.
  • Step 2 – Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  • Step 3 – Select your oil. You can use lard, shortening, vegetable or a food grade oil.
  • Step 4 - Using a paper towel thinly coat your entire pan/skillet.
  • Step 5 – Place your pan/skillet in the oven on the top shelf upside down. You may want to line your bottom shelf with aluminum foil to catch the drippings.
  • Step 6 – Bake your cast iron for 1 hour. Based upon the oil you selected, this process can get smoky.
  • Step 7 – After 1 hour, cut your oven off and allow the cast iron to completely cool.
  • Step 8 – Wipe off drips and excess with a paper towel.
  • Step 9 – Repeat. We suggest doing this process at least 3 times.

    Tips and Warnings
  • Use warm water and kosher salt to make a paste that will clean up any food remnants.
  • Never soak your cast iron in water.
  • Clean after each use.
  • If your cast iron ever rusts, give it a good scrub in hot soapy water and season again.
  • Use your pan/skillet. This is the best way to improve a seasoned cast iron skillet.

    Removing Wax Coating on Stew Pots
  • Place your pot over a burner or fire.
  • Heat the pot until the white smoke stops burning.
  • With warm water, rub off any wax left on the pot.
  • Season your pot all over, thoroughly using vegetable oil, lard, or your favorite cooking oil.
  • Reheat the pot over the burner or fire unil you start to see smoke.
  • Turn off the heat source, or remove from over the fire, and let the pot cool down naturally.
  • Now, start cooking!
  • *Caution: Throughout the entire process, the cast iron will be extremely hot. Do not touch the cast iron until it is thoroughly cooled down!

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