Special Guest Post: Refurbishing Cast Iron

I know you’re expecting the usual eloquence of my darling wife, Chelsea. Instead, for this post, you’ll have to deal with my long-winded style of writing. Hi, I’m Dave.

One of my hobbies in the last few years has been to find, restore and give a new life to neglected cast iron pans, pots, griddles… whatever I happen to find, really. I suppose it may have something to do with knowing the work and love I put into these pans will survive me, potentially for generations, so long as my spawn appreciate the wonders of cast iron as much as I do, and they, in turn pass it on down the line. It’s a male thing, I suppose… the need to pass part of you on to the next generation.

Anyway, I thought it could be nice to share my process with you, loyal readers.

First, find a pan in need of help. IMG_0293IMG_0295

Next, assemble your tools.

IMG_0291After that, beat it into submission.

IMG_0296IMG_0297It’s going to take some work… but, for me at least, it’s a labor of love.

After all your hard work (and without harsh chemicals, like oven cleaner… seriously, what kind of idiot would willing put poison into something they plan to cook with?!) you’ll be left with a completely stripped and lovely cast iron pan, ready to be re-seasoned.

IMG_0298Flax seed oil is the holy grail of initial season oils, as it is a completely “drying” oil… but good old canola, a “semi-drying” oil is what I used.

Wash your freshly stripped pan in hot soapy water. Dry completely and heat in the oven at 200 degrees or on the stove top at medium heat for 10 minutes. The heat lets the pores of the metal open a bit. Pour enough oil, either flax or canola, into the pan to coat. Cover every square inch of the pan, inside and out with oil using a paper towel.

Next, take another paper towel and wipe all the excess oil off the pan. Don’t be afraid that you’re wiping all the oil off. You aren’t.

Bake at 500 degrees, letting the pan pre-heat with the oven, for one hour. After one hour, let the pan cool down with the oven till it comes to room temperature. Repeat the process 5 more times. I’m sorry, you can’t rush this. It’ll outlive you… the least you can do is give it the love it needs.

After 6 trips in the oven, you’ll be left with something that looks like this…

IMG_0301IMG_0306Now your pan is ready to use!

I hope you found this informative!

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2 thoughts on “Special Guest Post: Refurbishing Cast Iron

  1. I was fortunate enough to receive a vintage, newly refurbished, cast iron griddle from Dave for Christmas. I’ve used it nearly everyday since and I couldn’t be more pleased with it! Nothing sticks!
    Thanks for the insights into proper refurbishing techniques! That’s my boy!!!

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