Cast iron is one of your best friends in the kitchen. If you don't own any, you should. And if you do own some, here's how to take care of it.
IF YOUR SKILLET IS NEW OR WELL-MAINTAINED
Follow the Alton Brown Method (Detailed in his book I'm Just Here For The Food).
- Place your pan on the top rack of your oven and place a sheet pan on the rack below.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- When the pan is warm but still touchable (~10 minutes), remove it from the oven.
- Spoon a heaping dollop of vegetable shortening (Yes, Crisco. I promise it won't bite) and smear it around the pan with a paper towel as it melts. You'll want to get every nook and cranny, the sides, the outsides, the handle. EVERYTHING.
- Place the pan back on the top rack of the oven, upside down. Bake for 1 hour.
- Turn off the oven and let the pan cool for a few minutes. It will still be very hot when you take it out, so use caution.
- Wipe the pan clean, but don't wash it until after you've cooked in it.
Ta-daaaa, seasoned cast iron. But this isn't a one-and-done deal. Alton recommends a good re-season once a year.
If your pan is in....less than usable shape, follow these steps from Jeffery B. Rodgers or watch his video here
- Liquid soap (he recommends Ivory)
- Steele wool (grade 00)
- Blue shop towels
- Place your pan (or pans) upside down into your oven. Run the self-cleaning cycle on the oven with the pans still hanging out inside.
- Once the self-cleaning cycle has finished, allow the pans to cool.
- Remove the pans. DON'T FREAK OUT. They're going to look ruined. They aren't.
- Rinse under water. Wash with soap and steel wool. Notice how all the scary stuff rinses right away.
- Once they've dried, season a detailed above.
Now go forth, and take full advantage of thy cast iron!
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