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How Does One Season (or Reseason) and Care for Cast Iron Skillets (Obvious Vanity)
Self | 12/20/02 | Enough_Deceit

Posted on 12/20/2002 8:48:53 AM PST by Enough_Deceit

I got these wonderful skillets before my Mom passed away. I really want to use them, but do not know how to properly season/care for them. Can anyone out there give me some ideas? Thank you and Merry CHRISTmas!


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1 posted on 12/20/2002 8:48:53 AM PST by Enough_Deceit
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To: Enough_Deceit
Try this method:
http://www.netwoods.com/Cooking/dutchov1.html

This is for dutch oven, but will work for all cast iron.
2 posted on 12/20/2002 8:53:16 AM PST by Lokibob
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: Enough_Deceit
I take a little cooking oil and rub it around the pan with a paper towel. After cooking, I wash pan and put it on the stove to dry. If you use a towel to dry them, they will rust. Hope this helps.
4 posted on 12/20/2002 8:54:18 AM PST by Honesty
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To: Enough_Deceit
In Spain, the paella dishes are cleaned by putting a little olive oil in them, then using a split onion to smear the oil around, then wipe with a cloth....
5 posted on 12/20/2002 8:54:19 AM PST by ken5050
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To: Enough_Deceit
If your mom was using the skillets, they must already be seasoned, otherwise they'd be all rusty. Are you wondering how to keep them? I have an iron skillet and in order to keep it seasoned, after I fry stuff in it, I rinse it in cold water to get the food out, but not the oil, then wipe it with a paper towel and keep it in the cabinet on a paper towel so it doesn't get dusty.
6 posted on 12/20/2002 8:54:44 AM PST by Cinnamon Girl
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To: Enough_Deceit
Depends on what shape (how bad) they are. When I reseason mine I scrub the heck out of them then put a light coat (don't use too much - just enough to coat) of vegetable oil inside and out and put in the oven @ 400 degrees for an hour. When you put them in the oven, put them in upside down. I usually do this process twice.

Check out www.lodge.com.

Cast iron is the only way to cook!

LVM

7 posted on 12/20/2002 8:54:50 AM PST by LasVegasMac
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To: Enough_Deceit
If they are black and shiny, you don't need to do anything. When you cook in them, use butter, shortening, or oil; you'll get used to the quantity needed. Then, when you're done, take the pan to the sink, sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt in it for the scouring and drying effect, and swab it out with an old terry towel, or even with a wad of paper towels. Don't wash them.

There are some things you cannot cook in these pans -- slowly scrambled eggs, for example. Cook only those things which will not make a wet sticky residue.

If they are new, or if they need to be washed because some cooking has spoiled them, once they are washed, set them on a stove, filled with Wesson oil, and heat them very, very slowly for an hour or two. Then wipe them out with a towel. You may have to repeat this treatment to get the effective stick-resistant coating.

Cast iron works great for some foods and poorly for others. You'll just have to learn which is which.

8 posted on 12/20/2002 8:55:49 AM PST by MoralSense
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To: Cinnamon Girl
Oh, I'm sorry about that. I read the first line of your post wrong and thought they were your mom's skillets. Sorry about that. Gourmet magazine gives a recipe for seasoning similar to one above. Oil the skillet all over then bake at low temp. for a couple hours to develop a tacky grease coating.
9 posted on 12/20/2002 8:57:23 AM PST by Cinnamon Girl
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To: Enough_Deceit
Coat pans with a coating of peanut oil, wipe off excess with a paper towel. (Do not let puddle)
Bake in oven for 2-3 hrs. @ 350 Degrees.
Shut off smoke detectors and leave house.
When pans cool they should not be tacky. If they are you put on to much oil or it didn't cook long enough.
10 posted on 12/20/2002 8:57:35 AM PST by #1CTYankee
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To: Enough_Deceit
Greese the skillets with Crisco.Place them in a 450 oven for 15 min. To clean them scrub with Salt and rinse with clear water. Dry them and recote and that is it.
11 posted on 12/20/2002 8:59:18 AM PST by beardog
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To: Enough_Deceit
The oven method is good for the first time seasoning. After that the trick is never to ruin it.

To clean a cast iron skillet, boil a bit of plain water in it to loosen burned on food, rinse and let it dry. Rub with a bit of vegetable oil, wipe off excess and heat till it just starts to smoke. Turn off heat and let it cool without wiping.

Never cook anything with acid (vinegar, tomato sause) in it. Cast iron is for cooking with fat. After you brown meat in it, you can make a great gravy by browning some folur in the leftover fat, then adding water a little at a time till it's the right thickness. (Thickening requires bringing the mixture to a boil.) Add seasonings.

12 posted on 12/20/2002 9:01:33 AM PST by js1138
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To: Enough_Deceit
What kind of shape are they in?

Cast iron is not supposed to be steel wooled and soaped.
If that has been done they will need to be re-seasoned.(probably will want to do this anyway)
Get a stiff bristled handheld brush like you'd use for a wok.

Clean them well and then heat them on the stove top until a drop of water spatters on contact.
Remove from heat an let cool a bit. When cool enough not to burn you, pour a few drops of cooking oil on them, sprinkle with pepper, a little garlic and/or any other favorite spices(no salt)and rub it into the surface well.

Reheat as before.
Remove from heat and put under running water for a bit and brush the residue off. Return to heat until the water evaporates. While still hot, rub a drop of oil into the surface again. Just enough to put a slight sheen on the surface, no excess oil.
Remove from heat and rub them well when cool.(No more oil)

Always preheat them before you cook. Always brush them clean (no soap, no steel wool)under running water (Not soaking in water)and reheat with a drop of oil after you cook.

There are probably many experts on FR in this area as in others, but if none of them show up with better advice this will do. Worked for me for decades.
13 posted on 12/20/2002 9:01:50 AM PST by the gillman@blacklagoon.com
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To: LasVegasMac
Cast iron is the only way to cook!

You are correct about that! My hubby makes a great deep pan apple pie is our cast iron dutch oven. Also chicken pot pies, hmmmm.

14 posted on 12/20/2002 9:01:58 AM PST by CFW
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To: Enough_Deceit
Wow, in the time it took my stumblefingers to type, the place was swarming with FR experts.

What a place this is! :)
15 posted on 12/20/2002 9:04:39 AM PST by the gillman@blacklagoon.com
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To: Enough_Deceit
HOW TO SEASON CAST IRON

1) Rub the interior of the skillet with shortening (not oil. Really lather it on thick.

2)Put the skillet-- shortening and all-- in a pre-heat 325 degree oven

3)Let it "bake" for approx. 1 hr.

4)While not a nasty smell it wouldn't be the world's nicest smell while it's baking.

5)After 1 hr. remove from oven. With paper towels wipe out any left over melted shortening. Allow to cool.

HOW TO CLEAN CAST IRON

1)NEVER put in dishwasher. NEVER allow it to soak.

2)Hand-wash using dish soap, very hot water and a scrub brush.

3)Rinse with very hot water. Dry immediately or else rust might set in

4)Pour a bit of veg. oil onto interior surface. With paper towel wipe the oil all over, till there is a nice,shinny coating of oil. (Don't be skimpy here with the oil. Better too much than too little)

5) Throw the oily papertowel(s) away.

That's it! I know it sounds like a lot but in real life you're only looking at 3 or 4 minutes.

Remember: over time your cast iron skillet should develop a wonderful black color. This is always a mark of a well maintained piece of cast-iron.

(P.S. Never cook things like tomatoes or other high acid foods in cast iron. The food will come out tasting real funky, and the acid from the tomatoes (or whatever) sure won't do the cast iron any good)

16 posted on 12/20/2002 9:04:51 AM PST by yankeedame
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To: Vic3O3
Ok, now I'm even hungrier!

Semper Fi
17 posted on 12/20/2002 9:06:03 AM PST by dd5339
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To: Enough_Deceit
I have a lot of cast iron cookware that I use both in the oven, on a gas burner, and in wood and charcoal fires.

Basically, what I do is slather crisco all over every bit of it, and into every crevis there is. Then put into a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour. I then remove them from the oven, and pour all the melted fat out (into a collection jar or can, NOT down the sink). Then place them on a cooling rack to cool down. Thats it. I will also put a light coat of vegetable oil on them after each use for the first few uses. I then periodically will wipe them down with vegetable oil after using them. But after the first couple of uses and oilings you will rarely have to put any oil on them.

And after I use them, I let them fully cool down, I them wash them in hot soapy water, towel dry, and then put on hot stove burner for about 15 seconds to get some heat into them to make sure that ALL of the water from washing them is gone.

And when speaking of cast iron cookware, OLD IS GOLD!

18 posted on 12/20/2002 9:06:22 AM PST by Phantom Lord
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To: CFW
Love my Dutch oven. Last summer while camping, I made breakfast for 20+ people with 2 14 quart Dutches. It was a snap (course, everybody helped with the peeling etc).

PBS has a show on Dutch Oven cooking with a ton of tips.
19 posted on 12/20/2002 9:08:06 AM PST by Lokibob
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To: Enough_Deceit
What a nice thread. You ask an honest question and get answers. No smart ass comments. Nice change of pace.
20 posted on 12/20/2002 9:08:41 AM PST by johniegrad
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To: Enough_Deceit
Any of the oven/onion methods above work fine. Make sure you rinse and wipe the pans thoroughly with water (never use soap!) to get out all food particles and used fats, which will go rancid and rot if not removed. To sterilize the pan, put a little water in it, then put the pan on a burner set to high and allow the water in the pan to boil until the skillet is dry. Remove from heat and store in a cold oven.

An iron skillet holds heat better and more evenly than any alumnum pan ever could. There is no other way to prepare proper cornbread than to bake it in a skillet, and eggs fried in one take on a crispy, delicious flavor that can't be beat. Cook three over easy in bacon-greased skillet, slide 'em out into a tortilla toasted directly over the burner and serve 'em with Tabasco -- Mmmmmm...

21 posted on 12/20/2002 9:08:47 AM PST by B-Chan
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To: Enough_Deceit
As long as we're on the subject, does anyone know where to get quality cast iron cookware these days? I'm down to ONE good cast iron skillet. I'd like to have a couple more and a good dutch oven and maybe a few other things. The operative word here being "quality", obviously, rules out the one brand commonly seen in "Large Department Stores". The last QUALITY manufacturer I knew of was a company called Atlanta Stoveworks, which went out of business about 10 years ago.

Whomever makes this "Lodge" stuff ought to be whipped...

22 posted on 12/20/2002 9:09:33 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: Enough_Deceit
Never, ever use detergent on cast iron, and of course NEVER in the dishwasher.
23 posted on 12/20/2002 9:09:42 AM PST by RobFromGa
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To: CFW
I have 3 Dutch Ovens and about a dozen or so pans of various sizes and shapes.

My wife has suggested that I buy stock in Lodge, Inc!

Ever do any sour dough bread in a DO? (insert Homer Simpson drool)

LVM

24 posted on 12/20/2002 9:11:42 AM PST by LasVegasMac
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To: Enough_Deceit
The one thing that I do differently is to heat the utensil at 350 F overnight or for several hours BEFORE oiling to insure that there is no moisture left in the iron. THEN I oil and leave in the oven to season. Lard is best, but any cooking oil or fat will do. I lightly oil and wipe after cleaning.
25 posted on 12/20/2002 9:12:45 AM PST by Arkansawyer
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To: Enough_Deceit
After you've seasoned them, wash with warm water after use. Paper towels tend to leave gnarled, tough to remove bits of themselves on the iron, so I'd recommend going to Target or whatever and buying 9 or 10 cheapo cloth wash cloths to do your scrubbing. (Urgent note: DO NOT USE YOUR WIFE'S GOOD KITCHEN TOWELS FOR THIS TASK.)After the wash process, pop the skillet in the oven to dry at 300 degrees or so. Cast iron rusts very quickly, and the moisture from the washing has been known to leave rust spackles in a matter of hours.
26 posted on 12/20/2002 9:13:29 AM PST by Basil Duke
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To: Enough_Deceit
Throwing in my 0.02 as an advocate of butter to season cast iron cookware. I have a lovely small skillet that I use only to prepare eggs, and nothing but butter ever touches it.
27 posted on 12/20/2002 9:14:04 AM PST by Aracelis
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To: OKSooner
Why don't you like the Lodge stuff?

I've had some of it for years, no problems.

Once in awhile you can see a defect (lid does not seal, thin spot) but I always look close before I buy.

Just curious.

LVM

28 posted on 12/20/2002 9:16:07 AM PST by LasVegasMac
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To: OKSooner
Lodge is the last company in America making cast iron cookware. I bought a cast iron cookware set at Sams Club about 2 years ago for some crazy price like $36. It had a dutch oven, a 12 pan, an 8 inch pan, a coal stand for the dutch oven, a hook for removing the dutch oven lid, and a big flat griddle. It all came with heavy cloth carrying and storage cases for each item and was all packed in a wood crate!

I can not remember the name of the manufacturer, but my local Sams in Cary NC is still selling them. So find someone with a Sams membership and head on over.

29 posted on 12/20/2002 9:18:15 AM PST by Phantom Lord
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To: OKSooner
As long as we're on the subject, does anyone know where to get quality cast iron cookware these days?

Have you tried a sporting goods store? Look in the camping section....

On the topic of care and feeding -- well, we've got a nice skillet that we use all the time. We seasoned it for the first time according to the manufactuter's instructions, and have ever since used it just like the regular frying pan that it is.

We cook everything in it, wash it with soap, and otherwise do all the wrong things. We do wipe the inside with vegetable oil after every washing, and use butter and/or oil when we cook in it.

And it works just fine.

30 posted on 12/20/2002 9:18:51 AM PST by r9etb
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To: Enough_Deceit
After the seasoning, you can clean the skillet by pouring in a generous amount of salt and scrubbing with paper towels. I have one skillet designated for cornbread, and this cleaning method works very well.

For the readers here, Robert Parker's 'Spenser' character uses this method on his cast iron skillets.

31 posted on 12/20/2002 9:18:56 AM PST by Fracas
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To: MoralSense
"Cast iron works great for some foods and poorly for others. You'll just have to learn which is which."

Awesome for venison tenderloins that have been marinating red wine, onion powder, salt, black pepper and a bay leave for about 30 minutes.

Put a little butter in the pan, get it really hot. The "medallions" cook-up in a few minutes. Warning: this is adictive.
32 posted on 12/20/2002 9:20:32 AM PST by Constitutional Patriot
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To: MoralSense
"Cast iron works great for some foods and poorly for others. You'll just have to learn which is which."


It's the only way that cornbread should be baked.
Now, hand me the butter.
33 posted on 12/20/2002 9:23:45 AM PST by GOP_Proud
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To: LasVegasMac
I've picked 'em up off the shelf to look at them and seen machine marks where they've been ground with a VERY coarse stone. They should be smooth. Also, I once bought a Lodge brand Hibachi cooker (Knockoff of the classic Atlanta piece) and took it home to cook with it. After seasoning the grill, I lit it up only to discover that the unusual gray finish on the piece was actually some kind of petroleum-based stuff that had been smeared all over it!

The only thing worse in comparison, obviously, would be the cheap-assed stuff from China. No telling WHAT kind of nasty stuff found its way into the foundry where it's made.

34 posted on 12/20/2002 9:23:58 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: Enough_Deceit
The methods cited here look good; clean it well, dry it so there's no rust, coat it with oil/lard, heat it up good.

However, one important caveat: DO NOT USE CORN OIL!!!! It leaves a gummy residue that doesn't season to the proper surface you want. It stays sticky. I did this once and had to re-clean and re-season the pan. My personal preference is lard, followed by Crisco. If you go with oil, peanut oil is the way to go.

35 posted on 12/20/2002 9:24:47 AM PST by RonF
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To: OKSooner
As long as we're on the subject, does anyone know where to get quality cast iron cookware these days?

yard sales and auctions.

36 posted on 12/20/2002 9:26:12 AM PST by AppyPappy
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To: johniegrad
What a nice thread. You ask an honest question and get answers. No smart ass comments. Nice change of pace.

Yes...but then again...I just logged in.

Give me a minute...I'll think of something.

37 posted on 12/20/2002 9:27:24 AM PST by Focault's Pendulum
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To: LasVegasMac; Phantom Lord
The Lodge stuff is probably okay, but after the bad experience with the hibachi and the poor finish on the stuff that I've seen it's hard to accept that I can't find anything better SOMEWHERE. Maybe my nauseating experience with the hibachi has something to do with it. I would buy lodge before I'd buy the Chinese stuff that probably has nuclear waste leached into the cast iron.

The alternative, of course, is the French stuff that's coated with porcelain, which eliminates the nutritional benefit of cooking with cast iron.

38 posted on 12/20/2002 9:29:21 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: Lokibob; BillinDenver; Honesty; LasVegasMac; MoralSense; Cinnamon Girl; #1CTYankee; beardog; ...
I thought Scouts-L was bad. This comes up about once every 6 months there, and usually about a dozen people weigh in. How many of you folks are Scouters?
39 posted on 12/20/2002 9:31:50 AM PST by RonF
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To: OKSooner
Whadda ya got against Lodge cookware? I love mine!
40 posted on 12/20/2002 9:33:00 AM PST by Vic3O3
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To: OKSooner
Often you will find that newly manufactured cast-iron cookware is coated by the manufacturer with some kind of grease, etc., to keep the cookware from rusting while being shipped if it's exposed to dampness en route. New stuff should be washed and dried before seasoning.

I do agree that the cooking surfaces of Lodge DO's should be finished much more smoothly. I have been dissapointed about that. We have a number of DO's at our Scout camp that are finished properly, but they have no manufacturer's marks and they are so old no one knows where they were bought.

We had a campout at our local Scout camp where we invited a bunch of Webelos Scouts and their parents. We roasted a dozen chickens, one per DO, and had all 12 going at the same time. Lit up 40 pounds of charcoal to do it. Very impressive.

41 posted on 12/20/2002 9:37:06 AM PST by RonF
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To: OKSooner
I've a Lodge brand skillet that I bought at a grocery store in the mid 1980s. It has turned out reasonably well, though it doesn't heat quite as evenly as I would like. The really good stuff, IMO, is Wagners, from "Sidney, O". But they went out of business (or at least quit making cookware) years ago. My preference for seasoning is either corn oil (I don't find it to leave a sticky mess), olive oil, or bacon grease.
42 posted on 12/20/2002 9:37:38 AM PST by ArrogantBustard
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To: OKSooner
Powder..Patch..Ball FIRE!

I use cast extensively in our reenactments and the many vouz's that my family attends. You've gotten good advice except for one thing... and a couple of observations.. I use Lodge exclusively and have over 150lbs of cast I carry around (I know, I know but it looks good!) and if you inspect it before buying to look for roughness, I've never had a problem with any of it.

Cleaning with salt and towels works good, boiling a little water in the pan also works very well for sticky/stuck stuff, but NEVER use soap or scratchers or you'll regret it.

Seasoning is best done with animal fat, I use unsalted lard and I can cook sausage gravy in my dutch and then wipe it out with some towels when done and it is clean and ready to use again. To make sure the outside doesn't rust I get the cast to hot to hold with bare hands and then use a beeswax candle and coat the outside and wipe it in with a towel. Will NOT rust, and once you do it a couple of times it never needs done again..

43 posted on 12/20/2002 9:40:58 AM PST by BallandPowder
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To: RonF
In this case, the grill of the hibachi was coated with the usual vegetable-based stuff that came off before being properly seasoned. The BASE of the Hibachi, though, was coated in the nastiest, foulest stuff that smoked like an old Chevy truck when it had fire in it. I don't know what it was, but I couldn't even tell it was there because it was the color of cast iron, and dry to the touch. I sold the damn thing in a garage sale.

I guess that's what I get for taking most of my good cast iron to the wrong hunting camp one time...

44 posted on 12/20/2002 9:41:06 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: yankeedame
" Never cook things like tomatoes or other high acid foods in cast iron. The food will come out tasting real funky, and the acid from the tomatoes (or whatever) sure won't do the cast iron any good"

Hmmm...is that why "cowboy" beef stew doesn't have tomatoes in it?

45 posted on 12/20/2002 9:42:45 AM PST by etcetera
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To: Enough_Deceit
Eggs work great in my little vintage cast iron skillet. I put my electric burner on high and nothing sticks to it. If it does, I put back on the burner, and when hot again, pour in 1/4 cup of water. It zizzles up in steam and I wipe it dry wet paper towel.

Often I add olive oil to the butter when frying an egg, this always really shines up the skillet.

The trick is, hot and olive oil.

46 posted on 12/20/2002 9:43:00 AM PST by duckln
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To: Enough_Deceit
Click on:http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=976&item=748378363&rd=1 and see a real good reason to take GOOD care of your cast iron ware.
47 posted on 12/20/2002 9:43:42 AM PST by S.O.S121.500
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To: RonF
Not me - I just love to cook.

- 3 dutch ovens, many other cast iron pots / pans.

- 1 very large Texas Hondo style smoker

- 1 large Charbroil gas grill

- 1 large Charbroil charcoal grill

- 2 large Big Green Egg's

- 1 Weber bullet style smoker

As the Bam Man says, I get happy with food!

LVM

48 posted on 12/20/2002 9:52:24 AM PST by LasVegasMac
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To: S.O.S121.500
Thank you. Compare a real piece of cast iron like this to what you see on the shelves (LODGE) these days.
49 posted on 12/20/2002 9:55:36 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: Enough_Deceit
Excellent resources for questions on all old timey methods of everything...

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com

BTW, I always use lard. Non-salted animal fats produce a better finish faster.

50 posted on 12/20/2002 9:59:45 AM PST by gnarledmaw
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