Cast iron question

mika80March 3, 2014

I bought my first cast iron skillet a few months ago, first thing my DH said was that it's high maintenance and maybe he is right.
I have bern re seasoning it almost every time I used it and food would still stick to it (BTWits a Lodge).
But my actual question is, if you cant use soap, how do you get the food smell out? Would salt do the trick?

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Some people don't use soap on their iron skillet I always do. I pour a little watered down Dawn dish soap on a piece of steel wool and scrub it all over. Top, bottom, handle. Then I turn the stove on and let it dry on low. Sometimes after the water has evaporated, I'll take a paper towel and pour a bit of veg oil on it and rub it over the inside while it is warm. I let it stay on the warm burner awhile to soak in. It might get one more light wipe before I put it away. I've had my iron skillet at least 20 yrs. Cooks things great without sticking.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Thanks, maybe it depends on the brand? My Lodge was quite cheap, maybe inferior quality makes the difference?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:40PM
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I have Lodge cookware, some fairly old, and some of which has been purchased in the past year or so. I've been very happy with it. It does take quite a bit of use before it will become really slick. You also have to use some oil or fat when you cook with it, especially when new. My eggs slide right out, but I cook them in butter. Contrary to what we've all been brainwashed, good quality butter, organic virgin coconut oil, and organic lard is good for us.

You could try putting a little oil in the pan with some salt, and then use a nylon dish brush to clean the pan. Then take a paper towel and wipe all of it out, after which give it a quick rinse with hot water. Towel dry it and warm it a little on a burner. It should take any odors or stuck on food residue out of it.

I would not use steel wool on your pan. You risk scrubbing off what little bit of seasoning you are trying to build. I also very seldom use soap. Sometimes I use a diluted bit of unscented Seventh generation dish soap, but rarely. Usually a good rinse with hot water and a nylon brush if necessary is all it takes. Rub a bit of oil or fat on the pan when it's dry and you're good to go.

Making popcorn in a Dutch oven helps speed up the process. Make some yummy fried potatoes in your skillet. I found my best seasoned cast iron ever was after I took it along camping and cooked over a fire with it.

I've also purchased a couple of the Lodge carbon steel pans and I love those for eggs. For everything else I love cast iron. My main cookware is the old fashioned basic Lodge seasoned cast iron and Le Creuset and Staub enameled cast iron pieces. The only thing I use stainless for is to boil water for pasta and making huge batches of stock.

The only bread pans I will use are the Lodge cast iron bread pans. I gave all my Pyrex, aluminum, and stoneware bread pans away.

I feel Lodge basic black cast iron cookware is very good quality, and it's the only cast iron cookware still made in the U.S.A. Some people don't care for the rougher texture of Lodge versus Griswold, but I have both and the Lodge will sometimes take and hold seasoning better than the super smooth Griswold. It just takes a little longer. (Griswold is no longer manufactured and commands high prices now).

If you give the Lodge people a call they will help you with all sorts of advice. Their website is Once you get past the learning curve I think you will really enjoy cooking with cast iron.

Some people will keep a skillet ONLY for cooking fish, and have another one for other foods.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 12:06AM
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I find the best way to season cast iron is to use it. Cook anything "greasy" that you can. Hamburger, bacon, anything fried. Use lard, butter oil when you cook.

If mine needs it, I give it a quick wipe with a soapy scrubbie, not steel wool.
But right after I finish cooking I put hot water in it, and that usually loosens anything that might be stuck.

I always keep a folded paper towel between it and my other cast iron skillet, so they don't scratch.

It does take time, but it will get nice and slick so that even eggs will slide right out.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 6:55PM
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Mika80, you should not need to reseason it much. I usually use a paper towel with a little salt to scrub out anything that stuck, and then put a little oil on the paper towel and rub it down and it is good to go. You might want to try a seasoning regime for a few days and see if that works. I use flaxseed oil, rub it on thin, put it in the oven at 400 for at least an hour - repeat 3 or 4 times and you should have a nonstick pan.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:30PM
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I agree with Barryv. That is the same way I cure my cast iron. Flaxseed and put in oven. Cool and repeat. It will form a good, lasting coating. Once seasoned well, a dip in some dishwater with detergent will not harm it. Just don't use a scrub brush or steel wool. Dry in oven or a burner on the stove. While still hot, I always put a light coating of lard on both the inside and outside the pot. This is good when storing the pot for longer storage because animal fat will not get tacky like a vegetable oil.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 3:26PM
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