I had used my dutch oven (DO) for a few months before deciding I wanted to completely reseason the cast iron(CI). Since I gained some experience using, seasoning, and cleaning my CI after awhile. I felt I could provide a better starting foundation for my seasoning. I had some bad spots on the DO from my initial seasoning I wanted to fix. The great thing about CI, aside from it lasting generations, is that you can strip it and reseason it to make it new again. There are a couple ways to reseason your CI, but the following is the easiest and straight forward method with tools that the majority of people have on hand.
Things you need:
- Cast iron piece(s)
- Access to a self-cleaning oven
- Lots of lint free rags (paper towels or napkins are fine, but they can leave some left over debris although it won’t hurt the final seasoning)
- Crisco all-vegetable shortening (the small blue 16oz container should last you awhile)
- S.O.S. steel wool soap filled pads – if you just have steel wool that’s fine, but you’ll need mild dishwashing liquid as well then
Open your oven and place your CI pieces inside. If you have multiple pieces fit as many pieces as you can that way you could do them all at once. Lock the oven door if it has a manual lock, turn the oven on self-cleaning, and set the timer for 2 hours. The oven will do the hard work.
When two hours is up and the CI has cooled down. Open the oven door and check out your newly striped CI. Depending on your CI some may look completely stripped and some may appear to be rusted. Do not worry as the rust is just on the surface from the old seasoning and will rub, fall, and wash right off. So be careful when pulling it out as some of that seasoning might fall on the floor or in the oven. Wash your cast iron off in the sink to get any of surface rust/seasoning off.
Now take your steel wool soap filled pad (and soap if just the steel wool) and run hot water over the entire CI and scrub it thoroughly and vigorously and then wash off. Now do a final rinse with the CI under cold water to prevent flash rusting for the reasoning process. Dry the CI off completely with a towel. Below are some pictures of what my dutch oven looks like completely stripped and cleaned down to the bare iron. I forgot to take pictures of what it looked like before.
Now preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and put your CI in the oven. When it is done preheating take out the CI and it should be warm enough that the pores in the CI will have expanded. Get your Crisco shortening and paper towels. Dip your paper towel in the Crisco and then rub it on your CI piece. Use a liberal amount, but not so much that the Crisco is pooling in spots. Rub it all over the pan, the insides, walls, bottom of the pan, handle, and the small crevices if you have a unique CI piece. Once the CI is completely covered then you will want to get a new paper towel and wipe all of the Crisco off the CI. Yep, wipe everything off that you just put on. The expanded pores in the CI will have absorbed the Crisco so don’t worry about it. Wipe it off as if you were trying to dry the pan.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place your pan upside down in your oven. Set the timer for one hour. In 15 minutes take the CI out and do one more quick rub down with a dry paper towel to make sure there is no pooling Crisco in the pan. Then place it back in the oven and do not touch it for the rest of the hour. When the timer is done turn the oven off and let the CI cool down while inside the oven. Once everything has cooled down take your CI out and look it over. It should appear brand new.
Now repeat steps 4 and 5 for 3-5 times and you will be set to start cooking on it again. Break the new seasoning in with some bacon and you will help build on the manual seasoning process you started.
Here are some pictures after I reseasoned my dutch oven. This is after going through the process 5 times.
While we are on the subject of cast iron. I have come to rely on the following accessories to keep my cast iron in good health and ease my cooking life.
- Stainless steel chainmail (a blessing when it comes to cleaning and no it won’t scratch your pan)
- Lodge polycarbonate scrapers (another essential tool for cleaning)
- Steel spatula (perfectly safe to use on your cast iron)
- Lodge Silicone hot handler holder
- Crisbee cast iron seasoning