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Seasoning cast iron...the plot thickens

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  • grantgallagher
    Club Member
    • Feb 2018
    • 796
    • NJ

    Seasoning cast iron...the plot thickens

    Kenji and a few of the serious eats folks have been all over twitter recently recommending AGAINST flax seed oil. Says it hardens fast but chips off extremely easily.

    I dont personally have any CI pieces right now but that has been my experience with my carbon steel. Supposedly its harder to build up seasoninng on CS though.

    thoughts/personal experience?
  • Steve B
    Club Member
    • Jun 2016
    • 2667
    • Rockland county New York
    • Lonestar Grillz 24x36 offset smoker, grill, w/ main chamber charcoal grate and 3 tel-tru thermometers - left, right and center
      Yoke Up custom charcoal basket and a Grill Wraps cover.

      22.5 copper kettle w/ SnS, DnG, BBQ vortex, gasket and stainless steel hinge kit.

      Napoleon gas grill (soon to go bye bye) rotting out.

      1 maverick et-733 digital thermometer - black
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      taylor digital scale
      TSM meat grinder
      chefs choice food slicer
      cuisinhart food processor
      food saver vacuum sealer
      TSM harvest food dehydrator

    Let’s summon Spinaker


    • Spinaker
      • Nov 2014
      • 10081
      • Land of Tonka
      • John "J R"
        Instagram: JRBowlsby
        Smokin' Hound Que
        Minnesota/ United States of America

        Dexter (Beagle mix)
        Kinnick (American Foxhound)

        Big Green Egg (Large) X2
        Blackstone 36" Outdoor Griddle 4-Burner

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        Apple, Cherry & Oak Log splits for the C-60

        Buck 119 Special
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        Next Major Purchase
        Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

      It does tend to flake easier. But if you put it on in thin layers, at high heat and allow it to cool slowly, Flax works great. Not that there are not other options as well. Grape seed oil is also very good. Grass fed tallow is great as well.

      Get into the cast iron game!


      • Spinaker
        Spinaker commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, that’s what happens when you get serious, Jersey Bear......join the club. 😂 20 ain’t nuthin’ JCBBQ

      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        Yup. What Spinaker done said: 20 is th new 60+ lol!

      • Spinaker
        Spinaker commented
        Editing a comment
        LOL, I Like it! RonB
    • Polarbear777
      Club Member
      • Sep 2016
      • 1388

      I just use extreme heat and shortening. I’ve tried flax and haven’t had much luck with it. I’m too impatient to do more than two layers before cooking with it though.

      What I have experienced is that if the surface is “glass-smooth” it’s going to be tough to get that seasoning to hang on. Satin finish like current stargazer or rough like lodge are really easy.


      • Polarbear777
        Club Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 1388

        My current method is to take a new scrubbed clean pan outside to the 60k BTU wok burner and hold each section of the pan over the burner until it smokes and in between wiping with a shortening laden paoer towel. Once the entire pan is now brown/black, I wipe it one more time, being sure to wipe off all but a thin layer, then hang it in the PBC that’s already running and I just pulled food out of and let it roll at 350F plus until the fire goes out.

        Seasoning outside is the way to go. Even in the oven you can get too much smoke and fumes indoors.


        • Thunder77
          Thunder77 commented
          Editing a comment
          I do mine in my kamado. Outside is definitely best.

        • Spinaker
          Spinaker commented
          Editing a comment
          Best place to do it! Cools SLOWLY! Thunder77

        • Oak Smoke
          Oak Smoke commented
          Editing a comment
          Me too, outside in the kamado. I get good results with canola oil. Most of my CI is vintage with a nice satin finish. I call it good at 4 or 5 thin layers of seasoning. So far I've not had any flaking issues.
      • FireMan
        Charter Member
        • Jul 2015
        • 6768
        • Bottom of Winnebago

        Also, that’s just the initial seasoning. As you use it the real, long term seasoning takes affect, layer upon layer, until the only thing that would remove said seasoning would be sand blasting. I cringed when my wife told me that’s what her dad did that to her ma’s CI. He worked in a foundry & they were “nice and clean” pieces when we inherited them. The seasoning wasn’t 60 to 80 years old, maybe twenty & they were always washed with dish soap, go figure. Over time I’ve come to rely & use them exclusively. We do have stainless pots for the tomatoe concoctions. We do have one ceramic skillet I bought for my wife because of her inability to handle anything with any weight to it. As Spin said get in the game. Once ya learn em, you’ll never need or go to anything else. 🕶


        • AverageJoe
          AverageJoe commented
          Editing a comment
          FireMan I still cringe when I go to my folks house. They have a gorgeous set of CI that they have used as long as I can remember. And have had I believe for 42+ years, but they are always washed with soap and water.
      • Polarbear777
        Club Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 1388

        Also. Just get a 12” lodge skillet. Not that expensive and you’ll wonder how you lived without it. :-)

        Then a 5-7 qt Dutch oven. (I like the camp style with legs because direct coal cooking is fun).

        With those two there’s not much you can’t cook.


        • grantgallagher
          Club Member
          • Feb 2018
          • 796
          • NJ

          I have my carbon steel skillet which i love. And it is lighter than CI so im probably sticking with that, no pun intended, just now.

          like everythig else with this site though, im sure ill give in eventually, lol.


          • Spinaker
            Spinaker commented
            Editing a comment
            I can probably help you with that!

          • Polarbear777
            Polarbear777 commented
            Editing a comment
            I like carbon steel outside. Inside my range is wimpy so I need the thermal inertia that CI gives me.

          • Thunder77
            Thunder77 commented
            Editing a comment
            Oh you WILL give inif you hang around this thread! 😜😜
        • mnavarre
          Club Member
          • Jan 2018
          • 355
          • San Diego

          I've also not had good results with Flax oil, it just doesn't seem to be very durable or nonstick at all. Went back to using Crisco as the first few layers and right now I'm digging Avocado oil for seasoning on the stovetop. Seems to be working well on the new 12" skillet and the dutch oven I managed to galaxy brain my way into screwing up the seasoning on.


          • Santamarina
            Santamarina commented
            Editing a comment
            I’ve been using avocado oil for just about everything for the last year or so - including seasoning my CI skillet.

          • barelfly
            barelfly commented
            Editing a comment
            I’ve also been using avocado oil for a few years. I also have larbee pucks that I’ll use.
        • NapMaster
          Club Member
          • Jan 2019
          • 575
          • Denham Springs, LA
          • WebberSummitGold6burnerLP, ShotGunSmoker

            Avid Armor Vacuum Sealer

          Flaxseed oil and linseed oil are essentially the same. They come from the same plant. Linseed oil is used on furniture, cabinets, and various other wood items. I have a buddy that grew up wheat farming in Kansas and they used linseed oil on the floor of their grain trucks to make the wheat slide out easy at the grain elevator. In my mind I could see the flax seed oil flaking out.

          The old timers used whatever lard/tallow was available and it worked just fine for them. I use whatever cooking oil, etc is closest at hand and it works just fine.

          I guess my points are two.
          1. If you already have flax seed oil, use it and don't agonize about it.
          2. I'm personally going to use whatever I have at hand and I'm not going to worry about it.

          Just comments for thought. Listen to old Spinaker He'll steer you right.


          • CaptainMike
            CaptainMike commented
            Editing a comment

          • PodunkFarm
            PodunkFarm commented
            Editing a comment
            They are not the same. Flaxseed oil is pure and OK for human consumption. Linseed oil is refined and contains additives for its use in paint & refinishing.

          • NapMaster
            NapMaster commented
            Editing a comment
            PodunkFarm You are correct and I was not trying to imply they were interchangeable. They are from the same plant and seeds. The processing is different and the linseed oil typically has other compounds added to speed drying, etc.
        • radshop
          Charter Member
          • Mar 2015
          • 403
          • Orange County CA
          • Lone Star Grillz 20x36 offset
            Weber 26" kettle
            PK Classic
            Weber Genesis gas grill
            Lodge Sportsman Grill
            Weber Smokey Joe Silver
            Smoke Hollow 44 gas smoker
            Cheapo Brinkmann charcoal smoker with DIY propane conversion

          I'm a heretic on this, but I think seasoning on the cooking surface of CI is way over-thought. The research and practical experience are interesting, but not necessarily all that useful. I regularly blow out the seasoning on the cooking surface of my skillets - things like cooking an acidic food, simmering something that boils away the seasoning, or even (gasp) scrubbing with a scouring pad. When it happens, I just cook something with oil/fat - and I don't really worry about what kind. I mostly cook with animal fats, butter, coconut oil, avocado oil - all of them do a fine job, but like I said, I don't worry about it too much.

          For me the key factor is that I use the same 3 skillets all the time and I always use stainless steel spatulas. A stainless steel spatula smooths the surface over time as you use it. My skillets are all Lodge, which came from the factory a little rough, and now they are smooth as glass. I can completely trash the seasoning on my main skillet, toss in a pat of butter and cook an omelette with no sticking.

          The all-over seasoning is important to prevent rust, but I don't worry about the seasoning on the cooking surface.


          • NapMaster
            NapMaster commented
            Editing a comment
            Dilly Dilly!!

          • HouseHomey
            HouseHomey commented
            Editing a comment
            Si senior.

          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            This has also been my experience; use em, wash em, roll on down th Road.
        • treesmacker
          Club Member
          • May 2018
          • 670
          • Grants Pass OR
            • Rec Tec Trailblazer RT-340
            • O-Grill 600 Portable Grill with O-Dock
            • Cuisinart 360 Griddle

          I was impressed by the seasoning that came on my Camp Chef Golden Spike https://www.campchef.com/golden-spike-oval-roaster.html
          that I bought some of their conditioner. Though overpriced, it works very well; and only takes a very small amount to coat a pan - I keep a small saturated rag in a ziplock and reuse it to rub a small amount on after washing; then bake to 400F and let slow cool in oven. It works great. It contains Organic Palm Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Citric Acid https://www.amazon.com/Camp-Chef-6-O.../dp/B000H86C9I


          • dsohmer
            Charter Member
            • Sep 2014
            • 138
            • South Central Texas

            I've been using Crisbee on all of mine. I really like it.


            • Sephon
              Sephon commented
              Editing a comment
              I am also a disciple of the Crisbee puck

            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              I use Crisbee for maintenance. Flax for the big initial season, and maybe an occasional reseason if I feel the need.

            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              I flax bout twice / thrice, then it's Larbee's, as of late...
          • Hulagn1971
            Charter Member
            • Dec 2014
            • 757
            • NC, The Triad
            • WSM 22.5", Pitmaster IQ110, Weber 22.5" Kettle with SNS, Weber 14" Smokey Joe.

            I have seasoned both my Lodge CI skillets with flaxseed oil without any issues. My large one I actually used a Crisbee puck a few times then used flaxseed building up 5 layers. It is smooth as glass and very durable.


            • JPGators17
              Charter Member
              • Jan 2015
              • 446
              • Orlando, FL

              I got a Lodge dutch oven for Christmas and my wife mistakenly put it in the sink. By the time I got back the damage was done, rust everywhere. I finally decided to clean it up and season it yesterday. I took steel wool to the rust, washed it, dried it, sprayed with cannola oil and put it in the oven at 350. Then I made smoked brisket chili with it, minus the lid. The pot is now a beautiful black seasoned color, and the lid is not lol.

              Let me know what I did right or wrong in cleaning it up and seasoning it, I'd appreciate it.


              • Mr. Bones
                Mr. Bones commented
                Editing a comment
                Sounds like ya done jus fine; too bad th lid ain't quite caught up with yer DO, but that'll all even out, in th end, I reckon...

              • gcdmd
                gcdmd commented
                Editing a comment
                Your story reminds me of the time I was emptying the dishwasher and found one of my prized Mighty Oak wooden handled knives in it. My attempt at restoration wasn't quite as successful as yours.



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