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Seasoning CI on charcoal grill

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    Seasoning CI on charcoal grill

    Hi everyone,
    I know this has been partially addressed in other posts, but I want to make sure my approach is reasonable and get a few questions answered.

    I just bought a new 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet on sale for $20. Our house has very sensitive smoke detectors - like almost before any smoke starts to form - so I don't think seasoning in the oven is going to work. I know Spinaker uses his kamado to season his CI, so I figured a charcoal grill is okay.

    My plan is to wash it off, dry, and rub all over with a very thin layer of avocado oil. I don't have any fancy oils and the last iteration when I got a CI pan I had flaxseed oil sitting around forever, so I'm just using what I have this time instead.

    I would put it upside down on my Weber Kettle with SnS with a full chimney of charcoal. I assume I need to wait for any white smoke to stop before putting the pan in. I would then let it run until the charcoal dies out, then let the pan cool off.

    So here are my questions, but if you see anything else wrong in my process above, please let me know.
    1. Is avocado oil a good oil to use if I'm not going to buy anything special? Would corn oil be better?
    2. Do I need to plug my fan in to keep the temperature really consistent?
    3. Is a chimney of charcoal good enough or do I need to pour it on unlit coals to have the fire going longer?
    4. Do I need to run it at 500 degrees or is 400 good enough? If 500 is better, what benefit does it give?
    5. Using this process, how many rounds should I do? While it seems much better than seasoning in our oven, I think I only have one 20lb bag of charcoal at the moment.
    Thanks all.

    Isn't Lodge already seasoned at the factory?


    • PBCDad
      PBCDad commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes but most places on the interwebs say to add a few more layers. Last time I had CI from Lodge, I added seasoning and stuff still stuck to it pretty badly at first. I'm trying to get a good seasoning layer at the beginning

    Put it on the grill. Fry some bacon.
    Wipe it out. Let it cool fry more bacon.

    Repeat daily until you're happy with its seasoning.

    In seriousness, I don't think it matters what kind of oil you use.
    I think "get it hot" is as accurate as you need to me. I've always seasoned mine indoors, and never checked the temp.

    Personally I'd do 2 or 3 rounds. It will season more as you use it.....so.cook bacon often.
    Last edited by BFlynn; October 16, 2020, 11:31 AM.


      You could always buy a bag of potatoes and fry a few batches of potato skins and salt. It’s already got a base layer so it may just need some conditioning instead of full seasonings and blowing through a bag of charcoal. It’s hard for me to keep my kettle above 500 for any extended time and avocado oil has a high smoke point. Crisbee or another alternative might be nice because the smoke point is a little lower. I don’t think the temp needs to be exact and steady it just has to be above the threshold of the oil you’re using for an hour to make sure it gets fully polymerized and isn’t sticky.


        You'll get as many opinions on what oil to use as the are oils. I use canola, but I have heard of many others using avocado, so if that's what you have, I'd go with it. For the heat I would go as hot as you can get your grill and reapply another dose of oil after the first one has quit smoking and the pan has a dry appearance. Repeat this as many times as you choose. With a new pan, I usually try for at least five layers of oil.


          Take the batteries out of the smoke detectors and do it in your oven.


          • jhapka
            jhapka commented
            Editing a comment
            What I wanted to say, but didn’t want liability for. Put the batteries back in when you’re done.

          • barelfly
            barelfly commented
            Editing a comment
            ^ this - do it in the oven. Much easier.

          • PBCDad
            PBCDad commented
            Editing a comment
            The smoke detector was an easy out. The wife also hated the smell and smoke last time. Outside is where it has to happen, just trying to figure out the best way. Happy wife, happy life

          Im with Attjack on this one. I'd worry a bit about smoke from the charcoal but if it's burning clean, you should be OK. avocado oil will be fine.

          FYI, the issue with frying bacon in it only is that it doesn't season the outside which you also want to do - the Lodge 'seasoning' isn't really durable. The upside to the bacon method is... bacon .


          • Loren
            Loren commented
            Editing a comment
            I like your bacon logic!

          • Polarbear777
            Polarbear777 commented
            Editing a comment
            I season all pans in the PBC etc. with just charcoal and running at 400F+ it’s pretty clean.

          PBCDad I used my Performer+SNS to re-season some really abused 10" Lodge skillets back in the spring, and it worked out great. I pretty much followed the method you outlined. At the time I used Canola oil, but if I did it today, I would use avocado oil - that is what I used for seasoning my Camp Chef flat top.

          The trick is, my understanding is that you want to get the heat ABOVE the smoke point of the oil, as you do want the oil to smoke off. For Avacodo Oil, the smoke point is 520F according to Google... for Canola oil, it is 400F.

          So you need to get the kettle pretty hot, like pizza cooking hot, to get to the smoke point of avocado oil in the indirect part of the grill.

          EDIT: If you have an elevated rack for your kettle, like a hover grill or the SNS elevated rack, that would be a way to move the CI up higher to get more heat on it.
          Last edited by jfmorris; October 16, 2020, 12:27 PM.


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            FYI, it was not me that abused the CI. It was my son in law, before he married my daughter. He treated them like other cookware, would soak them, scrub with steel wool, put them in the dishwasher. These 2 skillets that came from his grandmother got horribly rusted and messed up. My daughter brought them home for me to "fix". One is good now and in use. The other is still in my garage, as it needs more love from a wire wheel on a drill, and further re-seasoning.

          PBCDad found the pics of when I did this. Looks like the full chimney of lit charcoal had no issue hitting over 500F in the dome. If you have lump, use that.

          Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_1649.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	3.19 MB ID:	924631Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_1654.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	1.76 MB ID:	924630


          • Spinaker
            Spinaker commented
            Editing a comment
            The sheen you get from doing it this way is awesome. High heat and long bakes!

          The main issue with doing this on a charcoal grill is that you want to do several layers which means apply oil to cool pan, heat, let it cool, repeat. In an oven that's easy. Gas grill too. Charcoal.. you can do int but you're building several fires.


          • Attjack
            Attjack commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, when I do a new pan it takes all day. I get the oven hot wipe the warm pan with oil and it goes in upsidedown for an hour. Then the oven goes off and I let it completely cool. Then I repeat 2 more times.


          Preheat the pan in the oven at 200F before applying the oil. This will help the oil finds its spots in the pan. Then add it to the grill. I typically run at about 500-550. Between 400-500 is fine, but I like to go to 500-550 less chance of sticky pans if you bake it hot enough and long enough. (With in reason of course)

          Avocado oil is just fine.

          If you want to keep the fan in you can, but not really needed. I would want to stay above 450 for at least two hours or so.(The slower the pan cools the better, which is why a Kamado is perfect for this.)

          If you need to add coals you can, do what you need to do to get at least 2 hours in.

          You can just do it once, and then start cooking. But it won't be non-stick right away. These things take time and the best way to build that layer is too cook with it! Use plenty of oil and watch the heat. Cast iron retains it well, so once it is heated up, it doesn't take much to keep that baby hot. All you are trying to do here is build a really good base layer to get you going, it makes the seasoning process easier. IMHO, of course.


          Key is to oil it and ensure you wipe it off with a paper towel. You want it super thin layer. Basically you try to wipe it all off with the paper towels. Pooled oil creates sticky spots.

          I only ever do one layer and then start using it for stuff. Builds up over time after that.


          • Spinaker
            Spinaker commented
            Editing a comment
            Also true

          Bookmarked this back a spell, comes in handy A Lot:



            Thanks all, I ended up setting it on some fire bricks in the kettle like I would a pizza stone, thanks jfmorris for the recommendation. It was on there for just over 2 hours before it started to rain so I took it off and stored it in the oven to cool. About one hour in I added another very thin coat of oil on the cooking side. I don't know how hot it was baking at, but when I was moving it around with my PBC Pit Gloves, it was starting to burn my hands so it was pretty hot.

            It's looking really nice, but I'll make sure the first several cooks have a lot of oil in the pan, and I won't try eggs or cornbread for a bit. I also picked up the ringer for cleaning based on several members' enthusiasm for it.

            Excited to get back on the CI train!


            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              I laboured on fer over half a century plus without one, but I'll be th first to add that, when cookin, a reliable, affordable IR gun is yer friend, many times...

              I use this one, which often goes on sale... do wait a spell, don't pay MSRP.

              Last edited by Mr. Bones; October 16, 2020, 06:44 PM.

            • Spinaker
              Spinaker commented
              Editing a comment
              You can try egg, my friend. Just make sure you have enough oil in there and you watch the heat. I like to fry bacon first, then add the eggs to the grease, it is a great way to get the seasoning rocking!


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