Step 7: Fire It Up
Okay . . . here's the nuts part. You have to do this five times (more if you're a B.A. Ninja). So that means your kitchen will get hot. Make sure it's a cool day or plan to spend most of it outdoors.
Let the pan heat for an hour. Remove it from the oven, re-coat it with oil, and then put it back in for another hour. Five times at least. Don't worry, it'll pay off in the end. Plus, I thoroughly believe that if you don't do something stupid, like wash your skillet with soap or put it into a dishwasher, you'll never have to do it again.
The oven method didn't last. I used this skillet once and then had the coating disappearing. So I remembered my new carbon steel wok and how you're supposed to season it on the stove top. This was the break though moment. There are things to take into consideration if you choose to season your skillet this way.
* First, you need a good hood above your cooktop, one that will whisk the smoke away efficiently . . . because, trust me, it'll get smoky. I have a gas cooktop (I used the high BTU burner for this) and good hood, but it was also cooler weather when I did this and I had all of the windows open. Just keep it in mind. A great way to avoid this would be the side burner on a grill or the burner to a large outdoor fryer/steamer. Actually, if you don't have a burner on your gas grill, just stick it on the grates. It'll be fine.
* Second, have everything ready at hand. Paper towels or a natural cotton rag for mopping the oil around the skillet and another for removing excess oil after that mopping.
* Third, this took me 15 to 20 minutes. Really. That quick. Such a big difference from the old method that took five to six hours. Five or six seared on coats of seasoning. And it has lasted a dozen uses without any sign of wearing away. The heat of the oven just can't compare to the direct heat of a cooktop.
Doing it right.
Preheat your skillet on the cooktop on high. If you have a high BTU burner, use that one (they're the biggest burners intended for boiling large amounts of water and whatnot). Let it sit and preheat for 5 to 10 minutes. Then apply the first coat of oil with the rag/paper towel and some tongs.
It'll smoke. Heck, it was probably smoking before you added the oil.
Apply the next coat when the previous is darkly baked on. I'll be pretty dark, even on the first coat. Much darker than the fourth photo below (which was after hours of doing this in the oven).
You can apply as many coats as you wish. I did six. And it is as slick and lovely as you could ever hope. This might not be as slick as teflon, but I don't think you'll notice much difference. It's slick and no stick.