Introduction: How to Season a Cast Iron Pan With SCIENCE!
Watch the video on YouTube above (+ added lulz) or read the words with the pictures and the oy and the vey below.
There are millions of ways to season a cast iron skillet if you spent any amount of time on the internet. Many of them are here on this site too. I have tried a lot of them and they are all essentially similar in method.
- Get pan hot.
- Add oil with high smoke point.
- Wipe oil into pan.
- Remove from heat
- Let pan cool.
Being a self proclaimed geek, I wanted something a little more scientific. Then I came across this blog post and it gave me the nerdy info I desired.
Step 1: Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: a Science-Based How-To
This is the kind of info I love.
Something science based.
Something that told me how to do it.
Something that made sense.
Oh, and it;s easy so that helps too.
Step 2: Go Grab Yourself Some Flax Oil
The best oil for seasoning cast iron is an oil high in omega-3 fatty acids – in particular, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Free radicals are actually what enable the polymerization. Polymerization is that slick, non stick surface we are all after for our pans.
Sheryl explains all of this much better than I can, so again, check out her blog post if you want to really dig into the details.
For now, I presume you have your Flax oil and are ready for the next step.
Step 3: Get Your Favorite Seasonings.
Get your favorite seasonings ready and put them into your pan.
Now throw them in the trash and look at yourself in the mirror. Look how silly you feel. You don't use spices to season a pan. If you actually did this step go sit in the corner and think about what you did.
Step 4: A Little Dollop Will Do Ya
Pour in a small dollop of Flax oil. A teaspoon to a tablespoon is roughly what you will need depending on the size of the pan. I know it's counterintuitive, but putting more oil on your pan will make it less sticky so be sure to not use too much.
Step 5: Wipe the Oil Into the Pan
Wipe the oil into the pan. Make sure you get into the angles and the corners really good.
Flip the pan over and wipe that down too. Having a perfectly seasoned cast iron pan includes the outside. A rusty pan is still a rusty pan no matter the location.
Step 6: Get the Pan Smoking Hot...literally. (stovetop)
Get the pan smoking hot. You can use your stovetop or a 500 degree oven. It's your choice.
Get the pan just to the point of when it smokes. Then turn the heat off and let it cool back down to room temp. Do this at least 3-4 times. I tend to go with 6.
Step 7: Get the Pan Smoking Hot...literally. (oven)
If you chose to do it in the oven, do this.
Turn the temp up as high as you can go. 500 will work.
Put your oily pan into the oven and let it cook for 30 minutes.
Turn the stove off and walk away until the pan is cool. This will take a few hours.
Repeat this process 4-6 times.
Step 8: Voila! a Perfect Pan Season.
That's it. Your pan is good to go.
In my next tutorial I will show you how to clean your pretty pan and not ruin your hard earned surface.
Buying Flax Oil.
Flax oil isn't terribly easy to find like peanut oils and olive oils. It will need to be refrigerated so look for it in the health food section of your grocery store or health market. I just buy mine from Amazon here. It's way easier.
Step 9: What If I Don't Have Any Cast Iron?
What is wrong with you man!?! Cast iron is cheap, durable and will last you the rest of your life. Those crappy non stick pans you get from Smal-Mart are garbage. Get some real pans now from Amazon for 24 bucks ya cheap ass.
Want to step up your cast iron game? Grab some vintage Wagner stuff from eBay. These are better than my new Lodge pans and my Wagner pans are 50+ years old.