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Friday, August 15, 2014
Outdoor Cooking: Stripping and Re-Seasoning Cast Iron
Outdoor Cooking: Stripping and Re-Seasoning A Cast Iron Griddle-
I recently came across a used cast iron griddle (~$20 new around here) at a road side sale and was able to take it and two jointed crank baits (worth ~$16 in any Wal-Mart) and was able to take everything home for a mere $5.00. Since it was probably handled by countless individuals, not stored in the best of conditions and had a seasoning I simply would not trust I decided I had to break a few cast iron traditionalist rules and not only strip this griddle but ended up using a little water in the process. For those of you new to the cast iron world this may be helpful, for those of you who have been using it all your life feel free to comment and tell me what I could have done to make life easier on myself because I'm sure I will find another deal one of these days (dutch oven I know you are out there somewhere). Just a quick note for those who have never used cast iron and want to try this.... when you heat cast iron it gets extremely hot throughout (thus why its amazing to cook with) including the handle. So don't touch a cast iron handle with just a pot holder or oven mit... double up if its all you have, use a heavy duty cast iron handle cover or grab the welding gloves to handle these items when hot!
1) So this is the griddle in its original condition upon arrival back from the deal of the week.
2) Your first step is to get the old seasoning off and essentially get the griddle back down to the original cast iron. To do this I employed a few different methods the first or which was to pour a little water into the griddle and then warm it to a boil. That enabled me to get some of the upper level stuck on stuff off with ease. I then turned to using a little soap/water and a pot scrub brush to get a little more off and then came the hour or so of scrubbing with steel wool. NOTE any time you get your cast iron wet please dry immediately or it will begin to rust! I then took a brief break and used a pot scraper to remove the hardest to remove spots and then proceeded to polish with the steel wool until I was satisfied with the shinny finish.
3) Post season removal view, note I didn't remove the seasoning from the handle as I usually let it stay unless there is rust as it is a non-cooking surface.
4) Pour on a light layer of your chosen oil. I chose olive oil as I have been cooking with it a great deal lately due to its heart healthy nature and the pleasant taste it provides.
5) Rub in the oil with a cloth or paper towel, be sure to evenly cover the entire griddle including handle and bottom.
6) Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees (some advise 350 or other temperatures but this seems to work OK for me).
7) Place your griddle on the top shelf of your oven (if it is a frying pan or anything with any depth place it upside down with a baking sheet on the shelf below) and bake for an hour. I then take it out after it cools and add another layer of light oil and bake for another hour but if you are satisfied with the coloring you can leave it as is after the first run.
8) Here is what it looks like after the first 1 hour of seasoning, unfortunately I didn't snap a picture of it after the second round of seasoning but it looked much darker and consistent (you can kind of see that below).
9) Re-oil and you are ready for storage or to cook with and in my case it was time for dinner in the form of grilled cheese and soup!
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