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Author Topic: Polishing cast iron?  (Read 934 times)

HoosierKettle

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Polishing cast iron?
« on: October 06, 2017, 05:13:54 AM »
Is the grass greener on the smooth side of the cast iron fence?  My cast iron is all modern pre-seasoned stuff. From what I've read, cast iron used to be polished smooth. Then they stopped polishing so the oil would stick to it better as they hung and went to the oven for pre season. I don't have any trouble with sticking in my cast iron now but I'm just curious if there's a difference when using either one.


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56MPG

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 05:40:51 AM »
I have a couple Field skillets, they are the smoothest you'll find, and I think they are great. Still, technique comes into play. Generally, I think people use way too much heat, and that tends to make it even tougher to keep seasoning intact and prevent scorching food. What I like about the Field skillets is that they clean up with just a paper towel. Literally, I've been able to wipe out just about anything after a cook, and it looks like new. I'm no expert, and everyone who is has a different view on all this, but compared to my Lodge skillets, I'll take smooth all day long. Check 'em out:

https://fieldcompany.com/
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hawgheaven

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 05:49:25 AM »
All of my CI is antique, bought from yard sales and antique shops thru the years. They are all smooth. I do have a modern SToK Dutch oven that has a rough finish on the cooking surface. I noticed no difference in the cooks, but cleanup is a bit more difficult with the rough surface.
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davekkk

  • Smokey Joe
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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2017, 05:56:49 AM »
I did the sanding trick on my Lodges, couldn't be happier.

addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2017, 06:08:02 AM »
Making surfaces rough was done for manufacturing convenience and for marketing reasons to "better compete" with non-stick pans that come outta the box ready-to-go.

I clean with a stainless steel chainmail designed for the task, or a stainless steel "steel wool" type thing also designed for CI, if the chainmail isn't abrasive enough to remove food residue. A standard abrasive sponge typically used for say, stainless cookware, is not only miserable to use here but effectively removes the seasoning like sandpaper.

I still do not know how to best dry newer CI without getting tiny paper towel debris all over it. So annoying. Maybe I'll just use more sacrificial towels and toss 'em in the wash more often.

That being said, I have noticed that the more you use them, the more oil adheres, and the paper towel debris issue goes away, and the surface "becomes smoother" in effect as the gaps are filled in.

All of the above is meant to illustrate that opinions about CI can vary widely, especially if you use the wrong method for cleaning.

We have a 10" Griswold pan with high sides that is lighter than the 10" regular-sided Wagner we also have. Both are smooth, but the Wagner is unnecessarily heavier. It always feels like you're moving around a disk brake caliper tethered to a brake line you're hoping to not rupture, compared to the Griswold. I'm of the opinion thinner is better, but you better believe I am CAREFUL not to bang around the Griswold too much nor slap it with insane heat without warming up first. Love that thing.

Didn't know about Field, thanks for that link.

Didn't know about Field, thanks for that link!

LPcreation

  • Smokey Joe
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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 06:15:25 AM »
I've got a Field skillet, an old Wagner, a big Lodge that's about 12 years old, and a Lodge that's about 5 years old.  They all work as advertised, and IMO, the Field isn't worth the extra $80 over the newer Lodges.  The Field is still a really nice skillet, FYI, and I don't regret buying it.

My 10 year old lodge is smooth as silk after using it almost daily.  All we have is CI and the biggest drawback is the time it takes to heat up.

HoosierKettle

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 06:27:40 AM »
Fantastic comments so far. Thanks so much. I consider myself good at using and maintaining cast iron and currently my only cast iron skillet is a Martha Stewart someone gave me. I assume made in China. I've been using it for years and have no problem cooking in it and cleaning it, however, common sense has always made me believe that I would prefer it smooth. Then when I researched and found out cast iron used to be smooth, I was convinced I would prefer it.  This thread has further reinforced my conviction.


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addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 06:46:51 AM »
Just read some of the recommendations for cleaning at Field's site. My methods are far from perfect. And so once again, I glossed over "just wipe it out with a paper towel ... (#3 recommendation)

That is, until I read #4.

From #4, "If you do decide to use water ..." (dry it off etc)

Oh, you mean I might not NEED to use water??

I've made all the mistakes. I nearly removed all seasoning from the old Wagner in the dishwasher. I just didn't know. But when I removed it I clued in. I've scrubbed with the abrasive sponge. And I still use water (see my comments re" stainless chainmail above.) which might be a new clue, for me.

It's not the water per se that's a problem, but the adequate drying afterwards that take more time, more heat, more waiting to re-apply oil that adds heartache. If you re-apply oil to a not-entirely dry CI pan, you've just trapped the water! The cycle of seasoning "curiously never staying on" repeats. Anyone been there??

I get the sense there's a delta working here, where for a while, if you only wipe stuff out (sans water) that eventually, you'll be wiping out less and less as time goes on, and the stuff sticking won't stick anymore. That's my new hope, my new dream. Maybe one day I'll figure this CI thing out. :)

So in the meantime I think I'll still need to use the stainless chainmail or stainless "steel wool" to remove burned-on stuff, but try it without water.

kettlebb

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 09:27:13 AM »
Iíll only use water and a sponge if itís really bad (mac n cheese in the DO). My lodge skillet gets a few paper towel wipe down sessions, very thin layer of new oil each time, heat it just until it starts to smoke then turn it off and throw it in the oven to cool and store. Itís getting more non stick every use and I love it.


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LPcreation

  • Smokey Joe
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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2017, 09:33:37 AM »
I use the chain link and water all the time.  It takes a little time but once you get a good base it really doesn't matter that much.  Just make sure to throw it back on the burner to dry out, and then wipe some oil on it.



addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2017, 09:50:17 AM »
I doubt my CI seasoning has truly polymerized. It's mostly a surface existence. Each cook usually results in " visibly less seasoning" being present. I was under the impression that with "good seasoning" that wouldn't repeatedly be the case.

HoosierKettle

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Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2017, 10:29:17 AM »
Keep your cast iron away from water, chain male, or other similar items. In my experience you will only degrade whatever seasoning you have built up. I use mine daily inside or out and never have to use water or soap or scrubbys or metal of any kind. Usually I just need a quick scrape with a square wooden scraper. If it's bad than I use the scraper with a liberal amount of salt. All while hot. Quick wipe with a paper towel than back in the heat until a little smoke. No additional oil needed unless the last thing you cooked didn't leave any residual oil or fat which is rare.

Also Brandon, hit the do with a little canola spray before you pour in the mac and cheese. It will not stick.



And lastly, cooking too hot on certain food items will cause sticking and sometimes proteins to collect and gum up. Most of successfully using and maintaining cast iron is practice.


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« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 07:45:54 PM by HoosierKettle »

kettlebb

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Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2017, 10:33:52 AM »
Thanks Sean, will try the spray next time.  Itís a newer piece so it doesnít have many cooks under its belt yet.


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SMOKE FREAK

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2017, 06:54:29 PM »
The best advice I ever got was to boil water in a pan that has stuff stuck bad...Stuff comes right off...Dry the pan with heat and apply oil to season...But I rarely need to do this...

Big Dawg

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Re: Polishing cast iron?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 11:02:02 AM »
I use the chain link and water all the time.  It takes a little time but once you get a good base it really doesn't matter that much.  Just make sure to throw it back on the burner to dry out, and then wipe some oil on it.

This is just what I do with all my CI, works great.





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