Reviving My Cast Iron

First step: oven cleaner, glove, trash bags

Put the gloves on, set cast iron pan in garbage bag, spray an even coat of oven cleaner over the whole cast iron, tie up garbage bag (make sure to seal tightly), set aside & forget it for at least 2 days. On day 3, open the bag, wipe off all the old gunk, then repeat the process. Continue this process until all of the gunk is off the cast iron pan. (there may still be rust).

Second step: white distilled vinegar, scrub pads or steel wool, water

Once all the old gunk is off, you need to remove all traces of it. First, wipe the pan with a paper towel, then wash is the hottest water you can stand. To neutralize all the chemicals from the oven cleaner, make a bath (must be in a container at least as big as the pan) of 2 parts hot water to 1 part vinegar. Submerge pan for up to one hour. At the end of the hour, use the scrub pad or steel wool to remove any traces of rust. Wash with hot water & soap. Make sure to dry completely.

Third step: lard (store bought, home made, crisco, olive oil), paper towels, & oven.

So now you have a brand new clean cast iron pan. Stick it upside down in a low temp oven (say 200-250) for at least 15 minutes, pull out & blot off all "dampness", then put it back in the oven & turn it up to 500. Let the cast iron bake for 45 minutes. While it is still hot, pull pan out of the oven & reseason. 

To season, rub a light coating of lard over the whole pan (top, bottom, handles, the works) I generally use a paper towel for this part. When the oil starts to smoke or turn brown, this is normal. Then pull off all the excess oil with another paper towel. Turn oven off, return pan upside down to oven. 

After 15 minutes, open oven & wipe off any excess oil. At 30 minutes, reseason. At 45 minutes, open oven & wipe off any excess oil, at the 1 hour mark, reseason. At 1 hour 15 minutes, open oven & wipe off excess oil, but this time leave the door propped open. 

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