Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

While cleaning out my mother's house recently, I found her old Griswold cast iron skillet. To say the least, I was ecstatic! I remember my mom baking cornbread and frying chicken in that skillet. She was a great cook, especially when it came to country cooking.

After a bit of research online, I determined that the skillet was made between 1937 and 1957. Wow! Unfortunately, it was so grungy, I knew I had to get it cleaned up before I could use it. After more googling, I found a ton of suggestions for cleaning and caring for cast iron. Let me show you what worked for me.


This cast iron skillet was so old, that I knew I had to take drastic measures. Cleaning it with salt, steel wool, or a wire brush was not going to cut through all the old grease and grime. These instructions are for cleaning an old cast iron skillet and then seasoning it.


Place skillet upside down in oven rack. Set oven to self-cleaning cycle and wait. My oven cleans for 2 hours and only unlocks when cool.


Remove the skillet and brush off all the ash with a wire brush. I took it outside to do this. There may be some ash on the bottom of your oven. Just wipe it off when completely cool.


Now using hot soapy water and an SOS pad or steel wool give the skillet a good scrubbing. Dry thoroughly.


Using paper towels or a soft cloth, rub the inside and outside with vegetable oil.


Place skillet upside down on the middle rack of the oven and place a cookie sheet or aluminum foil on the lower rack. Turn the oven on 250 degrees F for two hours. Carefully remove the hot skillet and wipe off any excess oil. The cast iron skillet should now be smooth and shiny.


After using a seasoned cast iron skillet, just rinse it in hot water. Don't ever soak in water or let it sit in the sink overnight or the skillet will rust. If you have baked on food, scrub the skillet with a little salt and water. Dry the skillet thoroughly. If a cast iron skillet becomes sticky or rusts, scrub it with steel wool and reseason.

Here's another look at the before and after. Amazing, isn't it?



With a little care, your cast iron skillet should last forever!  I can't wait to make something in my skillet! How about a Dutch Baby (German pancake) with blueberries and maple syrup?



15 comments:

  1. What a huge difference! This looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Maury! I've been looking for some new recipes just for a cast iron skillet. I'll post them if I find some good ones.

      Delete
  2. I just inherited 4 cast iron skillets last weekend, all of which are in pretty rough shape. This came at just the right time! Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goodness, four! I hope my method works for you. Let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Thanks for doing all the hard research for us. I picked up a 8" skillet this week at an antique sale. I love the size for cornbread. It is heading to the oven in a few minutes. Yours looked great. Thanks for sharing, kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I read somewhere that cast iron was the first nonstick cookware. Who knew? Let me know how your skillet turns out. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. What if you dont have self cleaning oven?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can spray the skillet with oven spray and seal in a plastic bag. Make sure you wear gloves and eye protection and do this outside. Let it sit for a day or two, remove and scrub with a wire brush. Wash with soap and water, then season. Thanks for the great question.

      Delete
    2. I've put mine in a campfire or you could use a fire pit if you have one cleans all the grime off just like self clean oven. Put pan directly in the fire not on a grate above it.

      Delete
    3. Great idea! This will give you an excuse to have a fire in your fire pit. You can sit around it and enjoy the fire while the skillet is cleaning. The next morning after the skillet is cool, you can finish the cleaning and seasoning.

      Delete
  5. I want to clean a cast iron skillet that once caught fire so it is covered with hard carbon rather than the baked grease. Looks like I need to use air chisel first!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you can salvage it! If my method using the self-cleaning oven doesn't work, maybe you can try using the oven spray and plastic trash bag method. Let me know how it turns out.

      Delete
  6. I've put mine in a campfire and it comes out perfect.

    David W

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just tried to do this today and when I went to season my pans, my oven died on me. Two hours later my husband is still working on the oven and my skillets are waiting on the counter. They look so much better so far but the seasoning might just have to wait until tomorrow. Uggg!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! I hope your husband gets your oven fixed soon. Too bad you don't live near me. We own an appliance repair business! If your husband is still working on the oven, send me an email with the details and maybe my husband can help. texascottage@gmail.com

      Delete

I love reading your comments, so please leave one.