Seasoning Your Cast-Iron Pan

Dutch oven

A good Dutch oven does double duty over and under the fire.

iStockphoto.com/Roger Branch

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Cooking with Cast Iron 

1. Heat the oven to 125 degrees (this removes any moisture from the oven).

2. Preheat the cookware in the oven for about 15 minutes.

3. Remove it; apply a thin layer of solid Crisco with a rag.

4. Return to the oven; raise the heat to 225 degrees; leave for a half hour.

5. Remove; wipe away any excess shortening, but leave the pan shining wet.

6. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

7. When you remove the pan and it has cooled a bit, but is still hot, wipe it to a dull shine.

This accomplishes the initial seasoning, but remember, the more you use your pan, the better the seasoning gets. Never put cast iron in the dishwasher.

More tips from David G. Smith, the Pan Man

Seasoning vehicle: Crisco is his favorite. “I used to use lard, but then when I went to outdoor shows, it would turn cloudy and the pans wouldn’t look very good. An old guy who’d been in the business for decades told me his secret. His pans always looked better and sold better than anyone else’s.”

Storing cast iron: Wipe out the pan well with a paper towel first. “People put too much fat in them and then put them away for months, and then wonder why the fat turned rancid.” If your climate is humid, just coat the pan with the barest minimum of oil to prevent rust. If your climate is dry, that’s not necessary.