Restoring Rusty Cast Iron
When I first got to Korea, I had absolutely nothing in the way of cookware. Except maybe too much knowledge and a smartphone. So the first thing I bought was a big Lodge 12 inch skillet. It probably sees the most work out of all of my other pans (including the baking dish I used to roast chickens in before I had the crack idea to put the chicken in the skillet. Yes, you can used this baby as a roasting pan, and a pie pan, and a pizza stone, and protection against home intrusion by zombie… I’m pretty sure).
So when I came down for breakfast one morning to find that someone other than me actually cleaned the kitchen, you can imagine how horrified I was to find my beloved skillet on the bottom of a pile of dripping wet pots and pans. Also, irritated and hungry because I couldn’t cook.
After leaving a somewhat threatening note regarding the irritating oxidization habits of metal, I set to cleaning this bad boy.
Step 1: Scrub the outside (vigorously, until all the rust is gone) with course grained salt. I didn’t have course salt, or a potato, which is what the website I was going off of recommended. I don’t like using acids, like certain cleaning solvents or vinegar, because it might corrode unevenly. So this is what I did…
Alternate Step 1, for really dirty cases: Grab something fire proof (bricks work well) and remove the grates from your oven. This method also benefits because you will be cleaning your oven at the same time, so rest your iron upside down on the bricks, to keep it off the heating elements and allow the ash to fall off, and run a self clean cycle. Come back in the morning.
Step 2: CHECK TO SEE IF ANYTHING IS STILL HOT. When everything is COOL, wash the ash off with some steel wool or something with a little abrasive power. Original step 1 would probably work really well, but like I said, no potato… I also used some dish soap, but I don’t know if it really helped any, 500 degrees of oven for four hours kills pretty much anything.
Step 3, seasoning: The easiest way to season a skillet is just to start cooking bacon, but I recommend a quick, thin coat of a stable (saturated, no olive oil will not work here, it has too low a smoke point and goes rancid too quickly) fat all over the entire skillet and then put it back in the oven. I cleaned it first, just incase. Set the oven to 300 and let it heat up with the skillet in there. Bake for 2 hours, turn the oven off, and let it cool down in the oven, or for at least an hour.
Wipe it with a paper towel and christen it with a bacon fry up. Mine is named Justice. She likes good bacon and occasionally being used as a gym weight (did I mention these things are incredibly versatile?) and smashing the teeth of evildoers.
DERP ARMY TRAINING DAY HOOAH. So I don’t know SHIT about tumblr. :] Just waiting for the other group to finish up. Hooah Power Squad. :))