Serious Eats: Talk
Fixing That Treasured Cast Iron Pan... A Tip
@Editor: (If there is a better place to post this, I don't know what button to use. Please feel free to move it.) I admit it! I coveted a piece of Antie Jewel's Cast Iron for many years. It was a standard 10" diameter heavy skillet, but a full *2 inches* deeper than typical. A Chicken Fryer? When I finally acquired the coveted pan, I discovered that it was in gawd-awful shape. Not rusted or cracked, but with with a patina suggestive of much abuse, poor cleaning and neglect. As any Cast Iron user knows, one cannot just scrub-off years-old build up. Then came The Light! This is a solid, strong pan; no plastic and no layered metals. At home, I cannot get it hot enough to damage the iron. Thought: **The locked, Self-cleaning Oven!** The pan can stand up to a whole lot more than can the oven. In short, IT WORKES! I did a superficial hand wash & dry, put it on the center rack and ran the cleaning cycle. The result was a pristine 'Chicken Fryer' aged 80+ years and some residual ash, easily washed off. A new, gentle 'seasoning' is necessary, using your favotire method, maybe twice. Do it in the oven and don't foorget the outside at leasat 1x. **With a note of extreme caution** this is suitable *ONLY* for 100% cast iron cookware. Other items won't take the heat or the heat time; please don't try. Be safe, and good luck. That was 5 yrs ago and it is still my favorite pan for some things. I have done two other, standard depth skillets since, with similar results. I hope it works as well for you. Questions and comments are welcome. For many cooking processes, Cast Iron is still the best pan in town. That said, it does need some care. The "Never Wash" idea is BS, in my opinion, and excessive build up is not a good thing. Don't over heat or burn, any more than with a light pan.
Serious Eats and good meals to all.