Friday, March 22, 2013
no-mess cast iron seasoning | favorite things friday
Do your cast irons ever look like this?
Mine do. After I cook in them a while, they begin to lose that beautiful sheen that they had when I first got them. Or, I'll commit the cardinal sin of cast iron cleaning and accidentally leave leftover food or water in mine for hours (or...ahem...days) after I'm done cooking. Guilty as charged.
I used to hate seasoning my cast iron because it was such an ordeal and always made such a huge mess. And it never looked right - there was always a bunch of oil left in my pan.
Fortunately, I've found a new, no-mess way to season my cast iron, and it comes out perfect every time.
Begin by lining your top oven rack with aluminum foil.
Then, spread lard or solid animal fat liberally over the inside of your skillet. I went out and bought a bucket of lard for this purpose alone. I just put a paper towel over my fingers, dip it into the bucket of lard, get out a large amount, and use the paper towel to spread it over the skillet. My hands stay clean the whole time.
Then...and this is important...place your cast iron upside down on the foil-lined oven rack.
Close the oven door and turn it on to 200 degrees. Keep it at 200 degrees for an hour, and then turn the oven off. Keep your cast iron inside for at least another 2 hours or until it has completely cooled. You want the lard to return to a solid state, so if you see liquid grease on top of the foil, leave it alone.
When your cast iron has cooled, you'll find that the lard has left a lovely sheen of seasoning without gooping up - it just sinks right into the pores of the cast iron. You'll also find that the remaining lard has solidified on the foil in your oven - just dispose of the foil for easy clean-up!
Do this as often as you need to in order to keep your cast iron looking like new.