Restoring Cast Iron stuff!!

Fe Stomach

New member
I've been interested in Cast Iron Dutch Oven (DO) cooking ever since I was a Boy Scout Leader. We had a few recipes that were basic, easy and generally involved sweets. The purpose was to introduce the DO cooking to Scouts, if they were interested, then off they go, a budding young chef!!

So....I am going to do a continuing thread from acquiring some cast iron, refurbishing it, seasoning it and cooking a first meal. (Hopefully we won't be getting into stomach pumping 101).

Disclaimer:
I know nothing about cast iron cooking, I know nothing about aquiring used iron, I know nothing about refurbishing cast iron and I know nothing about seasoning cast iron. BUT, I know how to purchase books, and I know how to learn from others (Net Cooking Talk members).

That being said, It is my intention to use techniques from several different sources, share by posting what I've done and learned, and hopefully get input from others using this forum.

So, feel free to interject anytime with any input that you'd like to share so that we all can learn this old art form!!

:WitchBrewsSmiley:

Scotty
 

Fe Stomach

New member
First off, I have found three books regarding Cast iron and DO's

Of the three here, I think I like the recipes out of 'Cee Dubs' book the most as he seems to make it sound easy!!

The Cast Iron for Dummies dealt with very little on DO's.

The photos of these didn't come out as well as I hoped.

If anyone has other good reading materials out there on the subject,...jump right in.

Scotty
 

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SilverSage

Resident Crone
Fe, I seem to remember a thread here about just this. My memory is a bit foggy, but it seems that either Mama or Homecook bought old rusty cast iron, and found a great way to restore it. Maybe someone can do a search and find it. It might be a great kick off point for your research.
 

Doc

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
good idea for a thread. I look forward to watching it's progression.

I have not found a thread dedicated to restoring cast iron but I found this tid bit within a thread:

joec said:
I cleaned up 4 cast iron fry pans today that someone left behind when they vacated our place. 1-10", 2-8" and one 8" square. One of the 10" and 8" where Griswold once I got the inch of built up garbage off the bottom. The other 8" only says made in USA and it thinner than the Griswold by about 1/2 as thick and the square one is warped. I will keep the two griswolds and give the other 2 away. At any rate ran them through the oven with the oven cleaner one then took my wire brush on the drill to them. Then gave them a thin coat of lard and into the oven at 350 for an hour. Look like new.

Here is a link to the thread this was taken from titled: Found on side of road: http://www.netcookingtalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8844
 

ChowderMan

Pizza Chef
Super Site Supporter
first I'd have to opine there's nothing "magic" about cooking in cast iron.
only a few hundred thousand recipes are suitable.

cast iron does have a number of specific "advantages" over, for example, thin stainless steel pots. the essence of some recipes are more suited to a "heavy" pot than others - but basically if you can make it in stainless, you can sure make it in cast iron. on the flip side, some crusting / browning required elements commonplace to CI can be difficult to reproduce in stainless.

"restoring" old cast iron is duck simple. now, that doesn't mean "duck easy"
a hand drill, wire wheels - of various shapes - make the first step clean up quite easy.

but the problem is, once that 'first step' is done, one has to evaluate 'what's left' - a clean & shiny wire brushed/wire wheeled cast iron surface that is pitted and with deep corrosion pits is quite likely toast. it may be beyond repair/salvage.

the "ideal" cast iron surface is smooth. "old" cast iron can often be restored to that smooth finish by the wire wheel and added attention with a "sanding disk"

if one succeeds in grinding out deep pits of a good CI, that can reduce the thickness to less than good.

even "of late" manufactured CI is sold with less than optimal smooth surfaces - but "polishing" this 'new' stuff is pretty simple.

I would not buy nor would I recommend expending any effort on "Made in Cheepland aka China" cast iron. the metallurgy is somewhere between "suspect" and "light-years past suspect"

the "old stuff" came ground and polished. that's what works best. in recent times some USA CI manufactures omit the "grind & polish" steps - their bad, but the basic pan/pot is probably okay, just needs a bit more finishing attention.
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
OK. With a little help, I've got the link to the past thread on this.

C.I. Skillet cleaning

I think Homecook used oven cleaner to to the dirty work, then re-seasoned it. It's a long thread (6 pages), but very informative.
 

Leni

New member
Hey Fe! There is an International Dutch Oven Society and probably a local chapter near you. They would have a lot of information. On another website that I go to a lot is a piece written by a man called Cast Iron Jack that collected cast iron. I'll see if I can transfer the information to this thread.
 

Leni

New member
The piece that I am thinking of is rather long but very informative and amusing. It's located on www.Melindalee.com on the Teaching Segments page. It is titled Cast Iron. It's about three pages long so perhaps a little lengthly for this forum.
 

Fe Stomach

New member
I just read throu the thread where they "all" helped restore a CI pan, got lots of good hints on what to do.
Also read throu melindalee's article. We have lots of good information now!!

That thread was about two years old, good time for a refresher on a good subject.....renew some interest in CI cooking.

Ok, We got Step one started...finding some information,
Now off to garage sales to see what I can snipe!!!
:driving:

I guess I'll look for two items
a Legged DO and a good size pan.

Any hints on do's and don'ts to look for?


Scotty
 

Sass Muffin

🎄 Coffee Queen
Gold Site Supporter
I just read throu the thread where they "all" helped restore a CI pan, got lots of good hints on what to do.
Also read throu melindalee's article. We have lots of good information now!!

That thread was about two years old, good time for a refresher on a good subject.....renew some interest in CI cooking.

Ok, We got Step one started...finding some information,
Now off to garage sales to see what I can snipe!!!
:driving:

I guess I'll look for two items
a Legged DO and a good size pan.

Any hints on do's and don'ts to look for?


Scotty


Hi Scotty.. :D

If you look around these sites, you might find some info, and a lot of other cool stuff.
http://www.ramshornstudio.com/cooking_with_iron.htm
http://www.cookingincastiron.com/files/20080725_green_iron.html
http://www.panman.com/cleaning.html
 

Mr. Green Jeans

New member
Fe,

Save some gas and start your search on Craig's List. I picked up a good Lodge DO there for DS. Best of luck in your hunt

MGJ ~Have DO, will camp!
 

Fe Stomach

New member
GOOD IDEA!!

Found a pan on Craigs list, that quick!! Lady said it was good looking, needs cleaning up, hubby has it in the garage.....uht oh! lol

I'm going to go get it, hope he wasn't melting lead in it!!!
Of course, if I "burn" it out correctly, maybe I could get the lead out.
 

Mr. Green Jeans

New member
One comment on cleaning a used piece. A wire wheel on a drill is OK as lon as it does not have machine or motor oil on it. Same rule goes for steel wool it also contains oil. Use a Brillo pad. Better yet, fill the DO with water and boil out the crud. Once that is removed go about re-seasoning.
Some purists never wash a DO. It is simply scraped, wiped clean and oiled for the next cooking. In my experience, it never quite works out that way. If I have to scrub out my DO, I spray some Pam on a paper towel and wipe down the interior of the pot and lid.
 

JoeV

Dough Boy
Site Supporter
When I cook with cast iron in the house, I put the contents from the pan or DO in a serving dish or directly to plate(s), then immediately run the hot pan under hot water and scrub out the pan using a long handle stiff nylon brush that is used only for this purpose (no soap). I then dry and lightly oil the pan before sitting down to the meal.

I take a 3-day canoe trip each October with a group of friends, and we mostly cook in CI. Because of the laziness factor (and strong drink), I often see them just take a dirty CI pan or DO and just turn them upside down in the fire as their method of cleaning the pan. IMO, I think they are ruining the seasoning of the pan by doing this, as they leave the pans in the fire for a long time. Any thoughts on this "cleaning" method?
 

Mr. Green Jeans

New member
Joe, I agree with you. Burning off the CI cook ware ruins the seasoning. In fact if the fire is hot enough it can warp the piece as well. I've more or less followed your cleaning method when camping.
 

bigjim

Mess Cook
Super Site Supporter
Hey Fe! There is an International Dutch Oven Society and probably a local chapter near you. They would have a lot of information. On another website that I go to a lot is a piece written by a man called Cast Iron Jack that collected cast iron. I'll see if I can transfer the information to this thread.
Another good source is the Wagner and Griswold Society

http://www.wag-society.org/

This is a collectors group, and collectively there is not much they do not know about CI.

Many collectors use either lye bath or electrolysis, neither of which is as difficult as it sounds.
 

Fe Stomach

New member
Wife said
"Never ever but never use soap and/or water on my cast iron, gemme that pan and I'll do it!!"
Means she does use soap and/or water on her 50 year old, never been reseasoned skillet, but very very sparingly.

I brought home the cast iron skillet that I got off Craigslist (thx for the tip GJ)

And I inverted it over a light bulb to check for warpage, see photo, it looks good to me.
Now off to find a legged DO. Any thoughts on sand blasting or glass bead??
 

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Fe Stomach

New member
Got me a Dutch Oven with lid. I went around the rim and checked the "seal" looks good to me.

Photos show some build up on the inside, shouldn't be hard to remove.

When I took of the lid for the first time Chewy Louie, heavy stinkin' rancid. I'll be fun to restore this one back to usable condition.....I hope!

Next step strippin' em down!! LOL
 

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