Cast Iron - lost its elegance

   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance #1  

sodamo

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I have a commercial gas range, nice big heavy cast iron burners. Unfortunately, while in storage, they rusted. Was able to clean off the rust - only surface rust, but that has left me with some rather ugly, non black burners. I emailed the manufacturer and asked how I could restore them and was basically told to buy replacements. Not gonna happen:D

So any thoughts on what product I can use to get these black again? If memory serves, when much younger, we could get a kinda stove polish. So far anything I've found carries a warning about not to use indoors or around food or high temps.:confused: :confused: :confused:

How do they make cast iron, like the fry pans etc black to begin with? Must be a way to restore these to former elegance.

Any suggestions?

David
 

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   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance #2  
New grey cast iron pans I've used become black by baking on, by use, cooking oils and fats...
Might try soaking them in cooking oil or melted Crisco etc then baking them in the oven at high temp...note this will make lots of smoke so if you can do it outdoors it would be best.
 
   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance #3  
thats the way to do it...a little lard goes a long way!
 
   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance #4  
The polish is a waste of time. It is designed for surfaces without flame actually touching it. Legs and handles on wood stoves for example. Forget paint or blueing. Being able to withstand heat is not the same thing as being able to withstand flame.

Your best bet is to do what the other posters suggested. They will have to be "seasoned". Liberally coat with the cheapest vegetable oil/solid shortening you can buy and bake until it is gone at 450 or higher. Repeat about 5 times. Once seasoned, never use soap to clean them. Use only water and paper towels or a rag. Expect LOTS of smoke. The best place to do this is an outdoor gas grill set on high.

Your goal is controlled carbon buildup. The pores on the surface will gradually fill in and the surface will become smoother. A well seasoned home fry pan has an incredibly smooth surface inside. It started out with a rough surface.
You really don't need the smoothness on the grates, but it will eventually happen as you spill food on them over the years and the carbon continues to build up.
 
   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance #6  
Skyco said:
New grey cast iron pans I've used become black by baking on, by use, cooking oils and fats...
Might try soaking them in cooking oil or melted Crisco etc then baking them in the oven at high temp...note this will make lots of smoke so if you can do it outdoors it would be best.

Yep. Down here in the south, we call this "seasoning". My Grandmother still has fryers that she's been using for over 50 years. They are black as smut. Every few years or so though, she'll remove all the black seasoning by laying the pans in an oak fire. After they're cherry red, she'll remove them, let them cool, then take back into the house and re-season with peanut oil. She wipes peanut oil onto the pan with a saturated rag, then bakes the pans for about an hour of so at 475-500 degrees. The process starts all over again. From then on, the fryers get blacker and blacker from frying and such.

I'm sure this same principle can be applied to the burners of a stove.:)

Podunk
 
   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance
  • Thread Starter
#7  
WOW, you guys are great:D :D :D

I had very briefly, then discounted "seasoning" (we did that also in Maine) as I wasn't really thinking of them as cooking surfaces. :mad: Funny, but one of my fondest childhood memories is visiting my grandmother and making toast on the surface of the kitchen wood stove. I remember it as being incredibly black and smooth. I also remember the sadness the first time I visited and saw her new electric stove. :( Now, if I just figure out why they would take that glowing red poker and plunk it into their homebrew...:confused:

So today, I started the process. So far am extremely pleased. I'm using Pam, perhaps not the cheapest, but I had it available and definitely easy to spray on. I'm doing the baking on my gas grill. Depending on the wind, it gets over 600 degrees. I can only do 2 pieces at a time.

I'll post a pic of the results.

David
 
   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance #8  
600 may be too hot. It might burn off the oil you put on there. Lodge recommends 350 for an hour. Good luck.
 
   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance
  • Thread Starter
#9  
Here's the results - I'm very pleased.

David
 

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   / Cast Iron - lost its elegance #10  
sodamo said:
Here's the results - I'm very pleased.

David

Well great! I'm glad to see that it worked for you.

Oh, you have a beautiful place there in Ha-vah-ee, I checked out your pics. One day, I'll get back out there to visit! Spent 3.5 years stationed on Oahu, and lived in Waikele. I miss the laid back attitude, aloha Friday's and Kalua pork. I was on the big island several times. People who haven't been there don't realize just how large the big island is. Kona looked like the moon and Hilo looked like a tropical paradise...interesting island.

See ya 'round TBN.

Podunk
 
 
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