Bacon gummies up my cast iron

Joined Jun 21, 2015
I have a newer Lodge cast iron frying pan that I sanded the bottom smooth and started over with several passes through the oven to begin re-seasoning. I've spent 5 weeks building up the seasoning by cooking bacon, eggs, steaks, blackening fish, etc. and the pan has been performing great. 98% of the time all it needs is a wiping out with a paper towel and a light coat of oil wiped in.

That said, I continue to struggle with just one food....bacon! Different styles of bacon perform better or worse, I think due to the sugar content. Previously I was cooking the Smithfield lower sodium style which left a small but manageable amount of gummy residue that would clean up OK. Today I switched to Smithfield "All Natural" uncured bacon as I assumed it had no added sugar since it says it is uncured. But it left a significant amount of gumminess that then caused my eggs to stick (previously eggs never stuck). This gumminess isn't coming up when I scrape it with a spatula or my lodge scraper so I am worried I'm going to have to really clean the pan and start over again with re-seasoning. Ugghh - I put a lot of work into this the past 5 weeks and hate to lose that progress.

Any advice for cleaning out gummy bacon residue? Any advice for preventing it?

Joined Jun 27, 2012
Try preheating before adding whatever you are cooking.
This closes the pores and provides a smooth non stick surface if the cast iron has been properly seasoned .
If it is bacon on the menu I also add a few tablespoons of reserved (in fridge) bacon grease after this closing of the pores.
IMO this start up fat also prevents those wavy hunks of not quite cooked fat on the edges of the bacon strips. (the texture makes me gag).

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Joined Feb 20, 2014
You could try boiling some water in it. I'm sure you know not to soak it.  I sometimes use Cameo stainless steel powder with a sponge. I think I'm the only person who does this. I've never found anything online about it.  I have antique skillets a friend had bead blasted down to bare metal inside and out. I have used this method for 20 years and never had to completely strip and start over. And yes I can fry eggs in them.

It seems to be very lightly abrasive so be gentle. Just rub until the gunk is removed. Your sponge will turn black because you are removing a bit of seasoning, that's ok. The Cameo leaves it very smooth. Just rinse well, dry, and you can oil and reseason if needed without taking it all off first. 

As for preventing the gummy, have you tried baking your bacon? I prefer it. I bake in a glass cake pan. 350- 400 F for 10 - 15 minutes. It seems like it would pop and make a mess but it doesn't. I usually don't bother to turn it but you can. It comes out flat and evenly cooked like what you see on breakfast buffets. Some people like to do it on a broiler pan. I don't like to clean that and it doesn't make that much difference in the end product to matter to me.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Bacon is always a problem because of the sugar. You're caramelizing the sugars on the cast iron. no surprise it can be difficult to clean.  I've taken to baking bacon in the oven while i cook the rest of the meal. Less mess and hassle and clean up is easy.  

I'll still do bacon in the pan if I'm going to follow up with some vegetables to pick up that bacon fond. 
Joined Jul 28, 2001
When I get some caramelization from sugar I knock it back down to the oil layer with a really fine chain mail square.
Joined Jan 17, 2015
Here is what i suggest. I have 5 different cast iron pans in different sizes i use for everything from cornbread to fried chicken. Once you have scrubbed out the gummy residue with a green scrub pad and hot water. I would melt a good chunk of lard and then pour about 1/4 cup of salt in it and when it has cooled enough to touch take a few papertowels and scrub that salt in real good.

The next time you fry bacon add some lard and fry the bacon slowly on medium temp and keep it moving or it will stick. Cast iron loves lard and this will build up the seasoning quickly. After a while you can fry eggs on the coating and they will slide right out of the pan like teflon. I have a steel omelet pan and can do a omelet in about 30 seconds and it slides right out.

This is the way the french and oldtime southerners treat cast iron.
Joined Nov 5, 2007
 Today I switched to Smithfield "All Natural" uncured bacon as I assumed it had no added sugar since it says it is uncured.
Marketing nonsense. It still has similar sugar content.  The "uncured" phrase comes from not using nitrates in it.  Well, except for the nitrates found naturally in the other ingredients added to it.

My home cured bacon and pancetta products tend to leave less in the pan than commercial stuff.


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