Seasoned Lodge skillet - EVERYTHING sticks...help!

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Joined Sep 15, 2015
Ok so I'm new to cast iron and researched the heck out of "seasoning" my Lodge skillet.  I used the flaxseed oil method (Cheryl Canter's version) of:  PURE flaxseed oil (in refrigerated section of Whole Foods so I am 100% certain it was the right kind), Applied oil in UBER thin layer, wiped out the excess, placed it into the cold oven upside down, turned oven up to 500 degrees, started the timer AFTER the oven came to temp and left in for one hour, turned oven off and let the pan cool in the oven for 2 hours.  I did this process SEVEN times.  Tried to cook chicken (in a good amount of oil) and it stuck to the point of my having to PRY it out with my tongs and spatula combined.  I literally had to PEEL it out of the pan leaving the pan FILLED with a thin layer of chicken.  Was complete hell trying to clean the pan out afterwards and it looked "dull" in a few places so...did two more rounds of seasoning.  Researched some more and read that I should cook bacon or something really fatty.  Tried that, and IT stuck too!!!  UGH!!!  I was SO disappointed the pan has been sitting in my over for a month now (because I don't want to see it - reminds me of what an epic failure I am...HA!).  I basically gave up on this after so much effort and wasted time but I really want to love my cast iron pan!!!  Should I just fill it with BACON GREASE and basically DEEP FRY some bacon in the fat?  I'm just at a loss.  The science behind her method, and the multitude of other people who raved about it really sold me.  
 
856
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Joined May 14, 2014
Lodge skillets are pre seasoned. Don't tell me you stripped and reseasoned a brand new skillet.
 
4,278
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Are you sure your letting the food cook long enough? Trying to turn too early will guarantee sticking.
 
4,278
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Are you sure you are heating it up enough before starting to cook? Cooking in a cold pan...
 
856
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Joined May 14, 2014
Actually excellent questions because i cook these foods without sticking in a variety of pans.
 
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Im new to cast iron cooking as well, just started last week actually! Lodge are preseasoned so I didn't have to do anything other than rinse it out and then heat on the stove. I've cooked eggs in them over easy and happy to report that most of them came out unscathed. Yes a little sticks to the bottom but I scrub it out with a brush afterwards in the sink with water. Then I place it on the stove top and hear it up until the water evaporates, it takes a couple of minutes. Then I rub a little oil in it and turn off the stove. No problems yet.

You may be turning the chicken too soon. Especially if it's skinless breast, those stick and you have to wait for it to unstick itself.
 
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4,474
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
Even a pre seasoned pan takes time to cure.

Things may stick for quite awhile depending on how much you use it and what you use it for.

I acquired mine during the don't ever wash period and made mostly cornbread for years.

Kosher salt scrub and back in the oven (lol I didn't have much storage space) until next time.

I still hardly ever use more than salt but if it needs it (after fish) I boldly go where no chuck wagon cook ever went before and clean with hot water and a bit of Dawn.

mimi
 
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Do not give up. A cast iron pan is a must in the kitchen and its almost impossible to ruin it. Insist in cleaning and seasoning at high temp. Use different fats. Deep fry many times. If some food is really stuck there do not scratch the pan hot. Pour some hot water to loosen the food.
 
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also remember that even well-seasoned cast iron isn't non-stick, per se, in the literal sense, as one would experience with Teflon... but is less prone to sticking... and sometimes close to what we know in modern non-stick cookware.

For a goo lesson in cast iron cookery it is good to check out Chef Walter Staib. Notice that he starts almost every pot and pan with a healthy amount of fat. Part of that may be his German tradition and part of that may be the way colonial Americans cooked... but the majority of the reason is stated above
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,139
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Joined Jun 11, 2001
The technique is:  Hot pan cold oil.

Next, if you want to truly season your skillet try this.  Coat you pan with oil and fill it with salt.  Put it in the oven at maximum heat until the salt starts forming a crust and browns.  Remove, discard salt, then polish the inside of the pan with an oil soaked rag.

To clean your pan use salt and water.  No detergent.  Sure the surface will feel oily but that's what you want.
 
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Joined Jun 23, 2015
Try going to the Lodge website and look under use and care.  I have at least a ton of cast iron cookware.  This is off the Lodge website
[h5]Refurbish Your Finish[/h5]
While maintaining the seasoning should keep your Cast Iron and Carbon Steel in good condition, at some point you may need to re-season your cookware. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, gray color, repeat the seasoning process:

* Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware).

* Rinse and dry completely.

* Apply a very thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware inside and out. Too much oil will result in a sticky finish.

* Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven (not directly on bottom) to catch any drips.

* Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.

* Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven to prevent pooling.

* Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.

* Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.

* Repeat as necessary.  

.

Good luck
 
857
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Joined May 27, 2013
I own a lodge dutch oven that I bought unseasoned, and a pan that was seasoned. The pan that was seasoned by lodge I've had to re-season and maintain by using the suggestions already posted : Thin layer of fat, heat, cool, etc. No soap, hot water only, scrub using coarse salt and a paper towel if necessary to flatten and hone the surface, heat to evaporate water, coat with oil, store. Use a plastic scraper to remove bits. I stopped using a brush since it makes the brush really, really, ugly. If using salt, treat it as an abrasive. It is like sand paper, and finish the entire pan bottom and sides. An uneven surface makes for uneven seasoning and therefore parts are prone to sticking.  

I used crisco for the dutch oven, and did what you did probably 5-7 times with a thicker layer - I didn't wipe it down (be sure to put a sheet pan below the upside down pan to catch any drips). I've deep fried in it countless times and the finish is very dark brown and the surface is non-stickish. Either way, it's not a glossy, shiny finish. You should not see "pools" of dried sticky oil.

I emphasize and re-iterate what others have already said. Hot pan, cool oil that covers the entire pan bottom, let the protein develop a skin before moving or attempting to flip. It will release when ready. You might also not be using enough fat or oil. Cast Iron is not "non - stick."
 
4,474
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
One more thing....

If you don't use it a lot store it upside down or at least covered (a dinner plate is perfect for the 9 in) because any dust (or at my house the near continual flour clouds) will stick like a mofo.

Oh?

I am the only person who doesn't dust inside their kitchen cabinets?

Shame on me lol.

mimi
 
4,278
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Like Mimi, I don't dust inside my cabinets... And I stack my frying pans. Paper plates make good separators to avoid scratches and miscellaneous dust accumulation
 
4,474
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
Like Mimi, I don't dust inside my cabinets... And I stack my frying pans. Paper plates make good separators to avoid scratches and miscellaneous dust accumulation
Great tip....

I pack china with the foam plates between but never occurred to me to stack my non sticks likewise.

Brian just opened up several sq ft of cabinet space for me!

Go ahead ....DUH!!!!!!

mimi
 
1,468
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Joined Nov 6, 2004
   Like others, I would question of you preheated your pan enough and if you flipped too early.

  Here's a post I made some time ago about how long it took to preheat a cast iron pan at work.  I did two heating methods, one using an easy medium flame, which produced good even heating across the pan...and the other method was a high heat flame, which heated the entire pan up quicker, but with a good deal of difference in the temperatures across the pan.  But in the end, the high heat method took 5 minutes...and the medium heat method took 10 minutes to heat the entire pan evenly

link to thread  where the below information was originally written...

On a viking stove, I found that heating the cast iron pan took a full 10 minutes on a very medium flame.  Turning the flame to high gives you an very uneven heat, to the point where you can have one section of a protein burning while the other would be in a very different temperature range.

Heating under Medium Flame

 
Med heat at 5 minutes.                                Medium heat at 7 minutes.  The darker area is fairly even @350f


Medium heat 10 minutes.  Fairly even @375f

At this point you can leave it medium and raise the temp or turn it down and maintain temp.

Heating Under High Flame

Using the high flame heating method proved to have inconsistent results across the pan (see comments below)

                            
High heat at 1 minute.                                                                High heat at 2 minute

Dark area 200f, light <101f                                                          Dark area 300f, light <151f

                   
High heat 3 minute                                                            High heat 4 minute

Dark area 400f, light only 200f or less.                          Some* dark area 500f, light (center) at 300f

  
    High heat 5 minute

 Some* dark over 500f, other dark is down to 375f

 *I could have used other settings which showed greater sensitivity but they didn't photograph as well.
 
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Joined Aug 25, 2015
I personally use my cast iron to sear things like fish and chicken. I love the color and I often finish in the oven so to make sure mine is up to temp I often stick it in the oven and set my oven to 425 or 450 than once the oven is up to temp I pull out my cast iron and put on a med high heat and its ready for the fat and meat. after I start to develop some color I just throw it in the oven without turning it. after 8 or so minutes on a chicken breast I will pull it out turn it and baste the breast of the chicken in the fat until I get the desired color and or the chicken is done.

If you cant make your cast iron work after that than you were never destined for cast iron greatness I am sorry.
 

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