The How-Comes, What-Fors and How-Tos of Cast Iron

cleaning cast ironI’m sure y’all are aware that I cook with cast iron. I figure if it was good enough for those old-timers and folks going down the trail then it’s good enough for me! It’s been around forever and if taken care of properly it will out last us all. If a nuclear bomb hits the earth there will be two things that will survive: cockroaches and cast iron.

There are so many methods out there for seasoning and cleaning cast. If you’ve got a method that works for you then do it, but this is my method and it’s been getting my by for over 25 years.

Below are some of my quick tips for cooking in and caring for cast, but for a more detailed version I invite y’all to check out the videos attached. It was filmed in Branson, Missouri while we were giving a cast iron demo.

Cast iron has a lot of great uses and benefits and the only time you should fear cast is when someone is fixin’ to hit you with it!



Cleaning Tips:

-Never use soap on cast. You should only use hot water and the soft side of a sponge or wooden spoon for cleaning.

-Use a wooden spoon to scape cast iron. Metal on metal will hurt your seasoning.

-If you’ve got a really sticky situation on your hands, you can throw you cast in the fire just long enough to loosen the particles and scape out. You can also try the self-cleaning setting on your conventional oven. But remember you’ll need to re-season well.

seasoning cast ironSeasoning Tips:

-I always use olive oil to season the inside of my ovens. Some oils and lard can become rancid over time, especially in warm climates. Olive oil will help keep your cast sweet.

-Always use a lint free rag when seasoning, never a paper towel. A paper towel will leave lint and eventually create a build-up.

-Make sure your oven is warm when seasoning (around 200 degrees F). The pores in the cast must open to accept seasoning.

-You don’t need to apply very much oil, just about a quarter sized drop (depending on the size of your Dutch oven or skillet). You just want a thin layer and wipe out any excess so you won’t create an oily build-up.

Rust Care:

-If your rusty piece is made of 100% cast iron, it can be brought back to life.

-Throw the cast in the fire and let it get very hot. Remove the piece and take a wire brush to it. This will loosen the rust. You can also try the self-cleaning setting on your conventional oven.

-While the cast is hot you can also buff the piece with salt. The salt will help pull the rust out.

-My last resort for removing rust is baking soda and vinegar. I’ve also known people to submerge a piece directly in vinegar.



Cast Iron part 1: Buying Guide and Seasoning New Cast Iron

Cast Iron Part 2: Baking Tips, Storage and Cleaning

Cast Iron part 3: Rust Care

7 thoughts on “The How-Comes, What-Fors and How-Tos of Cast Iron

  1. Thanks, Kent, for the tips on cleaning old cast iron. My husband salvaged some antique pieces from our barn and they all have rust. Could he put them directly on hot coals on his grill, or would they need to be placed on the wire rack? BTW, I’m a big fan of yours. I love your cowboy way, even though we live in the south, and I really appreciate your manners!

    • go ahead and put them directly on the coals, as long as they aren’t thin pieces it won’t hurt. Go back and forth from the heat to wire brush, then if needed use the oil, soda, vinegar etc method.

  2. KENT,,,been collecting and cooking in cast iron ovens and skillets and griddles for many years since I was a little feller watching my grandmother use her old Griswold on the wood stove,,,,,the videos you posted are going to school again with all the great ideas how to keep or restore these great old pieces of iron,,,,some I have learned in the past but you have brought to the table some good ones,,gonna use olive oil from now on,,,,,,,,bought an old no.12 skillet with that number the only thing on the smoke ring bottom,,,old no. 1 and 2 printing,,smooth like glass inside,,but is a spinner,,,somebody in the last 120 years got it to hot and it warped,,,not much but still a great user,,,will try to gently tap out using your method of over the stump and a wooden mallet applied to the bottom,,,,thanks for posting these bits of gold for usn’s here in Idaho…….oh yea,,,that was unfortunate to draw your own blood on CHOPPED,,,,,ya had ‘em beat that’s for sure,,,,,thanks Kent,,,,Bryan C in ID…

    • Glad to help my friend. Yeah that chopped episode was a little hard to watch and they sure made it look like I slaughtered a hog- but it wasn’t all the bad. Beautiful country up there where you are and cool! We’re here in Missouri and the humidity has us eat up. Send some of that cool breeze down our way would ya?

  3. Good tips from a chuck wagon chef who has been there and done that with cast iron for many years. Sure would like to see you on television again!

  4. Thank you for the great information. My small skillet I use for cornbread has been holding my cornbread hostage.Your tips and ideas should solve that problem for me.

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