Treasure From the Basement – Rehabbing Cast Iron Pans

Ressurected post. This was originally published on my old blog on 8/3/11. I've fixed some broken links and made minor updates to bring it back.

Small griswold logo.
Small logo.
I was cleaning out my basement this weekend and ran across a box I had forgotten years ago. When my parents finally sold our old farm in Pennsylvania I managed to salvage some of the unique cookware that they had collected. This apparently included a couple of cast iron pans including a #10 late-model Griswold skillet. For those up on the latest cast iron news, Griswold was an American manufacturer of cast iron cookware from 1865 to 1957. Some of their pans are quite collectible. Mine isn’t, it has a small logo, but it’s still a decent cast iron skillet.

The problem was that they were rusted pretty badly. So I needed to bring them back to life.

There are all kinds of recommendations (this and this for example) about how to clean cast iron if you’re collecting it. But I don’t collect it – I cook in it. So I went with my tried and true method for getting a quick season back on the pan. See below:

1 Start with a very rusty pan. Rinse with water and scrub with a Scotch-Brite. Steel wool will work if you have it. I was trying to avoid having to sandblast it.
2 Give it a scrub with Bar Keepers Friend. (BKF is also great for cleaning stainless steel.)
3 A quick wipe-down with canola oil.
4 I heat my grill to about 500 degrees, then give the pans about 10 minutes to heat up. Then give them another good coating of canola oil and place them face down on the grill and close the lid. I use a grill rather than an oven because who really wants the smell of smoking hot oil in the house.
5 Let the pans bake for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat and let them cool.
6 Here are the pans with a nice smooth season on them.