Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Real Deal: Seasoning Cast Iron Woks and Pans

Seasoning a cast iron wok
I've been singularly unimpressed by the advice on the web about seasoning cast iron pans and woks.  I guess you get what you pay for right?  Luckily enough, the good people at Cook's Illustrated  have taken matters into their capable hands in their "Summer Grilling" issue.  Adapting their technique for seasoning cast iron grills, here's the method that finally worked to give my cast iron wok a lovely indelible sheen.
  1. Heat the pan as hot as possible. You're aiming for smoking hot. 
  2. Dab a smidgen of cooking oil on a paper towel or rag.  Using tongs rub the oil on the hot cast iron until it turns dull.  Expect a lot of smoke... use the vent or better, do it outside on the grill.
  3. Repeat
  4. Repeat
  5. Repeat and keep repeating until the metal stays shiny. It took me about 8 repetitions.
This method creates a sheen on the wok.  The wok becomes remarkably easy to clean... just wipe it down.  Nothing sticks.  Thank you Cooks Illustrated.  It's well worth the cost of an issue to know these things.

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