I had no intention of posting anything about our latest cast iron purchase. However, I found out some interesting things about this pan's trip through the self-cleaning oven and thought I had better pass them along in case anyone was using my advice about cleaning a really cruddy old pan.
In my blog of October 1 I gave a run down of how I had cleaned the other one. That one was $5 and very dirty and was rusty under the yuk. This one is larger and was also $5, but also a lot crustier, but with very little rust.
The first step is to remove the rust. Then get the pan to its original state. In the blog of October 1 I listed all the things I had done before finally giving up and saying that it was time for the pan to go into the self-cleaning oven. I was amazed that there wasn't any smoke involved since all sites had warned that there would be.
Friday I had done some scrubbing with coarse salt and oil and nothing was happening. Since all my work with the earlier pan didn't seem to do anything, I decided to just go for the self-cleaning oven cycle treatment without wasting my time trying to clean off some of the gunk.
Big mistake!! About ten minutes after the oven was going there was some lots of smoke coming from the oven vents. About ten minutes after that my oven turned itself off and gave me a warning sound that it was doing so. Lots of smoke. I opened as many doors and windows as I could and ran fans, as well as shaking a dampened towel.
What the heck? After the oven had cooled down and I could open the oven door, it wasn't bad on the inside. No ash though. Nothing had changed on the pan in that short time. Why the smoke? What had been different? Well, what was different is that all the cleaning and scrubbing and soaking I had done with the previous pan had apparently cleaned off almost all of the grease. The grease was still on this pan! This is what had caused all that smoke.
Now what? Well, I took a razor blade and noticed that chunks of charred remains were coming off (as charred anything is wont to do). Aha! I got a sturdy screwdriver and began chipping away. There were black pieces flying everywhere, but the pan was getting cleaned. It took quite awhile doing this, but I was actually enjoying it. It is more of a chisel motion, much as you do if you were to use the end of a window scraper and try to remove ice from the windshield, without damaging the windshield itself.
After I got off almost all of it (I was getting tired at this point), I did the seasoning, three times. I haven't posted a photo of the finished pan because it looks as clean as the other one in the prior blog.
This pan is from The Crescent Foundry Company out of St. Louis, Missouri. Very little can be found about them in a search. There are probably as old as Griswold or Wagner.