In-Depth Reviews

Lodge Rust-Resistant Cast Iron (Tested) | Seasoning with Crisbee | Lodge Heat-Treated Cast Iron 

by Jeffrey B. Rogers, The Culinary Fanatic

October 5th, 2015

Video Description by Jeffrey B. Rogers:
"This video details my testing of the new Lodge Heat-Treated, Rust-Resistant line of cast iron, currently sold exclusively at Macy’s. Shown in the video are the 9” and 11” skillets. The skillets are stripped down to the bare iron, and then put through two dishwasher tests. The skillets were also allowed to sit out in the open air for approximately four days. On top of all of that, they were washed with soap and water twice. No rust!!! The skillets are seasoned in this video with Crisbee Cast Iron Seasoning. Crisbee is a proprietary blend of soybean oil, palm oil and beeswax.I have been using Crisbee for several months now, and although I still use Crisco shortening occasionally, I am a huge fan of Crisbee. In just a few seasonings, it gives cast iron a beautiful sheen that is incredibly durable."

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Crisbee Cast Iron Seasoning Review

by TOPONAUTIC Outdoor News-Events-Recipes

October, 2015

This is a product test and our opinions (this is not a paid advertisement). 

We are starting our initial testing of one of the various CRISBEE products for seasoning Cast Iron. Check back to see updates on how we feel about the product. We received via UPS the (2) Puck Box for testing. 2 - 3.25oz Pucks of the Original formula. On the Crisbee website it indicates the ingredients are a proprietary blend of Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, and Beeswax. This product and others they offer (like Apple Pie scented) can be found on their website. 
I want to pause here and say over many years, decades actually, I have used a wide variety of oils, lard, shortening etc. Anything someone might say works better. Years ago I stopped messing with oils, and settled on vegetable shortening. Of course stating what you actually use then starts a whole huge debate. I rank cast iron conditioning methods right up there with talking religion or politics. You can't win no matter what sways your particular notion of things. There are also a whole pot full of ways on doing things. With that said, I keep an open mind and am open to something new that might come along. That puts me at the place I am at today testing the Crisbee product that is new to me. 
For testing purposes I will be seasoning a raw cast iron Dutch Oven as one of our tests. This is an 8qt Texsport Deep Dutch Oven that was recently picked up at a garage sale. It is the only thing I have hanging around without at least one layer of season already on it. This Dutch Oven still had its tags attached. It also had its factory layer of wax or paraffin. I have since burned that factory layer off and will be proceeding with baking on a first coat of seasoning using the Crisbee product. I normally collect vintage Cast Iron and have over 150 pieces. This Texsport is not anything special. But when you run across them at a garage sale for $5 or $10 they are hard to pass up. They are rather rough compared to some of my coveted Griswold. So if something rough seasons well, image what some of the nice vintage cast iron might do. My other test piece of cast iron is a rectangular griddle we use over coals or a gas stove. This has been seasoned and well used. The seasoning in the center looks rather porous and worn (too many pancakes flipped from those spots). I am not removing any old seasoning on this piece. A new layer using the Crisbee product will be baked on. The true test is putting this to an egg and pancake "stick" test after a new layer or two. I am looking for this griddle to come out glossy black since the original cast iron surface is extremely smooth. 
Categories to be rated: -Ease of application -Smoking -Can we get black colored seasoning by the second coat? -Slickness of the finished seasoning -Cook Surface rating 
I followed Crisbee's directions when seasoning the first piece. Used 400°F heat. The finish was a dark caramel brown. Not quite black. Same results I get on a first coat with my own choice of shortening seasoning material. I let the cast iron cool until just warm to the touch. I applied a second layer at this time in preparation of the second coat. I do like the way it adheres in this stage. I was able to rub it in as the iron cooled down. I give the product high marks for this. The piece was completely cooled. On the second test piece (the Griddle) I upped the temperature to 450°F. That is the same temp I use for my standard seasoning choice. I wanted to compare to what I am familiar with. The Crisbee product handled the higher temperature very well. I didn't experience any smoking to note. The first coat, covering existing seasoning, came out nice and black. The smooth surface of the griddle is about 75% slick at this point. But remember this griddle had prior seasoning on it. I am impressed with the color and the slickness obtained. I also rubbed this down with a very thin coat of Crisbee when it was nearly cooled. Prepping for a second coat. It was cooled completely. Both pieces now have had two coats of Crisbee seasoning applied. Ease of Application: I do like that "waxy" consistency it has when handling. I feel the bee's wax may fill cast iron pores at a quicker rate. The product liquefies instantly on pre-warmed cast iron. A little goes a long way. As with other methods avoid using paper towels. They tend to leave little particles that end up in your finished seasoning. I learned this years ago with shortening and even oil products. For superior results use a lint free absorbent cloth. A horse hair/natural bristle brush can be used to work the liquefied product under handles and hard to wipe spots. 
Smoking: Even at 450°F it did not set off the smoke detectors in the house with any noticeable smoking. Some oil products will cause issues not seen with the Crisbee product. High marks given for this. 
Can we get black colored seasoning by the second coat? Both the cast iron pieces were a dark black at the end of the second coating. The oven temperature had been upped to 450°F. It could just be the difference in ovens though? The product gets rated high for this since some methods take longer to progress from the golden dark brown stage to black. 
Slickness of the finished seasoning 
Texsport Dutch Oven is a pretty rough cast pot. The Crisbee seasoning did do an excellent job of filling the pores. There is excellent slickness on the griddle. At least eye balling it. The true test to come, is frying some eggs. Also pouring out a couple pancakes onto the surface. 
Summary of the Seasoning process: 
Application and the pore filling ability...better than vegetable shortening. The product can handle higher seasoning temperatures than stated in its directions without excessive smoking. The amount of coats to achieve the black finish is pretty much the same as the vegetable shortening method, though Crisbee...appears to have...advantage in this category too. Cook Surface rating: Follow-up evaluation will be done and added on. The Texsport Dutch Oven has a rough surface from its foundry casting. The Crisbee seasoning has filled the pores and the surface looks real good. The test will be baking a sticky Dump Cake in the DO, then seeing how easy or not it cleans up. The griddle came out with a smooth looking slick surface. Eggs and pancakes will give it a real world test. We hope to cook on the griddle this coming week. 
Follow-up comments: This evaluation is all very un-scientific. Only opinions based on a wide variety products used on my cast iron over several decades. Our week-long camping and cooking event is over. I am happy to report the Crisbee seasoned pieces performed very well. The pot cleaned up easily with hot water. There was no noticeable effect on the seasoning. A loaf of bread was also baked in the Dutch Oven and the bottom came out golden brown. The bread lifted right out and did not stick. Eggs and pancakes came off the flat rectangular griddle with the ease… in summary, I feel this product has real value as a cast iron seasoning product. 


How to Rescue Rusted Cast Iron Cookware

by Lynn of Nourish and Nestle

November 2015

I am a cast iron cookware devotee. I do like my stainless steel cookware, but when it comes to non-stick, a cast iron is my go-to pan. Granted, even well seasoned cast iron cookware is not as ‘non-stick’ as some other “Non Stick” labelled cookware, but I’m way too leery of all the chemicals and processes that are involved in making the ‘non stick’ feature of other non-stick cookware. I’ll always default to a low-tech, no chemical, tried and true item that’s been safely in use since the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). 
In addition to the set of 4 Lodge 5-inch cast iron skillets that I’ve written so fondly about (skillet apple crumble, skillet brownie, skillet pecan pie); I also regularly use a Dutch Oven, a 10-inch skillet, a 12-inch skillet and a 2-sided grill/griddle. 
All that being said, you can’t just throw your cast-iron skillet in the dishwasher or for that matter, wash and forget it. So this is where I got stuck (no pun intended) on my cast-iron learning curve. Of course, I never put it in the dishwasher! But I know I didn’t ‘tend’ to it on a regular basis like I should have. My skillets are actually in pretty good shape, but the lid of my dutch oven became rusted on the inside because I didn’t make sure it was dry when I put it away and my grill/griddle was just a hot mess because I seasoned it poorly several years back. 
I recently decided it was time to take back my cast iron and resolve to be a better cast iron owner. To that end, I need much research on how to rescue rusted cast iron cookware. I realized that I needed to take off whatever finish remained on the dutch oven, its lid and the griddle and start from scratch.

How to Rescue Rusted Cast Iron Cookware:

  • With your cast iron cookware in your oven, turn the oven on to the self-clean mode. The approximately 850° degree temperature of the self-clean mode carbonizes and turns the ash the finish, build-up and dirt from your cast iron as well as your oven.
  • Once it is cool, use a 2″ wire cup brush or 2″wire wheel brush drill attachment to take down any remaining rust on your cast iron item. The 2 of them together cost less than $10. If your cast iron is not quite as bad as mine, you can probably use a wire brush instead of the drill attachments.
  • Once you feel you’ve nailed all the rust with your wire brushes, give your cookware a good rinse with water. I dried mine off, but then put it in the oven to dry out and warm up a bit. I had set my oven to 450° and it was heating up. The oven was about 300° when I put the cast iron in. I just left it in for about 5-10 minutes.
  • If you haven’t already done so, set your oven for 450°
  • Thoroughly rub your cast iron with grease, keeping the layer of grease as thin as possible. I tried using paper towels (the lint/fibers got all in the grease), a bristle basting brush (the bristles fell out and got in the oil) and a silicon basting brush (just a pain in the neck). At the end of the day, getting my hands on the cast iron and rubbing the grease all over was clearly the best solution. PLUS…my skin was so soft after the process! Just a warning, you want to do this when your cast iron in warm, but not too warm that you can’t rub your hands all over it.

Now here’s where you’ll get all sorts of opinions. I’ve read about Flax Oil (which is awful expensive to be coating your cast iron with), lard, vegetable oil and coconut oil. I’ve worked with the vegetable oil with moderate success (operator error I’m certain), but this time I thought I’d try something new. I read about a product called Crisbee and decided to give it a try. Scouts honor, I am not affiliated with Crisbee at all and they don’t even know I’m writing about them. 
Crisbee comes in a puck form or a stick, rather like stick deodorant. It is a proprietary blend of soybean oil, palm oil and beeswax. The company claims that the addition beeswax helps the oil bond to the cast iron better than just vegetable oil I liked that it was a solid, making it easier to get the thin coat you need on your cast iron. I think where I went astray in my past cast iron seasoning attempts was that I had too much vegetable oil and it puddled or baked unevenly. The puck is so easy to use, especially on an ongoing basis after each use. I may give the stick a try next time just to compare.

  • After thoroughly coating your cast iron with your preferred grease/oil (I’m sticking with Crisbee!) and getting any excess off, put your pieces in the oven. I put my dutch oven in upside down so that any run off wouldn’t puddle on the bottom of my pot.
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Let cool to the touch, but still warm and repeat the greasing/oiling and baking process 2-3 more times.
  • TA DA!! Will you look at that shine!! That’s pure non-stick goodness right there!!
    • After each use, dry your cast iron, heat slightly and rub Crisbee over the cooking surface. Wipe off with paper towel (or soy ink newspaper) and store. 

      Lessons Learned:

      I had read somewhere that instead of baking the cast iron in your oven, you could do it outside on your grill. Even though I think the Crisbee put off fewer fumes than regular vegetable oil, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there is still the burnt oil smell coming out of your oven. So, I thought ‘What a great idea!” and turned my grill on. Here’s the rub…my grill thermometer doesn’t work real well..I guess. After one hour, my grill/griddle looked like it did after the self-cleaning mode which removed the oil I had just put on…obviously my grill was hotter than what the thermostat claimed. Plus there’s the whole thing of having indirect heat in the oven versus direct flames on the grill. 
      At the end of the day, I figured I was better off doing it inside and dealing with the burnt vegetable oil smell. Luckily its a cool day and I can have the windows open. 
      So, now that I’ve taken my cast iron cookware down and built the finish back up, I am determined to keep it well-seasoned on a regular basis as opposed to having to go through this process again. You need to invest several hours (4 hours for self-clean cycle, plus 3-4 for each 450° ‘baking’ cycle…so up to 20-hours total baking time.) Granted, you are not actively involved for most of the time and the process can be spread out as long as you need, but why even bother if you just keep it well seasoned! (Can you hear me motivating myself to do a better maintenance job?) 
      This was on my to-do list for some time and it feels good to scratch off of my list RESCUE RUSTED CAST IRON COOKWARE! Yay me! Now I can start doing fun stuff…like getting ready for the upcoming holidays!