Saving a cast iron skillet

Remember when I wrote a cautionary tale about cast iron? Allow me to review:

Rust is not your friend.

I know. This is shocking news to you all.

I’m happy to report that picture up there is all the same pan. A bit of an improvement, yes?

The folks at Lodge told me that I should have this pan sandblasted. Being stubborn determined, however, I went at it with some sandpaper and did the best I could. It was not great, and the pan went back to live at the bottom of my pantry while I sulked about it thought of another plan.

Then last week we took a road trip to “Chagganooga” (so sayeth Kiddo) and I obviously could not resist swinging through South Pittsburg on the way back up to Nashville. At the Lodge factory store they had this little rust eraser thing sitting on the counter for a couple bucks — worth a shot, right?

Y’all. It’s a miracle! The rust just fell from the skillet and the pan without even that much elbow grease involved. A MIRACLE I TELL YOU.

So the next step was to re-season it in the oven, then put it to work. The perfect first job?

Bacon, of course.

This one will need a lot of use to start to start getting dark like my generations-old skillets, of course, but we’re certainly off to a better start now.

12 thoughts on “Saving a cast iron skillet

  1. Wow, that’s so cool!! That’s definitely a good tip for Helpful Hints products! I love stuff like that!

    Also, have you ever been to the Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg? It’s really neat! Another great reason to stop in there too! And an easy day trip from Nashville.

    I have not — but I’d love to! I think the Kiddo would love it too.

  2. LOL – My DH is in Chagganooga right now. He’s miserable — he does not do well at temps above 80, never mind 96.

    LOL! Oh I’m so sorry… it’s not pleasant down here right now. Will you get a Moon Pie out of the trip?

  3. Man, I need to revive my cast iron skillet. I took really bad care of it and it needs to be scrapped down and re-seasoned. I love the after pic with the before one in the corner, btw.
    Thanks! And you should! If this one can be cleaned…. πŸ˜‰

  4. DUDE! Where can I buy one of these besides TN? I just bought my first Cast Iron skillet and I know I am going to need one of these?
    Ooh YAY for your first cast iron!! You’ll love it. I actually emailed Lodge and they said they don’t sell them anywhere besides in the outlet. It looks like just a hardware store thing maybe? Like this except on that one the shipping is more than the actual eraser. Maybe try Sears or Ace Hardware? There’s also one on Amazon that looks exactly the same but is sold as a golf club cleaner and rust remover if that helps. It’s a little miracle worker! ~OPK

  5. Found your site via Novice Chef Blog and was reading through the archives and had to comment on this post. Nice work on the “save” of the skillet, that is awesome. I recently acquired and old cast iron skillet that needs some attention and while doing some research online I found this guy’s website. I used his technique of the oven cleaner inside bags for my crud encrusted BBQ grill parts, it worked great!

    Off to read more of your great site. Happy Friday!

    What a fun site! Thanks! ~OPK

  6. Being the only daughter in the family, I inherited all of my mom’s Guardian 1950 pots and roasters, cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens. I actually needed (wanted) a second 12″ Lodge Skillet. Looked all over but the new ones cost way too much. I visited a Thrift Shop in my home town…12″ skillet $4! Yep, $4 dollars. The salesman said that most old cooking pots and roasters are turned in by kids or grandchildren who inherit homes after their parents or grandparents pass away. The houses are emptied out and everything is sold or given away. I was lucky to have found this 12″ skillet that someone’s mom or grandmother cooked in for many many years.

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