My 10” cast iron needs to be re-seasoned – I think. I’m not sure if the photos help, but my once glossy, black patina has chipped away, becoming spotty, uneven, and, in some spots (near the center), rough and dull. More concerning is the faint brownish color (rust?) beginning to creep along the edges and up the sides (somewhat visible on the lower left side of the pan in the pic). This coloring is something I can see, not feel – it appears to be underneath several layers of seasoning.
After reading several threads on this board, I’m more or less resigned to re-seasoning. There was a year’s worth of cooking in that coating, but I think my initial layers were too thick. However, the chipping is something I’m still uncertain about. It seemed to begin after searing a steak a VERY high temp, per Alton Brown’s suggestion. The steak ruled (despite smoking up my apartment), but the pan was never really the same.
So...a few questions:
1) Forgive what may be an obvious question, but is that rust on my pan? How does one distinguish rust from that brownish coloring that often shows up in the first round of seasoning?
2) If that is rust, as I suspect, then how does that happen? I took great care to avoid getting this pan wet, dried it over the burner and wiped down w/ oil after each use. Any thoughts? It’s particularly curious (to me, anyway) that the rust (if it is rust) appears to be layered beneath my seasoning. Did I just fail to notice it and cook right over the top of it?
3) What options (if any) are there at this point besides scrubbing the pan and re-seasoning from scratch?
4) Re: Chipped/uneven seasoning – any thoughts as to what causes this? My pan wasn't always like this; it used to have a more consistently glossy and smooth sheen. If I’m going to start from scratch and re-season completely (as I suspect I must do), how can this be avoided? Can high searing temps trigger these issues? That seems to be when they started.
Basically, if I’m going to put in the leg work involved with properly seasoning this pan, I want to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
Thanks in advance.