This is driving me crazy. Whether it's seasoning or stripping, there doesn't seem to be a generally accepted method of caring for cast iron. I have read many discussions here on CHOW along with other sites, and I have a Lodge manual with instructions. The methods vary greatly.
I got a Lodge preseasoned dutch oven about a month ago, and while it has turned out some very tasty dishes, I can't help but want to huck it out my front door... I won't though, I'm gonna figure this process out.
The preseasoning was less than impressive, with a strange sticky layer on top of the lid and areas of light rust inside the pot. I burned all the preseasoning off by cranking my oven up to about 600F and leaving the dutch oven in there for a few hours. I have read this is a no-no, but I have also read it works great. Well... It worked. All seasoning and rust turned to black dust and I was left with a bare grey dutch oven. Since then, I have been through three seasoning processes, with a grand total of about tweleve coatings of shortening or oil applied.
1st attempt -- Lodge method - Vegetable shortening at 350F for one hour.
This worked, but after about two uses of the dutch oven, the seasoning was disappearing from inside the pot.
2nd attempt -- Lodge method x 3
Multiple layers, same result.
3rd attempt -- Suggestions from CHOW discussion - "Seasoning Cast Iron Without Crisco" -http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433869
I found acmorris's posts to be the most convincing, and followed the seasoning suggestions in his/her post. I used olive oil and cranked the oven to 550F and left the dutch oven in for three hours. The dutch oven was still grey afterwords, so I repeated the process about seven more times until it was black and glossy. Mission accomplished!! Or so I thought. The glossy black coating began chipping away, and has continued to do so.
Like I said, this is driving me crazy. I'm now going to roast all the remaining seasoning off and go for lucky seasoning process #4. I have to admit though, being forced to constantly leave my smoke filled apartment has made me more productive over the last week.
Soooooo, what to do... Vegetable shortening, olive oil, lard, canola, bacon grease... How to choose. What temp? I'v seen suggestions from 220F to 550F. How long?
Please help me out folks. We need to come to a consensus on these things for all of our good, and to spare my dutch oven an unnecessary flight to the parking lot.
Thanks in advance!