How to Season Your Cast Iron Skillet
Preheat your oven to the highest degree.
While your oven's heating up, wash your pans with hot water and brush it out with steelwool to get it down to the base layer. Rinse it off.
Dry the skillet with a cloth or paper towel completely. Place it on the stove with the heat on to dry it out.
Cool off and apply a layer of oil (I used coconut oil) to the entire skillet inside and out with a paper towel. Dry of any access oil.
Since my skillets have wooden handles I removed them first.
Place the skillet upside down on the middle rack of the heated oven. On the lower rack, lay out aluminum foil or a baking tray to catch any dripping oil.
Bake your skillet for about an hour. After an hour turn your oven off and let the skillet cool inside the oven. This'll take a while, as cast irons get very hot and like to stay that way.
Your skillet should now be shiny and black.
How to Clean Your Skillet after cooking
If you've just seared a steak or finished a batch of roasted veggies, the easiest way to clean a skillet is immediately after cooking. Run the skillet under warm water until it's cooled to the temperature of the water. Just be careful, because the handle and outside of the pan will remain hot.
Then use the rough side of a sponge to remove any gunk or food that may remain. No need to use soap here. Any stiff brush and salt is a sure way to get tricky foods out.
Once your pan is clean, be sure to dry it thoroughly. Excess water left on a cast iron leads to rust spots which will require cleaning and a fresh seasoning job. Once you're dry, you're set.
If that sounds too easy, that's because it is, but there are lots of ways cast iron care can go wrong. The biggest one? Don't leave it in the sink or let it stay wet for too long. The dishwasher is a definite no-go and steer clear of wire brushes for cleaning. “Remember, if they didn't have it on the Oregon Trail, you don't need it to care for your cast iron pan.”
Cleaning cast iron shouldn't be a daunting task. If your skillet is well-seasoned, your food shouldn't stick. If you're having problems with a messy pan, check that your seasoning is strong. Rust spots and chips are a sign it's time to re-season.