What is seasoning?
Seasoning is the preparation of steel or cast iron cookware for use. There are two reasons for this process:
1. Coat the cookware to prevent rust; and
2. To create a natural, permanent non-stick cooking surface.
Seasoning is an easy, but very important first step when using the Steelman Griddle. Unlike synthetically coated griddles, steel and cast iron, can be seasoned, re-seasoned, and its cooking surface restored. When you season your griddle, you are preventing rust and providing the cookware with a natural, permanent non-stick surface. Remember: Seasoning takes time and repeated use before a griddle or pan develops the shiny, black surface like your grandmother's cast iron cookware. A black, shiny griddle is a well-seasoned griddle.
Once the griddle is seasoned, routine washing can almost always be done with a scouring pad, but not steel wool or anything else that will damage the seasoning. Despite many recommendations to the contrary, a little mild soap, or lye soap, won't erase the seasoning. detergents advertising their grease cutting abilities will.
Store your steel or cast iron cookware in a cool, dry place. Your griddle can rust of course, but never if you dry it after washing and keep it out of rain and floods. If rust does appear, scour it off with steel wool or sandpaper, and reseason.
How do I season my Griddle?
1. Your griddle is stored and shipped with a shortening coating on the cooking surface and then a light plastic wrap is placed over it. Remove the plastic wrap and wash the griddle in hot, soapy water. Use soap this time only. Rinse utensil and dry completely. Discoloration on towel is normal.
2. Apply a thin, even coating of melted shortening (Crisco, Wesson, etc.; do not use butter or butter flavored shortening) to the griddle with a soft cloth or paper towel. Apply to top and bottom.
3. If you desire to season your griddle at home before going camping preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the griddle on top shelf of oven, upside down. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and put on bottom shelf of oven to catch any drippings. Bake in oven for one hour, turn oven off and let utensil remain in the oven until cool.
4. To clean the griddle after use, use boiling water and a plastic scrub bun or brush. Do not use soap, unless you are going to repeat the seasoning process. Do not put in dishwasher.
5. Always wash immediately after use, while still hot.
6. After washing the griddle, dry thoroughly, then spray lightly with
vegetable oil, (Pam, for example), wipe with a paper towel, and store.
7. To remove heavy food or grease build-up, scour with steel wool, SOS pad, etc., then re-season.
8. Follow these simple steps and your Steelman Griddle can last a lifetime.
Is seasoning a one-step process?
Seasoning is an on-going process. The more you use your griddle, the better seasoned it gets.
There will probably be times when you forget and leave the griddle to close to the fire and it will get too hot. You'll know this because there will be areas on the cooking surface that have a dull and dry look to it. If this happens, and it probably will, simple grease and reheat the griddle.
Do I season the bottom as well as the top of my griddle?
It's up to you. As our seasoning instructions state, you should season the entire griddle, top and bottom. If you use your griddle often you will see that the bottom will tend to season itself over the fire.
What if my griddle is too large to fit in my oven for seasoning?
If your griddle is too large to fit in your oven to season, you can use an outdoor grill, either charcoal or gas. When using a charcoal grill, put the charcoal in the grill as you normally would to begin grilling, light the coals and place your oiled griddle on the grilling surface of the grill. Close the top of the grill and leave the utensil inside until the coals burn out. When using a gas grill, turn the temperature between 400 and 500 degrees F and place the oiled griddle on the grilling surface. Leave the griddle on the grill, with the top closed, for at least 2 hours.
If all this sound aggravating just take it camping and do it on the campfire! Your bacon may stick a little on the first use but you will find that the more you cook on it the more seasoned it will get.
What if I don't keep my camping gear in a cool dry place?
Most people don't have the luxury of ample storage for all of their camping gear. It might get crammed under the house or out in the barn. My griddle stays in a chuck wagon trailer that we use for camping and it is NOT cool or dry. My solution is simply, I don't clean it after the last meal on a trip. I don't mean I leave food on it or anything like that, I just simply leave a coating of grease on it and clean it on the next trip. I don't have rust or sticking problems.
What about the rack?
We've been using our rack and griddle for over 20 years. I didn't do anything to either one before we started using them. After the first few camping trips they just seasoned themselves, both of them.
If you talk with any "old timers" most will tell you that cast iron and steel is best seasoned over an open fire.
They are right!
I suggest you simply take your new griddle out camping and just start using it. After cooking a meal scrape off any leftover food, DON'T WASH IT!, if it appears dry looking wipe it down with shortening or cooking oil and let it cool. At your next meal just place the griddle over the fire, heat it up, wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel, and start cooking again.
You Guessed it
IT WILL SEASON ON ITS OWN !
But if you feel more comfortable pre-seasoning your cookware below are some helpful hints . . .
" Built by AMERICANS in AMERICA " Always has been and always will be !
STEELMAN Cooking System