So you just got your new Pie Iron and you’re all ready to start making savory Ruebens and sautéed mushrooms. But wait! The Pie Iron looks a little strange, its silver not the dark, glossy black that you expected. Whats going on here?
Well, your Pie Iron hasn’t been seasoned yet. That silver coating is the paraffin wax put on at the factory to keep the cast iron from rusting in transit and storage. Before you start cooking with your Pie Iron you’ll need to burn that off and then “season” the cast iron. What is seasoning? Basically it’s applying an oily coating to the cast iron so that food doesn’t stick. As cast iron is used it will become seasoned by the oil from the food cooked in it, but it’s very important to season it properly before first use as well. So how does one season a Pie Iron properly? Follow the steps below to find out!
First things first, remove the Pie Iron from its packaging. For demonstration purposes I’ll be using a Double Pie Iron, mostly because I’ve been wanting to make a cheesesteak sandwich, but the process is the same with any cast iron Pie Iron.
Once you remove the packaging you’ll notice the film of wax over everything. There are two ways to remove it. Either take a scouring pad and hot water and scrub it off, or place it over heat and melt it off. Since I’m lazy, I’m going to melt it off. This requires taking the two halves of the Pie Iron and placing them concave side down over a heat source. I’ll be using my charcoal grill, but it can be propane or a fire pit as well. I highly recommend doing this outside, as the whole process is very smoky.
You’ll leave it over the heat for about 15 minutes, flipping it over half way through.
Once the wax has been melted off the Pie Iron will have a slightly dull grey color still. Wait for it to cool to the touch and then wash it in warm, soapy water. Scrubbing thoroughly with a scouring pad or bristle brush to get any of the remaining wax off. This should be the only time that the Pie Iron sees soap. The reason being that soap will remove the seasoning, which kind of defeats the purpose of going to all this trouble in the first place.
Once you are done washing the Pie Iron, you must immediately begin the seasoning process to prevent rust from developing. Dry the Pie Iron thoroughly and apply a thin coat of quality vegetable oil or solid shortening. I’ve heard of some people using bacon grease, which would work, but that’s an expensive prospect. I’m using Crisco because that’s what is in the kitchen cabinet.
With the coating applied, place the two halves of the Pie Iron back onto the grill concave side up. You’ll put it on for ten minutes, flipping it halfway through.
When the first coating has cooked in, the Pie Iron should start to take on a blackish hue. There might be a little bit of brown in it, but generally it should be blackening over the entire surface. Once the Pie Iron has cooled to the touch, apply another thin coating of shortening. You will need to do this a total of four times to get a good, solid coating.
After the fourth round of shortening has cooked into the Pie Iron, it should take on a glossy, deep black finish all over. This is what you want to see!
So now you’re set! The Pie Iron is all seasoned and ready for serious camp fire cooking! As long as it is used regularly, you’ll likely never have to reseason it again. If it sits for a few seasons unused, or starts to develop any rust, you may want to add a few new layers, but otherwise you’re good! Start cooking!