Strip This Pan, Part One

My big ol’ twenty inch reversible grill has developed some pitting over the summer and I’ve been contemplating the pros and cons of various methods to strip a pan down to bare metal and start the seasoning process from scratch.

1. A self-cleaning oven on clean mode heats up the pan hot enough to incinerate the seasoning and burn off everything down to raw iron, but it heats up the house and has been linked to cracked pans.

2. Roasting a pan in a fire or over the barbecue can get the iron hot enough to turn the seasoning to cinders, but the heat is uneven and, again, has been said to warp or crack cast iron if not carefully monitored.

3. Elbow grease and a lot of sandpaper or other mechanically abrasive system will rip down the seasoning on all or part of a pan, and is a method I’ve used to spot repair seasoning, but the work involved is definitely… well, work.

4. Posts online have claimed that soaking in white vinegar overnight can erode the seasoning on a pan down to the point where it can be wiped off easily. I’ve never tried this, but with a twenty inch pan I might need a bigger sink or a big tub of some kind.

5. Back in the realm of over cleaning, chemical oven cleaner sprayed on the surface (then tuck the piece into a couple layers of garbage bags) is said to strip a pan to bare metal, though my suspicion is that the mess at the end might leave me wishing I’d tried something simpler.

6. And finally in the realm of complicated (and perhaps expensive if you don’t own the set up) is using electrolysis which likely involves some clever chemistry knowledge and a bit of electricity to erode the carbon of the seasoning.

I’m going to pick one of these before the week is out and give it a whirl.

Stay tuned.