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What is the black, slightly gritty or powdery substance which wipes out from my cast iron pan at times? Iron? Seasoning? Burnt food? Seasoning is partially-to fully stripped.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 19, 2013 at 1:16 AM

I have been wiping a strange, metallic, or fishy-smelling black substance from my cast iron pan after cooking, which had had its seasoning stripped fully or significantly through scraping/scouring/soap-washing. Foods had been somewhat burnt in it quite regularly. The black substance was within the pan when scraping/scouring occured also.

The food cooked within it has an odd taste--almost reminiscent of blood. What could this substance be?

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on June 19, 2013
at 01:57 PM

Rust + carbon. The rust comes from the pan, the carbon is leftover burnt food. Try heating the pan up, then put some water in it, as the water boils take a metal spatula and scrape the pan (don't put too much water in at once). When it the pan looks smooth dump the water and dry the pan. You want to leave it on the stove for a little while longer until it is really dry. Then put some fat on it. Lately I've just used one of those half sticks of butter and I just sort of wipe it on with the butter-stick, and then use a paper towel to make the coating smooth. Anyway I just remembered Paul Wheaton has done the video on this. In fact, if that comes up right, the first three videos should be helpful to you. The metal spatula is a very important part of cast iron pan maintenance, and he is the guy who brought that up.

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