Quick Start

HOW TO BREAK IN YOUR BUTTER PAT

Let’s start by saying: Your Butter Pat cast-iron cookware is going to last a long, long time—generations, actually. So don’t be afraid to use it. And don’t be afraid to clean it, either. You’re not going to ruin your pan, unless you do something truly stupid. Just follow these simple instructions, tip toward common sense, and get cooking, today.

Where to Begin

First and foremost, forget the myth and wash your damn pan. See below for more, but in short: Wash, dry, oil. Now you’re ready to begin. Which brings us to one of our most frequently asked questions: what should I cook first? 

The answer is, anything, really—anything that fills the pan, uses oil or fat, and gets cooked at a consistently high heat, preferably at 500 degrees, in your oven. In the Lili, for instance, roast a chicken with some vegetables. In the Heather or Estee, try your hand at cornbread. The Homer? Popcorn, hands down.

Whatever you do, keep it simple to start. Avoid sticky things like mac-and-cheese. Or low-and-slow meals, like eggs and bacon. It won’t be the end of the world if you do, but cooking with oil or fat at high heat is the key to building good seasoning—and effectively a nonstick surface. Might as well start off on the right foot.

How to Clean

If you learn anything here, let it be this mantra of a maintenance routine: keep it clean, keep it dry, keep it oiled. In that order, at the same time, every time. Then keep cooking. After all, you paid a lot of money for us to make you a mighty fine pan. It’s your job to keep it that way.

KEEP IT CLEAN Yes, you can use soap. Yes, you can scrub the hell out of your pan. And yes, some of your seasoning might disappear in the process, but that’s okay—you’re working toward a progressive patina, it won’t happen overnight. The oil or fat from your next meal will build on that process. But in between, keep the pan clean, which helps keep the surface smooth. And for god’s sake, no dishwashers.

KEEP IT DRY Immediately after washing, heat your pan on the stove. This will evaporate any residual water in just a matter of minutes. Forgo paper towels and dish cloths, as they always leave some moisture behind, which causes rust. Never put it away wet. Never leave it out to dry. Consider a Butter Pat your kitchen’s Thoroughbred.

KEEP IT OILED Immediately after drying, while the pan is still warm, lightly coat all surfaces with refined oil. We prefer refined canola, but any refined variety will do. Unrefined oils with high organic solids, like butter and many olive oils, are more likely to go rancid between meals. You are applying this oil to protect the pan’s surface. It is a tool, for your tools.  

KEEP COOKING We know they’re pretty, but your Butter Pat isn’t meant to just sit in the kitchen. Our pans are exceptionally smooth, but the more you use them, the more you build their seasoning into a truly non-stick surface, and the better and better they will be to cook with. So giddy up. Then do it all over again.

Rust & Re-Seasoning

MINOR RUST SPOTS Over time there will be those occasional late nights where the pan stays out in the yard by the fire, it rains and the dog uses it as a water bowl (yup, we did that). Some rust may appear. Don’t panic; it’s iron. Here’s the repair: a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water (a mild acid) on a cloth will remove most small rust spots. If the rusted surface is rough, you may want to use steel wool or even 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

RE-SEASONING We apply our proprietary oil blend in our commercial kitchen using high-temperature ovens but you can almost replicate what we do at home. Unless the pan is seriously damaged we don’t recommend stripping it but instead suggest applying additional layers of seasoning.

Wash the pan and dry thoroughly. Place it in the oven and set temperature for 200º. When the oven comes to 200º remove the pan and reset the oven to 500º. The pan may not be cool enough to touch so use an old oven mitt while handling.

Coat the entire pan with a thin layer of cooking oil. We prefer low smoke points oils like grape seed, flax, safflower, and sunflower but, lard, Crisco, Canola, etc. are all oils that will work just fine. We avoid oils that have high organic solids that may go rancid like butter or olive oil.

Once you’ve coated the whole pan, here’s the secret: take a new dry cloth and rub it all off.  ALL of it.  Don’t worry, you’ll still leave a thin film. Then into that 500º oven to bake for one hour. If you leave too much oil on the pan you run the risk of leaving streaks and while these streaks will have no effect on cooking you might not like the leopard skin look.  Rub all of the oil off before returning the pan to the oven.

You can do this any time you want to add layers of seasoning.

Additional Tips

HOT! Nothing ruins a meal like a trip to the emergency room! Those handles get hot. Use a mitt. We prefer silicone. Turn the handle away from the outside of the stove to avoid accidental contact.

LIFT HELP The tab at the front of the pan was designed to encourage you to use two hands.  Even though our pans are very light in comparison to other cast iron they are still best handled as a two-handed lift.

DON’T SHOCK YOUR PAN Don’t throw your pan into a hot fire to burn the food off. Don’t put a hot pan into cold water. The thermal shock of different temperatures might cause the pan to warp…and warp is bad.

NEVER SOAK OR PUT YOUR PAN IN THE DISHWASHER OR REFRIGERATOR Never, repeat, NEVER leave cast iron to soak in water. It will rust… and rust is seriously bad. Humid environments are the enemy of iron.

COOKING ACIDIC FOODS Tomatoes, wine, balsamic vinegar are all acidic and will remove seasoning on your pan. That said, don’t baby the seasoning – cook for flavor not for pan rules. Just keep your pan oiled.