Skillethead Interview with Crisbee

Awhile back, I had the pleasure of speaking with Brad Stuart, founder of Crisbee, a company that specializes in the manufacture of cast-iron seasoning blends. As you can tell in the video below, this interview was quite eye opening for me.

Most cast iron users and restorers claim that oil must be heated at or above the smoke point in order for it to form a hard, lasting seasoning. However, heating oil at or above the smoke point creates…smoke! And that smoke can be carcinogenic.

Fortunately, as Brad explains, oil does NOT have to be heated to the smoke point to polymerize—or to create that natural nonstick coating. So why is there such a discrepancy in the cast iron community?

Because there’s a difference between polymerization (where the oil molecules link up and bond to the cast iron) and carbonization (where the oil is hardened and turns black).

According to Brad (and confirmed by my own personal experience), polymerization is all that is needed to season a pan. However, if you want to harden your seasoning further and darken your pan, then you can carbonize your seasoning—just do it after your seasoning is complete. Simply let your pan cool down and then heat it (without additional oil) in the oven at a high temperature for about an hour. This way, you get the benefits of carbonization without the smoke fumes.

Science aside, do you need to purchase a seasoning blend likes those sold by Crisbee? No, it’s not necessary. Plain olive oil or Crisco is perfectly fine. However, I have to admit that I have enjoyed all of the products Crisbee sent me to try. Their unique dispensers help me use just the right amount of oil, which helps me avoid gunky build up. The honey in the product keeps the oil from becoming rancid. And the different options for applications are pretty neat. So if you’re looking for something to help with your seasoning, I do recommend trying out Crisbee. You can find their products on Amazon and, where free shipping is available.

Watch the full interview below or skip to the part that interests you the most:

— Why Brad Stuart got into cast-iron cooking (1:40)
— Why he started getting into the science end of seasoning (3:06)
— When Crisbee started and how they got their name (3:54)
— Why they removed Crisco from their formula (5:19)
— Review of Crisbee’s products (5:45)
— Why they include beeswax in their products (9:00)
— Why they use semi-drying oils (11:15)
— Why you should season your pan below the smoke point (12:11)
— Smoke points of Crisbee products (13:27)
— Why Crisbee products should be heated at 400 degrees for seasoning purposes (13:56)
— Discussion about Lodge’s seasoning process (15:00)
— When using any oil, you should go below the smoke point. It will still polymerize. (16:30)
— After the third seasoning cycle, crank up the temperature to carbonize the seasoning (blacken the pan). (17:40)
— Discussion about the health benefit of cast iron—and why avoiding the smoke point is important. (19:30)
— Crisbee is a family business (24:24)
— Moving into more retailers and throughout the world (27:00)

Be sure to subscribe to the Modern Cast Iron YouTube Playlist so you’ll have access to all the interviews I’ve conducted as I researched cast iron for my latest book, Skilletheads: A Guide to Collecting and Restoring Cast-Iron Cookware (Red Lightning Books).

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Author: Ashley L Jones

My heart's desire is to show people of all ages how the Bible applies to their lives. I use my Masters in Biblical Studies to dig into the Word, and I share what I've learned on my blog ( Check out the About section of my blog for more details. Thanks for stopping by!

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