Carbon Steel Skillet Seasoning – Update

Carla calls this my Diva pan – and I see her point. I bought a Matfer Bourgeat 11 7/8-inch carbon steel skillet in November then cleaned and seasoned it the day before Thanksgiving (November 25, 2020). You can read about that experience and how I smoked up the house here. Then I used it for a few cooks and had to re-season it. This skillet definitely demands attention as I start the seasoning and early cooking stages.

In summary here are three stages of initial seasoning.

Brand new with factory coating
Clean and ready for seasoning
After the initial two rounds of seasoning

I was delighted that the pan passed the fried egg test (video available in the link above). Then it was time to actually cook something. On Thanksgiving I roasted a buttermilk roasted chicken (Samin Nosrat style) and then made a gravy from the fat and juices.

Now buttermilk has a bit of acidity and I scraped up the fond in the pan to make the gravy. In retrospect that may have been a little too much too early for the light seasoning this pan had undergone. I ended up with a big white splotch in the middle where the chicken was.

Then I stacked one of my nonstick skillets on top of the Matfer while it still had a few drops of water on the bottom. I ended up with three dime-sized rust spots that took away the seasoning. The pan failed the next egg test because of those spots even after scraping off the rust with a pan scraper.

Last week I seared a steak in the pan and finished it in a hot oven; that helped restore some of the seasoning but I still had that bit white spot in the middle.

Matfer carbon steel after more cooking

That light spot in the middle didn’t start to rust so it definitely has a bit of seasoning. But I wanted more, so I went through a two-step seasoning. process. First I poured canola oil into the pan covering the bottom with a little bit of depth. I brought the stove up until the oil started to smoke then turned down the heat. I wiped it out thoroughly and put it in a cold oven and brought the temp up to 450 and cooked it at that temp for an hour.

When done, it looked much better.

Reseasoned Matfer Bourgeat carbon steel skillet.

I gave it another fried egg test the next day and things were back to great. While I’m still confident that after it has been used more, the seasoning will be more resistant to the wear and tear of regular use, I definitely will need to help it along for the first cooks.

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