How Cast Iron Pans Are Made — How to Make It


– I’ve used cast iron
pans my whole life both in and out of professional kitchens. And it turns out, I don’t
know how they’re made. We are here to meet Alisa, who’s is going to show me start to finish how to make a cast iron pan. So we’re in front of the furnace. I noticed there’s a few
different things going into the furnace. What different compounds
are going in there to give us our molten iron? So it’s not just iron. It’s a combination of
railroad ties, steel, castings that are shaken
out from earlier production and then some pig iron. – And you were saying it takes 11 minutes for a thousand pounds to turn into molten? – Yeah, it’s takes me
longer to make coffee. I mean it’s crazy. The center of the earth
right there in 11 minutes. (rock music) – Our skillets are a little different. – Ohio?! This is really exciting to me because I am so Midwestern, from Ohio, Cleveland. And it’s Ohio that I get to take with me. – Yeah. Cleveland is there. – Right around here. (laughing) – We’re in the core room right now which is where all the processes
start sand rolled making. This is a sand mixer,
basically, that throws down 50 pounds of sand a minute. – [Katie] Wow. – [Alisa] It’s taking the shape
of that mold, that pattern. And you want it to be really accurate so that the metal grabs as
much detail as possible. And this is one half of the
mold that we’re gonna make. There’s always a top and a bottom. It takes about two minutes
for it to harden up and it’ll feel just like a sugar cube. – [Katie] Two minutes. – [Alisa] Yeah. – Wow. – Super fast. Watch your fingers. – Ooh it got so much heavier. – So we’re going to
just find that seam line until you see it kind of open up. There you go. Yeah girl, you see that? – So we’re getting it ready to then pour. – Yup. I’m gonna just cut this well. One, two, three. Beautiful. This is your baby. (electronic music) Okay. – What did I just do? – So you cut into the
part a little bit more. Not a big deal at all. Because it’ll just fill it with metal and you’ll see when it comes out, you’ll have a little notch there. You might want to keep it. It might be your mark. – Of course I’ll want to keep it. – Yeah. This is our mold line. – [Katie] So you’re
just really making sure this is well lubricated. – [Alisa] Yeah, so we’re
going in and brushing in the rest of the mold wash. Cast iron cookware is always
been part of a lifestyle. It’s like the one cookware
that people will use over and over and over again
and pass down like furniture. – [Katie] Absolutely. – All right and this is our cup. The metal will hit this first. – [Katie] So every single thing we’ve done up until this point is to not have the liquid metal flooding it. – [Alisa] Right. We’re ready to pour. – [Katie] Oh God, we’re ready to pour. We’re at that point. – [Alisa] You look legit though dude. – I am legit really nervous. – As you come down it’s gonna
be a little bit heavier. You’re only gonna have
about 125 to 150 pounds of metal in there. – Only 125. – And it’s important to know
that you don’t want to stop and start and stop and start. You want to have a really consistent pour. Kevin go, just like you’re transferring OJ from like one carafe to another. Yeah that’s a perfect height. So just go ahead and just slowly
tip it, just spill it out. There it is. Fill it all the way to the top. You are a natural. – [Katie] Holy (beep) (applause) – All right let’s move it over. – [Katie] This one’s hot. – [Alisa] All right so
this is your Ohio skillet. And you’re up. Beautiful. (applause) – My entire body is like
tensed up right now. – Everything’s been poured. It’s been about an hour and a half. We’re ready to shake out. Which means that we’re
gonna open up the molds and we gonna see what we got. Give it a good, there you go. Going with it. – [Katie] Oh my God! Oh my God. – [Alisa] Isn’t it great? – It’s Ohio! So where do we go from here? – So now we’re gonna go back to Madison and start on some finish work. – This is the most amount of power tools I’ve used in one day, ever. – Iron is pretty soft actually. And so it cuts really nice, like butter. (country music) – That you could just wiggle
it off with your hand. I’ll be you’re strong enough. Yeah. (laughing) – [Alisa] This big ol’ thing right here. Remember when were cutting in that gate? – Yes, I did that. – Yeah, this might be an
original Katie Pickens. It’s looking good. All right I think we’re
ready for the dremel. – This is really unbelievable by the way, how much work, especially
finishing work goes into a pan. – [Alisa] Beautiful, awesome. Next step is preheat and then seasoning. – And heating beyond
the smoke point of oil. – Yeah what we’re doing. – So what’s why it’s gonna get. – Smoky in here. Yeah we’re just trying to drive out any last remaining water,
alcohol, anything else. We want it bone dry. You can’t go too thick on the first layer because we’re going to
dry brush it anyway. That’s why vintage cookware is so revered because over time it’s had
so many, so many layers. – So this is kind of like you know, when the pan is in use and you’re seasoning it in between uses. You’re not ever dumping a bunch of oil in. You’re kind of lightly coating
it and then wiping it off. – Right. – So now we wait half an hour. – We wait a half an hour
and then we start this, do it two more times. (electronic music) All right, this is the start
of its lifetime of use. And it only gets better over time so we get it to a point
that it’s shelf stable. As they use it over time
it just gets more and more. – That is the beauty of cast iron. It’s interesting because I kind of know not to wash it with soap and water and keep it seasoned and clean and the benefits far
outweigh any intimidation with using cast iron. This is, this is really really special. – Good job, you made your first skillet. – I really hope you enjoyed that episode. If you’d like to see more, click here. We’re about to bring out some sea urchin. How did these get here? – We got one boat coming
from Santa Barbara island which is the small island.

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