Skillets / Pans Stainless/copper vs cast iron | Caring for Stainless Steel pans | Seasoning grills and cast iron pans | Cleaning and Protecting Stainless BBQ's | Grill Brushes
 
Stainless | Cast Iron

How do I season my stainless steel grates? | SaberGrills Just like a cast-iron skillet, the stainless grates on your SABER® grill need to be seasoned prior to first use and each time you use your grill for optimal cooking and improved cleaning performance.

1. Before first time use, evenly coat the grates and emitter plate with a high-heat cooking oil (peanut oil or refined canola oil) or spray. Wipe all surfaces using a cloth to ensure even coating.
Grape seed, sunflower or safflower oil will also work.
See Smoke Points of Various Fats - Kitchen Notes - Cooking For Engineers.

2. Ignite the grill and allow it to preheat on HI for 15-20 minutes. This procedure will help season the cooking surfaces and help burn off the lubricants used during the manufacturing process. (This process is not necessary for the side burner.)

3. After each use and when the grill is still warm (NOT HOT), reapply a light coat of oil to protect the surface and improve performance.

seasoning-a-grill | Food Friends

Using a basting brush or even a clean (new!) paintbrush, or paper towel, wipe the grates all over with a high heat resistant oil such as a vegetable oil, peanut oil or refined canola oil. A spray bottle of oil or even a can of Pam also works fine. You can read more here about the importance of choosing the right oils (those with a high “smoke point”) for grilling.

Stainless Steel Grill Grates vs Cast Iron - Which is Better and Why? | FoodFireFriends


Cast Iron
Sheryl Canter's 2010 blog post is the most quoted on this, but some have different opinions.
Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To | Sheryl's BLog

To "season" a cast iron pan means to create a slick, glassy coating by baking on multiple thin coats of oil. This is necessary for two reasons:

  1. It protects the iron from rust.
  2. It makes for a glassy nonstick surface that’s better than any commercial nonstick surface, and far better for you.

I’ve read dozens of Web pages on how to season cast iron, and there is no consensus in the advice.

Some say animal fat gives a surface that is too soft and to only use vegetable oils. Some say corn oil is the only fat to use, or Crisco, or olive oil. She goes on.

The oil used by artists and woodturners is linseed oil. The food-grade equivalent is called flaxseed oil. This oil is ideal for seasoning cast iron for the same reason it’s an ideal base for oil paint and wood finishes. It’s a “drying oil”, which means it can transform into a hard, tough film. This doesn’t happen through “drying” in the sense of losing moisture through evaporation. The term is actually a misnomer. The transformation is through a chemical process called “polymerization”.

The oil used by artists and woodturners is linseed oil. The food-grade equivalent is called flaxseed oil. This oil is ideal for seasoning cast iron for the same reason it’s an ideal base for oil paint and wood finishes. It’s a “drying oil”, which means it can transform into a hard, tough film. This doesn’t happen through “drying” in the sense of losing moisture through evaporation. The term is actually a misnomer. The transformation is through a chemical process called “polymerization”.

The oil used by artists and woodturners is linseed oil. The food-grade equivalent is called flaxseed oil. This oil is ideal for seasoning cast iron for the same reason it’s an ideal base for oil paint and wood finishes. It’s a “drying oil”, which means it can transform into a hard, tough film. This doesn’t happen through “drying” in the sense of losing moisture through evaporation. The term is actually a misnomer. The transformation is through a chemical process called “polymerization”.

flaxseed oil is sold as an omega-3 supplement and it’s in the refrigeration section because it goes rancid so easily.

The basic idea is this: Smear a food-grade drying oil onto a cast iron pan, and then bake it above the oil’s smoke point.

Many flax oils contain added ingredients to prevent rancidity, and it’s the tendency of this oil to go rancid that makes it so good for seasoning pans. Flax oil only works if it’s 100% pure flax oil with nothing added, so read the ingredients! People have reported mixed results, and this is probably why.

Strip your pan down to the iron using the techniques I describe in my popover post.

You remove rust with a 50/50 solution of distilled white vinegar and water. This is safe for you but can destroy iron if you leave it in there too long. (Electrolysis is a safer method for the pan because it removes rust as well as crud so you can skip this step.) When you put a pan in a vinegar and water solution, it sort of simultaneously rusts and derusts. The vinegar will cause the excess rust to lift off the pan and bubble up, but when you take it out of the solution it instantly starts rusting because the iron is utterly unprotected. A very thin film of rust is unavoidable – you just oil the pan and wipe it off that way. Don’t leave the pan in the vinegar indefinitely waiting for it to come out perfectly gray. It never will.

I want to emphasize how important it is at this point to rinse all the vinegar off using washing soda to neutralize, thoroughly dry the pan,

Next best is a lye bath, which cleans off crud and old seasoning, but not rust.
Oven cleaner will work, but you need to be protected when using it.

Heat the pan in a 200°F oven to be sure it’s bone dry and to open the pores of the iron a little. Then put it on a paper towel, pour a little flaxseed oil on it (don’t forget to shake the bottle), and rub the oil all over the pan with your hands, making sure to get into every nook and cranny. Your hands and the pan will be nice and oily.

Now rub it all off. Yup – all. All. Rub it off with paper towels or a cotton cloth until it looks like there is nothing left on the surface. There actually is oil left on the surface, it’s just very thin. The pan should look dry, not glistening with oil. Put the pan upside down in a cold oven. Most instructions say to put aluminum foil under it to catch any drips, but if your oil coating is as thin as it should be, there won’t be any drips.

Turn the oven to a baking temperature of 500°F (or as high as your oven goes – mine only goes to 450°F) and let the pan preheat with the oven. When it reaches temperature, set the timer for an hour. After an hour, turn off the oven but do not open the oven door. Let it cool off with the pan inside for two hours, at which point it’s cool enough to handle.

Repeat. It needs at least six coats.

It’s possible to use a suboptimal oil for seasoning, like Crisco or bacon drippings, and still end up with a usable pan. Many (most) people do this. But the seasoning will be relatively soft, not as nonstick, and will tend to wear off.


You can find other web posts recommending flax oil, but there are several which disagree. Some because of flaking occurring from weeks to months after treating.

Why I don't recommend Flax Seed Oil : reddit/castiron
So what to use? Use any oil with a moderately high smoke point. A tub of Crisco is like $3 and will last you a long time. Canola oil is good to. I've never used grapeseed oil but I haven't heard of any problems with it. Lard or tallow if it's pure would work fine too. Don't use Olive Oil (smoke point is too low.)

Testing (debunking?) the flaxseed method for seasoning cast iron - Cookware - Cast Iron - Chowhound
I found that the method as described by Sheryl Canter and CI didn't have the major benefits over other methods that it claimed to have.

BUT ... I also found that flaxseed oil has a number of real advantages over other oils.
- Flaxseed oil does indeed form a nice hard polymer quite easily - more easily than other oils. So easily, and at such a low temperature that it is silly to wait hours for a single coat.
- Very thin coats can be applied quite quickly and in rapid succession with flaxseed oil.


Cleaning:
Mix 2 cups white vinegar to 1 cup of baking soda or dish soap and baking soda.
Links:
Smoke Points of Various Fats - Kitchen Notes - Cooking For Engineers
How to Season Your Grill | Char-Broil
How To Prevent Your Grill From Rusting