Replace My Pan! A Sad Story of Cast Iron

Our spring clean giveaway with Staub asked you for your ugliest, worst, most terrible pan. We're going to replace the most pathetic five pans we see with a new and beautiful 12" inch Honeycomb skillet from Staub.

We're still sifting through the many, many entries we received. We'll announce the five lucky winners tomorrow (Friday). In the meantime we'll show you some of the saddest stories we heard. These may (or may not) be final winners, so give suggestions on whether you think these pans can be salvaged.

First up in the tales of woe is James, with a dolorous story of how he spent four years seasoning a pan only to ruin it in a few minutes.

James says:

I spent four years seasoning this pan, and I ruined it in fifteen minutes. On the advice of a friend who swears it's the best way to cook a steak, I used this cast iron pan on a high-heat turkey-frying burner outdoors to sear an extra-thick steak.

In my rush to keep the steak rare and not overcook it, I left the pan on the heat after removing the meat. It cooked off all the seasoning. After I realized it was still on, I turned it off, but I had to leave it outside as it was blisteringly hot and smoking like a chimney.

Then it rained. My hand to Heaven, it rained on my now-bare cast iron pan. Now the pan is rusting away on me from the moisture in the air alone! I have to re-season the whole thing again, and it'll be months before it's right. It almost makes a man want to cry.

What would you like to cook with the new Staub pan?
Steaks, pork, salmon, swordfish, sauteed onions, mushrooms...I'll use it for almost everything.

Poor James! We feel the pain. What do you think - is his pan salvageable?

Related: Technique: Seasoning Cast Iron