I seasoned my cast iron pan as per Amanda's great new video, but when I took my pan out of the oven, it was sticky and splotchy, not shiny and smooth. Did I do something wrong? I used canola oil...
Did you have a new pan? I believe they sometimes have a coating on them.
I have used canola oil successfully many times.
The seasoning is the result of the oil polymerizing and becoming hard. If the oil is sticky, the polymerization isn't complete. That is caused by one or more of the following:
1. Using too much oil (thin layers are best).
2. Too low a temperature.
3. Not enough time.
Warm the pan and and wipe off the sticky residue (it may just wipe off when the pan is heated; if not, scour it off with salt and a paper towel). Season again, using just enough oil to lightly coat the pan. You might try a higher oven temperature and longer time in the oven than your first attempt.
Here's a useful site on the science of cast-iron seasoning.
She recommends using organic flaxseed oil (expensive!) but the method works with canola and other oils as well.
If you have a brand new unseasoned pan, it can take more than one time to get a good surface. I think the easiest method is to buy an old cast iron pan from a flea market. Look for cast iron that's in good shape and has seen lots of use--it will have a nice smooth surface. It's so much easier to re-season an old pan.
The pan is not brand new - I've had it, and used it frequently, for three or four years. And I thought I applied a pretty thin coating of oil, but maybe that could be the problem. I'll try an even thinner coat, and a 450 or 500 degree oven temperature next time.