In order to clear the slate for a good conversation, let us get straight into factory seasoning. Any good quality cast iron will arrive pre-seasoned. It is ready to use out of the box, a light rinse and your ready to start using it. Over time a non-stick surface will form, which brings us to the golden rule, never, ever wash your cast iron with soap, dishwasher or scrub it with steel wool... I strip all my new (even to me second hand) cast iron down using Kosher coarse salt and a lemon cut in half. With a little elbow grease, you'll be done in no time. If you desire to keep the factory seasoning, that is fine too.
Let's get to the small affordable list of things you're gonna need prior to seasoning your cast iron. A disposable aluminum pan large enough to set your cast iron into while it is seasoning and a tub of lard. Yes, pig fat... You can use a veggie based white spreadable stuff, but stores still carry just plain old lard, which is the best thing to season with.
Pre-heat your ovn to 350 degrees, okay let me stop here and pass along a note. Some will say you have to pre-heat the cast iron prior to seasoning. That isn't true, the concept in theory is there, but I have been working with metal all my life and we are not annealing, we are seasoning. Annealing is a whole different blog post... The whole open pore concept isn't necessary for seasoning.
Get out your Lard, open it, and just stick your hand in and grab a big ole glob of it and start to smear it on your cast iron, all over, don't miss a single spot... Go ahead and to the lid to the Dutch Oven as well, smear it all over it too... Place on your disposable pan, place into the oven for one hour.
By this time you're wondering if it will stink, yes a little. Anytime that it gets too much, if it does, just open a window or door to vent. After an hour has passed it is time to remove the cast iron and let it cool to room temperature and repeat at least one more time, two more times is best at this point, but one more will work.
Over time, using your cast iron, and washing it only with hot water and a brush, a non-stick surface will form. Never use metal utensils unless you have to, just use a little care when using them.
From time to time you may need to season your cast iron again. I once knew a woman by the name of Nancey, she had a cast iron skillet that hadn't been washed with soap for 60 years. Her skillet made some of the best fried trout I ever ate, better than my own and Mom's.
If your looking for a great deal on a starter set of cast iron, here is a great deal!!!!