Any animal fat will work as when the pan is "cured" baked at the right temp the only thing left on the pan is carbon. You burn the fat to the pan. Thin layers over and over again that is what builds the "patina."
Hey every one has their own way. A lot of them differ and there are many that believe certain things that nothing will change. So if it works for you cool. Cracking the pan is a possibility and the only bad thing I heard on putting cold water into a hot pan. You basically are deglazing the pan.
I was taught to boil water in the pan/pot. while it boils use a wood or today a silicon spatula to scrape the food bits off. Then rinse well with HOT water. Once satisfied dry it in a 500* oven then coat lightly with lard and let it bake off for an hour. This is what I do every time. For tough stuck on stuff which is rare. I use a scotch bright pad for non stick pans, it is only use for my CI and never sees soap.
Oh I brown cheese to use as potato topping. Love that I can.
I have only one skillet that is "collectible." It is a 10 inch Griswold that has been a working piece since it was originally bought early in their production. It has been handed down from a great great grandmother IIRC.