Cast Iron Maintanence
You have a new Dutch Oven—now what? Facts and fiction…
Never wash your Dutch Oven:
Myth! Most likely your new Dutch Oven arrived coated with a wax sealer to keep it from rusting during transit from the manufacturer to you. Wash with hot, sudsy water and a stiff nylon brush to remove as much wax as possible. Later, if you need to wash your Dutch Oven for other reasons, don’t be shy. Don’t forget to clean the lid as well!
Only clean a Dutch Oven with salt:
Myth! Salt isn’t the ultimate cleanser, and neither is sand! You can use any detergent, and no, it won’t leave a flavor behind. Once a nice patina has formed, you’ll find your Dutch Oven requires very little scrubbing, if any!
Never drip-dry a Dutch Oven:
True! Always dry cast iron cookware thoroughly using paper towels, a soft fabric cloth or place it on a heat source to dry. If the item is stored wet, it will rust.
Seasoning a Dutch Oven is easy
True! Coat it with melted solid vegetable shortening or Cast Iron Conditioner (Item# 20-CSC-8), turn the Dutch Oven upside down in your oven or inside your outdoor barbeque, and heat to 350° to 400° F. Bake for at least 1 hour. The Dutch Oven will smoke as excess wax burns off before its first use, or as excess oils burn off after subsequent uses. Allow your Dutch Oven to cool for several hours. Never store a hot Dutch Oven.
Season your Dutch Oven after every use:
True! It’s easy and worth the few minutes it takes! Once you’ve served the food, remove the leftovers. Wipe or scrape out the oven, and wash if necessary. With a soft cloth or paper towel, apply a small amount of vegetable shortening or about 1 dime’s diameter amount of Cast Iron Conditioner. Coat the entire surface, including inside the lid. Return the oven to a heat source and allow to heat thoroughly to restore the seasoned finish. Cool before storing.
Rusted Dutch Ovens can be restored:
True! Scour rust spots with steel wool or an SOS pad. Season as you would a new Dutch Oven.
Dutch Oven Tips:
- Cooking foods high in fat will quickly season a new Dutch Oven. Choose bacon, sausage or deep fry foods such as potatoes or chicken.
- When baking cakes, rolls, muffins, breads and other bakery products be sure to spray your new Dutch Oven thoroughly with a product such as Pam, or oil thoroughly to prevent sticking. Once your oven has developed a black patina you won’t need as much oil.
- For breads or cake items, pour batter or place shaped rolls in an oiled and preheated oven.
- Don’t store leftovers in a Dutch Oven; they may take on a metallic flavor. Keep foods hot over the coals or your camp stove until ready to serve.
- The Dutch Oven can be taken to the table for serving. The feet are hot, so protect the surface beneath them.
- Dutch Ovens evenly distribute heat. If you consistently find your food is burning, use a lower heat by using fewer coals.
- Dutch Ovens become VERY hot! Use a lift tool when removing the lid. Never touch with bare hands! A good pair of heat resistant gloves (Item# 20-GLV-15) and heavy-duty hotpads are recommended.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes. Don’t “crash” a hot Dutch Oven in icy water, or put a frosty oven on hot coals. Allow plenty of time for temperature changes.
- Store your Dutch Oven in a dry place where the temperature is fairly stable. Store with the lid off, or fold a couple paper towels several times and place them between the rim and lid for air circulation. A storage bag will help protect your Dutch Oven.
- Favorite recipes can be used as they are, or often can easily be adapted for a Dutch Oven. Only your creativity limits what you’ll enjoy on your next camping trip or backyard outdoor cooking experience!
Dutch Ovens, individual pie bakers, skillets, griddles, grill boxes and other cast iron items can all be seasoned and cared for as recommended above. If the item has wood handles, please don’t place in an oven!