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  Home : Dutch Ovens : Dutch Oven Tips

A Happy Camper
Dutch Oven Tips

Now you are ready to buy a Dutch Oven so....
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Quantizes for Cooking for 100 People!!!

Care & Cleaning
Selecting The Right Dutch Oven.

The best Dutch Ovens are Lodge.....made in the good old USA!!

We're tempted to select a Dutch Oven like we pick produce - by hugging and squeezing whatever Dutch Ovens are hanging out in our local sporting goods store. But just take a look at Lodge. Because of the family tradition of reinvestment, Lodge is not only the sole domestic cast- iron cookware foundry, but also it is America's oldest family-owned cookware manufacture. For over 100 years Lodge has been perfecting the process of making cast-iron cookware. By formulating the right metal chemistry and creating the exacting mold tolerances, Lodge offers the finest line of cast-iron cookware available.
Well, here at the Lodge foundry they have been working on a little magic of their own. The result: a revolutionary new line of seasoned, ready-to-use cast-iron cookware that's even better than your Grandmother's. An electrostatic spray system evenly coats the entire surface of the Dutch Oven with a proprietary vegetable oil prior to the cookware moving into very hot industrial gas ovens. The high temperature allows the oil to penetrate deeply into the cast-iron surface creating that prized heirloom finish.
It may not stop the squabbles over the beneficiary of the family's cast-iron cookware, but it does eliminate the time and effort of seasoning for the customer and offers a superior look and performance to home seasoning. Lodge Logic offers the same even heating, heat retention, legendary cooking performance, superior quality, craftsmanship, and unparalleled value that you've come to expect from Lodge - and now an heirloom finish that's ready to use right out of the box.

My new Lodge Cast Iron pan feels rough in some areas, is this normal?
Yes. With use and replenishment of the seasoning, the pan will become smoother. Unlike other types of cookware, Lodge Cast Iron only gets better with use. For concerns about roughness, it is OK to use a fine grade of sandpaper to smooth out the rough areas. Make sure to reseason the item before using.

What is seasoning?
Seasoning is preparing the cast-iron cookware for use. There are two objectives in this process:
1. Coat the cookware to prevent rust; and
2. Create a natural, permanent non stick cooking surface.
Seasoning is an easy but very important first step when using cast-iron. Unlike synthetically coated cookware, cast-iron can be seasoned, , and its cooking surface restored. When you season a cast-iron utensil, you are preventing rust and providing the cookware with a natural, permanent non stick surface. Remember: Seasoning takes some time and use before a pan develops the shiny, black surface like your grandmotherís cast-iron cookware. A black, shiny skillet is a well-seasoned skillet or Dutch Oven.

Seasoning, Curing, or Oiling your Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Never Season your Dutch Oven inside because of the smoke, smell, and possible fire!!!

1. All Dutch Ovens have a protective wax coating to prevent rust while shipping.
Remove paper label, place Dutch Oven on heat (BBQ) to burn off the wax. This will remove protective coating.
2. Lightly grease inside and out. Suggested oils are vegetable, solid Crisco, bacon grease, or lard because they offer a low burning point. You do not want the oil to pool anywhere while you are seasoning your oven, so be sure to turn bottom side up.
3. Put your Dutch Oven upside down. Put the lid on the top of the legs. Place Dutch Oven in BBQ or use your Volcano on Medium Heat until it turns black and burns the oil into the Dutch Oven. If you are using the Volcano, put about 25 briquets to 30 briquets into the stove. Remember, you want the heat around 500 to 550 degrees to burn the oil in. You will notice that sometime during this process smoke will come out of the BBQ for about 20 minutes or so. This is normal. Remember, you are burning oil into the pan. That is what creates the nice black look that you want. Your Dutch Oven will be extremely hot!!! After one hour, just turn off your BBQ and let the Dutch Oven cool by itself. This will take some time. I just let mine sit overnight, and that way it is cool in the morning when I take it out.
4. Your oven should be a nice black color. If you get what I call freckles, this is from not removing all the protective coating before seasoning your Dutch Oven. All you need to do is re-scrub those areas and then reseason your Dutch Oven.
5. If the pans are not as black as you like, just redo the process on a little higher heat on your BBQ. Remember, you want your Dutch Ovens black not brown.....brown means that you need to season at a higher heat.
6. Acid foods such as tomato sauce might remove some seasoning. Just lightly oil after use and place upside down in you BBQ for 30 min. to reseason.

I have Rust
TIP: Do not let your cast iron air dry, as this can promote rust!!!

1. If rust is not too bad, scrub with a scouring pad and rinse well. You can also use Sandpaper and Elbow grease. Steel Wool or a Rust Eraser also works great. Rust Eraser can be found at the hardware store. Make sure when you get the rust removed you put your dutch oven over a heat source to dry out all the moisture. Then reseason your dutch oven.
Profile Rusting:
This is rust is seen and felt on the cookware. To remove this type rust use a very fine grade of steel wool or an abrasive soap pad, such as SOS, Brill, etc. to scrub the affected area. When the piece is scrubbed down to raw cast iron it should be immediately. If you have put any water on it you should put it over heat and dry it out first before re-seasoning your dutch oven.
Severe Rust:
If rust is covering the majority of the cast iron is considered severe. Perhaps the item has been in a state of neglect. No amount of hand scrubbing will remove this rust. To salvage the cookware .....if you have a drill go down to your local store and buy a metal brush. Put it on your drill and start to work and take off all the rust. Then the cookware should then be seasoned ASAP to avoid RUST!!!
2. The way the pioneers did it was to place the pot in a larger container and stuff with hay. Dry or moist makes no difference. Add enough water to cover and 2 cups of cider vinegar to every gallon of water. Just let is sit for about 1 hour, then check to see if all the rust is gone. If not, scrub a little and let it sit for 1 more hour; and all the rust should be gone. Scrub with a scouring pad, rinse, and reseason the pot. Remember to use the proper tools and hot pads to do the seasoning since the pans hold their heat . Never touch a hot Dutch Oven without good hot pads. This also works on tools!!!
3. If your Dutch Oven is extremely rusty, this could take 12 to 24 hours of sitting in the solution before you are down to the raw iron.

How to do temperatures with your Dutch Oven.

1. Always use a good briquets......we suggest Kingsford's. They are the only briquette we have found that don't fall apart when you are using them.
2. Take a 12" Dutch Oven for example: you need 12 + 12 + 1 = 25 briquets to start with. Start your briquets....a charcoal starter works great here. When your briquets have white shoulders, they are ready to use. You always want to put more briquets on the top of the Dutch Oven than on the bottom. So, we are using a 12." You add 3 to that making 15 on the top of the Dutch Oven lid. The rest go around the bottom of the Dutch Oven = 10. So, if I have a 10" Dutch Oven I will need a total of 21 briquets. 13 on the top of the Dutch Oven lid and 8 on the bottom. This will give you about 350 degrees.
3. You want to put your briquets in a circle on the top and the bottom ...like the old wagon trains used to say circle the wagons, boys. Do not put any in the middle of your Dutch Oven....if you do, you will notice that you will burn in that area because your Dutch Oven automatically heats to the center when you put the briquets in that circle around the edge.
4. In about 1/2 hour to 3/4 of an hour you will need to start replacing those briquets. That is easy to do. Just set an unstarted briquette to the side of the one you are replacing, and that briquets will start the new one. See, not so hard!!
5. If you are in the wind, it will take away some of your heat......a nice heavy piece of aluminum foil works great to block the wind. Just wrap it around the Dutch Oven and leave a 4- or 5- inch hole in the top, and that way it will pull the heat up and out too.
6. You can raise or lower the temp by adding 1 briquets for every 18 to 20 degrees you wish to add to the cooking temperature.
7. Never Lift the Lid until you can smell your food!! If you do, you will add about 15 to 20 min. of extra cooking time because you just let all that nice heat out of your Dutch Oven. You now have to reheat the inside of the oven.

You might have heard of the 3/4 rule.....well this is how that works. Three fourths of the way through cooking, you take all the briquets and put on top of the Dutch Oven. That is how some people brown cakes, etc.; but since you have briquets on the top to start with, we have found that you do not need to do this.....it browns just fine.
Cleaning:
"Let's talk about Vinegar."
Vinegar is one of the items I always take with me when I leave home, natural apple cider vinegar, that is. I mix the vinegar in a spray bottle at a 4-to-1 mixture 4 water, 1 vinegar. When your Dutch Oven is still warm, spray it and put the lid back on for a few minutes. You will notice that all the stuff left in your Dutch Oven is now nice and soft. Just take a scraper of some sort and scrape off the excess. Then wipe with a paper towel. Repeat this process a couple of times, and you should have one clean Dutch Oven.

Vinegar:
It serves as a tenderizer and a disinfectant. As you know, anything tender cooks faster. Spraying the vinegar solution on meats and vegetable will kill all the bacteria that forms at room temperature. Spraying it on your pots will disinfect them and make them easier to clean. So spraying vinegar on your hands and on the cooking surface you use is also a safe way to go. Remember to heat your Dutch Oven after every cleaning and use to evaporate the moisture from the pours of the Dutch Oven.

Drying:
Put back on a heat source until all the moisture is out of your Dutch Oven. Remember Dutch Ovens can get hot fast!!! Use a hot pad!!

Storing:
After all the moisture is out of your Dutch Oven and it has cooled down, just put a paper towel hanging half inside and half outside. Then put your lid on. If you have a storage bag, now it is ready to go in the bag. You will notice that we didn't say to oil your Dutch Oven.....hum!!! Could it be that we have found that your oil goes rancid before you use it the next time and your food tastes really, really bad?

Rancid Dutch Oven:
Put your Dutch Oven on a heat source and take about 1 cup vinegar. Fill the oven with water and boil. You will see the oil start to pull out of the sides. Then it's ready to use. Boil about 1/2 hour. Then just dump out the water. Put back on the heat source and dry your Dutch Oven if you are not going to use it right now. If you are going to cook, spray with some oil; and you are off.

Why should soap or detergent not be used to clean cast iron cookware?
Soap and detergent are used to break down and remove oils. Since the seasoning of your cast iron consists of oil, cleaning with soap will strip or remove the seasoning from cookware.

Dutch Oven Checklist
___ Dutch Ovens
___ Lid Lifter
___ Lid Rest
___ Dutch Oven Trivets
___ Charcoal briquets (Kingsford)
___ Lighter Fluid and Matches
___ Charcoal Starter
___ Spoons, Forks, Knifes, Can Opener, Cutting Board, Hot Pads, Vegetable Peeler, and Measuring Cups and Spoons.
___ Aluminum Foil
___ Cookbook
___ Long Tongs
___ Whisk
___ Gloves
___ Storage Bags
___ Paper Towels
___ Dutch Oven Scrapers
___ Spray Bottle of Vinegar
___ Spray Bottle of Oil
___ Don't forget the Food!!!
Now you are ready to buy a Dutch Oven so....Back to the Dutch Ovens page.
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