Author Topic: Caring for an Abused Dutch Oven  (Read 11550 times)

Offline DeShawn

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Caring for an Abused Dutch Oven
« on: April 07, 2011, 11:46:21 am »
Back in 1998 made Scoutmaster in my local troop and therefore inherited a trailer full of equipment.  Inside I found 3 dutch ovens, all in various states of repair.

Dutch Oven 1 – 12-inch Lodge Logic oven.  Its been abused more than the other two.  Once at Lake Powell, I watched its lid fall off of a truck bed onto the boat ramp.  It’s a little bit chipped on top.  Inside, it’s been abused with metal tools, and, although it’s not rusty, the beautiful black patina that is characteristic of Lodge Logic is gone in most of the bottom of the oven and halfway up the sides of the oven.

Dutch Oven 2 – 12-inch Lodge Logic oven.  This one is in a little better shape, but has also been roughed up a bit by metal cooking tools.

Dutch Oven 3 – 10-inch Lodge Logic oven.  This one has been used the least, but it still needs some work.  It’s still nice and black, but the last coating that was put on the oven was a mite thick and there’s a puddle of rancid oil in the bottom.

So how does one take care of an abused dutch oven?

First steps first:  If there is any rust in the oven, it probably needs to be re-seasoned.  Before re-seasoning the oven, the rust should be attacked with some steel wool until every trace of the rust is gone, both inside and outside the oven.  Yes, this will remove any seasoning left over, but since the entire oven will be re-seasoned anyway, this is one time that I reluctantly admit that a harsh cleaning is necessary.  Unless all of the rust is removed, the rust will unfortunately return.  After all of the rust is removed, re-seasoning instructions can be found here.

If there is no rust in the oven, the current seasoning might be able to be salvaged if the oven is babied and coddled for a while.  Make sure that the oven is clean and free from anything except for the cast iron and what is left of the abused seasoning.  Take a good look at the oven and figure out how bare the cast iron is.  The more shiny silver that you see, the less seasoning it has left.  If there’s a lot of shiny silver, it might be time to re-season the oven.  If there’s a waxy, yellow coating, even on the abused parts, the seasoning can be maintained as usual.  The waxy, yellow coating is a newer seasoning that will darken over time if it’s not mistreated again.
If it’s somewhere inbetween shiny silver and waxy yellow, the oven might benefit from an intermediate seasoning step.  Simply make sure that the oven is clean, and then follow step 2 in the instructions for seasoning a dutch oven.  Doing that step once or twice will strengthen what is there.  Then, when the oven has cooled enough to handle, apply one more very thin layer of oil and your oven is ready to store.

It’s very rare that a dutch oven has been abused to the point that it’s not salvageable.  If an oven or its lid is cracked or warped, it might be ready for recycling.  (Remember that an oven cracks or warps when it is dropped or when it is exposed to very sudden changes in temperature.)  If the rust layer is very thick or if the oven is deeply pitted, it might not be worth the work of restoration.

After an abused oven has been re-seasoned and is back in service, remember to baby the new seasoning for a while.  Foods high in acidity (tomato-based sauces, for example) should be avoided for a while.  Cook a nice roast in the oven, or use it to fry bacon…  Something that will add fat and at the same time bring the temperature up a ways will help the seasoning to cure and develop into that beautiful black patina that is characteristic of a well-seasoned oven.