Author Topic: Seasoning a Dutch Oven  (Read 8287 times)

Offline DeShawn

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Seasoning a Dutch Oven
« on: April 07, 2011, 11:40:56 am »
The seasoning on a dutch oven has two purposes: First, it provides a barrier between the cast iron and the moisture in the air. Without this barrier, your oven will rust. Second, it provides a non-stick coating that rivals that of any commercial non-stick pan on the market.

I’d highly recommend a pre-seasoned Lodge Logic dutch oven. Right out of the box, the dutch oven will have that beautiful black patina of a well-seasoned oven.
However, at some point, you’re going to have a piece of cast iron cookware that isn’t pre-seasoned or that needs to be re-seasoned.

Steps to season a dutch oven:

1. Clean the Oven
First, the oven needs to be stripped down to the bare metal. New un-seasoned ovens come with a waxy coating that protects the cast iron from moisture, preventing rust. This coating can be scrubbed off with hot, soapy water (the last time that soap should touch your oven!) and a stiff-bristled brush. The hotter the water, the easier the coating will come off. Understand that you will need to use a bit of elbow grease to remove this coating. Once the oven is completely clean, it should be rinsed thoroughly with hot water, towel dried, and allowed to air dry.

Ovens that need to be re-seasoned should first be stripped of the old coating. The easiest stripping method is to place the oven upside-down on the bottom rack of a self-cleaning oven with the lid placed on top of the legs. Set the oven to self-clean for two hours and let the cleaning cycle complete. Make sure that you give the dutch oven plenty of time to cool before you remove it from the oven. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven or if you don’t want to heat up your house, you can use an outdoor propane stove to strip the coating. The secret to stripping the coating using an outdoor propane stove is to keep moving the oven around so that every surface has the opportunity to be directly over the heat source. This will also prevent warping if the metal becomes too hot. Once the entire surface of the oven (both inside and out) has a shiny, oily look with whitish ash in some places, remove the oven from the heat and let it cool thoroughly.

Once the oven is stripped, scrub the oven with a piece of steel wool or a metal scouring pad under hot running water until all of the surfaces are clean and free of rust, ash, or other substances. You want to make sure there is nothing left on the cast iron that can get in the way of forming a good seasoning. Towel dry the clean oven and allow it to air dry. The oven is now ready to season.

2. Season the Oven
You can season your dutch oven in your kitchen oven, but this can cause your house to fill with smoke. An outdoor gas barbecue in a well-ventilated area is ideal for seasoning your dutch oven. If you’re going to use an outdoor gas grill, adjust it as you would for indirect cooking so that the oven doesn’t have hot spots as you season it.
Preheat your oven or gas grill to 375°. Place the dutch oven on the center rack of the oven with the lid ajar and let it heat until it is barely too hot to handle with bare hands. This will drive any remaining moisture out of the oven and it will open up the pores of the cast iron so they will receive the oil in the next step.
Remove the oven from the heat, and with a paper towel or a cotton rag, apply a thin layer of cooking oil. Vegetable oil is preferred. Tallow or lard can be used, but they tend to break down over time. Make sure that every surface of the dutch oven, both inside and out, are covered with a very thin layer of oil.
Place the dutch oven back in the oven or gas grill, but this time, place it upside-down with the lid resting on the legs of the oven. This will prevent excess oil from pooling in the bottom of the oven. Bake the oven for an hour or so at 375°. This baking hardens the oil into a protective coating over the metal.
After baking, allow the dutch oven to cool slowly. When it is cool enough to handle, apply another thin coating of oil. Repeat the baking and cooling process. When the oven can be handled again, apply one more very thin coating of oil. Do not leave any oil standing in the oven! Use paper towels or cotton rags to soak up any excess oil. At this point, your oven will have three layers of oil: Two baked-on layers and one applied while it was warm. The oven is now ready for use.

3. Maintain the Seasoning
This seasoning procedure only needs to be done once. As the oven is used, this baked-on coating will darken and eventually turn black. This is a sign of a well-seasoned, well-maintained oven.

Each time the oven is used, it needs to be cleaned and covered with another thin layer of oil. This will maintain the seasoning and the oven will continue to improve with age.

Offline Darren

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Re: Seasoning a Dutch Oven
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 08:40:53 am »
I just want to add to this that yes, this does work!

So long as you actually follow all of the directions. I'm going to be re-re-seasoning my dutch oven, because:

1) I don't know if all of the rust got off in the first place - there might have been a speck left...and
2) I only did one coat of the oil in the seasoning process. You really need at least three, I would say.

Just something to do on a spring day outside!

-darren
There are two rules of Dutch Oven Cooking:
1) If you cook too much food, share.
2) Cook too much food.