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#130833 - 04/23/08 12:51 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Basecamp Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 107
Loc: PNW
TS, thanks for the camp-cook link. Looks great.

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#130850 - 04/23/08 03:52 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: KenK]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Sounds like you've got the whole seasoning routine down real nice. An alternative to all that expensive propane use is to get a Weber Kettle Charcoal grill and a couple 10 lb bags of charcoal. A full load of charcoal will season up 4 pots once, or one pot 4 times. Sounds a bit excessive for how long it took to get rid of all the packing wax, but it is what it is, and you do have to get it all off. Cooking it off is the best way I know.

3 seasonings on a new pot is a good start. Don't leave your cast iron with an unseasoned coat of oil on it. The oil will go rancid, turn gummy, attract debris, taint your next meal, and can lift off some of the seasoning beneath. If you've got your pot well seasoned, then store it that way. It will be fine for a good 3 to 6 months. I sometimes put a paper towel between the lid and the edge of the pot just to let a little air in once in a while and prevent condensation.

You'll know within the next firing or two of your pots whether there's a crack or not, unless they get unexpected stress (heat/cold, impact etc). Cooking in a pot that doesn't have a lip or feet is a lot more work, but having tried it you have increased your proficiency.

Kudos.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#130852 - 04/23/08 03:54 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: sandbasser]
benjammin Offline
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Registered: 02/06/04
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Enamel Cast iron is best for home use. You can use it for limited cooking at camp, but generally enamel doesn't like the rigors of campfire/charcoal type cooking, especially when trying to put embers up on the lid.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#130853 - 04/23/08 03:58 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: BobS]
benjammin Offline
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Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
You do have to be more mindful of your fire when using an Aluminum DO, and definitely avoid extremes. If your Aluminum pot is full of food, especially with a fair amount of liquid, then it should be okay. Never put an empty aluminum pot over a cooking source at camp, either propane or embers, or it can burn up, melt, or at least warp.

Generally, aluminum DOs are more tempermental when it comes to baking, like biscuits, bread, or desserts. They tend to cook unevenly, so I use them for foods that can tolerate more of a temperature differential, usually stuff with a lot of liquid in it, like a stew or a cobbler. If you do bake in one, you have to tend the pot a lot more tediously.

PS, pizza made in my 16" DO is exceptional, at home or in the big woods.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#130879 - 04/23/08 07:52 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: benjammin]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2015
Loc: NE Illinois
Benjammin,

So in the past I've cooked, cleaned (scrape/wipe out or if bad steam a bit w/ water and then scrape/wipe - no metal other than aluminum foil), and then heated the pot and applied a layer of vegi oil inside & out and let it heat a bit before storage.

Are you saying that I should NOT apply the oil before storing?

I do find the oiled surfaces annoying (dirty) when handling it between trips/uses.

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#130945 - 04/24/08 12:29 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: KenK]
benjammin Offline
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Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Yes, I would recommend that you do not put the pots away wet, meaning with a coat of oil or grease on them. A new seasoning coat should be fine, but you need to burn it in, not leave it halfway where it is still tacky. It should feel smooth and dry.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#130989 - 04/24/08 05:01 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: benjammin]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2015
Loc: NE Illinois
OK ... I usually do just that. Clean the oven, oil it, and then put it back in/on/under the coals for a while to help soak in and burn on that new layer of oil. I especially do that when I have to use water to clean it.

Now that you mention it my dutch oven in the basement - stowed for the winter - does feel kind of sticky/gummy. I'll oil it up to try to remove the gunk (assuming the new oil can act as a sort of solvent for the old oil) and then bake it for a while and NOT oil it until the next use.

I'll have to consider how "wet" it looks next time I use-oil-base it. Good advice. Thanks!

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#131006 - 04/24/08 06:45 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: KenK]
benjammin Offline
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Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
You're welcome, glad to help. Leaving them gummy/tacky allows the coating to go rancid, as well as collect dust etc. With a shiny and durable black coating of seasoning on the metal, it is going to resist the elements, scratches, and contamination a lot better.

Don't worry about removing the gunk, just put it back on the heat till it nearly quits smoking and the seasoning sets up. Once you've cooked the volatiles out, even if it rancidated previously it will be okay then.

My maintenance routine is to use it, wash it out with hot water, no soap, and a good dobie or sometimes even a green twig that the end has been well frayed. Then I put a light coat of shortening on it and put it on a medium fire (about 500 degrees, like you indicated) and let it scorch till it almost quits smoking. Then I put another light coat on, if I think it's necessary, fire it up again just like the first time, then let it cool and put it back on the shelf. I don't re-season after every use, but I've learned how to judge when it needs it fairly well now.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#131018 - 04/24/08 07:51 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: benjammin]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2015
Loc: NE Illinois
When coating with shortening do you just put that on the inside? or both inside & out?

Or...is the 1st/2nd seasoning I did inside & out good enought to protect the outside?

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#131082 - 04/25/08 12:34 PM Re: Lost-Cost Dutch Oven [Re: KenK]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
2 seasonings on a new pot is probably just fine for storage and future use. I prefer to do three if I can, but two would do. I don't generally season the outside of my pots as often as the inside. It depends on how much seasoning gets worn/ablated off as it gets used. Generally I touch up the exterior with a good seasoning coat three times a year if used regularly. Most of my pots see the fire for a full seasoning once a year at least, even if they don't get used.

I use my fingers to rub a thin coating of shortening in all over the pot. Some folks like using paper towels, but that can be messy if the towel falls apart on the slighly abrasive surface. Besides, you can feel how the grease is going on better with bare skin, and work it into the pores more. The trick is really to make the coatings as thin as possible, like you would do a good paint job on a car in several fine layers rather than one big glob. It won't smoke as bad that way, and will last a lot longer. Too much grease on a horizontal surface while it is seasoning and the coating will crinkle and flake away easily as it cures in the heat, or during the next use.

When I am doing a full-on seasoning job, I usually put the pot over the heat source outside (usually a propane burner, but charcoal and gas grills will also do). Once that initial coating of grease sets up and the smoke subsides some, I grab a piece of clean tee shirt material, maybe 4" by 4" square, and using a pair of tongs I dob it in the shortening can then wipe down the surface of the pot with it. As it heats up, the grease will soak the rag, and it'll pick up some color, but this is normal. I'll put that hot rag back in the shortening and let it melt and soak up some more, then repeat that process a time or two. Each new swabbing I let smoke out for a bit before the next application. You can really build up a good seasoning coat that way, so long as you don't overload the rag too much. If it is dripping melted shortening then it is overloaded. You want it to be like a damp dishrag that you would wipe the counter down with, wet enough to put a nice thin layer on, but not so wet you have to go in behind it and wipe up a puddle. Try this for a time or two and you'll get the hang of it, and your seasoning efforts will be vastly improved. Get yourself a good pair of heavy oven mitts or welders gloves and you will be able to handle those hot pots without having to wait for them to cool, though I've had success using just a lid lifter to move/flip the pots around.

In all this, keep in mind that your primary focus is on the inside of the pot, where the cooking's done. Keep that in good shape, and the outside isn't such a big concern. I've seen good cooks who's pots were fairly rusted up on the outside but nice shiny black on the inside and did just fine.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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