Dutch Oven

Discussion in 'Dutch Oven Cooking' started by Econ, Dec 30, 2019.

  1. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    We got back into cast iron to get away from toxic nonstick frying pans and cookware. We are up to 11 pieces including the camper's inventory. I have gotten pretty good at seasoning. The Dutch oven was the most difficult trying to slick up the cast iron. If all other pieces get an "A" the Dutch gets a "c".

    DW has expressed discontent with the current Dutch. Though she is not cooking tomatoes nor sauerkraut it is hard on the seasoning and doesn't respond to cleaning like the other pieces. It could be this one individual piece is bad. The seasoning has a tendency to peel. Especially where the walls intersect with the floor.

    She said that there is an old fashioned coating for dutch ovens that maybe enamel. Does anyone have experience with this? Does it clean easy? Any recommendations?

    PS: We are not interested in anything with modern ceramic coatings. The green stuff they use on frying pans.

    Thanks for the help. There may be gift giving in the future.
     
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I think the old /new ones had a porcelain coating. I have an expensive one for the home. I do not think these will do well for camping, as i think the porcelain will crack at certain temperatures. Lodge makes one for 60 $ the le cursett are a few hundred. If using st hime check the ratings on the top nob some are 325 then they melt. A higher heat rated nob was 60$ for the le cursett.
    You could look for an older cast iron dutch oven, the process was smoother so less pock marks so to speak in the inside to season. Some also sand them down. Good luck.
     
  3. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    I had this problem when I tried to season a DO on a charcoal grill. I may not have gotten it hot enough but I think contaminants from residue on the grill or the filler from the charcoal briquets got into the coating and kept it from bonding to the iron.

    I like to strengthen the coating by making cornbread. Preheat the DO to about 450F and pour in about a tablespoon of oil just before you pour in the batter. You should hear the batter sizzle when it's added. I use corn oil or vegetable shortening, just my preference. Reduce heat and cook the bread as usual, if done properly the cornbread should just fall out of even a poorly seasoned pan. After the DO is cool wipe out any residual cornmeal with a paper towel and reheat the pan on the stove top until it begins to smoke. There should be no need to wash the pan.
     
  4. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    Lodge has to be the worst quality if pockmarks are the standard. Their CI when their "seasoning" is removed reminds one of a WWI battlefield. The reason they preseason is to hide the pock marks.

    I confess. I am a grinder. All evidence of the preseasoning on the bottom of the pan is removed. Pock marks and all. Someone gave me some Chinese pans and they are heavier and smoother than Lodge. My baby is the Stargazer. It is machined CI.

    Seasoning is done in the oven. I do 9 pieces at a time. The oven is heated to 220* to open up the pores in the CI. Then they are removed. A quarter sized drop of grapeseed oil ( smoking temperature of 460*F) is smeared around the pan with a blue paper shop towel. Blue paper shop towel is lint free and lint contributes to a rough surface. Back into the oven for 10 minutes for the oil to sink in then out again. The pans are wiped out with a dry shop towel. The object is to make the pan as dry as possible. Back in for 90 minutes while the oven heats to 450*F. After 90 minutes raise the temperature for about 15 minutes getting the pans just over the smoking point. Works for everything except the DO so it is suspected it has to do with what is being cooked. The only non meat item is red cabbage.

    DO is not used for camping.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  5. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I need to slick up the bottoms of my CI cookware because we have a ceramic / glass cooktop at home that I don't want to damage... And I totally agree with the POV on teflon / chemical non stick cookware, the stuff gives me the heebie jeebies...

    My process has been use the flap wheel sander, and sand down as much of the CI inside as physically possible, and the bottom of the pan, not worrying about the sides and handles, clean it REALLY well with hot water, a nylon scrubber, and then dry it in the oven, wiping it down once dry again with a clean towel to get any remaining grinding / sanding resudue gone.

    Once that is done, I wipe it down with olive oil and put it back in the oven at 250 deg for an hour or so, pull it out, while still hot enough to have the pores open, repeat oiling and baking for at least 3 to 4 cycles. Then let it fully cool naturally. Then start cooking with it. As you cook with it, the seasoning should bake in.

    The flaking in the coreners is odd, but can be due to the corners not being sufficiently clean prior to seasoning, the CI not being hot enough to have the pores open when you oiled it for seasoning causing that to sit on top of the CI instead of in it, or there being some sort of contamination like the grinding / sanding residue I was referring to above causing adhesion problems with the seasoning and CI...

    ANyway that is what my thoughts on it are...
     
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  6. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    I am NOT trying to start a spitting match about grinding/not grinding (I have, and will again), however, I have read many people saying that grinding makes it difficult to season again (some say almost as bad as burning in a fire). Having said that, I have to wonder if it doesn't have something to do with the grinding residue (iron dust and sanding media; garnet, carborundum, etc). If I were to have trouble with one, I think I'd try some heavy duty cleaning before I tried seasoning again. Maybe a lye tank or an e-tank to take it down to clean, bare iron, then try seasoning again.

    I think your seasoning procedure is as good as any I know of, but I've never used grapeseed oil, so I can't say much about that. How about two rounds of your regular seasoning, followed by two or three rounds of cornbread, exclusively?
     
  7. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I could do that once and then would have to move out.
     
  8. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    On the first pieces a right angle grinder was used like the 10k Youtube videos. Now use a sanding pad and 100/150 grit on a drill in combination with a flapper. That yields a smoother /better surface.

    Read a paper by a chemist who has abandoned modern cookware in favor of CI. He explained it is the exposure to extreme temperature that turned the oil into a polymer hence why I use 450/460*F

    A lady in excess of 100 years old told me to throw it in the campfire.
     
  9. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the opinion. This started after a couple years use so that makes it hard to tie it to the grinding. Could it be from sauerkraut juice?

    Grapeseed oil has a smoking temperature of 450*F hence its use. We have also banned the toxic, industrial seed, machine oil, called vegetable oil by the Proctor and Gable marketing department, from the premise. Unfortunately, cornbread with cracklings has been banned but I did allow myself to have one slice for Christmas. Corn has been banned under the seeds of grass exclusion.

    I think we'll burn the DO out and start over again.
     
  10. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I don't care for the grinder approach. Far too aggressive.

    A flap wheel on a good drill, and progressively finer sandpaper on an orbital sander on the flats does the job. I am not trying to get it glass smooth, I am trying to get it to a more comfortable orange peel like finish... Long term proper seasoning will fil in the voids...
     
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  11. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    @dbhost I see you live in League City. We may stop by in 2024 on the way to the solar eclipse. Spent 20 years in Huston one month (Aug/Sept?) Remember that urban cowboy on the fake bull? Is Gilleys still open?
     
  12. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Gilleys in Pasadena closed a long time ago, before I moved here. And I've been here since '94.

    Every so often there is a rumor that floats around that Gilleys will be reopened. There is a Facebook page. But the address is a used car dealership now.
     
  13. BBQdave

    BBQdave Active Member

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    Late to the conversation, and sincerely, my following thoughts are not meant to "heat up" anyone, but...

    I have never (nor would I ever) grind or sand cast iron. My brother-in-law (favorite in-law forever) gifted me a cast iron skillet at least 130 years old. He restores cast iron, and no sanding involved.

    Heat, oil, wipe... repeat.

    My standard practice is to heat skillet, add olive oil (tablespoon or so) and let heat some more. Add what I am cooking, and after cooking - put some water in the skillet and let the water heat. Don't let it boil. As a little steam starts, I gently scrape (rub) with a wood spatula. This removes food stuck, if any.

    Once a month or so, after cook and clean, I add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to warm-hot cast iron and wipe coat - let sit on stove with burner off. After cast iron is cool, I wipe any excess oil.

    If I'm cooking with tomatoes or acidic food, I do an olive oil treatment (as described above) after the cook.

    There may be situations where one might sand to restore heavily damaged cast iron, but as a practice to re-season cast iron, I would not sand.

    Time and cooking = seasoning :)
     
  14. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I think the sanding is mostly done to the newer type cast iron. They tend to have more pock marks and voids making it harder to get a good non stick coating. This is especially true of the lower end stuff.
     
  15. BBQdave

    BBQdave Active Member

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    I appreciate that. Big difference between my 130+ age cast iron skillet (smooth, very smooth) and my Lodge skillet.

    My Lodge is my daily skillet. Ham & egg sandwhich every morning. It's cooking surface is bumpy, small pock marks dot the skillet surface. But it's well seasoned, and the ham and egg slide out of the skillet easily :)

    It seems smoother, with the few years of use. Wondering what it will be ten years from now. My cooking is done with cast iron and/or crock pot. Big fan of cast iron :)
     
  16. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Its the way they were made. The older ones were done diffrently, i cant remember exactly how. So , the bumps will not wear out. It might get smoother as the seasoning keeps filling up the holes? Idk. I do know you can clean up and reseason almost any rusted thing. Cast iron cookware included!
     

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