Author Topic: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update  (Read 6265 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« on: June 05, 2016, 10:40:35 PM »
I ran across a super buy on a new Dutch oven a few weeks ago so bought one for our US elk camp, larger than my old one.  The biggest grocery store in Salmon, Idaho has 9 quart ones for $24.99.  The brand is American Outback.

I got a kick out of the folksy instructions for how to season it so will paste an exact copy below.   
********************************************************

Start by thoroughly washing your cast iron piece.  This product comes with a wax coating to prevent rust.  This wax coating has to be completely removed before you start seasoning, so make sure you wash well and use very hot water.  Once clean, dry completely. Now you want to take and cover every inch of your cookware in vegetable shortening.  Some people will tell you to use lard or bacon grease but products like Crisco works great.

The secret of seasoning is to get the oil (shortening) hot enough that it can melt into every single pore of the cast iron but not burn into a chunky hard mess.  So, with your cookware completely coated you need to heat it up to about 300 degrees F and leave it there for an hour.  This can be done in your oven, but it tends to smell pretty bad before the process is complete.  You can also set it on some live coals.  If it has a lid, put the lid on and put the coals on top of it.  Remember where you want the temperature.    One trick is to turn the pots over and place foil on the rack underneath.  This allows the excess oil to drain away and not burn on the inside of the pot.  This too can be a messy proposition.  After an hour of heating, turn off the heat and let the cast iron cookware cool down where it is.  You want this cooling to be nice and slow.  Once cooled, you can remove it and give it another cleaning but this time just wash away any excess or burned on oil.  Finally, take a few paper towels and some cooking oil and lightly coat the entire piece, store in a dry place.


I'll summarize instructions for ongoing care rather than type out the whole thing.

1.  Wash with soap and water and dry thoroughly, even to heating it briefly to insure that the cast iron is dry.

2.  Never soak nor let soapy water stand in the cast iron for any length of time.

3.  NEVER put the cast iron in a dishwasher.

4.  Coast lightly with oil and wipe off.

5. Store your cast iron with the lid off.  If covered, moisture can build up and cause rust.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 09:59:18 AM by Okanagan »

Offline pitw

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 7190
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutrch oven update
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2016, 06:36:25 AM »
I've never washed a cast iron with soap. 
I say what I think not think what I say.

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2016, 10:35:34 AM »
I've never washed a cast iron with soap.

Me neither.

I was surprised that the instructions on the new one said to use soap.  Maybe a liability thing? :shrug:  I left out one part that I shouldn't have so will go back and add it:  never soak or let soapy water stand in the cast iron.  Sounds to me like it is best to avoid soap altogether, and I'll stick with that.




« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 09:17:43 PM by Okanagan »

Offline slagmaker

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3592
  • Vegatables, it's what FOOD eats.
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutrch oven update
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2016, 12:12:01 PM »
I season with lard. Never did like the crisco seasoning, it leaves a sticky feeling for a long time.

The use of soap is a situational thing for me. I prefer not to use it but I will if a situation arrises
Don't bring shame to our sport.

He died for dipshits too.

Offline pitw

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 7190
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutrch oven update
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2016, 02:45:49 PM »
I've never washed a cast iron with soap.

Me neither.

I was surprised that the instructions on the new one said to use soap.  Maybe a liability thing? :shrug:  I left out one part that I shouldn't have so will go back and add it:  never soak or let soapy water stand in the cast iron.  Sounds to me like it is best to avoid soap altogether, and I'll stick with that.

Washing my cast in soap is a way to be closer to divorce than the past week has been.  I never wash my popcorn pot either and it ain't cast. :biggrin:
I say what I think not think what I say.

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 09:57:10 AM »
I'm lapping the lid and pot together.  I've got this new Dutch oven sitting by my computer desk with valve grinding compound smeared on the rim of the pot and the matching flange of the lid.  For two days now whenever I feel like it I spin the lid on the pot around for a minute or two.  Part of the contact surfaces are still original pebbly surface but well over half is now smooth polished iron.  Years ago I read a piece by Ted Trueblood where he recommended lapping the lid to the pot for a much tighter fit, which seals in heat/steam better for cooking.  Added later:  wish I had a motor rigged up to turn the lid!

Next, I plan to grind down and smooth the inner surface of the Dutch oven pot before final cleaning and seasoning.  It is hard to get into the bottom of the pot with an angle grinder so am cobbling up a 3" slightly flexible grinding pad that fits in my electric drill.   I want to finish the smoothing with at least 300 and probably 400 grit.  One I start grinding/smoothing I plan to work over all of my cast iron skillets though I wince at losing the years of patina.  None of those have had the smoothing treatment, which makes them amazingly non-stick.  I did that as an experiment on a new skillet for my daughter as her adult intro to cooking with cast iron (re-intro from childhood).


« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 09:17:59 PM by Okanagan »

Offline FinsnFur

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29035
  • Fins and Fur Outdoors
    • Fins and Fur Hosting
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutrch oven update
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 05:37:37 AM »
Would a sand blaster work?
Fins and Fur Web Hosting

   Custom built websites, commercial/personal
   Online Stores
   Domain Names
   Domain Transfers
   Free site maintenance & updates


 http://FinsandFurHosting.com

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2016, 10:29:51 PM »
Would a sand blaster work?

Might.  I've never used a sand blaster, but have seen them in use and it would be much faster.  How fine a polish can you get with a sand blaster?   I want very smooth, a 400 grit finish.



« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 09:18:13 PM by Okanagan »

Offline FinsnFur

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29035
  • Fins and Fur Outdoors
    • Fins and Fur Hosting
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutrch oven update
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2016, 11:10:55 PM »
I'm not 100% sure but I think it depends on the surface being blasted. I've only done car rims and frames, which leaves a surface good enough to prep and prime.
Fins and Fur Web Hosting

   Custom built websites, commercial/personal
   Online Stores
   Domain Names
   Domain Transfers
   Free site maintenance & updates


 http://FinsandFurHosting.com

Offline Hawks Feather

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 11169
  • Custom Call Maker
    • Jerry Latta Photography
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutrch oven update
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2016, 07:04:28 AM »
You are getting this fixed up way better than new.  Have you thought of opening a modification/improvement shop for cast iron?  The more you do the better you will become.  Maybe you can hook the lid to a ceiling fan and keep cool while the fan does the work . . .  :wink:

Jerry

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2016, 01:45:19 PM »
You are getting this fixed up way better than new.  Have you thought of opening a modification/improvement shop for cast iron?  The more you do the better you will become.  Maybe you can hook the lid to a ceiling fan and keep cool while the fan does the work . . .  :wink:

Jerry

Good ideas.  Seriously I'll bet someone could make a paying side job out of furbishing and refurbishing cast iron cookware.  Maybe offer that service along with knife sharpening.  Hmmm... 

I ain't looking for a job right now for myself.  :biggrin:  What I figured out about myself in the past few days is that I am doing any kind of small project that will get me out of writing on a couple of books I have in the works.  :wo:  So went and picked 14 lbs. of strawberries this morning and am back tinkering with the cast iron.   :shrug:


« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 09:18:30 PM by Okanagan »

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2016, 10:16:43 AM »
Some pics of the grinding and polishing process.  First one is after some lapping of the lid and rim and got tired of that so decided to smooth out the inside for awhile.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


Rim of the Dutch oven after some lapping the lid with medium fine valve grinding compound.  Part is smooth and part still needs working down, but overall it is WAY smoother and tighter fit than at the beginning.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


I was surprised and disappointed at how rough the inside of the pot was.  My old one I bought 30 years ago was much smoother to start.  The roughest part of this one is on the inside.  They finished the outside with an even sand cast "pebble" finish but the inside had larger pits and imperfections.  In the pic below the bottom was sanded just enough to show up the imperfections.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


Part way along.  The corner curve at the bottom is the hardest to reach with power tools that I have.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


Getting close to finished below.  It is way smoother than at the start,  180 grit is the finest pad I can find locally for my power tools so that is as fine as my grinding will go, other than a little touch up with some 320 grit on a hand pad.   I will not polish to a 400 grit as planned.  180 polished feels super smooth to my finger tips.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


The tools I used below.  Neither is ideal to get into the bottom and sides of a Dutch oven.  A flap wheel (not shown) works better on the angle grinder, especially in the corner.  I'm going to go buy another flap wheel grinder disk to work on the inside bottom corner and may call it good without a super smooth finish on the inside walls.  They feel smooth to my fingers now.

Use eye protection and a dust mask.  The sparks ricochet weirdly inside the pot and hit my cheek a lot, plus the mask was black with the fine black powder dust from the grinding. 

visitors can't see pics , please register or login

 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 04:06:24 PM by Okanagan »

Offline pitw

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 7190
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2016, 10:20:39 PM »
May I say you have taken gourmet dutch oven cooking to a level achieved by none before you. :yoyo:
I say what I think not think what I say.

Offline KySongDog

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 7358
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2016, 01:51:16 AM »
I appreciate the pics.  I have some old really rusty cast iron that I've been thinking about restoring.  That flap wheel disk is a good idea.

Offline FinsnFur

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29035
  • Fins and Fur Outdoors
    • Fins and Fur Hosting
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2016, 05:52:25 AM »
Looking good. If it's any conciliation, your dutch oven is made out of the same material an engine block is :laf: In fact your pictures reminded me of porting and polishing my heads.
Fins and Fur Web Hosting

   Custom built websites, commercial/personal
   Online Stores
   Domain Names
   Domain Transfers
   Free site maintenance & updates


 http://FinsandFurHosting.com

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2016, 11:46:04 AM »
I appreciate the pics.  I have some old really rusty cast iron that I've been thinking about restoring.  That flap wheel disk is a good idea.

While looking around for ideas I ran across a Youtube video where the fellow uses electrolysis to remove rust from old cast iron.  Search YouTube with "electrolysis for cast iron" and similar word combos and it should show up.  He used a battery charger if I recall and got the rust off before any polishing or grinding.   


Offline pitw

  • Platinum Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 7190
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2016, 12:34:03 PM »
Somewhere I have the recipe dad used for this.  It was unbelievable how clean stuff came.  The old fool wrecked a lot of antique pieces playing with it. :pout:
I say what I think not think what I say.

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2016, 01:09:10 PM »
Here's a link to a DIY electrolysis.  Seems like easy to follow instructions on recipes etc.   There are dozens of other such videos on YouTube.


Offline FinsnFur

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29035
  • Fins and Fur Outdoors
    • Fins and Fur Hosting
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2016, 08:34:03 PM »
I want his wood pile, to add to mine. :innocentwhistle:
Fins and Fur Web Hosting

   Custom built websites, commercial/personal
   Online Stores
   Domain Names
   Domain Transfers
   Free site maintenance & updates


 http://FinsandFurHosting.com

Offline Okanagan

  • Gold Membership
  • *
  • Posts: 3431
Re: Prepping & Seasoning cast iron Dutch oven update
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2016, 11:46:16 AM »
I'm done messing with prep and ready to cook with the new Dutch oven.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


I tried a new-to-me seasoning method and it gave the cast iron a golden hue.  I'm sure it will turn black with use over time. My previous seasoning methods left the surface a little gummy but not this way.  The higher heat seems way superior.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


Seasoning sequence:
1. Pre-heat an oven to 200 F.  Then wash the cast iron with soap and water with fine steel wool.  Finish with as cold rinse water as possible to avoid flash rust on the bare metal.   Flash rust was so rapid on the ground and polished bare metal that I washed in cold water.   

2.  Dry the metal with a paper towel and immediately stick it in the hot oven for 15 minutes or more for large items like Dutch oven to thoroughly dry the porous metal.

3.  Remove from oven and immediately while hot, wipe on solid Crisco, all over inside and out.  The Crisco will melt and the porous cast iron soaks it in.  Then wipe off all of the liquid Crisco that you can and return to the hot oven, now set to 300 F.

4.  After 15 minutes at 300 F, take the cast iron out of the oven and wipe off Crisco to keep it from pooling and forming a hard goopy patch.

5.  Put the cast iron back in the oven at 400 F for two hours, and let it cool slowly without opening the oven door.

The result is a hard surfaced nicely seasoned piece of cast iron.  The YouTube chef who recommended it says that once is enough but he runs his new cast iron items through four cycles of this to give them more lustre.  Never wash after the first time, of course, just apply new coats.  I did two cycles for two coats on the item above.

Two other updates as to how I polished.  I used a dremel with a bullet shaped grinder to reach a band of very rough cast iron that ran all around the inside of the Dutch oven a half inch above he bottom.  Then I went to a porous hard sponge looking metal grinder/ polisher used in an electric drill to finish.  It does more than polish and takes off a trace of metal, and was the only tool I had larger than the dremel that would reach all of the inside of the Dutch oven.  I did not try to eliminate all tool marks, merely got it smooth to touch.   The rim of the Dutch oven turned out knife sharp on the outer edge after lapping, so had to round that edge a bit with a stone.

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


One other discovery:  the lid is not flat, and so the lapping took metal off of the high waves in the flange but left low spots untouched.    If you buy a Dutch oven new, I recommend placing the lid on a flat floor to see if it will rock.  If you have several from which to choose, pick the one with the flattest lid.

Wife is exasperated at how much time I spent on this.  She is right. :innocentwhistle:

Of course, now could do all of the smoothing except lid lapping in less than half an hour.



« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 07:40:47 PM by Okanagan »