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Did I screw up, or is there hope?

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Okay, so I seasoned my Lodge DO by smearing canola oil all over it and cooking it for 30 mins at 350 degrees. WAIT! That's not entirely correct. I only smeared it on the surfaces that the food would touch. In hindsight, I can see that was dumb. I don't want the rest of the surfaces rusting even if not in contact with food. DUH!


It stunk really really bad. kind of an ozone (lightning strike) welding steel smell.

So right now, the DO has a slight sticky/tacky feel to it.


Can I heat it up tomorrow for an hour at 400 and be good to go or do I need to do some "DO surgery" on it?


And as far as the Sam's club DO: It is ceramic coated, EXCEPT where the lid and sides meet. At that spot, there is about a 3/16th wide area where the lid is not coated as well as the top edge of the sides. That is the only part of seasoning I was "attempting to do on that one.


So do I do the big no no and scrub (gulp) the DO with soap and water and start over, or can I toss if back in the oven and do over LOL! ?


Or do I burn it off in a fire and start over. I want to use this thing at our spring campout.




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The best thing for cleaning cast iron pots and pans is a little cooking oil and some salt.

Some people say to use newspaper, but I've used paper -towels or a cloth.

Not sure why?

As a Nipper I ate a lot of fish and chips that were always wrapped in newspaper.


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That smell was the wax burning out. Heat the DO, Drain out the melted material, then...God forgive me...WASH the DO using hot water and soap. Then heat to dry. Cool the DO, then apply oil and heat, then apply oil and heat, apply oil and heat...then cook some greasy meats and test the taste, It can be recovered. The final color needs to be very black and smooth. Continued use will correct.

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Yeah sounds like you need to get a good start. I bought some cast iron ones from a place near where I live. Had to heat and clean off all the packing grease. Of course this was after I smokes up the entire EMS station. OOOPPPS.


I have started doing my Dutch ovens outside on the grill. That is best thing I have found.

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There's hope:


If the cast iron was protected by a layer of wax before seasoning, it's possible that you haven't seasoned the DO but have just melted the wax and oil together - if it's still tacky/sticky, I would wash the DO in hot water (as hot as you can stand) and soap - which should be the first thing one does before seasoning an unseasoned dutch oven. The hot water and soap will remove most, if not all of the wax (it's a very thin layering). Now I know many people skip this step because of the Hot Water/Soap and Cast Iron do not mix meme - and while that meme is correct 99% of the time, this happens to be the 1% of the time it's not correct - the first (and only) time you should use hot water/soap is before seasoning your cast iron for the first time. Although you'll see recommendations on using beeswax for seasoning between uses its unlikely that beeswax was used by the factory to protect their wares before sale. Scrub it out well - this also happens to be that 1% of the time that steel wool is safe to use (unless you're recovering a rusted DO). You want to get rid of all the wax and now wax/oil mix as you can.


Dry it off, then use a very light coating of vegetable oil. Canola oil should be fine - if its a refined canola oil - if it's unrefined don't use it. Unrefined canola oil has a smoke point of about 225 degrees (F). Refined has a smoke point of about 400 degrees. If you're smoking out your kitchen its because you've used an oil with a smoke point lower than the temperature of the oven. Vegetable shortening and just plain old vegetable oil are popular but their smoke points are around 325 to 350 degrees. Put that into a 350 degree oven and you're going to generate smoke. Safflower oil might be the way to go - it's smoke point is about 500%. You want the oil to warm up and infuse itself into the pores of the cast iron - if it's smoking, its pretty much burning. Turn the oven to 350 to 400 degrees, put the DO and parts open face down on the oven rack (with a sheet pan on the oven rack below the rack holding the DO (don't put the cookware on the sheet pan) and cook for 1 hour. 1/2 an hour isn't enough time. Cook for at least 1 hour.


Using an outdoor grill is a great idea - make sure though that the cover can cover your cookware completely (a 12" DO would be hard to season on a Weber Kettle (unless its a very big grill) - and you'll be more successful if its a gas grill - the grill regulates the remp itself via a thermostat, just like your oven.


The end result shouldn't be sticky/tacky. If you have an obvious layer of "oil" that isn't sticky/tacky but is hard (and you know its not the hardness of the DO itself you're feeling) then hope is pretty much lost - the oil has likely polymerized and created a plastic covering - I've had this happen to one of my pans - it never fully came out - not even letting it bake in a campfire for a few hours helped remove the "oil". If you have a "bead" of hardened tannish oil where the sides and bottom meet - it's polymerized.

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  • 2 months later...

Ooops! Meant to respond alot sooner:


A few days after my original post, I re-heated the DO to 400 for an hour and then cut the stove off and waited 3 hours before taking it out of the oven. Looked great, didn't smell either.


Went camping on the 21st of April. Used the DO to make a dump cake.

Turned out great! Or at least I was told it was great as I took a plate of peach dump cake to the SM and when I got back less than 1 minute later...the DO was COMPLETELY empty! :)

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About a year ago the Troop purchased a Dutch Oven for each of our 5 Patrols. We encourage them to make as many meals as possible in the DO, and they usually do Saturday breakfast and dinner, and sometimes cake. they have cranked out some really good meals. We marked all the DO's with fire resistant paint so everyone knows which DO belongs to which Patrol.


However, the main problem for the Scouts is cleaning the DO. We instruct them to get water in the DO as soon as they are done eating, and let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour, scrape out the crud with a plastic scraper, add more water, heat on the stove or fire, scrape it clean and rinse. Then they put back on heat and oil it. This works good if they do it, but sometimes a DO is put away wet or even barely cleaned. Then it has to be cleaned after we get back from camping, and takes a lot more work as it is not only cruddy, but has some rust too.


We went winter camping in January and it was pretty cold, never getting above 20F. It was very hard to clean anything at camp as everything was frozen. For some reason the DO's were just stored after that camping trip and the QM didn't end up inspecting them. We did cabin camping in February, and took a hike in March - neither outing required us to touch the DO's.


So you can imagine what we found when we pulled the things out to prepare for our April camping trip! Yow! Needless to say, the Scouts had a real wake up call as to what happens when you don't take care of a DO! We had the Patrols clean them the best we could in the church kitchen, but many of them were still very rusty. So on our April camping trip we re-seasoned them on the camp stove with multiple oiling, scraping, and heating's. They are now fine - it just took a lot of work!


This turned out to be one of those unplanned "controlled failures" that has made the Scouts very cognizant of how important it is to take good care of their DO, and how much less work it is to do routine cleaning rather than letting the thing get rusty. They didn't need to be asked to clean their DO's on the May camping trip, and they are now stored properly, well oiled, and ready for our June camping trip.


What this taught me is much abuse a DO can take and still be brought back to life with the re-seasoning techniques others have discussed here. So, Scoutfish, the message is, there is hope, always!


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You did not mention the brand you purchased. Lodge Manufacturing Co. has an excellent web site (http://www.lodgemfg.com/) that compliments their products where you can access information on use and care of cast iron cook ware.


The odor you describe on initial heating was residual shop oil, a petroleum product, which should have been washed off with hot water and dish detergent before seasoning. Since you do not mention that anyone has keeled over yet the oven is probably OK now.


There are two schools of thought on cleaning. Scrape the oven out and heat it burnig the residual food black, scraping it again, oiling it inside and out and reheating. A second method is to fill the oven with plain water and bringing the water to a boil until the food residue floats to the surface. Dispose of the water, oil the oven and reheat. The latter method seems to work best with pastry and tomato based sauces.


Try using Crisco instead of oils. Yes, canola and peanut oils have a higher cooking temperature but the Crisco seems to penetrate more effectively. Melt the Crisco and apply it to the surface until it is shiny, not dripping, then heat to 300 - 325 degrees. The oven should not smoke. Excessive oil of any kind left on the oven may turn rancid.


Good Luck.




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I would give the ceramic (enameled?) dutch oven to your wife, and start over with an all cast iron one. Our field experience with these fancier d.o. has not been good; the finish frequently cracks, spalls with all the hard knocks. 100% ovens are more bomb-proof. Most of the advice given here is for totally cast iron ovens

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