Cleaning Dutch Oven - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-21-2009, 12:38 AM   #1
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I found some worn rusted dutch oven and skillets. Anyone have any tips or ideas to bring them back to use. I'm not sure if it can be used for meals. I would like to try them out but not sure if it's safe for cooking meals.
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:53 AM   #2
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I found some worn rusted dutch oven and skillets. Anyone have any tips or ideas to bring them back to use. I'm not sure if it can be used for meals. I would like to try them out but not sure if it's safe for cooking meals.
Hi Riz,

Are they just rusty or are they pitted? If they are just rusty, yes they definitely can be cleaned up and re-seasoned. If they are pitted, depending on how bad, they can be sanded or wire brushed to smooth out.

Can you tell a brand? If you tap the metal with a quarter, does it ring clear, or is it more of a clunk? Chinese or Korean cast iron is often poor quality and doesn't ring. Good quality American or German made cast iron is worth working at to get them back up to snuff.

Do you already use a Dutch Oven to cook in? If not, it is a great addition to camping.

Lori Sanders
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:19 AM   #3
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Hi Riz,

Are they just rusty or are they pitted? If they are just rusty, yes they definitely can be cleaned up and re-seasoned. If they are pitted, depending on how bad, they can be sanded or wire brushed to smooth out.

Can you tell a brand? If you tap the metal with a quarter, does it ring clear, or is it more of a clunk? Chinese or Korean cast iron is often poor quality and doesn't ring. Good quality American or German made cast iron is worth working at to get them back up to snuff.

Do you already use a Dutch Oven to cook in? If not, it is a great addition to camping.

Lori Sanders
I'm not sure on the brand. but I'll try the coin test. Do quality Dutch Oven's have a name imbeded in it?
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:06 AM   #4
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One thing you don't want to do is use any kind of soap on the cast iron -- It may be absorbed and may affect food taste (I'd rather pee in it than use soap!!).

The Lodge site http://www.lodgemfg.com/ has useful information about the care of cast iron, including this on re-seasoning:

QUOTE
Re-Seasoning your Lodge Cast Iron

While maintaining the seasoning (as in Step 5 above) should keep your Cast Iron in good condition, at some point you may need to repeat the seasoning process. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, gray color, repeat the seasoning process:

Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware).

Rinse and dry completely.

Apply a thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware (inside and out).

Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any dripping.

Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.

Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven.

Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.

Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.
END QUOTE

I have read a long time ago in Yankee Magazine (How-to column by Earl Proulx) that one way to start the re-seasoning process is to put the utensil in a leaf fire (best done in the Fall, of course, when there are plenty of leaves to burn) and then allow it to cool slowly before adding the shortening or oil. Of course, you would want to vigorously wire brush or sandpaper or whatever the major rust first. A good hot campfire would also work (FullTimers don't have ovens at home for baking the cookware!).

BTW, nothing wrong about cooking with the rust -- Remember when Sun Maid raisins used to advertise that they had a lot of iron in them? It came from being processed in large cast-iron vats -- No iron nowadays because they are using stainless steel vats.

I have the cast aluminum Dutch Oven by GSI (I was trying to keep my Full Timing weight down) and the care is a lot simpler because the aluminum doesn't rust -- I just wipe out inside of the pot with some paper towels and add some cooking oil.

Here's photo showing my aluminum DO, my single-burner Coleman stove, the bucket it all goes in so it won't tip over and the home-made cover lifter and pot holder -- I can adjust the height of the DO and stove in the bucket by adding wood under the stove -- I do have to keep a watchful eye on it when cooking because there is a lot of heat reflected back on the stove from the bottom of the DO.


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Old 02-21-2009, 07:06 AM   #5
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Pete,
I know tires get hot but I didn't know they would get that hot. How long does it take to say, make biscuits on that tire with the oven?
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:37 AM   #6
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I remember my grandfather using a drill with a wire brush attachment to "scour" gunk and rust out of a cast-iron frying pan. Made short work of the rust, then he reseasoned it. That was years and years ago. My mom is still using that pan after all these years.

It's true. Some things do get better with age
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:37 AM   #7
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I remember my grandfather using a drill with a wire brush attachment to "scour" gunk and rust out of a cast-iron frying pan. Made short work of the rust, then he reseasoned it. That was years and years ago. My mom is still using that pan after all these years.

It's true. Some things do get better with age
When we pick up a crusty (one had 4 layers of cooked on food-beef, fish, something?, bacon-all very aromatic as they were ground out) at a yard sale, I immediately take out to the shop and polish it with a wire wheel. Sometimes I even use a disc sander on it. Then it's home to season it. Have some very nice old pans now. The old ones are better then anything I have seen in stores lately. Larry
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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On a really bad one I have used oven cleaner to remove the old gunk. Then cleaned with boiling water and re-seasoned. Ended up just like brand new.
I have a friend who keeps his cast iron frypan locked up because his wife wants to wash it with soap. He won't let her near it.
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:37 PM   #9
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Where do you live? If you are close to me I could clean it/them for you. I have cast iron disease so I set up an electrolysis tank. And yes you can generally use old iron as long as it is not cracked or too deeply pitted. I also do use very diluted soap to wash my CI if needed. Haven't killed a piece yet. I also lightly oil after each use till the "seasoning" gets very good.

You can use oven cleaner to get off the old black cruddy build up. Spray the item and then enclose it in a plastic trash bag overnight. Be sure to protect where ever you set it down with many layers of newspaper or set it in a plastic dish pan you don't care about because the bag will probably leak. Then wash the heck out of the pan using Dawn and a scrubby pad, repeat with the oven cleaner if needed.

For the rust you can soak it in a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. Check every couple of hours by scrubbing it (use cold water) and see how much rust is left. Do not just put in there and leave it without checking it, the acid mix will also start eating the not rusty iron too.

Dry any washed iron with paper towels or a dish cloth you don't care about and then drive out any remaining moisture by heating the item in the oven or on the stove top.

As for seasoning bare iron I have been using the "new" Pam method. Spray on warmed iron then wipe off all you can. Then heat the iron in a 250 degree oven for an hour or so. Repeat if you want to darken the finish. This seems to work as well as the use high heat and smoke up the house method.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:45 AM   #10
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I was once camped next to a nice little family, Mom, Dad and two little girls, and Dad had really been bitten by the cast iron cooking bug -- He had all the stuf, cookware, utensils and even the charcoal table for doing the cooking!

http://www.lodgemfg.com/lodge-gear.asp

Mom and the girls were quite content to let Dad make some really nice goodies!

I also found a small rack that fits inside my DO to keep roasting stuf off the bottom, like a couple of Rock Cornish Hens -- Yum!
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:16 PM   #11
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Hi: All... I always scour my cast iron skillet with coarse salt and a wad of paper towel. Replace the salt and paper towel with a clean batch when they become discolored and keep working till the salt stays white. The salt is like sandpaper and friendlier than a wire brush!!! Reseason by coating with veggie oil and baking in the oven to soap.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:22 PM   #12
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You can use oven cleaner to get off the old black cruddy build up.
If you have access to a wood stove (we heat with wood at home) you can get the wood stove going well, and put the fry pan inside it. Then when the pan and the stove have cooled, bring it out, wash it up and reseason. All the black cruddy stuff is gone, and no chemicals.
cheers
Ian
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:04 PM   #13
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If you reach the point where the "black cruddy build-up" becomes offensive, run your cast iron ware through the cleaning cycle of a self-cleaning oven. You will have to then start over with the seasoning process, but it progresses much faster than with an original new piece. In just a couple of oil/bake cycles, you'll be back in business.

As for Pete, while I am impressed that you do have a pot to pee in, don't bother to invite me for dinner.
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:33 PM   #14
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As for Pete, while I am impressed that you do have a pot to pee in, don't bother to invite me for dinner.
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