_DO's Need Love Too!

Serves: 5



Whether you buy a new DO or find a used one at a yard sale, it just makes good sense to take care of it! With normal care a Dutch will last a lifetime. In reality they will last several lifetimes, but I for one am not going to worry about what cooking gear I’ll need once I leave this life. Speaking of that event, most folks I know would prefer to inherit cash. My old pard ‘Catfish,’ aka Tom Beck, once said there is nothing easier to move than cash! At this point I don’t know how much cash I’ll be leaving my son, Brian, but he will for sure need a truck to move the cast-iron portion of his inheritance! Anyway…enough said for the longevity of Dutch ovens!

When you purchase a brand new Dutch, read and follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding care and maintenance. They have way more experience than I do, but if perchance you lost the product information, here is the procedure recommended by Lodge Manufacturing. A DO comes from the foundry with a preservative coating that prevents rusting. Unprotected, a new Dutch will rust just from humidity in the air. Begin by washing the DO and the lid in hot soapy water. Rinse it well and when it’s completely dry you’re ready to start ‘seasoning’ your DO. You will also hear this referred to as ‘curing’ but the terms are interchangeable. The folks at Lodge recommend you use vegetable oil or olive oil and not animal fat such as lard. With a paper towel or a new sponge wipe every surface of both the oven and the lid inside and out with a thin film of oil. Put the DO and lid in your oven upside down and place a sheet of aluminum foil underneath to catch any excess oil which may drop off. Close the oven door and set the temperature for 450 degrees and find something else to do for at least an hour. Turn the oven off and let the DO cool down to room temperature in the oven (another 1-2 hours).

The DO is now ready to use. Some folks have been led to believe it requires some mystical miracle voodoo to properly season a DO, but I assure you it’s as easy as I’ve described. But...read on to learn what NOT to do when seasoning a new Dutch!

A buddy of mine who shall remain anonymous operates under the philosophy that ‘if a lot does a good job, more will do it better.’ It might work in some situations perhaps but not for the job at hand. This fellow admits he did read the directions then decided a thick application of shortening at a much higher heat would produce better results in the same amount of time. Wrong! Increasing the amount of shortening to which you’re applying more BTU’s than recommended will exponentially increase the potential for disaster! Twenty-one years as a game warden taught me that it’s human nature to rationalize one’s mistakes and make giant leaps of logic in order to place the blame on someone else. The victim to this leap of logic was present in the house but she happened to be asleep when the ‘accident’ occurred. A downfall of living in a small rural community is the volunteer fireman could easily be a friend or relative who is very likely to tell all his friends and relatives about the ‘stupid’ things seen while being a volunteer fireperson. But, I’m getting ahead of myself here.


‘Twas the week before elk season and all through the house,
Just one creature was stirring and it wasn’t a mouse.
While Mom and the kids slept like the dead,
Dad poured another beer and admired its head.
Knives to be sharpened and saddles to mend,
If left in the house would push Mom ‘round the bend.
With the house so quiet ‘twas easy to work,
No one to nag or give his chain a jerk.
Before heading to camp his new Dutch must be cured,
His wife he told, "No mess I’ll make, I give you my word"!
Like mustard on a wiener the shortening he spread,
He put the Dutch in the oven and carried the rest to the shed.
Chores all done (he thought), upstairs he went,
He shuttered the windows and even the vent.
He crawled in with Mom and was soon fast asleep,
A couple hours passed before the smoke alarm started to BEEP!
Fog in their brains they wondered, "What is that clatter?"
Then Mom screamed, "Fire!" That’s what’s the matter!
Visions of embers hastened their nocturnal retreat,
The fire department arrived but had no fire to beat.
Windows and doors they opened to help clear the smoke,
Mom wasn’t impressed when Dad tried to joke.
They coiled their hoses and drove off out of sight,
Then Mom and Dad, they started to fight.

The giant leap of logic I spoke of earlier went like this. It was the wife’s fault because she gave him the DO for Father’s Day and should have foreseen his unfortunate and regrettable lapse of consciousness. I’ve tried similar logic myself, and I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work!

Spiced with More Tall Tales - Introduction

This _DO's Need Love Too! recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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