Answer: Below is the procedure I use. You can also season one outdoors over charcoal. See Duane and Sandy's outdoor cooking booklet for instructions.
Seasoning a Dutch Oven
1. Wash with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. Rinse and dry completely. Dutch ovens are shipped with a coating of food grade wax.
2. Place in hot oven for a few minutes to completely dry and drive all water out of the pores of the iron.
3. Carefully remove pot from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
4. Oil the cookware (inside and out) with MELTED solid vegetable shortening. I use a paper towel to spread Crisco all over the pot and the lid.
5. Turn upside down on the top rack of a 450°F pre-heated oven.
6. Put aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any excess drippings.
7. Bake the pot and lid for one hour at 450°F.
8. Turn oven down to 200 degrees and bake for an additional hour.
9. Turn off oven and let the pot cool slowly in the oven.
10. Store, uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.
You probably want to do this on a nice day so you can open the windows as it will make a LOT of smoke as the oil bakes onto the surface. You can use oils other than Crisco as well. I have used Canola oil with good results. Do not use an animal fat such as bacon drippings or lard. It will go rancid in storage much quicker than vegetable shortening. I used to recommend seasoning the pot at 350 degrees but have decided that 450 degrees or so gives a blacker finish quicker. he 350 degree baked seasoning is perfectly good but takes several uses to achieve the blackened finish that denotes lots of good use.
Question: How do I clean my Dutch Oven?
Answer: After each use, you can clean the Dutch oven as follows:
Cleaning a Dutch Oven
1. If food is badly burned and crusted in the pot, fill with very hot water and let sit for a few minutes.
2. Scrape out burned stuff with a plastic scraper or plastic spatula.
3. When excess is removed, then use hot water and a plastic scrubby or natural fiber brush to scrub clean the pot. Natural fiber brushes can be found at Asian stores and other places as well.
4. Don't use soap to clean the pot as it will get into the seasoning and possibly be tasted in your next dish.
5. Place back on heat and let dry thoroughly. Store with lid open in a dry place when cooled. Many say lightly oil before storing but they will rapidly go rancid in warmer climates if stored with an oil coating. Just oil slightly before each use.
Tip: NEVER wash your cast iron cookware in a dishwasher. (Never wash your good kitchen knives in the dishwasher either)
Question: What is a DOG anyway?
Answer: A DOG is a "Dutch Oven Gathering". Usually a local gathering of Dutch Oven cooks who get together to cook, trade recipes, tell tall tales, and eat very well.
Question: How do I tell how hot my pot is?
Answer: Try Jay Binghams method below.
Jay Bingham's Hand Thermometer Method of Temperature Determination
Place your open hand with the palm down about 3 inches above top of oven; count backward from 450 by 25 until it becomes uncomfortable to hold your hand in place. Count somewhat slowly, each count should be about a second. The number that you reached is the approximate temperature of the oven. I usually start with the three fewer briquettes than the size of the oven on the bottom and three more than the size on the top of the oven, which should result in an oven temperature of about 350º. Adding/removing a pair of briquettes (one top, one bottom) to/from the oven, will adjust the temperature in increments of approximately 25º.
Hand thermometer Temperature Chart
Number Counted down to Heat Temperature
450 Very Hot 450º - 500º
425 Hot 425º - 450º
400 400º - 425º
375 Moderate 375º - 400º
350 350º - 375º
325 Slow 325º- 350º
300 300º- 325º
275 275º - 300º
250 250º - 275º
What is a DOG Anyway?
by a 13 year old
A DOG is a gathering of a bunch of friendly people who don't care how much money you make or how old you are and who just want to learn more about Dutch oven cooking and cook and then pig out and eat it all after it's cooked and learn all kinds of interesting stuff like that! My Dad calls it low pressure cooking at its best. If you mess up, everyone will start telling you about the times they messed up, and for you to not worry about it and then ask you to come over and eat some of all the food they cooked and talk about how they learned to do it better and stuff like that. You just about have to put up a rope if you don't want people to come over and talk to you. But then it's OK to say, "I'm real nervous about cooking this stuff, and i'd really like to talk to you right now, but if I don't pay all my attention to this for the next 10 minutes, I'll mess it up for sure and then I'll be really embarrassed... so can you come back and talk later?? (This works)
Question: How do I keep from burning my biscuits on bottom?
Answer: Place bottom coals in a ring just under edge of the pot rather than scattering them all under the pot. Also place at least 2/3 of the coals on top of the oven.
Question: How does someone go about starting a new Chapter?
Answer: Go here and find out.
Question: Does anyone have a good list of weights and measures?