Scouts Guide to Beginnng Dutch Oven Cooking
Cleaning a Dutch Oven
What’s for Breakfast
What’s for Lunch
What’s for Dinner
What’s for Desert
The easiest way to clean a Dutch Oven is to not get it dirty to begin with. If possible, even when food is cooked in a separate pan, line the inside of the Dutch Oven with aluminum foil. If food is cooked directly in the Dutch Oven, then use Extra Heavy-Duty aluminum foil so that the foil won’t easily rip. If all of this prevention fails to keep the Dutch Oven unsoiled, or if the cooking juices or dirt get on any part of the metal then it must be cleaned.
Cleaning a Dutch Oven has one large don’t…DON’T use Soap. First wipe out as much residue as possible, with paper towels, for instance. Scrub and rinse the inside surfaces with clean water (remember, no soap).
When all of the dirt and residue has been removed, or is so cooked-on that it cannot come off by simple scrubbing, put the lid back on the Dutch Oven and put them over a bed of hot coals and put hot coals on top of the lid. Leave it in the coals for at least 15 minutes. This final heating process does two things: it disinfects the oven, and it turns remaining residue into clean ash. After the oven cools from the coals, one final wipe of the inside with a clean paper towel to remove ashes makes it ready for its next use.
If a Dutch Oven is new, or if a used oven is washed with soap by mistake, then you must season the metal. For new ovens, follow the directions on the box. To season a Dutch Oven in camp, wipe shortening (or cooking oil, if no shortening is available) lightly, and evenly on all surfaces of the clean oven (don’t forget the lid). Put the lid slightly ajar on the oven, put the oven over ~7 hot coals, and put ~7 coals on top of the Dutch Oven. Heat for an hour or more. After cooling, gently wipe the inside surfaces where any oil remains pooled and make sure that all surfaces are coated with the oil. Your Dutch Oven is now protected from rust and is ready to cook with again or to pack away for the next camping trip.
Look for upcoming articles that feature dutch recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert and my most recent article: “Scout’s Guide to Beginning Dutch Oven Cooking“
Author: Roger Tipley | Past Scoutmaster of Troop 626, Houston, TX, currently serves on his District Committee.