I got started cooking in my dutch ovens two years ago last Father’s Day, when my wife presented me with a 12” shallow Lodge Dutch Oven. I didn’t remember it at the time, but apparently at some point in our marriage I had mentioned to her that I wanted to learn to cook in one. So, she surprised me with one.
I knew that I would have to practice with it or I’d never get it down. We only go camping at best twice a year, and I knew that I’d never really learn if that were the only times I’d cook. So, I started cooking dinner every Sunday.
At the time, we were living at my in-laws, waiting for our current home to be completed. Sometimes, my food turned out great. Sometimes, not so much. But my family was patient with me, and not so critical when it didn’t turn out so yummy.
At any rate, I’d been noticing that the patina that I’d built up over time on that, my favorite dutch oven, was wearing a bit thin. The outside, also, was a sort of dark amber/brown, a sign that it was never truly seasoned correctly. The 8” dutch oven that my son had picked out for me, for a birthday present later that same year was also showing some wear. So, this week, instead of cooking something, I decided to reseason those two pots.
And, I thought it would be a good thing to share with all of you. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures.
I started by firing up my gas grill and removing the upper level grills, to make room for the dutch ovens. I have a thermometer on the lid of my grill, so it was easy to track the temperature (assuming it’s accurate). My goal was to heat it up to 400°. More about that later. I put the pot part of the dutch oven, upside down, without the lid, on the grill. The lid, I set on the legs of the upturned pot. I put the 8” dutch oven next to the 12”, set up the same way. I just let them heat up, with the grill lid down to trap the heat.
When they were at 350°, climbing up to 400°, I pulled the dutch ovens off the grill and set them on my back porch. Brendon and I spread a layer of shortening over them, inside and out, lids and legs and all. It was very tricky putting on the grease, because the pots were very hot. A couple of times I touched the pot a little and got zinged. I put the pots back on the grill the same way as they’d been heating up, and closed the lid again.
After about 20 minutes, I opened it up and both pots had a beautiful, smooth night black patina on them.
I turned off the gas, and left the lid open for them to cool a little. After a few minutes, I pulled them off and coated them again in another layer of shortening.
After I let them sit and cool, I brought them in. The 8” was perfectly coated in a shiny black patina. It looked great. The beloved 12” dutch oven was nicely covered, as well, especially outside, but there were some spots on the inside where the patina had burned and cracked, flaking off. I washed it off with hot water, using a plastic brush to shake off the flakes. It still has a good usable patina underneath, so I’ll keep on using it.
The heat was obviously too much. Two thoughts: One, that I should have been shooting for more like 350°. Two, I wonder if my thermometer on the grill is accurate. At any rate, on this grill, as the thermometer is currently calibrated, I should heat it up to read 350°.
And that’s how it’s done!