Long before anyone ever thought of the crockpot, people used cast iron dutch ovens to slow cook their meats and soups and stews. Cast iron dutch ovens have been used for hundreds of years by thousands of cooks. Lodge is a specific brand of cast iron dutch ovens. Lodge produces thousands of pieces of cast iron cookware each year. Based in the United States, Lodge produces some of the highest quality cast iron ware that can be found.
Cast iron dutch ovens are extremely versatile. They can go from the stovetop to the oven and even to the campfire. In times of storms and power outages, Lodge dutch ovens can even be used to cook over fires in fireplaces.
If you have ever bought or ordered a Lodge dutch oven, you may notice that when first removed from the box, the dutch oven seems to have a layer of wax like substance on it. This is a protective coating that the Lodge manufacturers place on the dutch oven to ensure that the dutch oven does not rust while sitting on a store shelf or while in transit. The protective coating can be removed by seasoning the dutch oven. It is very important that all Lodge cast iron cookware be seasoned prior to use. Seasoning your dutch oven accomplishes two goals:
1. Seasoning coats the cast iron dutch oven and prevents the build up of rust.
2. Seasoning creates a non-stick surface for cooking.
Please note that proper seasoning takes time and use.
According to Lodge, there are several maintenance and cleaning tips which should be followed in order to ensure that your cast iron dutch oven lasts. Lodge notes that a cast iron dutch oven should never be initially seasoned inside due to the risk of excessive smoking and fire. Lodge recommends that the initial seasoning process take place outside on a grill.
1. Remove any paper labels from your cast iron dutch oven before placement on the grill.
2. Place the dutch oven on low on the grill in order to burn off the protective wax coating.
3. Allow dutch oven to cool slightly, then grease, inside and outside with vegetable oil, shortening, lard, or bacon grease.
4. Turn the Lodge dutch oven upside down on the grill while seasoning. This ensures that no oil accumulates in the bottom of the dutch oven.
5. Heat the dutch oven for about an hour on a temperature of 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the dutch oven to cool for about an hour before attempting to handle it. Don’t be alarmed if you see smoke coming from the grill during the seasoning process. You are actually burning the oil into the dutch oven. This is what gives it the black shiny finish.
6. If the dutch oven is not as black as you would like, repeat the process.
If your dutch oven does become rusty, simply scrub the rust off with a scouring pad, then go through the seasoning process again. If the rust is extremely hard to remove, then Lodge recommends soaking the dutch oven in a solution of vinegar and water and then scrubbing and reseasoning.
Remember to never add a cold liquid to your hot cast iron dutch oven. Doing so will cause your cast iron dutch oven to crack or shatter. After using your dutch oven, allow it to cool and then wash it quickly in mild, soapy water. Dry thoroughly after washing. Neglecting to wash your Lodge cast iron dutch oven will cause any oil that is left behind to turn rancid. After you have dried your Lodge dutch oven, place briefly on the stovetop with the eye set on low and allow any excess moisture to evaporate. Place a paper towel inside and then replace the lid after the dutch oven cools.
With the proper care and maintenance, your Lodge dutch oven should last for many generations.