You can season your cast iron Dutch oven on the grill instead of in the oven. The main benefit of this is to keep the smell of baked oil out of your house. I still use the oven sometimes to season cast iron cookware, but when I do, I make sure it is a nice day and open up the house.
If it’s too cold or too hot, I’m going to season my cast iron on the grill. It’s the same process as in the oven except, the house doesn’t smell like hot oil. But what is this seasoning process, and why do we need it?
Let’s tackle the why first.
First of all, what’s so great about cast iron? Well, cast iron cookware is heavy duty and extremely durable. I just bought a Bayou Classic 8.5-quart cast iron Dutch oven and it weighs 22 pounds. Wouldn’t you think that should last a while? If you treat it right and keep it from rusting, it will last many generations.
Cast iron has excellent heat retention qualities which allows for an even cooking temperature without hot spots, and can go from the stove top to the oven or even on an open fire. Try that with a high tech expensive pan. Oh, and did mention, it’s extremely low cost when compared to other high quality pots and pans.
Bottom line is cast iron cookware is extremely efficient, long lasting and low cost. On top of that, a well-seasoned cast iron pan is non-stick as well.
Seasoning not only gives cast iron that non-stick quality, it also protects it from rust. Rust is the number one enemy of cast iron. It’s the seasoning bond that makes cast iron cookware so great.
Without seasoning, your cast iron pot or pan would soon become just another piece of rusty iron. The seasoning process is absolutely vital to the life and performance of your cast iron cookware.
So let me walk you through the same steps I took to season my Bayou Classic cast iron Dutch oven.
1) When you take delivery of your new cast iron cookware, you need to scrub it in warm water. Most companies ship their cast iron cookware with a paraffin wax coating and you need to remove it. This should be the only time you wash your cast iron cookware with soap.
2) Pre-heat your grill to 300 degrees or so. Using a paper towel, coat the cast iron cookware in Crisco vegetable shortening. You don’t need to gob a lot on, a nice even coat will do just fine. Make sure you coat the inside and outside of your pan or pot.
3) Place your pot or pan upside down on the grill and close it up. Let it cook for about an hour.
4) After an hour, turn off the grill, let your cast iron cool and wipe off any excess oil. You’ve just completed step one.
Repeat this process 2 or 3 times for best results.
As the cast iron heats up, it’s pores open and the oil or shortening bakes in. When the cast iron cools, the pores close creating that seasoning bond. As you repeat this process layers are built up and soon you have a non-stick cast iron pan that will not rust.
How do you care for your well-seasoned cast iron cookware?
When you are done cooking, rinse with hot water, and wipe clean with a paper towel. Never use cold water on a hot cast iron pan, it can warp or even crack it. If there is caked on food, scrub with a stiff bristled, non-metallic brush. Never scrub with soap as this will break down the seasoning bond.
Towel dry and place your cast iron pot or pan back on the burner on low heat and cook off all moisture. Then, using a paper towel, apply a thin coat of cooking oil to the cooking surface, and let it cook off for a minute or two.
If you follow these steps your cast iron cookware will last all of your lifetime and possibly many more.
So, if you would like to purchase cast iron cookware click this link to our online store. We carry the Bayou Classic line of cast iron cookware. It is well made and reasonably priced. In fact, make sure you sign up for our newsletter, we are running a special this month on cast iron cookware for our subscribers.