Seasoning your oven:
Once you have a Dutch oven, it must be cured or seasoned (some new ovens are now available preseasoned).
This process will keep your oven from rusting and produce an interior coating that will prevent food from sticking. The process is actually quite simple. If you have an old rusty oven, scrub it well and use a fine-grade sandpaper, a brass wheel or steel wool to clean up and expose the entire surface, inside and out. Once the metal is exposed, or if you are curing a new oven, follow the following procedure:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Place a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your
oven to catch any drops of the oil that may drip off of your Dutch oven that will be
applied in step 4.
2. Wash the entire Dutch oven well with hot soapy water (this is the only time you should
use soap). This will remove the waxy coating from a new oven and any fine metal dust
remaining in an old reconditioned one.
3. Dry the Dutch oven completely. Heat your Dutch oven, upside down, in the oven in your
4. While the Dutch oven is hot, take a small amount of oil or shortening (only use good
quality oil or shortening), and while wearing oven mitts or heavy leather gloves, use a
clean cotton cloth or paper towel to wipe the entire surface well, inside and out, to coat it
with the shortening or oil.
5. When the Dutch oven is coated, heat it to 350° for an hour. If you do this in your house,
expect some smoke.
6. If this is the initial seasoning, apply an additional coating of oil.
7. After an hour of heating, turn off your oven and let the Dutch oven cool slowly. Do not try
to force the cooling of a cast iron Dutch oven or skillet, unless you want to risk cracking
8. The Dutch oven will start turning a dark brown or black during the seasoning process and
will continue with each time used.
This initial seasoning of the Dutch oven can also be done on a charcoal grill or a gas grill. If using a charcoal grill; start a hot fire, set the oiled oven on the grate, put the lid on and let the coals burn out. If using a gas grill; pre-heat to at least 400°F, set the oiled oven on the grate, close the lid and leave it on for at least 2 hours.
Once you have your oven cured, it is ready for cooking. However, after each subsequent use and cleaning, you maintain and strengthen the cure by wiping a very light coat of oil, or shortening over the dry, warm oven. Do not use too much or a rancid smell may develop.