Seasoning a Camp Oven: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfectly Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware
If you’re an avid camper or outdoor enthusiast, you know that having the right gear can make or break a trip. One essential piece of equipment that should be on every camper’s list is a cast iron camp oven. A camp oven is a versatile piece of cookware that can be used to make everything from stews and soups to bread and desserts. It’s rugged and indestructible, making it a perfect fit for the outdoor lifestyle
But like any piece of cookware, a camp oven needs to be properly cared for to perform at its best. One of the most important steps in caring for a camp oven is seasoning it. Seasoning a cast iron camp oven is the process of coating it with oil and heating it to create a non-stick surface that will make both cooking and cleaning a breeze.
In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to season a camp oven to perfection. We’ll also cover the benefits of using cast iron cookware and provide tips for maintaining a seasoned camp oven. Whether you’re a “seasoned” camper or new to outdoor cooking, seasoning a camp oven is a skill that you’ll want to master. So, let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
Before you start seasoning your camp oven, there are a few items you’ll need for the job. Here’s a list:
Camp oven – Our seasoning instructions are specifically focused on cast iron dutch ovens, but can also be used for any cast iron cookware. Don’t have a cast iron camp oven yet? Check out this popular 6-quart dutch oven on Amazon.
- Oil – You can use a variety of oils for seasoning, such as vegetable oil, flaxseed oil, or canola oil. If you prefer to use oil that is specifically formulated for seasoning cast iron cookware, consider this cast iron seasoning oil from Caron & Doucet.
- Paper towels or a clean cloth – You’ll need something to wipe the oil onto the camp oven.
- Oven – You’ll need an oven to heat the camp oven during the seasoning process.
- Aluminum foil – Optional, but recommended for easy cleanup when you’re done seasoning your camp oven.
Once you have these items on hand, you’re ready to start seasoning your camp oven. Let’s move on to the next section for the step-by-step instructions.
Steps for Seasoning a Camp Oven
Step 1: Cleaning
The first step in seasoning a camp oven is to make sure it’s clean. Over time, moisture from cooking, cleaning, or storing can cause your cast iron cookware to rust. If there’s any rust or debris on your camp oven, it can affect the seasoning process and the quality of your food. Make sure your camp oven is good and clean before seasoning by following these steps:
- Scrub the oven with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush or sponge. Since you’ll be seasoning the camp oven shortly, this is one of the few times it’s recommended to use soap on your cast iron.
- Rinse the oven thoroughly with hot water.
- Dry the oven completely with a clean towel or let it air dry.
Step 2: Preparing your Home Oven
Once your camp oven is clean, you’ll need to get your home oven prepared for seasoning your camp oven. Here’s what to do:
- Preheat your home oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Line the bottom rack of your oven with aluminum foil to catch any drips. While optional, using aluminum foil under your seasoning cast iron will make clean-up a snap. Do it.
Step 3: Applying the Oil
Now it’s time to apply the oil to your camp oven. The goal is to cover the entire surface of cast iron with a light coat of oil. Applying too much oil can result in a sticky residue on your camp oven after the seasoning process. Follow these steps:
- Pour a small amount of oil onto a paper towel or clean cloth.
- Rub the oil onto the entire surface of the camp oven, including the lid and handle.
- Use a fresh paper towel or cloth to wipe off any excess oil. Again, the goal is a light, even coat of oil over the entire surface.
Step 4: Heating the Oven
After applying the oil, it’s time to heat the cast iron oven. Heating the camp oven allows the light coat of oil you applied to set on the surface of the cast iron – resulting in a non-stick surface. Here’s what to do:
- Place your camp oven on the middle rack of your home oven, upside down.
- Bake the camp oven for one hour at 350°F (175°C).
- After 1 hour, turn off your home oven and let the camp oven cool inside the oven.
Step 5: Cooling and Repeating
Once the camp oven has cooled, you’ll want to repeat the process several times for the best results. Building up a few light layers of seasoning on your cast iron will make it a cinch to both cook and to clean. To repeat the seasoning process:
- Repeat steps 3 and 4, applying oil and heating the oven, three to four more times. A total of 5 rounds of seasoning is ideal for a new cast iron camp oven. If your camp oven comes pre-seasoned, we recommend still going through this process 2-3 times to ensure your non-stick surface is set and your cast iron properly protected.
- After the final seasoning, let the camp oven cool completely inside the oven.
Congratulations, you’ve now successfully seasoned your camp oven! It’s important to maintain the seasoning of your camp oven to protect the cast iron surface and to retain the non-stick properties of your cookware. In the next section, we’ll outline some tips for maintaining your seasoned camp oven.
Maintaining a Seasoned Camp Oven
Now that you’ve seasoned your camp oven, it’s important to maintain it to keep it in top condition. Here are some tips for maintaining your seasoned camp oven:
- Clean your camp oven after each use. Use hot water and a stiff brush, sponge, or chainmail scrubber to clean the oven. Once clean, rinse the oven thoroughly with hot water and dry it completely with a clean towel.
- Avoid using soap or harsh detergents to clean your camp oven. Soap can strip the seasoning from the oven, and harsh detergents can damage the non-stick surface.
- Never soak your camp oven in water. Moisture can cause the oven to rust and damage the seasoning.
- Store your camp oven in a dry place. Moisture can cause the oven to rust and damage the seasoning.
- Re-season your camp oven as needed. Over time, the seasoning may wear off, especially if you use your camp oven often. If you notice food sticking to the surface, it’s time to re-season it.
By following these tips, you can keep your camp oven in great condition and enjoy amazing meals on your next camping trip. Happy cooking!
The Bottom Line
Seasoning a camp oven is an essential step in ensuring the longevity of your cast iron cookware and improving the quality of your cooking. By following the seasoning steps above and maintaining your seasoned camp oven, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious, perfectly cooked meals on your future camping trips.
Remember to always clean and dry your camp oven thoroughly after each use, avoid using soap or harsh detergents, and store it in a dry place to prevent rust. Re-season your camp oven as needed to maintain the non-stick surface and avoid cooking acidic foods that can damage the seasoning.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy many tasty meals with your seasoned camp oven for years to come. Happy camping and happy cooking!
Just getting into camping? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Camping for tips on how to make your first few first a huge success!