Have you bought a brand new camp oven, or other cast iron cookware products and been told that it needs to be seasoned before use? If you don’t know what that means, or how you go about doing it then read on for 4 easy steps to properly season your cast iron cookware.
Seasoning your camp oven is the first and most important thing you should do before cooking. This step gets it ready for non-stick cooking so that your food doesn’t taste like metal, or whatever the oven has come packed in. Seasoning also prevents rusting, so that you can use your camp oven for years, decades, or even a lifetime (Yep! cast iron lasts.)
Once you’ve prepared your camp oven, go prepared on your next camping trip with some fool-proof recipes. Try this damper for a simple recipe to get you started, then you can move on to roast lamb or even roast pork… you’ll be the envy of everyone else in the campsite.
The following technique can be used on any camp oven, frypan, jaffle iron, skillet, or similar cookware product (cast iron or steel), regardless of whether it even needs seasoning or not. Some items are sold ‘pre-seasoned’ but I usually like to season anyway to be sure.
Step 1: Clean your camp oven
Before use, it’s important to give your camp oven a good clean in hot soapy water to remove any residue left over from the manufacturing process.
After you’ve washed it, dry it off, then stoke up the fire ready for step 2.
Gloves, some detergent and a scouring pad. Everything you need to clean your camp oven for the first time. Image: Camp Oven Cooking.
Step 2: Get it hot!
Heat up your camp oven to a super hot temperature – the hotter the better, but not quite red hot. The seasoning process won’t work that well if the camp oven isn’t very hot.
Your best option in doing this is to place your camp oven in hot coals for a good 10 – 15 mins to get it super hot. Alternatively, an oven or hooded BBQ will work.
Step 3: Add the oil
Next, while the camp oven is on the hot coals, carefully add some cooking oil and swish it around the oven. You will need enough oil to adequately coat the entire oven.
Keep the oven hot and make sure the entire inside of the oven is covered in oil. If you have a steel camp oven, you may see the steel change colour to a type of dark purple.
This little campfire is well on its way to help season your new camp oven. Image: David Laslett
Step 4: Clean the camp oven again
Let the oven cool down and then wipe out the excess oil. Some people say you can cook straight away, but I prefer to give the oven another clean to get rid of all the yucky oil that has been used for the seasoning process. I wash my camp oven again in soapy hot water, dry it thoroughly (you can dry it on a few coals), then wipe fresh cooking oil all over the inside of the oven.
Your oven is now ready to get creative in the campfire and produce some amazing meals! Campfire cooking is one-of-a-kind, producing some amazing tastes and smells that can only be done by cooking in the bush. Whether you’re cooking a roast or a simple damper, you will quickly fall in love with your camp oven!
Some people will tell you to never wash your oven with soapy water and just simply wipe it out with a paper towel. I prefer to give my oven a good wash with the dishes.
If you want to avoid detergent but there is some stuck on food, add a little water and return it to the fire and give it a bit of a scrape. The food will eventually flake away.
If you want a walkthrough of how to season your oven, then we’ve put together a video on the process. We also help clear up some misconceptions about seasoning, which you can check out below.
For further advice on seasoning cast iron cookware, hit the play button above.
A final note on storing your camp oven
Always remember to oil your oven before putting it away otherwise it will rust! Store your oven in a warm dry place to prevent rust. And, always wash, or at least wipe out the oven, with fresh oil before use.
In the market for a camp oven? Check out our range of camp ovens and other cast iron and spun steel cooking gear.
Also, check out Camp Oven Cooking Tips for Beginners for advice on everything you’ll need to know for successful camp oven cooking.
How do you clean your camp oven? Hot water and a scrubber, a bit of paper towel, or with detergent?
About the writer...
G’day! My name is Dave and there is nothing I enjoy more than getting out in the bush and enjoying the challenge and serenity of travelling around this beautiful country of ours.
After 6 years working as an Outdoor Ed Instructor, I’ve joined the team down at Snowys to help others get geared up and head to the outback!
As an enthusiastic photographer and freelance writer for 4WD Action magazine, I love to get out and capture God’s stunning creation and share it with the world.
After getting married at the end of 2010 and having our first child January 2012, I’m looking forward to seeing more of this beautiful country with my family.