How do you clean a dutch oven outdoors. . .

Admin/ February 22, 2018/ Uncategorized/ 12 comments

When we are camping and having a great time, the last thing you or I want to do is clean a bunch of pots!

Once your award-winning cobbler or famous stew has been eaten by all your buddies, it is time to get things cleaned up.

How do I clean my Dutch oven?

At this time we are usually all sitting around the fire visiting and having fun. Take your Dutch oven and fill it with water, up to the level that your food was cooking at. Then place the lid back on the Dutch oven and put it back on the coals. Let it sit and get hot, no need to bring it to a boil, every once in a while I will open it up and take my wooden spoon and scrap the bottom and the sides with it. I scrap the oven many times as we are all sitting around the fire. When you are scrapping the bottom and sides, there will be a time when you do not fill any lumps or bumps on the inside of your oven, at this time, get rid of the water in the oven.

WaLa! the Dutch oven is clean.

Wipe out the inside with a paper towel and put the lid back on. I usually put the oven back on the coals or the fire, with the lid cracked open, I do this to make sure the Dutch oven is good and dry.

If you leave a Dutch oven damp or with any water in it, this is what will ruin your dutch oven. It will start to rust really quickly with any amount of moisture. This is why I put it back on the heat, to make sure it is good and dry.  When you are ready to put your oven away, put a light coat of cooking oil on the inside and outside of your oven, then wipe off the excess really good with a dry towel.  Now it is ready for your next masterpiece!

As we are all around the campfire visiting, cleaning a cast iron Dutch oven does not seem to be a chore, it is just part of the evening ritual. Talking about how yummy the food was that was made for dinner or dessert, and what you are planning for the next outing.

This process will also work indoors on your stove.

The idea behind not washing your Dutch oven with harsh soap, is that washing it gently with water and scrapping the sides with a wooden spoon will preserve the seasoning on the inside of your cast iron Dutch oven. The reason you want to preserve it, is that this “seasoning” that is left on the inside of your oven prevents food from sticking.

To check out cast iron Dutch ovens, click HERE!


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  1. Wow, amazing guide brother! I’m an avid camper and use dutch ovens ALL the time on my outdoor adventures. Although I thought I had my cleaning method down-packed, it turns out I was doing it wrong all along. I’m all for learning new things and from now on I’ll be putting water in it and letting it sit on the hot coals. I’m not even going to bother with my old method. I won’t even mention it because I’m so embarrassed at how bad it was. Lol thanks for all your help.

    1. I’m glad you found this to be of help to you. Always looking for ways to make camping more enjoyable.

  2. Very informative indeed. Me and my family absolutely love making a “potjie” as we call it in South Africa and cleaning the pot is always a hassle. I will definitely remember this the next time we use our Dutch oven.

    1. Marchelle,
      My family also loves cooking outdoors too. Anything to make cleanup a bit easier.

  3. This is a great tip for cleaning the oven and it sounds a whole lot easier than my usual method. Thank you!

    1. Glad you found an easier way to clean your oven. Happy camping!

  4. I normally I go camping and I do use the dutch oven and I always find it hard to clean the pot the best way I can. .this is great and thanks a lot for the tip.

    1. I’m glad this was helpful to you, let me know how your next meal in your Dutch oven turns out.

  5. HI Irene,
    What a great idea. Sometimes the simple things in life are actually the best.
    It never occurred to me that something this simple would work. That is because I am just so used to cleaning with harsh chemicals. I was just wondering how do you get the food off the fire without burning yourself? That pot is super heavy even when empty. Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea with me today.

    1. Cast iron does not need harsh chemicals to get clean, just some tender loving care. I’m glad you got some value out of my blog. I do use thick mittens and lid lifter to move the pot around for cleaning when it is hot.

  6. HI Irene,
    I ran a Scout troop for years and it was always a struggle to get the cookware cleaned for the next meal. We switched to cast iron many years ago as they last when you look after them. My problem was always that the food was “Properly Cooked” onto the base of the pot and then everyone was in a rush to clean up and get out into the activities, so they tried scourers, sand and a host of other “tricks”.

    It took them a while before realising that they could just leave it next to the fire with water in it while they eat and then the pot could be easily be cleaned with very little effort. The trick is, as you said, to oil the pot after drying it properly.

    The cleaning after the evening meal was not so much a problem because everyone inevitably sat around the fire eating, so heating water in the pot was a social event. Breakfast and lunch were the problem times with everyone in a rush to get out.

    I still have a few pots of my own, a couple of the old 3 legged pots that we use for good old traditional “Potjies” with lots of snacks and beer as it cooks for many hours over a slow fire. A very social event but, too many beers and it has to stand for a long while with hot water and a little “enticing” to get it clean.

    I love bread backed in the dutch oven. Has it’s own flavour and texture. Luckily this is still a great social event in South Africa.

    1. Hi, thank you for the comment. I do agree that cooking outdoors in a Dutch oven is more of a social thing, enjoying the outdoors with friends, family, drinks and great food is always memorable. Will have to try baking bread in the oven, never tried it, it sounds soo good! Irene

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