Re-seasoning Cast Iron

I probably should say seasoning cast iron, but when you’ve had an old dutch oven sitting in a shed for the past 3 years, I think it’s more of a re-season.

Back in 2007 when Otter Woman and I were hitching up the wagon to our new encampment, we had quite a few projects that were “in progress” – one of which was an old cast iron dutch oven that we’d recently used at an event. Prior to the move we did our best to remove the petrified remains of my poor attempt at biscuits (fire hardened in the true sense of the word).

About two weeks after our move Little Otter was born and we sort of forgot about the pot. Over the next couple of years we day-tripped into events and the dutch oven slowly migrated around the garage, outside into the shed – and finally onto the back porch where I had to stare my lack of responsibility in the face every time the kids and I went in and out of the house.

To mark my triumphant return to overnight rendezvous’ing, I decided I would clean and re-season that old dutch oven once and for all . . .

Having no idea how to remove 3-year old biscuit carcass, I strolled over to the Interweb and did some searching. I found a few suggestions, blended some ideas and added a few of my own.

Here’s how it worked:

1. Removing the petrified biscuits

I did a few things here – one site recommend a mix of white vinegar and water, so I took a mix of this and with a piece of steel wool, went to town on the rust. As described, it worked out pretty well, but for the old biscuit fossils, I had to get at it with a small crowbar (seriously). After a lot of elbow grease, it finally removed the rock-like dough.

After all of this, I then washed the oven (lid and bottom) with dish soap and water to remove any residue from the operation. I also dried it with a cleaning towel to make sure there was no more water on it.

The dutch oven got a light surface rust immediately after drying, but I figured it would be no big deal after the greasing.

2. Warming the pan

Set the oven to 225 degrees. When the oven is ready, put the dutch oven and lid (separate on a cookie sheet) in the oven for 5 minutes to warm up. When it comes out, it’s plenty warm.

3. First coat of oil

Once the dutch oven was warmed up, I took it out (remember the hot pot holders, she’s warm!) and set the whole mess onto the stove. I took some vegetable oil (am sure bacon grease, or olive oil would probably be fine, too) and coated the whole thing – lid and bottom – and wasn’t shy about it.

After that, let it sit in the hot oven for 30 minutes.

4. Wipe and finish cooking

After 30 minutes, remove the dutch oven from the oven oven and wipe it dry. There may be some pooled oil on the bottom of the dutch oven and the corners of the lid. I used a wad of paper towel to hold each piece up and used another paper towel to dry the dutch oven and re-distribute the oil around it.

When this is done, the dutch oven goes back into the oven oven and cooks for 30 more minutes.

When I finally took the dutch oven out of the oven after the process it looked great. No more rust, no more bad spots – ready to try another attempt at biscuits and peach cobbler.

Even Otter Woman, who is the chief health inspector at our house gave it a passing grade.

Give it a try and you, too can bring back an old dutch oven from the dead!

Texas Free Trappers Rendezvous XIII info

Friends of TFT,

We announce some changes that are being made in the hope of improving the quality of the event and boost attendance. As you can imagine, the cost of putting on a first class event is not low. For most of us the prizes are not the real reason we rendezvous, but the re-creation of a unique American and Western piece of history, the fur trade rendezvous of 1825-1840.

All of you know that competitors must be members of the White Smoke Company of Buckskinners, Inc. The club has three divisions, Texas Free Trappers, Fritztown Free Trappers and the White Smoke Brigade. FFT has rendezvous on the second weekends of March and October; TFT has rendezvous on the second weekend of April and November; WSB has black powder matches on the fourth Saturday of each month. All four rendezvous will be at the La Vernia site for the foreseeable future and WSB matches are on private land on Highway 306, east of Canyon Lake.

That being stated, we are going to have the same $15 entry fee for TFT rendezvous competitors. In addition, there will an opportunity to re-enter each event. A re-entry fee of $2 will let you make an attempt to better your score. The score of the last event entered will be your score, so if you do worse on the re-entry you can re-enter one more time….event schedules and daylight permitting.

As before, each event will have a First Place prize winner with the number of additional Second and Third Place prizes determined by the number of entries; the more entries the more prizes.

Guns must be loaded with black powder or a substitute for black powder. No smokeless powder blends are permitted. Only patched round balls may be used.

Smoothbores used in smoothbore matches may not have a rear sight.

Tomahawks must be of traditional design with blades no longer than 4 inches.

Knives must be of traditional design and no longer than 13 inches.

I was contacted by a family in Iowa that cooks breakfast, fry bread and Indian tacos at rendezvous and bike rallies that will be setting up at Rendezvous XIII as a “trial run” in this area. I had great success with a similar operation at two of my Taos Free Trappers rendezvous in New Mexico. You might become an addict of fry bread and Indian tacos like I am. We will try to teach them to make breakfast tacos. This is their webpage:

Members of Celtaire String Band, a group that plays at Texas Revolution events, and other places, is planning to join us Saturday to get introduced to rendezvous and regale us with some period music at Council Fire.

Our good friend, David Sutherland, the bagpiper who lives in La Vernia is invited too.

We asking any serious buckskinner in our group to study up on a character from the fur trade and entertain us at Council Fire with a true story (or tall tale) from the life in the Shin’ Mountains.

In closing, I also ask you to participate in all of the Council Fire activities and show some appreciation to the folks who make a presentation or perform period music with the goal of bringing the fur trade era back to life. These programs are for your entertainment as well as knowledge and are not available at many rendezvous.

Keep an eye on the horizon . . .

Grey Wolf, Bushwah

More details are available on the Events page.

Texas Archeology Lectures at Brazoria County Historical Museum

October is Texas Archeology Month

The Brazoria County Historical Museum is hosting four lectures during the month of October.

The lectures are to be presented at the Brazoria County Historical Museum, located at 100 East Cedar Street, Angleton, TX.

October 7, 6:30 p.m.
“Recent Archeological Discoveries at the San Jacinto Battlefield”
Lecture by Douglas G. Mangum of
Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc.

October 14, 6:30 p.m.
“Bernardo Plantation Excavations”
Lecture by Charlie Gordy of the
Houston Archeological Society

October 21, 6:30 p.m.
“Following the Paper Trail: Researching the Plantations of Brazoria County”
Lecture by James Smith of the
Brazosport Archaeological Society

October 28, 6:30 p.m.
“Weapons of the Texas Revolution: How the Texians Armed Themselves”
Lecture by Flem Rogers of the
Brazoria Historical Militia

All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, call 979/864-1208, or visit the Museum’s website at