Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Fire, Cast Iron, and Soot
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 > Fire, Cast Iron, and Soot

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pasusan

Northernmost PA

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Posted: 06/09/22 02:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've finally gotten into cast iron cooking. And I want to do it over a fire when we're camping.

What do you do about the black soot that coats the outside of the pan? Do you just clean it off? And - how?

Or do you have a special pan that is always getting sooty?

Not sure about what to do...


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Microlite Mike

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Posted: 06/09/22 03:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pasusan wrote:

I've finally gotten into cast iron cooking. And I want to do it over a fire when we're camping.

What do you do about the black soot that coats the outside of the pan? Do you just clean it off? And - how?

Or do you have a special pan that is always getting sooty?

Not sure about what to do...


When I was a young kid and when camping cooked almost exclusively over the fire we would put some liquid dish soap (Joy was my mom's detergent of choice) on a paper towel and wipe the outside of all pots and pans including the skillet. A nice even coat of the liquid detergent/soap made it easy to wash off the soot.

Mom liked the liquid Joy because it also worked well in salt water. We did a lot of beach camping where we landed by boat.

I'm sure just about any liquid soap/detergent would leave a nice "parting agent" on the cast iron to make the soot easier to remove.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 06/09/22 04:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First item to remember regarding Dutch oven cooking is the “fire” should be 2/3 on the lid and 1/3 on the bottom.


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opnspaces

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Posted: 06/09/22 04:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Try plain old water and see what happens. You could also use soapy water but no scrub brushes.

Or put the cast iron in a bag and just use it sooty next time.


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theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 06/10/22 06:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Microlite Mike wrote:


When I was a young kid and when camping cooked almost exclusively over the fire we would put some liquid dish soap (Joy was my mom's detergent of choice) on a paper towel and wipe the outside of all pots and pans including the skillet. A nice even coat of the liquid detergent/soap made it easy to wash off the soot.

WOW ! Brings back Boy Scout campouts !! Pre-soaping the outside helped, but it was not a perfect solution.

Microlite Mike wrote:


We did a lot of beach camping where we landed by boat.

Once the inside was clean (no food residue), beach sand works very well as a scouring powder to clean the outside. Old fashioned Brillo/SOS pads work the best.

Face the fact, they will never be "like new" on the outside again !

* This post was edited 06/10/22 06:32am by theoldwizard1 *

magnusfide

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Posted: 06/10/22 06:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Welcome to the Cast Iron Chef world. We enjoy it.

We use a wet paper towel to wash and wipe off the soot then stow it. No big deal. Then we toss the paper towel into the fire pit to burn. The sand is a good idea if you are boondocking and don't have a water connection.

Cast iron is tough. The only thing you need to be cautious about is to avoid running cold water over a hot pot or pan. The temperature shock will crack it.

Don't let the myths running around the internet run your life when it comes to cast iron. You can use metal utensils and chain-mail scrubbers on it, just don't use chisels and hammers.


"The only time you should fear cast iron is if your wife is fixin' to hit you with it."-Kent Rollins
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valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 06/10/22 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If it's dedicated to camp fire cooking, I would just get a bag and stick it in sooty.

Avoid soap on cast iron. It removes the seasoning and food will stick.

On the bottom of the pan, it's the end of the world but if you feel the need, while the pan is hot (stick it back in the fire if needed), spritz with some water and wipe clean with paper towel. Then make sure it's fully dry (it will happen quick if it's hot) and then wipe with a paper towel with vegetable oil, so it doesn't rust.


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dedmiston

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Posted: 06/10/22 08:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I cook a lot on my smoker and my pans gather a lot of soot.

I agree with the advice for the wet paper towel to just wipe away the soot. You could also use a sponge, but the sponge will never be the same.


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propchef

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Posted: 06/10/22 10:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

If it's dedicated to campfire cooking, I would just get a bag and stick it in sooty.

Avoid soap on cast iron. It removes the seasoning and food will stick.


Sorry, but this is a cast-iron myth. I use hot soapy water on mine every time I use them, and I use them almost daily. No sticking issues ever.

As Magnus mentions, cast iron is tough. NOT washing leaves off-flavored residue and potentially rancid oils. Like any pan, they must be washed with soap and hot water.

There are only two no-no's: excessive heat and putting them away wet. After washing, put it back on low heat and allow it to dry completely. No soot issues ever.

valhalla360

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Posted: 06/10/22 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

propchef wrote:

valhalla360 wrote:

If it's dedicated to campfire cooking, I would just get a bag and stick it in sooty.

Avoid soap on cast iron. It removes the seasoning and food will stick.


Sorry, but this is a cast-iron myth. I use hot soapy water on mine every time I use them, and I use them almost daily. No sticking issues ever.

As Magnus mentions, cast iron is tough. NOT washing leaves off-flavored residue and potentially rancid oils. Like any pan, they must be washed with soap and hot water.

There are only two no-no's: excessive heat and putting them away wet. After washing, put it back on low heat and allow it to dry completely. No soot issues ever.


Never said, don't wash it. Just not with soap, particularly a strong degreasing soap. While hot, a bit of water and paper towel will remove the food residue if properly seasoned (never had off flavors and my Mom never let us use soap on the cast iron). If not well seasoned, steel wool will typically do the trick.

If you are using them daily, the new oil added probably negates some of the downside of using soap. Particularly if the pan is hot, so you are effectively doing a quasi-seasoning.

Rocket hot is one area where cast iron shines. Spatchcock a chicken then get two cast iron pans near red hot and put the chicken in the bigger pan and set the smaller on top so it cooks from both sides (in this case, the bottom of the small pan needs to be clean and seasoned).

Keeping it dry in storage, I'll agree whole heartedly but even that is salvageable unless the rust gets extreme.

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