Preparing a brand new camp oven for first use
Wahoo you have just bought a brand new camp oven but now what? This is a commonly asked question that I will be covering in this article. This article is for preparing a brand new camp oven that has been factory pre-seasoned. If you have a rusty camp oven click here for our cleaning and maintenance articles.
Recently I was fortunate enough to win a pre-seasoned 9quart Oztrail camp oven in a damper competition. I will be using this oven to demonstrate the steps I take to ensure the oven is free of unwanted contaminants and is food safe and ready for many camp oven feasts.
On unpacking the brand new camp oven it appears to be nice and clean and ready to go. However, if you were to start cooking in it straight up you might experience some pretty nasty flavours.
What you are going to need
- A bristle brush or good scour pad
- Dishwashing liquid
- A tub big enough to sit the oven in
- A running source of clean water
- A heat source (eg a gas burner, heat beads or a fire)
- Good heatproof gloves
Give it a really good scrub with your bristle brush or scour pad in the tub of dishwashing liquid and warm water. Don’t worry about hurting the seasoning I guarantee your arm will wear out from scrubbing before any of the seasonings wears off the oven.
We aren’t going to worry too much about the outside of the oven just a quick scrub there will do. But be very thorough with all the cooking surfaces including the underside of the lid. Ok, now you can give it a rinse with the running source of fresh water until no sign of the soap remains.
When you are satisfied that the camp oven is rinsed clean, allow it to dry in the sun. Then give it a light spray of cooking oil, (I use the cheapest brand I can get), and wipe it thoroughly with a paper towel or cloth. You don’t want to leave it too oily as this can create off flavours if left to go rancid.
Congratulations, your new oven is now food safe and ready to use or put away for your next camping trip.
How do I know it is really clean now?
This is the method I use to check for standard food grade cleanliness Whilst not necessary I highly recommend doing this step for peace of mind. Normally a pre-seasoned oven will boil clean on the first boil. An unseasoned oven, however, can be a different outcome.
Fill your camp oven until it is about two-thirds full of clean water and place on the heat source.
Put the lid on and bring it to a boil, If after boiling for ten minutes the water in the oven is still clean then you are good to go. If the water has any colours in it then empty it out and refill with fresh water and bring to the boil again.
When you are satisfied that the water is boiling clean in your pre-seasoned oven then empty the water out and place the oven back on the heat until it is dry. Then follow step three to oil the camp oven ready for use.
Note: An unseasoned oven, however, can be a different outcome I have had unseasoned ovens turn the water different shades of yellow and green for up to 7 boils. Once I get the un-seasoned oven to boil clean it then gets oiled and put into my gas pizza oven to bake the layers of seasoning on to its surfaces.