Starting Camp Ovens

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 14, 2001 at 00:00
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What is the best method to "start" a Camp oven and how should they be cleaned? Are the Chinese made ones OK?
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Reply By: David - Thursday, Jun 14, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Jun 14, 2001 at 00:00
Hi John, i've been using the same camp oven for over 15 years, it's an import ( China, Taiwan, japan), something like that, i can't remember now, however, when you first purchase one, give it a thorough clean in hot soapy water to remove any oil & grease, then once it is clean heat it up on the stove or in the oven at home & give it a good oiling all over in vegetable oil, peanut oil, etc then wipe off any excess.
After you use it , give it a clean in a very very mild detergent, rinse in fresh water & give it a very light oil again, do this each time you use it & eventually it will form a non stick surface.
You can use your camp oven on a bed of coals, over an open fire, on the stove at home, even in the oven at home, you can make some fantastic meals in them, also if you are looking at buying a camp oven , look at buying a second smaller one that fits inside the other, that way you can cook your damper to have with that lamb stew, my advice is get a couple, you won't be diappointed.
Cheers, David, A-TREK CAMPER & CAMPING HIRE, Brisbane.
AnswerID: 633

Reply By: Joe - Saturday, Jun 16, 2001 at 00:00

Saturday, Jun 16, 2001 at 00:00
I agree with the previous comments about having two camp ovens - it is well worth while.

As for starting them, well I started mine in the following manner:

First I filled them with water and boiled the water for about 15 minutes. This will take out most of the wax that they are coated in (to stop rusting). In fact, I did this twice, just to be sure. Do this out of the kitchen (on the BBQ or camp stove) as the wax on the outside of the oven will melt and spit off causing much marital disharmony if you leave it on the stove top !

Then, wash it with some strong detergent to get rid of the remaining wax, and rinse it in hot water thoroughly to remove the detergent.

Then, while it is still warm, coat it fairly liberally in oil and put it into the oven to bake.

I actually did this twice and I ended up with a camp oven that was as black as if I had been using it for years. The surface is non-stick and is so easy to clean you wouldn’t credit it. All I do is rinse and wipe it out, then rinse again. Once it is dry I use one of those spray on cooking oils to oil it up again to stop any chance of rust.

One oven fits inside the other (after a little work with a grinder) and the spray oil fits inside the small one.

I have to say that some friends of mine (and my wife !) think I was rather over the top about seasoning my ovens, but they seem to have taken a year or more of irregular use to get theirs as non-stick as mine, so I think the effort was worth it in terms of ease of cleaning. After all, you don’t have the cleaning facilities out in the bush that you do at home !

A couple more tips:
1) Don’t go overboard with the camp-fire coals if they are hot burning - it is amazing how hot you can make these things.
2) Get a trivet or cake stand that fits inside the oven. This will keep your roast or damper off the hot bottom and let the heat circulate inside the oven to cook it all more evenly.
3) Visit BBQs Galore to pick up a recipe book for camp oven cooking. Oddly enough they seem to have the best selection I have seen.
4) Make sure when you buy that the lids are a reasonably airtight fit and that the handles are strong enough. Check where the handles are fixed to the oven - as these things are made of cast iron you can sometimes find casting imperfections in these areas that might cause a breakage in later use.

Good luck.

Joe
AnswerID: 638

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