How to Use a Camp Oven

What you need

  • Camp oven
  • Shovel
  • Fire with heaps of coals
  • A bit of wire or steel doubled over at one end for a handle and bent at 90 degrees at the other to pick the lid up with
  • Something for lifting the oven on and off the coals if it has no handle, a hat for instance
  • A big rock or a couple of bricks or anything at all that you can sit the lid on and keep the bottom of it clean
  • Patience

    Burning In
    When you buy a new oven, “burn it in”. What you do is build a big fire and put your oven on top and get it hot. When you think it is hot enough it probably isn’t, cause we’re talking bloody hot. Rip it off the fire and drop a good lump of fat (not oil) in it. Then put on a leather glove and rub round and round the entire surface of the oven with a couple of sheets of rolled up newspaper. If it catches on fire just throw the lid on for a second or two, and be pleased with your self because you have probably nearly got it hot enough.

    Keep rubbing the fat into your oven and it will burn itself into the porous surface of the metal, until eventually you can see that you have made a new surface, similar to what a BBQ plate looks like. That means you might be getting close so throw it back on the fire, get it hot and do it all over again. Make sure you do under the lid as well.

    Repeat this until the surface of your oven is jet black and then keep rubbing with clean pieces of newspaper until there is not a drop of fat left in the oven. It should have a dull black hard surface and this will protect your oven for life. It will never rust.

    Burning in an oven may take a while but it is important. We recommend you have a mate on stand-by to help keep the fluids up to you during this arduous task. The next thing to do with a new oven is cook “baked dinners” in it for a week. This will seal all those areas you are sure you covered but didn’t and will also ‘load’ your oven wall with flavour. Of course you don’t have to cook a baked dinner every day of the week, just make sure that your first few uses involve roasting meat and veggies and you’ll be right.

    Ronnie Wilson