We like to say that the best way to season Field Company cast iron cookware is to simply use it. With time, use, and plenty of cooking fat, your skillet will develop a shiny, nonstick coating. The same mantra applies to our new No.8 Dutch Oven, and the best method for quickly building up seasoning is to fill it with oil and fry, fry, and fry again.
Not only does deep-frying do the Field Dutch Oven a favor by supercharging the seasoning process, the pot will return that favor by delivering perfectly crunchy and evenly cooked food. Why? Because cast iron is excellent at heat retention—better than any other cookware material—and even heat retention is the key to deep frying. If the oil heats up or cools down too fast—which often happens with thinner cookware materials—your food will either fry too quickly (which means the outside will be burnt before the inside is cooked through), or too slowly (which means soggy chicken, fries, etc).
While you’re at it, here are some tips to get the most out of your new favorite pot:
You don’t need to fill the Dutch oven up with oil to deep fry; 2 to 3 inches of your favorite frying oil (we like vegetable or peanut) is plenty.
Don’t crowd the bath. If you pack too much food into the fryer, it can lower the oil temperature far below your target. It’s better to fry in batches, and return the oil to temperature before adding the next batch.
Speaking of temperature, a thermometer is a vital tool whenever you deep fry. Use a candy thermometer or instant-read digital probe to monitor the temperature of your oil.
When you’re finished with your fry session, let the oil cool to room temperature, then strain it into a container and refrigerate until you’re ready to fry again. The oil can be reused multiple times; we like to use one batch of oil for frying savory foods, and another for frying sweet foods, as the oil will take on some flavor every time you use it.