Rather than merely posting generic questions and answers in this section, we decided to do something different. Our FAQ section features actual questions submitted by real people and Cee Dub’s and Al's answers. If you don’t see the specific question you came to this section for, please feel free to send us your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aluminum Dutch Ovens
Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2008 10:05 PM
My husband and I enjoy your show very much. But I just cringe when you use those aluminum Dutch ovens. Aluminum is a huge contributor to Alzheimers. Just look up how bad aluminum is for us. I hope you look up this for your health’s sake. I just care.
Hope your show runs for years yet. Happy Cookin`. Pat and Buzz
Pat & Buzz,
Thank you for your e-mail. Al, my brother in-law forwarded it on to me a few days ago.
The shows you're watching were filmed in 1998-2000 and 2003. Since that time I've modified how I use aluminum Dutch ovens but first let me share with you my analysis of the Aluminum Dutch ovens/Alzheimers controversy as I've done some research on this topic as well.
First, there is no doubt aluminum compounds have been implicated and are present in the brains of Alzheimer patients. But, from my perspective one must look at the totality of the circumstances before inferring there is a direct "Cause & Effect" relationship between aluminum cookware including Dutch ovens and Alzheimers. I.e. Aluminum is one of the most common elements on the entire planet, aluminum and aluminum compounds are present in a myriad of household products such as baking powder, anti-perspiration products, over the counter antacids, etc etc. Plus, the prevalence of household aluminum cookware, aluminum foil, aluminum cans both for beverages and food stuffs, etc have been a part of every day life for over fifty years.
In my opinion one could never eat out of aluminum cookware and/or Dutch ovens yet still be exposed to aluminum in a thousand different situations which leads me to make the following conclusions. In the case of lung cancer/emphysema the direct connection between a single "cause" and the "effects" of tobacco use has been well documented. Whereas with Alzheimers the extensive research to date indicates there may be any number of possible causative agents which may include aluminum and or aluminum compounds. In addition, some folks may have a genetic flaw and/or family history to be pre-disposed for Alzheimers.
With thousands of sources of aluminum and aluminum compounds in conjunction with unknown/unproven genetic issues I personally think aluminum cookware and specifically aluminum Dutch ovens have got a bad rap. That being said, do I totally discount the use of aluminum cookware/Dutch ovens may some day be definitively linked to Alzheimers. NO!
So here is what I practice in my cooking today. I rarely use regular cast aluminum Dutch ovens. But, when I do they are used for cooking and serving only. I never use any Dutch oven to store leftovers, especially regular cast aluminum Dutch ovens. I.e. Cook, Serve, & Clean all Dutch ovens immediately.
Have I quit using aluminum Dutch ovens? Absolutely not! On a regular basis I use hard anodized aluminum Dutch ovens. Hard anodization is a process by where the outer few molecules of aluminum are treated to become harder than stainless steel and are totally inert. Hard anodization eliminates any leaching of aluminum from the Dutch oven into the food. It is not a coating as was the case with Teflon and Teflon derivatives. It does not wear off and is permanently bonded to the underlying metal.
The bottom line being the use of aluminum Dutch ovens and aluminum cookware is a personal choice. In my case I choose to use the hard anodized ovens and practice safety measures to minimize leaching on the rare occasions I do use regular cast aluminum Dutch ovens.
I hope this answers your question! - Cee Dub
Anodized Aluminum Dutch Ovens
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 1:34 PM
Have you had the chance to try out the new "hard anodized aluminum dutch ovens" offered by GSI Outdoors? They seem a bit pricey, but they offer the benefit of lighter weight for Boy Scout outings and they claim to be non-stick, at least to the extent that a seasoned iron oven is non-stick. The 12" and 14" even have legs on them, a feature I've never seen on an Aluminum Dutch before. The feedback I have gotten locally is that regular "raw" aluminum sticks and doesn't work the same as cast iron. Any feedback you can offer would be greatly appreciated and would help in deciding to make this purchase.
I'm really enjoying recipes from your books. Thank you.
Ken - Scout Troop XXX, Oregon
My name is Al Kusy and I am Cee Dub's brother-in-law and handle website and phone order for him. We have been selling the 'hard anodized Dutch ovens" on our site since the site was started. Yes the HA Alum. DO's are a bit pricey but the advantage to them is that they are harder than stainless steel so you will not get aluminum in your food. Unlike regular aluminum one can cook acid foods like tomatoes, etc. in them and although they may take a stain they are light, safe and easy to clean. They don't have to be seasoned so one will not get the same flavor as with good seasoned cast iron but most cannot tell the difference. Cee Dub has used both the regular aluminum and the HA for years.
Some of the finer home cookware is made of HA aluminum and is very costly which makes the DO prices look like a bargain which they are.
If you have more questions do call or e-mail me and we thank you for your interest in Cee Dubs. Thanks, Al Kusy
Fire Pan Question
Hi, I am interested in purchasing one of your fire pans. Not sure whether to go with big or small. What is the biggest 2 DO combo that can fit it the small? The biggest combo I’d likely put in there is a 12” & 10”, would this fit? Any other thoughts, comments or recommendations are appreciated.
Also due to the weight factor how much is shipping for the small and large fire pans? Thanks for your reply.
Regards - Ed - Burlington, WA
The small fire pan weighs 35 lbs. and the large 45 lbs. I cannot estimate the freight costs without your zip code.
The small fire pan will accommodate two 12” Dutch ovens side by side and the large fire pan will accommodate two 14” ovens side by side or a 16” Dutch oven and a 12” oven side by side
Cee Dub's - Sincerely, Al
Fire Pan With Lid
On your website, you have two fire pans listed with lids. Is there any way to get a picture of them. If they are like what you use on your show, I want one!!!
Below is the information that we have on our website:
Our firepans conform to US Forest Service Regulations. First manufactured for white water boaters running rivers with restrictions on using traditional rock fire rings they provide a safe, stable, and portable cooking platform. More than just a firepan they also come with a grill with folding warming extensions. Compact and easy to set up they go anywhere. Their 14" height saves a lot of bending over. With the hinged lid orient them properly and the lid acts as a wind break. When your through cooking and it's time to pack up, set the lid on to smother the charcoal and don't worry about a separate fireproof container to store ash and embers. Two sizes to choose from: LARGE 18" X 30" AND SMALL - 15" X 24"
Unless you have critical space limitations I would suggest the use of the large one because it gives you more room for staging your coals and more and larger DO's.
If you have any questions please give a call. I hope this information is helpful.
Thanks, Al - Cee Dub's
Thanks so much for the quick response. I am glad to see that these are sturdy enough to hold at least two DO's. They look great in that they fold into a "'suitcase" like box to carry. We enjoy the show to say the least.
Thanks again, Steve
I have a question for you----I mixed together the sourdough starter from your cookbook. Do I let it set uncovered/covered. Airtight/covered with a cloth/saran wrap? on cabinet/in fridge?
You want to leave your "starter to be" out where it has access to the air covered with cheese cloth. The object is to capture naturally occurring yeast spores. Depending on your humidity level you may want to stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Low humidity will cause it to crust over. I would start with a fairly large bowl and add water and flour at least once a day and stir. 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cub all purpose flour. (Do not use self rising flour.)
To test for an active culture remove a little bit from your starter pot, say a teaspoon and mix in a little pinch of baking soda. If you have an active culture, it will fizz. The fizz is basically an acid/base reaction from high school chemistry. The culture is acidic and the soda is a base.
Let me know how it goes. Cee Dub
This question was submitted to Carol, Cee Dub’s sister who is a Home Extension Agent
To: Cee Dub
Hey, Butch, do you have a good sourdough starter recipe – one that doesn’t leave the milk on the counter for 8-hours – I don’t have much experience with sour dough but have a student requesting one – so I go to a professional.
The best source for commercial starters that are ready to cook with are available at www.sourdo.com. In fact, their "Russian" starter/culture is my sourdough of choice.
To make your own starter use this recipe. This is from my first book, page 66, third paragraph.
Mix two cups of flour, two tablespoons sugar, one tablespoon salt, and one tablespoon of vinegar in enough warm water to make a creamy batter. Leave it in a warm place for four days to a week until it begins to sour or "work". If it is ready, it should have bubbles on top. Pour some in a dish and mix a dash of soda with it; if it is active and ready to use, it will respond by getting foamy.
Basically to test if any starter is active or not you want to use this soda test. The sourdough is acidic and the soda a base. The starter will foam up if it's active and ready to go.
Hope this helps. Butch
What is a Cube of Butter?
It is with great pleasure that we have read your first three books. We love your stories, and specially the way you present them.
Throughout the books there are some inconsistencies in the amounts in the list of ingredients. Specifically, regarding the Basque Blackberry Cobbler, (More Cee Dub’s D. O. and other Camp Cooking, page 197) we notice that in the list of ingredients you list “2 Cubes Butter”. However, no where in any of the books you define what is a “Cube of Butter”. We normally get butter in ¼ pound sticks (4 sticks make a pound). Could you please let me know how you define a “cube of butter”. Could it be that 2 cubes of butter are equal to ¼ pound ? For the crust of this recipe, it is important to get the right quantity of butter, else the crust will not turn out correctly. Please let me know.
Thanks. Best Regards, Judi & Carlos
Butch and Penny arrived for dinner tonight and I confirmed with him that a cube of butter is the same as a stick of butter which is 1/4 of a pound which is what I had surmised when you called. Butch said that his mother always used the term "cube" for a stick of butter and that has stuck with him as an adult. I hope that your crust turned out good and that the Basque Blueberry Cobbler was a hit.
Hope that you and Judi have a most wonderful Thanksgiving.
Best wishes, Al
Cooking With Dutch Ovens On A Gas Stove Top
We would like to use the Dutch Ovens on our kitchen gas stove, but with the legs on them can this still be done without creating problems sitting on the grates? We have only used the cast iron fry pans but would like to get into the versatility of cooking with Dutch ovens either in the kitchen or outdoors over a fire pit using the briquettes.
Thank you for your attention to this request. Milo
I use my 10" and 12" DO's with legs in my oven quite often but I don't use them on my stove top because it is an electric cook top and does not work. If the bottom of your DO is sitting directly on the grate on your gas range and the feet are not holding it above the grate then you should be okay. When I cook a stew or pot of beans I will use the DO on the propane stove I have on the patio. The DO legs fit through the grate just fine. I also have a cooking table where I use charcoal when I need both top and bottom heat. That is also on my patio and I do most of my cooking there for main dishes.
My guess is that you would be okay using your DO on the top of your gas stove top if the grate sits up fairly high but you would only want to cook recipes there that have liquid in the bottom of the DO. Most of the newer gas ranges have a high grate but I am not sure of the older ones.
If you would like to call to discuss your situation I would be happy to take your call or you can send me your number in an e-mail and I would be happy to call you back on my dime.
I hope this helps you out some but get back to me if you have further questions.
Thanks, Al - Cee Dubs
Rehabbing Old Dutch Ovens
My husabnd enjoy watching the show. We learned a lot! I have a question, but it's about a different subject. Hope that's okay. We found a very old cast iron Dutch oven outside. It is very old & there are layers upon layers of rust, etc. How can we remove all of that rust, get down to the DO, & use it again? Thanks, Roseann
I love old Dutch ovens and the older the better. You need an outdoor grill with a top on it that still allows you to get the Dutch oven in it. An older Webber charcoal grill would be perfect.
1. Place five pounds of Charcoal in the bottom of the grill and after they get up to heat put the DO upside-down on the grill with the lid setting on the legs of the DO. (I assume that yours has legs but if not lean the lid against the side of the DO.) Put the lid on and let it go for about an hour then let it cool till it is warm to hot but okay to handle with leather gloves.
2. Be ready with a power drill fitted with a wire brush attachment and take the oven down to base metal. BE SURE TO WEAR SAFETY GLASSES!!! (Do the interior and exterior of both the DO and the lid.
3. Rinse it out with hot water and get all of the filings and metal dust out and off from the DO. Dry immediately with a cloth towel.
4. Coat the DO inside and out with a very thin layer of vegetable oil or Camp Chef's Cast Iron Conditioner (available on our website, link below). You just want to see a shine. Use a lint free cotton cloth and put the oil or conditioner on the cloth and coat with the least amount of oil or conditioner to get a shine.
5. Stoke up the grill again with 5 lbs. of charcoal and repeat #1 above and that should heat your DO to about 500 Deg. F. Leave it for about an hour and your DO should look just like new.
If you have any questions regarding the above please give me a call. I hope this helps!
Al Kusy - Cee Dub's
First, I discovered Cee Dub's Dutch oven cooking show on RFD-TV a couple of years ago. That inspired me to start cooking DO style. At 59 yrs old I started my DO efforts. I am more popular at elk camp and RV travels than ever before!
Second, a couple months ago I tried an oyster stuffing recipe (a Billy Ruiz recipe) during our trip to southern Arizona. Since then there seems to be a lingering smell of oyster in the deep 12" DO. It doesn't seem to affect the flavor of other recopies. It has been cleaned with hot water only at least six times with no results. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get the oyster smell out of my DO?
Thanks for any help, Steve
I would suggest that if you have an outdoor gas stove or a charcoal Weber Grill that you turn the DO over and set it over the burner at the high setting for about a half hour your oyster smell should be gone. I would do the same for the lid only for less time - maybe ten minutes.
Let me know about your results.
Al Kusy - Cee Dub's
Yes, my oyster smell is gone. I tried it first over charcoal and it didn't do so well. I tried it a second time over my gas griller and the smell is gone. Thank you so much. Steve
Rust Removal - Meat Grinder
You are the only person I can think of who would know how to help me out with this, so here goes:
I purchased a Porkert #8 hand-crank food grinder. It's cast iron with a silvery finish. There are places with exposed cast iron and those spots have a bright orange powdery rust on them because I did not dry it good enough. What's the best way to get that off? Is there a food-grade rust remover? For now, I am using paper towels and a toothbrush coated with vegetable oil. The rust is mostly on the threads, so I really need to get it off. Thanks! Janice
I do not know of a food grade rust remover. My guess from reading your e-mail the rust you refer to is on the cutting edge of the grinder augur. I would just use some very fine steel wool and/or an SOS pad.
The best way to avoid this problem is to take a rag and soak it with vegetable oil. After washing and drying your grinder and all of the parts, wipe the grinder body and all the parts with the oily rag. Wrap the cutting blade, plate(s) inside the rag and store with the grinder.
I hope this helps! Cee Dub