Restoring a Cast Iron Dutch Oven Using Electrolysis

I’ve been wanting to restore this old Dutch Oven (somethings referred to as a Camp Dutch Oven because it has feet and a raised-lip lid) for some time. I found it at an antique store in Railroad PA years ago, and it sat in my barn gathering dust and more rust since then. I had heard about this thing called electrolysis a while back, but figured this was too far gone to save. Almost trashed it a couple times during our annual clean-out.  IMG_5991IMG_5993IMG_5994

Now we all know how well cast iron and Weber kettles go together – a perfect match for many dishes, and anyone with a kettle should own at least one oven and a skillet made of iron. I’ve been using my “indoor” dutch oven (a Le Creuset 5 qt) for some time, but the cleanup takes forever – especially if I’m using smoke wood. I really needed an “outdoor” oven; one that I could set directly on the coals without worry. This old rusty 12″ camp dutch oven might just do the trick, but I would have to figure out how to do this thing called electrolysis first. Thanks to the internet, and the hundreds of videos of people using this process to clean up all kinds of rusty old stuff, I thought I would give it a try. I had a plastic tub, a battery charger, and some scrap metal. (Don’t we all?) All I needed to buy was a box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda – set me back $3.50.  IMG_6449 Charger

Setting up the tank couldn’t have been easier. 10 gallons of water from the hose, and 10 tablespoons of washing soda mixed in. An old Smokey Joe grate I had laying around (don’t we all?) served as the anode – it would attract the rust from the oven once I hooked it up to the charger. (I hope…) Submerged the bowl in the tub, hooked the negative clip from the charger to it, (note that the clip is actually under water at this point – seems to work fine like that) and hooked the positive clip to the SJ grate. (keep this one above water if you know what I mean) Plugged it in and waited…  IMG_6471

And waited…

Went to bed…

In the morning, I was anxious to see what happened. I was expecting little progress. After all, this thing was RUSTY! To my amazement, when I lifted it out of the tank, it was nearly rust free! A few minutes with a wire brush and it started to look like new. I was amazed – my wife was amazed. It was amazing!  IMG_6477

The lid went in next – same solution.  IMG_6478 IMG_6481

No need to start with clean water – the process works just the same regardless how grungy the water looks. Fast forward another 12 hours and the lid came out just as clean!  IMG_6510

Started thinking about how to season the oven, and again hit the web for advice. Well, let me tell you there are a thousand opinions about what to do or not to do. After drying it out in a 200 degree oven for 15 minutes or so, I ended up using course salt and a little solid shortening for the first stage – to clean out any remaining grunge and rust. IMG_6485

Wiped it down good and put it in the oven for 20 minutes or so at 350.  IMG_6486

Again another wipe down – this time with Canola oil and salt again, a thorough wipe down and some time on the Genesis grill. (Just to Weberize it a bit.)  IMG_6512

Mission accomplished! I’ll be using the oven often now, and will be on the lookout for more rusty treasures to add to the “outdoor kitchen”.  IMG_6513

Try it yourself. It’s easy, It’s cheap. It’s fun. And it works!

 

Postscript: Here’s the SJ grate after 24 hours in service. Looks like it’s good for another few ovens!  IMG_6511

The oven had a pair of tags on it – likely the owner had used it in group cooks or competitions in the past.  Fun to think about the meals it has seen, and even more fun to think of the meals to come! IMG_6441

And a few tips I learned along the way:

  • DON’T let the thing you are cleaning touch the sides of the tub, or the anode.
  • DON’T hook the positive clip to the thing you are cleaning and the negative to the anode.
  • DO rotate the thing you are cleaning every few hours. The electrolysis action is highest close to the anode, so if you only have one anode, it’s best to expose it to as many sides of the thing you are cleaning for as long as possible.
  • DO set this up outdoors or in an open garage; it creates hydrogen gas as a result of the process, so…
  • DON’T smoke or light a grill close-by. (Oh! The Humanity!)
  • DO collect old rusty iron when you find it, once this is set up you’ll want to keep it running!
  • DON’T believe everything you see on the web about this process. Try it yourself and you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
  • DO post pics of your own restorations here at the WKC, and especially the cooks you do after you’re done.

MartyG – August 2014

 

 

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1969 Weber Custom Kettle – The Meat-Cut Grill

Top View of Lid

This is a rare sighting! A custom Weber kettle from the late 60s, and one that has never – until now – been photographed in the wild. Thanks to WKC member CSorvala, we’re able to share this amazing grill with the world of Weber kettle collectors and enthusiasts. Manufactured in 1969, this grill depicts five of our favorite grilling meats in a menagerie of illustrations boldly displayed against a Harvest Orange porcelain backdrop. Catch a glimpse while you can, extinct species like this may never be seen again!

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Vintage Weber Custom Kettle Grills – One is Never Enough

With the Supermoon in full effect, an amazing pair of Weber Custom kettles have risen from the distant horizon to dazzle us all. There’s much more to the stories – and we’ll have more to share soon - but we did not want to wait to share this incredible evidence of Weber Stephen’s history. First up is one we’ve seen before, but this one answers many more questions. No need to strip paint off this one, it’s a survivor all the way. Thanks to new member Charred for joining the club and documenting the rescue for us. 1950's Vintage Weber Custom - "Jackson Pollock Kettle" IMG_2024_zps90eea5deNeedless to say, this is an amazing find. You can read more about it here. With the Jackson Pollock spider paint to the triangle ash/storage-pan below, this grill has stories to tell. But please don’t tell the original owner he assembled it wrong! Caddywampus as they say, with the three legs inserted 120 degrees off kilter. No matter, it cooks the same – as evidenced by the new “first cook” shown in the thread. Kudos to the new owner for taking her out for a spin before a full restore gets underway. (Presuming of course that’s in the cards.) Like I said, we’ve seen these before – they have one at the Lombard Weber Grill restaurant in Illinois, and one or two other members have one – but each one is a treasure and this one is no exception.

Next up is a kettle no-one has ever seen! The legendary Custom “Meat-Cut” kettle from 1969. Who knows how many were ever made? Well, we now know at least one! Thanks for new member csorvala for the post! (Why do new members seem to have the Midas touch lately?) 1969 Weber Custom - The Meat-cut Kettle

The 1969 Weber catalog shows this one-of-a-kind kettle wearing the unique and distinctive “Harvest Orange” porcelain and depicting our favorite grilling companions: beef, pork, chicken, fish, and lamb. 1969 Weber Custom - The "Meat-Cut" kettle

Two collectible and cookable kettles in one day under the August Supermoon can only mean one thing: It’s the Summer of WKC! Thanks again to charred and csorvala for hooking us up with the pics and the stories. We look forward to more details, more photos, and more amazing kettle finds to come. They’re out there – and we’ll rescue them, restore them, and above all, respect them.

MartyG – August 2014

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End of an Era? Weber switching to bolt-on handles

This may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s been reported by WKC member SixFourZero that Weber has indeed moved away from welding on the lid handle.
It has been replaced with a bolt on version.

This is the biggest design change we’ve EVER seen to the iconic Weber kettle grill.

Weber lid bolt on handle (no weld)

Just a bunch of holes.

I’m sure there is manufacturing advantages to this, as well as shipping advantages.

European kettles have been like this for a number of years. Has Weber done field and durability testing on this?
How do you feel about this significant change?

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Logo Ranch Kettle – Sutter Home Build a Better Burger contest

This rare Weber Ranch Kettle with a giant Sutter Home Build a Better Burger contest comes to us from Jim M on facebook We've only seen a small handful of Ranch kettles with logos.

Jim posted these pics on our facebook page a few days ago and I’ve been dreaming of his Ranch kettle ever since. We don’t yet know the story of this grill, or why Jim cooked 30 turkeys in 6 hours – but we’re doing our best to get some details.

Until then, enjoy a couple shots of this kickass grill!!
[click to continue…]

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Shirts are shipped!

After a few obstacles and blunders – the 2014 WKC shirts have been printed and are shipped.

If you haven’t received yours yet, hold tight – the last batch of shipments just went out yesterday.

What’s that? You didn’t order one? No worries, I ordered extras so you still have a chance to join the cool kids club! Go order now!
When yours arrives, go ahead and post a picture of yourself wearing the shirt in the forums!!

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WKC Posts of the Week May 20 to Jun 3, 2014

Congratulations to Dazzo for being WKC featured member #3! Dazzo has quite a story to tell with a little bit of clowning around. You deserve it, buddy!

GreenMBH

Dazzo’s famous green MBH

Some Grillfella’s got together all across the country. The Norcal folks had their first annual (or when they feel like it) WKC meet and it was epic! There were 8 WKC members there and close to 30 kettles of ever color, shape and size. Check out the Norcal meet photo thread!

SONY DSC

Not to be outdone, the Mid-Atlantic Grillfellas had a meet at none other than MartyG’s place. They also had a great turnout with Grillfellas and their families coming in from multiple states. Great work guys!

If you are in the Midwest make sure you don’t miss the 2nd annual WKC Chicago meet in July.

WKC Posts of the Week May 20 to Jun 3, 2014

Scores

Co-eds give Idahawk a freebie
Tattoedant 26′r score
Cuda Dan OTP score and first cook 
Grill Girl saves a redhead from the Ace dumpster
dwnthehatch like-new red MT score
Harris92 thumbscrew lineup
Mike.stavlund accessories score and cashing in his kettle karma
Harbormaster gets a parental assist for a ‘Cado score
Crumbsnatcher finds some Weber Euro pizza ovens locally
Addicted-to-smoke NIB Red MT 
Argentflame kettle freebies from Kako5256

Mods and restorations

Brickout restores his parents’ red MBH
Mcflash Red MT resto
Kettle cleaning tips
Maxbobcat ‘cado resto
Dazzo solid shelf and demo kettle homage

Cooks

Saxart first pizza cook on Weber Euro pizza oven
1Buckie london broil aka “Hyena Brisket”
MrHoss WSM Brisket, and Memorial day cook
KsDan Sloppy Joes
Peaspurple griddle stir fry
Cuda Dan shrimp, stuffed portabellos, corn, tenderloin, and cookies. What a mouthful!
Salad beach kettle cook
Idahawk goes on vacation with pac-man

General awesome threads

Color changing kettle showoff
Lump troubleshooting methods
Winz gets a note from the Weber CEO!
Show your charcoal stash

 

Thanks for looking!

 

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WKC Featured Member #3- dazzo!

I am pleased to introduce our next featured member and he goes by the handle dazzo around these parts. That’s his clown name (no joke!) and though he claims to clown around no longer, it must be an important part of his life. Without further ado, here is how he describes himself:

My name is Rick, aka dazzo, aka DAZZ-O The Clown, Ret.

I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. I’m not much into health food, I’m not into champagne. I actually do enjoy kleaning a kettle. It’s simply amazing to me that with a razor blade scraper, a box of SOS pads and a little Mothers, that a kettle can be transformed into something to be enjoyed, again.

I’m looking for a ‘birth-year’ kettle, but, problem is, charcoal wasn’t invented yet. Elvis was still a Prince, and Marilyn Monroe was “born” in that leap year.

Growing up was hard. I could handle OK the walking to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways. But what I missed out on was BBQ and grilling. Unlike some stories I’ve read, I don’t have memories of growing up with a fruity kettle. I had to start my own memories with a Weber.

It started with a black ’78. My wife and I were a young married couple with two young kids. I wanted to “BBQ”, so we bought a Weber kettle – brand new. I remember it being a lot of money for us (although I’m cheap so it’s probably all relative anyway). I must have some repressed memories somewhere of charcoal grilling because although I don’t remember, I knew enough to buy a Weber kettle – they were the best.

KettleVent

I had later gotten away from charcoal, and then I got gas. I admit, I had a Charbroil Precision Flame 9000 that some good friends had bought for us, since I was always grilling. Loved that thing!

Several years ago I wanted to grill with charcoal again. Along comes the green Double D Performer SS, which came with a quick disconnect 20# tank. The guy didn’t like filling the little tank. Got it for a good deal as he was having a BBQ built in.

Yes, I have Weberitis. Admitting to it is one of the steps to recovery, right? I didn’t know what I was suffering from. Realization began when I happened to be on CL, and stumbled upon a Weber Gas Kettle. Too cool. Went to meet the guy – it was like five minutes from my house – with traffic. He was a nice enough guy (don’t want him to get a big head) and he showed me the kettle.

I had already done some research using this new little Web site – I think it was called Weber Kettle Club. I found some guys in some foreign country were having some discussion on kettle gassers. Thankfully, there was no mention of banana hammocks at that point or I probably never would have joined.

Anyway, “Duke” grabs the propane torch – total overkill, but that’s what it’s all about – and fires the thing up. Sold!

Went home, and a little while later joined the WKC. I was assigned number 218 at ground zero for Weberitis.

GreenMBH

Then, the readheads – I’ve got it full-blown now – but down to only one. My green MBH is one of my favorites to look at. My other looker, and cooker, is the C&B Performer with the matching granite table – this one usually gets the chicken/fruits/veggies duty.

 

Performer

And my latest acquisition. Working on plans for some mods on this MLH…

WoodDaleVent
Remember the kettle gasser? It’s now my (original) Weber Wok burner – great for pancit. And fried ravioli.
I enjoy cooking outside. To that end, I still have gas – in my outdoor cooking area. A couple ‘Genesi’ (plural) gassers. One with two cast iron griddles for my flat top.

A while back, a collegue at work, who was from the South, informed me that BBQ was pork, done low and slow. Being a native Californian, I just hadn’t learned that yet. Thanks to this club, I finally picked up a small butt, lined up the fuse in the Double D SS with a couple chunks of apple wood (burned right to left for pork) – and haven’t looked back. Love the aroma in the yard as it’s Q’n.

And the ABT’s. Best things ever! Tried them and they were a hit! My daughter then made a request for “vegetarian” ABTs…

Jalapenos – halved
Mozzerella chunks
Chicken Apple sausage – the vegetarian part – instead of cocktail wieners, go figure.
Bacon

My wife gives me a bad time about how I don’t want to join Facebook, but that I’m always on the WKC site. I didn’t join FB because I don’t want to be found, and there’s too much drama – oh, wait, drama?

And if you ever get tired of looking at the WKC, check out www.dazzo.com
I like art, and painting on walls, and this site shows off some of my murals.

DazzoTheClown
Wait, what about DAZZ-O The Clown you ask. Well, when my kids were young, I was a clown and I performed at children’s birthday parties – Games, a little magic, and LOTS of Fun! – it was a blast. Although I don’t dress as a clown any longer, I still have done some magic shows for our friends kids.

Dang, no wonder I didn’t have time to BBQ

Seriously, I do want to thank all the members for making this site so enjoyable to look at, and for being an inspiration. The food pr0n inspires me to try different things. The kettle restores and mods inspire me to tweak my kettles. And the friendships inspire me to be a better person (sorry, was that too much?)

Thank you!

Oh yeah, and I still have my original kettle, my Old Grey.

Fade to black while ZZ Top plays in the background…
No, baby, tell me why don’t you?
Oh, now, baby, tell me why don’t you?
Make me some of your fine famous Bar-B-Q?

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WKC Posts of the Week- May 1-19 2014

This Saturday WKC Team Cali had a Norcal meet. It was an epic event with 8 members and a few dozen kettles of every vintage and color. Keep an eye out for a full writeup on the west coast meet master thread but for now here is a sneak peek!

 

If you are looking for ideas for the upcoming father’s day, we also just published an article for everything you want to know about kettle and meat temperatures at the official WKC Guide to Thermometers.

WKC statesman MartyG also had the opportunity to visit Weber hq and document an original ’52 George’s bbq kettle. Thanks, MartyG!

original weber kettle grill

Spring Beauty

We are also taking preorders for the Gen 2 WKC shirt with blue kettle logo AND WKC handles. Make sure to get yours.

blueshirt wkc-handle

Last but not least graduation season is starting. If you need help planning your bbq party, make sure to ask a grillfella!

Charcoal Sales Alerts. Deals may vary by region.

Frontier lump $18 for 34 lbs at BJ’s and $47 for 12olbs at Lowes
15% off Royal Oak Chef’s Select at Do-It-Best hardware
Kingsford Blue 30lbs for $9 at Walmart.

More to sales come next week for Memorial Day!

Scores

Harris92 Original 1880 14.5″ WSM, NIB Red MBH (!), and
Jeff scores an original Weber salesman DEMO kettle,  and an original fire blower
Idahawk cold calls a yellow MBH
Crumbsnatcher green OTS rehab and red SS performer
Winz crimson SJ from Canada
Tattooedant Seville cart
Zavod44 Simpsons OTG score
PNW Sequoia score
GC8 Faded black 18.5 MTH

Mods and restorations

1ROW Black MBH restoration
How to refinish double rivet handle without removing it?
Mark Schnell posts plans for a DIY “sequoia”
Brainstorming for a DIY kettle table
Winz project “Venison” SJG Smoker
DIY kettle wheels
HeyJude easy 7409 OT removal
Zavod44 adds a gas assist to a sage performer
MacEggs fitting old handles to a new kettle

 

Cooks

BigRix lamb cook
Addicted-to-smoke planked arctic char, kebabs, and 5qt chili on SJ
Idahawk bacon wrapped chicken and corn on Pac-Man
Aawa kettle fried chicken round 2, and brisket, ribs, and sides
One-Touch-Platinum apple bread
Winz take-no-prisoners breakfast fatty
AZ_MIKEY surf an turf
Argentflame bunch of weekend cooks
BBQMedic breakfast fatty
MrHoss bunch of cooks

 

General Awesome threads

Norcal mini meetup with a first cook on a Ranch Kettle
Which would you choose? Blue WSM or flat top 26′r?
Performer showoff thread
What are must have accessories?
Grillfella petition for Weber stars and stripe kettle
Rib basics 101

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WKC Guide to BBQ grill thermometers

One great aspect of the Weber Kettle is that it can cook at all types of temperature ranges from cold smoking, hot smoking, low and slow bbqing, baking and grilling. Tweaking the internal temperature is accomplished with the amount of charcoal, charcoal position, and the the adjustable vents. Since the adjustable vents give you versatility, a thermometer can help you keep your kettle at optimal temperature.

Weber released a few kettle models along the years that have a thermometer. In the 1990′s the Mastertouch and later on the Performer had a thermometer in the lid. The simple dial thermometer was first mounted right under the top handle. It also had a probe portion that also allowed you to test the temp of the meat! Around 2009 Weber relocated the thermometer to the lid with a classy chrome bezel on the One Touch Platinum, 2nd generation Performer and later the One Touch Gold.

Grate vs lid temperature.

The lid and grate temperature will vary slightly due to radiant heat from the charcoal and kettle body and proximity to the meat. I recommend to not worry too much but to keep your measuring method consistent. Keeping the location consistent will allow you to make tweaks for the next cook to decrease cooking time or change how the meat cooks. Most recipes can be cooked in a ~50F degree window and still produce good results.

How do I know if my thermometer is consistent?

The best way to do calibration is with the boil test. Water boils at 212F, or 100C so you can boil a pot of water and stick the probe in there to confirm. This will give you one reference point towards to cooler side of the temperature range.  If you only have one thermometer it will be harder to calibrate it across the entire temperature range. The other option to get a high temperature reference point is to set your oven to 350F and see how your thermometer records that temp. If they are slightly off don’t worry about it too much. There can be alot of variation between the the temps on each dial. As long as the thermometer reads consistently, you can mark temperatures on the dial if it reads low or high, or remember to always add the number of degress it’s off by for a specific temp. Remember that a thermometer will allow you to put run your kettle within a certain temperature range and a wide window will still produce good results. So don’t stress too much about getting it to exact degree. If you need or want more accuracy though, check out the digital options below.

What if my kettle didn’t come with a thermometer?

There are alot of options out that to help you to measure your temperature. Here are some of the most popular:

Dial thermometer.

How it works: There is a a long winded coil that attaches to the needle. As the metal heats up, it expands and rotates the dial to the appropriate temp.

Mounting options: There are alot of options here. There are models with a base that you can keep inside the kettle if you only need to check on temps once in a while. Other’s have a short probe that can threaded through a hole. like popped into a top vent hole, or secured with a nut in a hole drilled in the kettle

Here’s DirectDrive’s thermometer lid install

install weber thermometer lid

Mac Eggs Oven dial thermometer on the grate:

grate thermometer weber

1Buckie’s grate temp dial. He recommends lightly oiling the window to make after cook cleaning easier.

buckie grate temp weber

Doppelbock’s  thermometer through the top vent

weber temperature thermometer vent hole

Pros- Cheap, available at most home improvement or kitchen stores. No batteries required.

Cons- Varying accuracy for cheaper models and not all can be calibrated. low price point makes quality questionable so stick to well reviewed brands and models.

Look at:

Basic dial oven thermometer $4.

Basic mounted dial thermometer $8.

Tel Tru mounted dial thermometer $28.

tel tru weber

Probe/digital thermometer

How it works. A temperature probe or thermocouple is connected to a digital controller. The controller sometimes allows for additional functions like Celsius conversion, calibrations , multiple tempertature sensors for meat and or cooker temp, and alarms. Some models like the Maverick ET-732 even have a wireless transmitter that displays the grill temp while you are far away!

How it’s mounted. The wires need to be wired into the kettle. You can slip them through the holes in the top vent, under the lid, or a hole or grommet drilled into the kettle body or lid. (pics)

Pros. Most can be calibrated to give the most accurate readings. Wireless capability allows remote monitoring. Multiple temp readings on one unit.

Cons. Lower quality probes can break or malfunction. Wires can be unwieldy and the unit needs batteries to function

Look at Maverick Et-733 Wireless thermometer $70 on Amazon.

weber et-733 maverick thermometer

Data logger/ temperature controller 

At the high end of the thermometer market there are active temperature controllers. Some people also call this a Guru or Stoker after two of the most popular brands of temperature controller. Like the digital and probe thermometers they keep track of the meat and kettle temperatures  with separate probes but add a control system and fan to keep your kettle at the desired temperature. To use a temperature control, the air intake vents are closed down so that when the temperature gets too high, the fan stops and the kettle is choked for air. The fan starts up again once the temp falls below the desired temperature. Really high end units can be connected to wifi to send messages to the user, log data for cooks and have multiple probes and cookers to control various cookers and track multiple cuts of meat at once. Some kettle modification is probably necessary.

How its mounted: The wires need to be wired into the kettle. You can slip them through the holes in the top vent, under the lid, or a hole or grommet drilled into the kettle body or lid. (pics) The fan attaches to an existing vent or hole

Pros: Pogrammable, active temp control makes setting a temperature super easy, remote monitoring, wifi compatibility, etc.

Cons: Expensive. Needs a power supply or outlet to work. Modification to the kettle  is probably necessary to mount the fan- especially for One Touch kettle.

Look at:

PitmasterIQ, basic temp controller starting at $140.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 12.31.12 PM

Rock’s Bar-B-Cue Stoker WiFi, High end temp controller with wifi, multiple cooker control, and advanced programming starting at $350.

stoker

BBQ Guru CyberQ Wifi. High end temp controller with wifi, multiple cooker control, and advanced programming. Starting at $400 with blower fan.cyberQ guru bbq

 Meat Thermometer 

A meat thermometer will let you know when your meat is done. Unlike the kettle temperature, the temperature window for meat doneness is much narrower. Too low and undercooked meat may be rubbery still have viral bacteria, and too high/overcooked meat will yield dry, flavorless food. I recommend a digital probe type as their superior accuracy is great for determining right when the meat is done. They also more convenient to use as they heat up much faster preventing the need to keep the kettle open for too long and have your temperature run away. I recommend the Thermapen from Thermoworks  for $96. Cheaper options are available for $15-30 dollars – such as this digital probe Thermometer made by Taylor-  for the trade off of less durability, speed, or accuracy.

Weber-Westerner-96

Pros: Really simple to use (fold out the probe to turn on and fold it in to turn off), Splash proof, calibratable, and gets up to temperature in <3 seconds. They also come in numerous colors to match your accessories or mood.

Cons: A little pricey, but worth the investment. Can’t really leave it plugged into the meat to track real-time temp.

 

Hope that helps, feel free to post in the forums if you need more detailed info.

 

Gummi

 

 

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