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Should I use this old iron pot?

Posted by fori (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 30, 07 at 18:41

My recently acquired home came with a pot in the fireplace, hanging from a large swinging hook. I believe it is the only part of the room to escape being de-westernized--it once was one of those 50s TV western-inspired rooms.

Anyway, it's a #9 Wagnerware "Drip Drop Roaster". I'm going to assume it was intended for roasting meat, and not cheesy fireplace decor, but in the oven or on the stove? And how? Is the trivet thing functional? Can I make rice in this pot? I think I want to use it. New house has an induction cooktop, and I don't have any pots that work on it of this size and as it came with the house, it seems appropriate that I use it.

Is there any reason not to use old cast iron? Anything I should look out for when cleaning it that would indicate a problem?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

There have been several threads on the care and feeding of cast iron. Were I you I would do a search, and read some of them.

That said, there is no reason not to use an old iron pot. But I would clean and reseason it, just to be on the safe side. There are several ways of doing that (again, the search should take you to them).

I'm not familiar, specifically, with the drip-drop models. But I'd guess all it means is that you have a self-basting lid.

If you describe the pot a little better, we can probably offer more help. Is it round or flat bottomed? What does the cover look like? Etc.

BTW, if you have a working fireplace with a crane, I would strongly urge you to learn hearth cooking. It's a great way to prepare meals. And lots of fun, too.

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

Thanks. I took it out of the fireplace and scrubbed it to see how bad it is. Looks pretty good except for some rust on the interior I will have to get out (sandpaper?). I suspect it's been used, but not in a loooong time. (It predates the house by at least 30 years, too.)

Found a picture of the same model, right down to the aluminum trivet. I don't think anyone would pay that much for it, but it's a good picture! I guess the stars on the inside of the lid are to self baste evenly? Neat. But does it work? The bottom is flat, really really flat, which is nice for induction. The lid fits tightly.

Is it really safe to put it in the oven for a self-clean cycle? I'd hate to warp it.

The spouse was not terribly amused to see me with that old pot, so I think I'll have to do all the cleaning myself!

Here is a link that might be useful: lookalike pot

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

Now that I've seen it, Fori, I have to advise you that it's a piece of crap, and you should immediately ship it to me for proper disposal. :>)

Seriously, that's a nice looking set up. Those "stars" inside the lid are one of only two versions of self-basting lids that are worthwhile. Most of them actually pull the cure out of the lid. So you're in good shape there.

I've never done it myself, but I'm told by people whose judgement I trust that running a piece through the self-clean function will strip off the old cure and surface rust. So it's worth a try. Be sure and immediately season it, though. And only use it, initially, for frying, until you've built up a good cure. After that, stove top, oven, over the fire, it's all good.

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

No reason to put it in a self cleaning oven. IMHO, bad idea. These pots predate self cleaning ovens so it certainly isn't necessary. Scour the rust with steel wool, season it and use it. If it were mine I would go to and check out the recipe books. Lots of them deal with cooking in cast iron. (I have a couple of those books. Yummy stuff.) Go online and get recipes for cooking over an open hearth. Use it on your range, in your oven or over the open fire. Make stew, pot roast, whatever you would cook in a dutch oven. Have fun!

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

Thanks for the advice!

I've been using cast iron (cheap new bumpy pans) for about 8 months now because I plan to replace my cooktop (requires magnetic pans) and didn't want to invest in new pans. But I NEED more pans. And this one looks perfect for induction as well as being something useful with a normal heatsource. (Of course there's always the possibility that it was used for a chamber pot on camping trips or something appetizing like that....)

Selfcleaning oven cycles make me nervous (no logical reason) so I'll try the steel wool first. I've read that oven cleaner might work for the old seasoning--any reason to avoid that?

To dry the pots, I've been putting them on the stove, but that's not going to work with the lid (yeah, I'm imagining it vacuumed onto my ceramic cooktop). Will I have to use the oven to dry it every time?

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

I have a piece of advice. I use a lot of cast iron skillets, some of them are well used family hand me downs. Some of these oldies are smooth as any modern non- stick pan, and work even better. With long use they often develop a real thick black crust on the outside, especially when used for frying, the grease pops out & settles on the out side & bakes on. I read long ago that this could be removed by putting it right in a roaring fire in the fireplace, right on top of the logs. I did this and boy did it clean it, right down to bare metal inside and out. Looked brand new! BUT I WAS VERY SORRY....toook me years of frequent use to get it seasoned again. I guess it would really sterilize it if you felt it might have be used for something besides cooking as fori suggests. Otherwise I'd never do it. Never tried the self cleaning oven thing, but sounds likely to strip all the seasoning off the same way. BTW I'm a chemist and can tell you that the wonderful smooth black layer that builds with proper use is a polymer made of cooking oils, very like teflon in all it's properties, but does not stand up to as high temperatures. The old folks that taught me to love cast iron sain don't even use soap once it's seasoned. Just scrub it if needed with something gentle (I use a still nylon brush), rinse and dry it on a slightly warm burner. Don't put away damp. I've never done convection cooking but hope it works for you. Enjoy your special pot!

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

I agree with claudia!! What a fabulous pot!....and it only cost..?? How many thousands of dollars?? LOL!
It's great....don't make it look new.....heat it up and kill any "germs" if that's what bothers you.....and just use it!! Putting as couple of inches of an animal fat or crisco in the bottom and heating it.....and perhaps even frying some potatose is a good way to start.
Enjoy! I should be so lucky!!
Linda C

RE: Should I use this old iron pot?

Thanks. I'd rather not think of how much it cost... :)

Looks like sanding out the rust will take care of anything that might trouble me on the inside and I'll let the exterior stay as nasty as it is. I don't think it's really seasoned so no harm if I lose some crud.

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