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How to Keep Pots From Turning Black

Cooking over fire

How do you keep pots from your mess kit from turning black when using them over a fire?

— Seared Sandi in Hamburg, N.Y.

A: Don’t cook over a fire! Just kidding — sort of. Actually, cooking over a camp stove is the best way to avoid blackened pots. Plus it’s more efficient and better for the environment.

That said, we asked Mike Glavin of GSI Outdoors Inc., which makes some of the best camp pots, for tips on keeping your pots clean when cooking over campfires: “Rub bar soap on the pots before use, and try to keep your pots on a coal-bed, away from open flames. They will still get sooty, but the soap helps keep the soot from sticking — allowing for easier cleanup.”

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6 Comments on How to Keep Pots From Turning Black

  1. In the BWCA we used a liquid dish soap on the outside of our pots and pans when cooking over wood. Which we did for every meal that required cooking. I don’t think we even had a stove with us since I never saw it. The liquid dish soap worked really well and cleans all the soot off very easily. Plus with a liquid soap vs a bar soap you get much more even coverage.

  2. Why not use one layer of aluminum foil on the outter part of the pot.
    Once you’re done with cooking,pull the foil off and all clean.

  3. Used tube shaving cream. It was thick and easy to apply to the outside of the pan and the soot would wash right off. Never use soap on the cooking surface of cast iron.

  4. I’ve been told to wrap my aluminum cookware with a toesack and soak with kerosene to remove really thick gunk. Will that work. The pot is really nasty, but it is a nice pot so don’t want to throw it away. The dish soap method to prevent this sounds like a good think. Thanks for your answer.

  5. Willy_Wonka // May 20, 2016 at 11:45 pm // Reply

    Great info everyone.
    Please remember no soap on cast iron pots or pans. This will remove the nonstick properties.
    Use salt on a dry cast iron to scrub clean.

    Knowledge is Power.

    • Put coarse salt on pot and scrub with half of a potato. Sounds wierd, but it’s worked for me. It will even remove rust from an old cast iron, so look for them at sales, people often don’t know they can be brought back to life.

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