Dutch ovens are fixtures in hunting and fishing camps from the deer woods of Dixie to Utah’s high desert plains. It’s easy to understand why: They can be hung over an open fire, buried in a pit of coals, perched atop a gas grill or an electric range or a tobacco burner. In the same pot, you can fry fish, cook bacon, bake biscuits, and turn out the best apple fritters in the world. And nothing surpasses a Dutch oven for game cooking. The secret is in the famous black patina. Cast iron is rough and porous and will rust quickly, but seasoning gives it a rustproof, nonstick coating that enhances flavor and only works better the more you use the pot. –T. EDWARD NICKENS
 GET PREPPED Preheat a kitchen oven to 450 degrees. Wash the Dutch oven with soapy, hot water, and rinse well.
 DRIVE THE WATER OUT Put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pot and let it cool. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees.
 BAKE THE FINISH ON Now grease the entire pot inside and out, including all lids and handles, with a light coating of Crisco. Place it back in the oven for an hour. Crack a few kitchen windows and turn all smoke detectors off. It’s going to smoke and smell like burned metal. Don’t worry.
 ADD THE FINISHING TOUCH After the pot has cooled down, wipe away any excess grease. Store it with a paper towel inside to soak up any additional moisture. A newly seasoned Dutch oven will sport a shiny caramel color that turns black with use.
May…Jerry’s Tips (p.46)
The Amazing Turkey Gizzard (p.49)
Crossing Blowdowns (p.52)