Dutch Oven Cooking

Dutch OvenIf you’re looking to up your campfire cooking game while simultaneously unleashing your inner Pilgrim, look no further than a dutch oven. Dutch ovens have been around for over 300 years, and while they aren’t the popular home-cooking workhorses that they were centuries ago, they are still a go-to for camp chefs everywhere.

A dutch oven is basically a portable oven, typically made of cast-iron. To be clear, they’re portable in the sense that you can load a dutch oven into your car and drive to your campsite. Cast iron dutch ovens can weigh anywhere from 11 pounds to over 30 pounds, so you don’t want to strap one to your backpack and haul it around the woods for a week. Either you or the dutch oven isn’t going to make it out.

The nice thing about dutch ovens is that you can make some really delicious meals that you couldn’t normally make. We’re talking cobblers, cakes, frittatas, and the like. You can bake, boil, stew, and braise to your hearts content. While everyone else is chewing on peanut butter and tortillas or freeze-dried meals, you can be stuffing your face with pineapple upside down cake.

When you’re picking out your dutch oven you want to keep a few things in mind.

  • Make sure you get a dutch oven with sturdy legs. This lets you keep the oven off the coals and allow you to better regulate the heat.
  • The lid should fit nice and flush with the oven, and you probably want to get one with a rim on it. A rim keeps coals in place on top of the oven and prevents ash from falling into your food.
  • Get a lid that’s convex so it can be flipped upside and doubled as a frying pan!
  • You want to make sure that the lid has a solid, connected loop handle. Needless to say, dutch ovens get hot, like put you in the hospital with severe burns hot. If your lid can’t be lifted with a hook, you might not be eating until your food gets cold.

You also want to be sure that you have the right tools to cook with your dutch oven. Gloves, a lid lifter, long tongs, a lid holder, a little shovel are all going to be extremely useful. Gloves will keep you from getting burned, as will the lid lifter and tongs. A lid holder will free up your hands while safely holding the hot lid out the way. The shovel is going to help you move the coals around so you can regulate the temperature in your dutch oven.

For the best results, you want to use charcoal briquettes. These will burn longer and uniformly than coals from a wood fire.

A good rule for getting the perfect cooking temperature is to remember the number 2. Know the diameter of your oven, and use the diameter+2 coals on the top and the diameter -2 coals on the bottom. If you evenly space the goals you should have a nice uniform heat of around 350 degrees.

For example, if you have a 14 inch dutch oven place 16 coals on top, and 12 coals on the bottom for a total of 28 coals.

We’ve got dutch ovens for days here at Uncle Sam’s. Come by and see us!

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