Cooking With A Dutch Oven Tips
Cooking with a dutch oven is one of the favorite ways to cook while camping. However, it is probably not something you can do when backpacking because of the weight (although aluminum dutch ovens are lighter than the traditional). If you are car camping or in your RV it’s a great way to cook up some delicious and nutritious meals over the campfire, especially if you like to eat well when you are out in the great outdoors.
It is one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you can own. Once you have mastered using it you might want to buy more. If you look after it properly it will last a long time and probably longer (you can pass it on to your children). You can fry with it – eggs, bacon, chicken and so on, you can boil water for pasta, peas, make soup, baked beans, you can roast in it – chicken, beef, lamb, potatoes. And of course you can use it as an oven – baking bread, lasagna, cakes, cookies and pizza. You can cook just about anything you can fit in it.
10 Dutch Oven Camping Tips
A dutch oven for camping is different to one you would buy for home. It has three short legs, not a flat bottom, to keep it stable when you place it on the coals of the fire.
If using wood as fuel for the fire you should use hardwood as it burns slowly and you will get the coals necessary to heat the oven. Turn the oven regularly clockwise a quarter turn to prevent the food burning due to hot spots because it is difficult to have an even heat.
When you first buy a dutch oven it requires curing. This is to protect the oven and also prevent your food having a metal test. When you buy a new one the manufacturer will probably provide instructions to season it. However, the basics are similar. You need to first clean the oven to remove the protective coating. The easiest method is to cook unsalted bacon on the lid and in the pot to give a coating to prevent rusting, food from sticking to the pot and add taste. For a pre-seasoned dutch oven you could consider the Lodge LCC3 Logic Combo Cooker on Amazon.
Using charcoal provides a more uniform heat than wood. Don’t bunch the coals to prevent hot spots.
Some accessories you might consider – a lid lifter to lift the lid with coals or lift the whole oven with the bail wire, charcoal chimney starter to get your charcoal started wooden utensils so as not to scratch away the seasoning, leather gloves, long tongs for moving coals and briquettes around.
If steam is escaping from around the edges of the lid it means your oven is too hot.
To make pancakes and eggs you can turn the lid over and use it as a griddle or skillet. The contents won’t spill over as the turned over lid is shaped like a shallow bowl.
To clean your oven use either clean water or only a mild soap to prevent a soapy taste to your food. Use only a plastic scouring pad or brush as steel wool or pads will remove the seasoning. To remove food that is stuck, add clean water and bring to a boil and this will soften it and make it easier to remove.
Dry the dutch oven quickly to prevent rusting.
For more tips and dutch oven recipes and more for camping a get a copy of the The Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook on Amazon
Dutch oven cooking provides a lot more variety to your campfire cooking. No longer do you need to be stuck with just a sausage on a stick. With some experimentation and proper care you will have many great meals to remember and enjoy.