When the subject of Dutch ovens was mentioned at a Truck Camper Jamborees recently, most people picture a grumpy gray-bearded cook and cowboys sitting around the chuck wagon while on a dusty cattle drive. Their menus usually consist of sourdough bread, pork & beans, and whatever meat was available. Today’s Truck Camper families can enjoy such diverse items from a Dutch oven such as Vegetable Medley, Omelets, Lasagna, Pizza, Casseroles, Apple Crisp. The list of main courses, desserts, and loaves of bread is endless.
TCers are always looking for ways to save money, and cooking with good quality seasoned Dutch oven can help. Dutch ovens are designed for slow cooking to tenderize cheap cuts of meats and make them tasty and easier to chew.
Cooking with a Dutch oven will bring
a sense of fun back to
Southwest Chicken – Pork Roast
Barbecue Ribs – Shrimp Creole
Sweet Potato Cornbread – Honey Cheddar Biscuits
Louisiana Stromboli – Spicy Sausage and Cheese Rolls
Apple Crisp – Zucchini Cake
Cran Orange Pork Tenderloin Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie
Do not be intimidated. You are limited only by your taste buds.
The dutch oven
The two most popular Dutch ovens are from Lodge,
www.lodgemfg.com and Camp Chef, www.campchef.com which are already seasoned(conditioned, ready for cooking). When unboxed, washed with soap and warm water to remove a thin coat of protective wax use for shipping. For the first heating of the Dutch oven, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. After the oven cools, apply a layer of seasoning that protects the iron from rust and deterioration, creating a non-stick surface, making cleaning much easier. The color of most Dutch ovens changes to black.
- The 12-inch camp-style Dutch oven (a Dutch with three legs) is the most popular and used for most recipes.
- Charcoal and lighter fluid.
- Tongs for adding and removing coals.
- Lid stand to keep the lid clean when off the Dutch oven.
- Lid lifters are used to remove the lid when it is hot.
- Heavy gloves.
- Dutch oven parchment liners.
the hardest part of Dutch oven cooking
The first – is choosing that first item to be cooked. Due to the wide variety of delicate foods that you can cook in a Dutch oven, you may find the choice overwhelming. Will it be a meat dinner, chicken, beef, or pork? Maybe an upside-down fruit cake or a banana bread to go with that late-night cup of coffee.
Second – the hardest part of cooking with a Dutch oven is learning how many charcoals it takes. How many on the bottom, and how many on the lid? Using a 12-inch Dutch oven, the general rule is a ring of 9 coals on the bottom and 15 coals on the lid. This will produce an internal temperature of 325 degrees. Adding 2 coals will increase the temperature by 25 degrees.
Have no fear – most receipts will tell you how many coals will be needed on the top and bottom. With the experience you gain from cooking, coal placement will come second nature – start with a single ring of 9 coals around the bottom and a single ring of 12 to 15 on the lid.
Receipts and Videos
Speaking of receipts – there are many, many books with great receipts while providing a wealth of information. As well as free videos on
Visit a Dutch Oven Gathering and cook-offs.
Attend an International Dutch Oven Society (IDOG) in your area. One of the best places to learn cooking techniques, new recipes and meet fellow Dutch oven cooks. You can find a list of Dutch Oven cooking events on their website www.IDOC.org in addition to Dutch Oven Gathering News at www.duchovengathering.com.
IDOG publishes a quarterly newsletter covering a wide range of interesting subjects, new product information, and tips on cooking. Some of the recipes in the Summer 2020 edition includes:
Citrus Fried Salmon – Pineapple Pork Barbecue Ribs –
Chocolate Fudge Pecan Torte Lemon Cream – Cheese Dump Cake –
Balsamic Soy Roasted Garlic Mushrooms –
Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin – Zooped Up Damper Bread
Question – Which one do you do first?