Truck Campers & Dutch Oven Cooking

A cast iron Dutch oven
A 12-inch cast-iron Dutch oven

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 consisted of sourdough bread, pork & beans, and whatever meat was available. Today’s Truck Camper families can enjoy various items from a Dutch oven such as Vegetable Medley, Omelets, Lasagna, Pizza, Casseroles, Apple Crisp. The main courses, desserts, and loaves of bread are endless.

Charcoals on the lid and under the Dutch oven

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.

Girl cooking with Dutch Oven
Girl cooking with Dutch Oven


Cooking with a Dutch

oven will bring

a sense of fun back to

campground cooking.




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

Cran Orange Pork Tenderloin
apple pie
Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie


Do not be intimidated. You are limited only by your taste buds.


The dutch oven

Pot roast with potatoes and corn-on-the-cob

The two most popular Dutch ovens are from Lodge, and Camp Chef, are already seasoned(conditioned, ready for cooking). When unboxed, washed with soap and warm water to remove a thin coat of protective wax used 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 most challenging 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. 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 most challenging part of cooking with a Dutch oven is learning how many charcoals it takes. How many coals are on the bottom, and how many are on the lid? When 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 two coals will increase the temperature by 25 degrees.

Dutch oven with charcoal on the lid
Dutch oven with charcoals on the lid

Have no fear – most receipts will tell you how many coals are required on the lid and underneath. 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 round ring of 12 to 15 on the lid.

Receipts and Videos

Speaking of receipts, many receipt books provide a wealth of information. As well as free videos on

to name two.

Visit a Dutch Oven Gathering and cook-offs.

Attend an International Dutch Oven Society (IDOG) cook-off 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  in addition to Dutch Oven Gathering News at

IDOG publishes a quarterly newsletter covering a wide range of exciting 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?

Any suggestions comments – good or bad – don’t hesitate to contact us at Thank you.

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