Truck Campers & Dutch Oven Cooking

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

When the subject of Dutch ovens is mentioned at Truck Camper Jamborees, 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 that 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 breads are endless.

Charcoals on the lid and under the Dutch oven

TCers are always looking for ways to save money and cooking with a 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,
www.lodgemfg.com and Camp Chef, www.campchef.com which are already seasoned.  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 it oven cools, apply a layer of seasoning which 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.


Equipment

  • 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 used to remove the lid when it is hot.
  • Heavy gloves.
  • Dutch oven parchment liners.

hardest part of Dutch oven cooking

First – is choosing that first item to be cooked.  Due to the wide variety of delicate foods that can be cooked 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 does it take.  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 25 degrees.

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

Have no fear – most receipts will tell you how many coals will be needed on the top and bottom.  With experience you gain from cooking, coal placement will come second nature – start with a single ring of 9 colas 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

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dutch+oven+cooking+recipes

and

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dutch+oven+cooking+camping
just to name two.

Visit a Dutch Oven Gathering and cook-offs

Attend an International Dutch Oven Society (IDOG) in your area.  One of the best place to learn cooking techniques, new recipes and meet fellow Dutch oven cooks.  A list of events can be found on their web site www.IDOC.org  in addition Dutch Oven Gathering News at www.duchovengathering.com.

IDOG publishes a quarterly newsletter which covers 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?

 

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