Dutch Oven Cooking – Oh Boy!

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Dutch Oven Cooking demonstration at my community recreation center. They had several different foods to sample and I got to see how they cooked with charcoal on the Dutch Ovens. I stood beside the “cooks” the whole evening and picked their brains about everything. I’ve never done Dutch Oven Cooking before so I wanted to learn all about it.
 

I grabbed a handout with some great tips and recipes on it. Here is a compilation of some of what was included:


 


 

  • Protect your dutch oven from wind and rain, or add extra coals to compensate.
  • Remember, it’s not an exact science, be ready to add or take away coals as needed (usually add).
  • Cooking meat? Move coals to the bottom.
  • Baking bread or desserts? Move coals to the top
  • Meals that require more than 30-45 minutes to cook may need new coals added during cooking. If so, light new coals soon enough to allow them to get going before you need the.
  • Keep the lid closed! Avoid peaking more than needed.


 

NEVER USE SOAP! Different people have different methods for cleaning their dutch oven. The goal is not to get down to bare metal. Use a spatula or scraper to remove all leftover food and sauces. Use a clean rag to wipe out as much residue as you can. Then add about a cup of salt, and use another couple of clean rags to scrub the bottom and sides smooth. Then remove the salt, wipe down with oil, and place it back on the remaining coals for 5-10 minutes. Then give it a final wipe down and it’s ready for the next time. Most quality dutch ovens come with cleaning and seasoning instructions.


 

Ingredients:
1 large can of sliced peaches
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can soda (lemon lime or ginger ale)
About 1/4 cup butter
Cinnamon to taste

Directions:
Heat enough coals to cook at 350 degrees F. Dump peaches with juice into dutch oven. Spread cake mix over the peaches evenly. Pour 1 can of soda evenly over the cake mix. Place a few thin slices of butter on top. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cook until firm. Serve hot with cold ice cream!
 

One of the best things about Dutch Oven Cooking is that all you need for cooking is charcoal. Charcoal will store indefinitely so it is a fantastic fuel to keep on hand for emergency cooking. I am definitely going to be hitting the store to pick up a Dutch Oven for myself soon. I’ll share details about the one I get when I manage to get to the store πŸ˜‰

Do you have experience with Dutch Oven Cooking? Share your own tips and recipes in the comments below and we can all learn from each other.


  • Sally Myers Asay

    I wash all my cast iron – and I have lots – with soap and water, or SOS pads and hot water. It doesn’t hurt them in any way. Still nice and black and non-stick. Of course, clean immediately, don’t ever let them sit and soak in water..immediately you are inviting a rusty pan! I have Lodge pans…but Griswold’s are my all time favorite. Too bad they don’t make them anymore because they are very spendy at garage sales and second hand stores…I just keep looking and hoping…

    • Jen

      The reason you don’t use soap is that cast iron is a very porous metal….and when it’s heated, those pores open up. When it cools off, the pores close and trap whatever was in it. So if you use soap, you’re getting soap into the pores, and the next time you cook with it those pores open up and burp out whatever is trapped in them.

      • Sally Myers Asay

        I know about cast iron…mine are also rinsed in boiling hot water to remover residue. IF I’m getting some ‘residue’ of soap from this it hasn’t killed us yet..nor affected the food cooked in them. When camping, we use sandy river bottom to scrub them. Thanks for taking the time to give us your thoughts on this.

  • gerry

    all this fretting about seasoning your cast iron cookware is pointless. I have been using cast iron in my kitchen for many years.ihave never seasoned them and they are black as coal and non stick, just use them and they season themselves . and take no notice about not using soap or washing up detergent , if doesn’t affect them , I sometimes soak them in soapy water over night,no problem. just use them . they are like diesel engines…they thrive on hard work.

    • That’s great to hear from a veteran. Having had no experience myself it was kind of intimidating!

    • Mikey

      i have used cast iron for years. i use a dobie pad to clean with soap and water. dry on the stove top and then oil while still hot. non-stick, black and like you never seasoned. it doesn’t hurt them at all

    • Sam Morgan

      “black as coal and non-stick” = SEASONED

  • Leanne

    Check around for your local Dutch Oven Society. Here in WA State, we have a large group. I learned how to make crepes using the lid (upside down on a trivet – also sold where DO’s are sold). That got me hooked.

    For the person mentioning the cardboard box, foil, duct tape – if you get 4-6 small juice cans (I use pineapple because the cans are not aluminum) and a cookie sheet, you can bake in the box oven. I have made cakes, cookies, pizza, casseroles – anything you bake in an oven can be baked in the box oven. Use the number of briquets for the temperature needed. Replenish as needed to maintain the temperature. An oven thermometer is helpful as well. Use a small stone or stick to prop up one corner for ventilation. If you need to check on the food – raise the box straight up and do not tip it – this keeps the warm air trapped and will help maintain the temperature. Also, I have seen box ovens made cutting out the top and using a baking bag (the kind you put a roast in to roast in the oven) as a window into the oven.

  • amyM

    Dutch Oven Pizza
    Ingredients
    2 boxes pizza mix w/ sauce
    1 lb mozzarella cheese
    1 lb pepperoni (or your favorite topping)

    Equipment
    Large Dutch Oven
    Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

    Instructions
    Prepare coals
    Line Dutch Oven with heavy duty foil
    Mix pizza dough per instructions on box
    Spread dough evenly in bottom of Dutch Oven.
    Layer with sauce, pepperoni & cheese.
    Cover dutch oven, place on coals, put several coals on top. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Better than take out!

    Do not use too many coals or you can easily burn the crust.

  • I have been dutch oven cooking everyday this year. I started out not knowing anything and now I can cook any recipe I want in my dutch oven. It is fun and easy! There are several different ways to figure temperature and the chart you have is great, but for another (easier) method visit my blog at http://www.dutchovenmadness.blogspot.com. Click on the Dinwiddie Method of Temperature Control link on the right for a super simple way to figure out how many coals you need to reach any temperature! Good luck cooking everyone! Its a blast and you are only limited by your imagination!

  • Vicki

    Thanks for posting the baking chart for the different size dutch ovens. I have a set of ovens in these sizes and I am happy to know just how many briketts to put on the top and bottom. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site. πŸ˜€
    Vicki

  • Vicki

    Thanks for posting the baking chart for the different size dutch ovens. I have a set of ovens in these sizes and I am happy to know just how many briketts to put on the top and bottom. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site. πŸ˜€
    Vicki

  • guest

    I saw a show on the BYU Channel once about dutch oven cooking. They had a very simple formula for calculating your charcoal needs to maintain a 350 internal temperature. It was:
    Number of Quarts Dutch Oven x 2 = Number of Charcoal Bricks
    For Breads/Baking, 2/3 of that number brickettes on top, 1/3 on bottom
    For Meats/Stews, 1/3 of that number brickets on top, 2/3 on bottom.

  • guest

    I saw a show on the BYU Channel once about dutch oven cooking. They had a very simple formula for calculating your charcoal needs to maintain a 350 internal temperature. It was:
    Number of Quarts Dutch Oven x 2 = Number of Charcoal Bricks
    For Breads/Baking, 2/3 of that number brickettes on top, 1/3 on bottom
    For Meats/Stews, 1/3 of that number brickets on top, 2/3 on bottom.

  • Heather

    Here is our absolute favorite dutch oven dessert recipe.

    Chocolate Mud

    Spread the bottom of a 12″ dutch oven with one can raspberry pie filling. Next dump a chocolate fudge cake mix over the raspberries (the cake mix is dry at this point, nothing like eggs or oil are added to it). Next sprinkle a large box of Junior Mints over the cake mix. Then gently drizzle a 12 oz can of Sprite over the cake mix and mints. Cover cook for 40 minutes or so, then serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Sounds and looks disgusting, but it is delecious!!!

  • Heather

    Here is our absolute favorite dutch oven dessert recipe.

    Chocolate Mud

    Spread the bottom of a 12″ dutch oven with one can raspberry pie filling. Next dump a chocolate fudge cake mix over the raspberries (the cake mix is dry at this point, nothing like eggs or oil are added to it). Next sprinkle a large box of Junior Mints over the cake mix. Then gently drizzle a 12 oz can of Sprite over the cake mix and mints. Cover cook for 40 minutes or so, then serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Sounds and looks disgusting, but it is delecious!!!

  • Guest

    Don't know if this was already mentioned because I don't have time to read through the comments,but I would like to share something I've used on camping trips for a long time.

    Cardboard Box + Aluminum foil + Duct tape (not on the inside :/) = poor mans/ quickie/ cheap dutch oven

  • Guest

    Don’t know if this was already mentioned because I don’t have time to read through the comments,but I would like to share something I’ve used on camping trips for a long time.

    Cardboard Box + Aluminum foil + Duct tape (not on the inside :/) = poor mans/ quickie/ cheap dutch oven

  • AWESOME site! I want one NOW!

  • Suzanne

    We recently tried pizza in the dutch oven and absolutely loved it. I used 14″ dutch ovens and actually stacked 3-4 on top of each other to minimize the amount of “floor space” they took up. We used about 20 briquettes on the very bottom and 14 on each lid and then rotated the order of the dutch ovens in the stack through out cooking time. I used the same recipe I always use for pizza crust (so whatever you normally use should be just fine). I put it in the dutch oven (with a well seasoned one you don't even need to grease the pan!) and spread it out so it covered the bottom and just a little up the sides, then spread my toppings, put the lid on and cooked. It was so easy and very yummy.
    We also really like chicken and ribs: Cook up some bacon, it doesn't need to be completely cooked, but you want to render some of the fat off. Add the chicken or ribs and brown on all sides. Add onions (if you like), bar-b-que sauce, and a can of soda. Cover and cook until done.

  • Suzanne

    I agree with Jen here. Lodge is the only brand that we even look at any more for dutch ovens because of the way the lids fit… You need to have a tight seal or you loose all the heat inside of it.

  • Suzanne

    We recently tried pizza in the dutch oven and absolutely loved it. I used 14″ dutch ovens and actually stacked 3-4 on top of each other to minimize the amount of “floor space” they took up. We used about 20 briquettes on the very bottom and 14 on each lid and then rotated the order of the dutch ovens in the stack through out cooking time. I used the same recipe I always use for pizza crust (so whatever you normally use should be just fine). I put it in the dutch oven (with a well seasoned one you don’t even need to grease the pan!) and spread it out so it covered the bottom and just a little up the sides, then spread my toppings, put the lid on and cooked. It was so easy and very yummy.
    We also really like chicken and ribs: Cook up some bacon, it doesn’t need to be completely cooked, but you want to render some of the fat off. Add the chicken or ribs and brown on all sides. Add onions (if you like), bar-b-que sauce, and a can of soda. Cover and cook until done.

  • Shotzeedog

    At Malabar Farm State Park in Ohio we make a complete Thanksgiving dinner with about 20 to 30 people participating. It is a lot of fun with alot of great food.

  • ctdaffodil

    we use them with boyscouts – they are great!! One thing we learned was Walmart sells these hefty aluminum foil casserole pans – they fit perfectly in the large DOs we have and we use those – then you just need somehot water and nylon scrapper/scruby to clean it up fast! especially nice when making chocolate cake or brownies in it.

    Lodge also sells a lid lifter – I HIGHLY recommend this tool – and some good leather welders gloves. We have all our DO tools in a tub in the garage –

  • Shotzeedog

    At Malabar Farm State Park in Ohio we make a complete Thanksgiving dinner with about 20 to 30 people participating. It is a lot of fun with alot of great food.

  • ctdaffodil

    we use them with boyscouts – they are great!! One thing we learned was Walmart sells these hefty aluminum foil casserole pans – they fit perfectly in the large DOs we have and we use those – then you just need somehot water and nylon scrapper/scruby to clean it up fast! especially nice when making chocolate cake or brownies in it.

    Lodge also sells a lid lifter – I HIGHLY recommend this tool – and some good leather welders gloves. We have all our DO tools in a tub in the garage –

  • Piper

    I've done tons of dutch oven cooking. We (my mom and I) use our dutch ovens every day for most of our cooking needs… outside of boiling water. If you cut the legs off your dutch oven (or purchase one without) the dutch oven easily slides into a regular oven (which is great in the winter), or sits on a stove top. From there you can use the dutch oven to cook anything in your house (casseroles, one dish meals, breads, desserts, stir fry, potatoes, all kinds of meats, etc.). This is great because the dutch oven will add extra iron to your diet (this is particularly good for women).

    Our favorite is dutch oven potatoes in bacon grease, with salt, pepper, basil or garlic powder in the oven at 425 for not quite an hour.

    In addition I have a recipe for strawberry rhubarb upside down cake that is absolutely divine. Just let me know if you want the recipe.

  • Joanna

    I've been doing Dutch Oven cooking for a while – learned it just before the 2004 hurricanes hit our area, so it was a great help while we were in a grid down situation. Often I like to cook outside in my DO because of they way the food comes out, and sometimes I don't want to get my house hot from an oven (we live in FL). In a true camping situation you can line the bottom of the cooker with foil or pre-made liners so you don't need a lot of water to scrub the pot. As others have posted, you can literally make ANYTHING you can make in your regular oven…as long as it fits πŸ™‚

  • Jen

    Dutch Oven cooking is my husband's hobby and we enjoy it quite often. You can do anything in the dutch oven that you do in your own oven in your home. One tip that I can give is the type of dutch oven you get. Our favorite is the Lodge brand. But whatever one you get make sure that the lid fits perfectly and doesn't' rock at all. If it doesn't have the perfect fit your dutch oven won't seal properly and it will affect the way your food cooks. That is why we like the Lodge brand. They cast the lid in the same mold as the oven so the fit is perfect.

  • Guest

    I love making Pineapple Upside down cake and Barbecue Meatloaf in the dutch oven. Of course Dutch oven potatoes and dutch oven chicken are still hard to beat.

  • Piper

    I’ve done tons of dutch oven cooking. We (my mom and I) use our dutch ovens every day for most of our cooking needs… outside of boiling water. If you cut the legs off your dutch oven (or purchase one without) the dutch oven easily slides into a regular oven (which is great in the winter), or sits on a stove top. From there you can use the dutch oven to cook anything in your house (casseroles, one dish meals, breads, desserts, stir fry, potatoes, all kinds of meats, etc.). This is great because the dutch oven will add extra iron to your diet (this is particularly good for women).

    Our favorite is dutch oven potatoes in bacon grease, with salt, pepper, basil or garlic powder in the oven at 425 for not quite an hour.

    In addition I have a recipe for strawberry rhubarb upside down cake that is absolutely divine. Just let me know if you want the recipe.

    • Howard

      Piper, may I PLEASE have your recipe?? I would LOVE to try it. Thank you. πŸ™‚
      huggybearuno@aol.com

  • Annette

    Thanks for the info. on Dutch oven cooking. My husband bought me one for my birthday this spring and I can't wait to use it. Any information will be helpful. Keep the recipes coming too.

  • Joanna

    I’ve been doing Dutch Oven cooking for a while – learned it just before the 2004 hurricanes hit our area, so it was a great help while we were in a grid down situation. Often I like to cook outside in my DO because of they way the food comes out, and sometimes I don’t want to get my house hot from an oven (we live in FL). In a true camping situation you can line the bottom of the cooker with foil or pre-made liners so you don’t need a lot of water to scrub the pot. As others have posted, you can literally make ANYTHING you can make in your regular oven…as long as it fits πŸ™‚

  • Jen

    Dutch Oven cooking is my husband’s hobby and we enjoy it quite often. You can do anything in the dutch oven that you do in your own oven in your home. One tip that I can give is the type of dutch oven you get. Our favorite is the Lodge brand. But whatever one you get make sure that the lid fits perfectly and doesn’t’ rock at all. If it doesn’t have the perfect fit your dutch oven won’t seal properly and it will affect the way your food cooks. That is why we like the Lodge brand. They cast the lid in the same mold as the oven so the fit is perfect.

    • Suzanne

      I agree with Jen here. Lodge is the only brand that we even look at any more for dutch ovens because of the way the lids fit… You need to have a tight seal or you loose all the heat inside of it.

  • Guest

    I love making Pineapple Upside down cake and Barbecue Meatloaf in the dutch oven. Of course Dutch oven potatoes and dutch oven chicken are still hard to beat.

  • Lynn

    Have you seen this?? I love this. Dutch Oven Madness! Check it out:
    http://dutchovenmadness.blogspot.com/

  • Annette

    Thanks for the info. on Dutch oven cooking. My husband bought me one for my birthday this spring and I can’t wait to use it. Any information will be helpful. Keep the recipes coming too.