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.
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
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 😉
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.
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder