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A Quick Course on Dutch Ovens

An oven is an indispensable cooking gadget for all campers.  If you learn to use it you can enjoy meals and desserts in it for years.  I first got introduced to a cast iron Dutch Oven at a Scout outing and have been hooked ever since.  I’ve cooked roasts, spaghetti, stew, potato casserole and chocolate cake in mine!  So, you can see it is very versatile and, you’ll love this part – it’s easy to use.

Dutch Oven PictureThe beauty of a cast iron Dutch Oven is that you can use charcoal briquettes as a heat source!  Yes, briquettes!  Each briquette gives off about 15º F of heat.  So, if you need 350º to cook a roast, you will need….. do the math… 23 and 1/3 so use 24 briquettes.  And to get even heat distribution you will want to put 8 on the bottom and 16 on top. Since heat rises you want more on top to put heat into the over from above.  Keep the coals replenished for the allotted cooking time and you are good!   For more information, get my new Dutch Oven Cooking book.


5 Essential Tips on Using a Dutch Oven

1.    Get a good, cast iron oven and “cure” it according to the directions.

2.    Get leather gloves, tongs and a lid handle as necessary accessories.

3.    Always line the oven with foil when cooking cakes, pastries, and other desserts.

4.    Never wash the inside with soap and water.  Just wipe clean with a wet rag.

5.    Let the oven cool before packing it away.


Now the “Infamous” Recipe…Dutch Oven Roast!
Sorry for the delay, I needed to get you properly prepared for this recipe, but it will be worth it in the long run.  I know you will see how easy and tasty your campout meals are with the Dutch oven that it will become an indispensable part of your camp kit, too!
  • Enough charcoal briquettes for 350° F (24 coals for a 10” oven)
  • Small beef roast 6-8 pounds (smaller than the size of your oven)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Vegetables sliced or cubed (I use carrots, potatoes and onions)
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • Salt, pepper and Italian spices
Take your roast (smaller than the size of your oven) and randomly poke holes in the outside with a knife and stuff garlic cloves in the holes.  Put in as many as you like!  Rub salt, pepper and Italian seasoning all over the roast.  Surround the roast with an assortment of small vegetables.  Finally, add a cup of beef broth, cover and cook on coals for about 2 hours.  You want about 350º F, so for a 10” oven use about 24 coals with 16 on the top and 8 on the bottom.  Be prepared to add more coals as they turn to ash, so have your charcoal starter chimney available.  After 2 hours, check roast and potatoes for “doneness”.  When ready, cut the roast up and serve from the oven.  Spoon out the juice to pour over your veggies!


There is a Dutch Oven recipe on my Blog site that won a Dutch Oven Cook-off Contest at a Boy Scout Jamboree!!  
Go check it out at: www.thecampingguy.com/blog/dutch-oven-cook-off-winner/


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