My family and I enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. We are fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwest so our camping options are many. Last year we scored ourselves some cast iron cookware including a dutch oven for outdoor cooking. A dutch oven or camp oven is really just a cast iron pan with a good fitting lid. What it lets you do is put coals below and above the stuff your cooking essentially creating your own oven over the fire. What it lets you do is cook up some scrumptralescent vittles that you might otherwise forgo.
Picking a Dutch Oven
The set we purchased was a complete starter set from Cabelas including several pans, some asbestos welding mitts and a lid lifter. They were “pre-seasoned” and work fine, although certainly not the highest quality. If you’re purchasing new I would highly recommend the Lodge Dutch Oven. They use a much better seasoning process and are made in the USA. You might also want to pick up a lid lifter or some kind of Thermite Plasma resistant gloves as these things get hot, that’s sort of the point.
Preparing the Fire for Dutch Oven Cooking…Aw Yeah!
That’s right it’s time get the fire going. Honestly what else do you do when you camp, burn stuff and eat, you’re getting the best of both worlds. There’s a couple ways to get yourself ready to cook. You can build a fire, get it really going and build up some good coals that you can put under and on top of your dutch oven or you can use some charcoal briquettes. Yeah I know it’s kind of wimping out to use some briquettes but for the rookie camp cook this is the most foolproof way to go. I’ll assume your going to go the briquette route, what you’ll need is about 15 briquettes underneath your dutch oven and about 11-15 for the top depending how much room you’ve got up there. Pile up the briquettes and if they are pre-soaked with some kind of accelerant hit them with a match. If they aren’t, douse them liberally with some charcoal lighter fluid, diesel fuel or the old can of hair spray and lighter routine. Okay no just use some charcoal lighter fluid. Let the coals get nice and grey then you’re ready to get cooking. Spread out the 15 briquettes under your oven slap in your ingredients in the dutch oven, put on the lid and then put the rest of the briquettes right on the lid. You’re cooking! Now on to some simple, cheap and delicious dutch oven recipes to try out.
Dutch Oven Entree Recipe: Biscuit Topped Beef Stew
Ingredients: 3 Cans of Beef Stew, 1 can of Biscuits (Grands work awesome)
Cook Time: Approximately 30 minutes
Nutritional Content: Yep there’s some calories there, but you’re camping right go for a hike.
Serves: 4-6 People depending on appetites
Cost: $5 or so. Yeah that’s $5 total.
Okay open the cans and pour them into your dutch oven. Put the biscuits on top of the beef stew. Put on the lid, cover with briquettes and go enjoy a camp beverage or whittle a snake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the briquettes and set aside in case you need to cook some more. Pull the lid and you should have some nice brown biscuits, let those suckers sit for a few minutes unless you have a fully stocked first aid kit, and enjoy.
Dutch Oven Desert Recipe: Dump Cake
Alright Dump Cake is a rather unsavory name but it really describes what you’re doing here, you are “dumping” the ingredients in the dutch oven and that’s it. Did you notice that you don’t even have to stir anything? Yeah this is camping for sure.
Ingredients: 2 Cans of Pie Filling (cherry, apple, blackberry, your choice), One box of Yellow Cake Mix and about 1/4 cup of butter
Cook Time: Approximately 30 minutes
Nutritional Content: None. Go split some firewood for the evenings activities you’ll burn it off.
Serves: 4-6 People
Cost: $8 or so. Pie filling can be expensive.
Open the cans, you should be good at that by now. You did bring a can opener right? Pour the pie filling into the dutch oven. Open the cake mix. Dump it on top of the pie filling covering completely. Take the butter and drop small pats around the cake mix. Put on the lid, cover with briquettes and challenge Uncle Larry to some leg wrestling for 30 minutes. Let this one sit for a bit after it’s done cooking, you could smelt aluminum from the heat coming from that pie filling. Enjoy!
I have personally tested these recipes and can state with some authority that they are absolutely delicious and will seriously impress your friends.