Dutch Ovens are funny things. Named for the country where I grew up, I’d never heard of one until I moved to Australia. I suppose there’s no place for theme in modern kitchens and digging a hole in Dutch soil will more likely give you a big puddle of water than a nice cooking pit. So I guess it makes sense the concept was quite foreign to me.
Being introduced to Dutch Ovens at a later age, I can understand that cooking in one may seem a bit intimidating at first. To show how easy it actually is, here are some quick tips on how to use a Dutch Oven.
Let’s start by pointing out you can simply hang your Dutch Oven above a fire and cook in it like you would in a normal pot on a stove top. However, it’s called an oven for a reason, so we’ll focus on using it as such.
The first thing to do is to gather a bunch of firewood and set up your temporary outdoor kitchen. Create a pile of wood for your fire and dig a hole next to it. This hole is going to be a crucial part of our oven later on. It doesn’t have to be super deep, but has to be big enough to later fit your Dutch Oven.
Start your fire and let it burn hard for a while. The goal here is to create a decent amount of hot coals. The amount of coals you’ll need depends on the temperature you want to cook at, the size of your pot and the thickness of it’s cast iron walls. A bigger pot and higher temperatures are (obviously) going to require more coals, but expect to be burning off wood for at least an hour.
Prep your meal, have a beer, roast some marshmallows…
How are those coals looking?
Once you’ve got yourself a decent amount of coals, scrape a bunch of them into your hole. Again, how many you’ll need depends on how hot you want your pot to be. If you have a decent pot with thick walls, don’t be shy to throw in a nice thick layer of coals. It’s not that easy to make these pots too hot. Place your Dutch Oven inside the hole and let it warm up for a bit, like preheating a normal oven.
TIP! We placed some burning logs on top of the oven to speed up the preheating process.
Feel the heat yet?
Now grab yourself another drink and let the magic happen! Dutch Oven cooking is very low maintenance at this point.
Check your meal at fairly regular intervals, just like you would with a normal oven, other than that, you can’t really go wrong.
Tip! It goes without saying you shouldn’t touch the oven with your bare hands. You can buy grips specially designed to lift Dutch Oven lids, but a sturdy tent peg does the job just fine!
Enjoy your meal!
Keep an eye out for more campfire cooking tips and Dutch Oven Recipes on Roamer Post soon to come!
Do you have any tips on how to use a Dutch Oven of your own? Be sure to leave them in the comments below.