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By February 1, 2013 Read More →

Going Dutch: The Art and Practice of Dutch Oven Cooking

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Part of being a Prepper is having alternative means of doing things.  As far as cooking goes, Dutch Oven cooking can be your alternative means for making food for your family should there be no normal means to do so.  A Dutch Oven can cook almost anything you can cook in your kitchen oven, but I think it does even better!  Here is  a little history first before we dive into other topics…

Dutch Ovens originated in Holland as Iron Pots cast in a dry sand mold.  In the early 1700s an Englishman named Abraham Darby traveled to Holland to inspect the manufacturing process.  He returned to England and improved the process with better molds and sold many Dutch Ovens to the American Colonies.  It has also been suggested that Dutch traders or settlers had named them as well.

These days, the name “Dutch Oven” can be seen about everywhere on varying types of cookware.  Traditionally though, a Dutch Oven is made of cast iron and sits on three legs to keep it above the coals.  The lid has a rim on it to keep hot coals in place and it has a steel handle to remove it from the heat.  Many modern manufacturers produce Dutch Ovens, Lodge being one of the most prominent ones.  Cooking pots similar to today’s Dutch Ovens have been in use since around the 7th century.  Dutch Ovens last so long they were even willed to children and grandchildren from parents and grandparents.  American pioneers and explorers carried Dutch Ovens with them as settlement moved west on the North American Continent.  Lewis and Clark, Mountain Men, and Cowboys on the cattle drive all used Dutch Ovens.   The Dutch Oven has been continually refined into what it is today.   All parts of it were tinkered with until as Goldilocks would say “this one is just right…”

dutch ovenYou can purchase a nice model for less than $60.00.  We got ours for about that at Wal-Mart a couple of years ago.  It’s a Lodge brand in size 12.  The number on the top of the Dutch Oven lid indicates its diameter.  A 12 inch pot is large enough for most meals you cook in a Dutch Oven and recipes can be easily adapted depending on what size your pot is.  The popularity of the Dutch Oven was due to its versatility and that still holds true today.  You can boil, bake, stew, fry, roast, etc in a Dutch Oven and then some.

In addition to purchasing a Dutch Oven you may want accessories such as lid lifter, heavy-duty tongs, gloves, and a lid holder.  None of those are essential, but make life easier.  Lastly, a charcoal chimney makes getting your charcoal started much faster.  It’s advisable to cook in an enclosed fire ring or similar structure to minimize the chance of the fire getting away from you. 

Start by getting your coals nice and hot using your charcoal chimney and get your Dutch Oven in place.  Once they are good and hot, place your ingredients inside and close the lid.  You want to place the appropriate number of coals on the top and bottom of the Dutch Oven to get it to the right temperature.  Here’s a handy chart you can print out and take with you to the campsite or wherever you are cooking to get your size oven to the right temperature.

Once you have cooked your meal in your Dutch Oven you will want to clean and season it for it to last a long time!  The easiest way to do this is to remove all your food scraps, wash the Dutch Oven in hot water, and then apply cooking oil over its entire inside surface.   Heat the Dutch Oven so that the oil is absorbed providing a protective layer.  If rust appears remove it quickly using an abrasive such as steel wool or a scrub brush to prolong its life.  Wash, rinse, and then season as normal.

Now that you know how to cook with and care for your Dutch Oven let me share some of my favorite recipes with you and a few other resources before I let you go.

 Favorite recipes

Mountain Man Omelet

Dutch Oven Pizza

Bratwurst Stroganoff

Dutch Oven Cobbler

Resources for further information

Lodge Cast Iron Cookware

The Dutch Oven Dude

Dutch Oven Cooking by John Ragsdale

The Scouts Dutch Oven Cooking

List of Dutch Oven Clubs

Dutch Oven Yummies (photo credit: http://flic.kr/p/5uTGDs)

Dutch Oven Yummies (photo credit: http://flic.kr/p/5uTGDs)

All in all Dutch Oven Cooking is an easy way to cook just about anything for yourself , family, or friends totally off the grid! You don’t need anything fancy to get started nor a lot of money.  My love affair with Dutch Ovens and Dutch Oven cooking began in Boy Scouts and hasn’t stopped yet!  Join the club! Speaking of clubs there is probably a Dutch Oven club near you.  Here in Texas we have the Lone Star Dutch Oven Society with chapters all over the state.  Many of these organizations do demos so you can see and taste what you are getting into before trying it on your own. 

 

As always thanks for reading and Happy Prepping!  Please share your comments and suggestions below!  You will also find links to my other articles below.

 



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14 Comments on "Going Dutch: The Art and Practice of Dutch Oven Cooking"

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  1. During our last camping trip, my boyfriend used our dutch oven extensively. He was experiencing “baking” bread in it by burying it in the coals of our campfire. While sweet varieties didn’t fair as well, the hearty, whole grain loaf he made turned out wonderfully. Dutch ovens are a great tool as they can go stove top or straight into the coals.

  2. Loved the article.  I came to read it, expecting it to just be a sort of an informational article about the cooking process.  I was pleasantly surprised to find much more information than I had first thought that I would.  I love that you gave us some history to go along with it.  Also loved the links for recipes and the chart for coals and temperature.  Thanks for the good read!  

  3. I’ve had to debate the weight being worth the while before. Fresh rolls out of the iron overrides the weight…

  4. I’ve had to debate the weight being worth the while before. Fresh rolls out of the iron overrides the weight…

  5. Mary Thomas says:

    I am 71 years old. I use my grandmother’s dutch oven regularly to cook. It is beautifully shiny on the inside and outside from many year’s of use. Nothing tastes better than a roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions cooked all day inside the dutch oven. Not only is it good for cooking, when in use, it provides many decades of memories of meals shared.

  6. If it was good enough for the early founders of this land its certainly good enough for us!

  7. Thanks for the great information. I love to cook in mine. I can’t look at a dutch oven without thinking of secluded campsites and outdoor adventures. Think it’s time to grab the dutch oven and journey on right now.

  8. southern woman says:

    Would it be possible to properly (successfully) use a Dutch Oven INSIDE a Big Green Egg grill?
    I have recently bought a BGE but have not used it yet……would like to be able to use it for a Dutch Oven.

  9. Concerned says:

    I was just wondering if you knew that this article has been republished here: http://www.survivallife.com/2013/03/11/going-dutch-the-art-of-cooking-in-a-dutch-oven/
    If you gave them permission or they just took it?



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