Are you tired of cold-cut sandwiches when you camp out?
When we go camping, most will reside themselves to just eating cold-cut sandwiches, chips, fruit, or raw vegetables. Freeze dried food seems to be popular as well.
This is the type of food I brought with me on the last two camp outs I had with my grandson and his cub scout troop.
Over the last trip, the cub scouts held a dutch oven dessert contest.
At first, I was not going to participate mainly because I did not even know what a dutch oven was and more importantly how to use one.
My daughter had gotten a dutch oven for Christmas, so we took it with us on the trip. With my grandson’s persistence, we entered the contest.
I threw together what was a quick and easy dessert (some might say I cheated) which consisted of canned apple dessert pie filling and cinnamon rolls. Too easy, I know this after seeing the creative deserts that were entered into the contest.
Quite frankly, I was a little embarrassed to show up with my dessert. To my surprise, the cub scouts and their leaders were not that picky.
I even had one parent ask me for my recipe (lol). This was my introduction to dutch oven cooking over a campfire.
In this article I would like to discuss what is a dutch oven, reveal a little history about them, explain how to cook over a campfire with a dutch oven, and what are the accessories to make this a more enjoyable experience for cooking campfire dutch oven recipes.
What the heck is a Dutch Oven?
A dutch oven is a large pot usually made of cast iron that is suitable to placing directly onto the hot coals of a campfire. It is high sided and heavy making them the right instrument to cook over a fire.
It is the next best thing to actually bringing your oven to the camp out. The cooking effects are the same as cooking in an oven if properly used.
The material is strong, durable, and long-lasting. The cast iron properties allow for even baking throughout the pot. If the pot has been properly seasoned, it can have non stinking properties as well.
The pot comes with a tight-fitting lid with raised edges that allow you to put hot coals on the lid for baking and not get coals inside the pot. Cast Iron has been the favorite cooking pots for campfires for centuries throughout history.
This type of cookware is usually inexpensive and can easily be found at flea markets. This cookware will last for decades, so do not throw out that old pot as it still has a lot of cooking in it.
A little History
The dutch oven is believed to date back as far as the early 1700s from Holland.
When this oven came to America is unknown, but it is said that the Dutch Oven was used during the Revolutionary War to feed the troops by George Washington.
As Americans move west to capture the new territory, the Dutch Oven became a trading commodity with the early settlers and Indians at the trade posts.
The dutch oven became very popular for the cowboys on the long cattle drives in the west.
In the late 1800s, Joseph Lodge built the first cast iron foundry in Tennessee. The main product being made was the Dutch Oven.
As the years went on, the need for cooking over a campfire diminished due to our technological advances for the modern kitchen. Then back in the 1970s and 1980s, Dutch Oven cook offs became popular revitalizing the use of the cast iron dutch oven.
As camping and going RVing have become more and more popular, the dutch oven is once again a favorite for cooking over a campfire.
How do I cook on a Campfire?
It all starts with a good, hot campfire and an exercise in patience.
You will need to start a fire and let it burn down into a hot bed of coals. I have found that adding a few bricks of charcoal will get the fire going faster and will aid in providing that hot bed of coals.
Once the fire is ready and the hot bed of coals have been established, you just put the dutch oven on the coals and make sure the lid is on. You can take a few of the larger coals and place them on the lid.
You can actually regulate the temperature of the dutch oven cooking by the number of coals under and on top of the oven. A dutch oven will cook faster than a traditional oven, so you will need to stay vigilant while the cooking is going on.
This is a good chart to go by for each temperature you might want to cook at:
You may need to rotate the pot and regulate the number of coals to achieve your desired results. As with any recommended chart as seen above, you will need to use your judgment due to outside conditions such as windy or wet conditions that could affect the cooking.
Accessories for a Dutch Oven
What will I need besides the dutch oven?
This can be a cookers choice on what else they need for a successful cookout, but here are a few suggestions that you might consider:
- A Lid Lifter is a long tool with a hook on the end. It is used to lift the lid off the hot pot in order to check on what you are cooking.
- A Dutch Oven Lid stand gives the cook a clean stand to set the lid on.
- Heavy duty welder’s gloves or hot pot holder gloves. This is necessary so you will not burn yourself while working around the campfire and hot coals.
- Hot coal shovel can be handy to easily distribute the coals during the cooking process.
- It is handy to have a small whisk broom in order to sweep the coals and dust off the lid before removing it.
- Wooden cook utensils will are better for this type of cooking as they will not scrap the seasoning off the walls of the dutch oven and they will not break and melt like plastic.
These are the tools I used during my grandson’s cub scout camp out. Don’t forget what you will be serving a hot dish in when packing for your trip.
Taste Good, Right?
The day of eating cold foods is over!
Now get on the Dutch Oven craze and enjoy hot, tasty foods on those cub scout trips or family vacations.
Now you know:
- You know what a dutch oven is all about.
- You have leaned the history about them.
- You now know how to cook over a campfire with a dutch oven.
- You can get the accessories to make this a more enjoyable experience for cooking campfire dutch oven recipes.
If you need more camping gear, you can get that here:
I have enjoyed sharing my experiences in Campfire Dutch Oven recipes and cooking.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave those below and I will get back to you ASAP.