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Dutch Oven Cooking Tips

posted Feb 28, 2010, 8:17 PM by Unknown user
  • Dutch Ovens are great for baking, but can be used to cook most anything.  Whenever you come across a great recipe, ask yourself if it could be done in a Dutch Oven!

  • BE PATIENT!  Good Dutch Oven cooking takes time.  Don't try to rush it by adding too many coals, or constantly opening the lid to check on your dish.  Enjoy some Scouting fellowship while it works its lodge-pot magic. 

  • To keep your food from sticking and make cleanup easy, always grease the inside of the Dutch Oven with butter-flavored Crisco, especially for baking.

  • Use about 2x the size of the Dutch Oven to gauge the number of coals you need (24 for a 12" oven, 20 for a 10" oven).  Always make a few extra, in case you have some coals that don't burn well, or if you need to add some heat to the cooking process.

  • Use charcoal briquettes whenever possible rather than campfire coals.  The briquettes have a higher heat capacity, and it's easier to count how many coals you need.

  • Use a sheet of foil as a base when preparing your coals, then set the Dutch Oven on the foil when you're ready to cook.  Easy ash cleanup!

  • In colder/damper weather, add 1 coal per 10° below 80°F.  Arrange a few extra coals around the pot but a few inches away, to add some indirect ambient heat.  In winter or rain, drape a sheet of foil over the oven and coals.  Surrounding your cooking area with rocks (such as in a fire pit) helps retain heat too.

  • Use the "rule of 4" to gauge if your oven temperature is right -- hold your hand 4" above the Dutch Oven,  and if you have to remove it from the heat in about 4 seconds then the oven temperature is about 400°F.  Most recipes require a temperature of 350-400°.  Go easy with the heat!  You can always add more coals, but you can't un-burn food.

  • Every 15 minutes you can turn the Dutch Oven 90° clockwise then turn the lid 90° counter-clockwise without opening it.  This prevents hot spots, and helps you keep track of the cooking time.  It also makes it look like you know what you're doing  :)
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