Cooking with a Dutch oven can be a little intimidating for those who have yet to approach it. The good news is, it’s not as difficult as it may seem, and with a little instructional guidance, you’ll be serving up family favorites at your campsite in no time flat.
The Dutch oven can handle all types of cooking techniques and cooking styles. It can boil as well as it fries and it can steam as well as it bakes…..even bread! So start with the basics and work your way forward.
Dutch oven recipes are simple and easy to follow, so there’s not a lot to learn. Once you’re mastered one recipe, moving onto the other doesn’t seem so scary. Whether you’re looking to whip up a quick breakfast or serve your family a pot roast this is a simple oven to use. So, pick a stew, breakfast or other easy camping recipe to get started.
Dutch ovens come in as many configurations as there are people to cook food in them. There are bonuses and downfalls to each, but overall finding the perfect Dutch oven to suit your tastes isn’t all that difficult. They vary in size based upon diameter and number of quarts that each holds.
Here’s a handy chart that shows the capacity of the various oven sizes.
Dutch Oven Size Chart
Dutch Oven Size – Capacity – Campers Served
8″ 2 quarts 1-2
10″ 4 quarts 4-6
12″ 6 quarts 12-14
14″ 8 quarts 16-20
Remember that you will be using open flame when cooking with a Dutch oven, thus a pair of heavy leather gloves that can resist the serious heat the fire can put out is highly recommended. And don’t forget a pair of long-handled tongs that can be used to safely move the coals around and remove them from the fire and place them around your Dutch oven.
Getting your oven ready will usually require nothing more than a solid washing with soap and water. Once dried, cover it with cook oil (every surface, the legs….every where!) and put it in your oven at 350° F for an hour. Once it has cooled, it is pretreated and ready for use!
Whether you’re roasting, baking, broiling, or boiling, your hot coal placement will vary. For some, starting with one cooking method until it is just right and moving to another makes good sense. For others, variation is the name of the learning game. Even the lid can be used for excellent griddle style foods! With one step at a time, Dutch oven cooking can become second nature well before the end of the camping season.