How NOT to use a Camp Dutch Oven (FAIL)

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Today I used a Camp Dutch Oven for the first time. I failed at it. Completely.


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J&J Acres


  1. You have to use comman sense in a position of outodoor cooking you should watcb videos of it before tryiing something… the coals at the bottom go around your. Dutch oven as a wall barrier for heat a d then coals on top to almost the handle of the lid. And you are to turn your lid in circliar motion til food is cooked good luck next time

  2. For one thing, I commend you for such a great attempt at that type of breakfast. I make one like that but with biscuits floated in egg with bacon and onions. One thing I noticed is that you were a little scimpy with the coals. A 12 inch camp oven like you have should be split as a rule of thumb; ( 3 up, 3 down ) meaning that you should have 9 coals under, not 6, and 15 on top, to give you a near 350 degree F. temp. Every coal added brings temp, considering the ambient temp, inside the oven by 15-25 degrees. One more thing, when the coals get ashy as they burn out, simply add some more to maintain a steady constant temperature. Slow and steady is the course, hold fast and your efforts with be worth it. Pax

  3. The problem with cast iron cooking is that it takes too long to get meal. Your kids looked bored and hungry waiting for you. P!us, the maintenance is problem particularly I'd you don't use it often. You're better off with stainless steel camp cookware like your stainless steel percolator.

  4. I echo the comments, you didn't give the dish enough time, you didn't preheat the pot, and your coals weren't hot enough. You have to brush off the ashes with a corn whisk broom because ashes diminish the temperature. You need 24 total coals for a 12 inch oven, 8 on bottom, 16 on top (1/3, 2/3). Don't "not ever use one again", just do it right.

  5. How many coals should be used?
    I learned to use the #3 rule coal usage. Use the – 3 and the + 3 rule.
    If you use 12 inch oven then you use 12 minus 3 =9 coals on the bottom. 12 +3 =15 coals on the top of the oven .
    Simple rule that works and it is easy to remember, you may have to adjust a little but it should work for all different sizes.
    And a little campfire is all that is needed if you run out of coal heat.

  6. A few items to note. The boy scout rule is double the size of your oven and then add 2, so 12" oven would be 26 coals. 1/3 on the bottom and 2/3 on top. Also preheat the oven. wood spoons please so you don't scratch the coating. Big issue is you rotate the oven and the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes in the opposite direction to spread the heat around. Also place the coals more to the outer ring than in the center. Great video though

  7. Thanks for the education. Squatting in the dirt. Food close to the dirt. Working area close to the dirt, repetitive bending over to the dirt. Good way to show us how not to be. An elevated work surface changes your ease by which all tasks are accomplished. Webber bbq on legs. Cinder blocks stacked up high. Small Metal table with folding legs, ect. Basic forethought is key here.

  8. Those coals are pretty much spent before you even started. Tip 1…DON'T USE BRIQUETTES. Use lump charcoal or coals from a wood fire. Tip number 2…Use a trivet and you can add more coals under your dutch oven and around it. If you want some REALLY great lessons on cast iron and dutch oven cooking check out videos from Cowboy Kent Rollins. He's been a life long chuckwagon cook and knows his stuff about cooking in cast iron on the range. This is his carrer and feeds entire crews of cowboys out on the range, sometimes spending many weeks on end out there. This guy knows his stuff. I learned a lot from his videos and can say that my outdoor cast iron dutch oven cooking has become consistantly successful after leaning what I have from his videos. Plus he has a whole series of recipe videos. All I have tried have been good and with his tips and teachings they've all been successful and good. I can now even consistantly bake cornbread, breads and even cakes successfully. Coal management is the big key. The use of trivets being just as important.

  9. Instead of putting coals directly under the pot, make a ring around the pot, otherwise you will burn the bottom of whatever you are cooking. Also, get yourself a trivet to lift the bottom of the oven.

  10. For one thing you didn't have the coals on the bottom around the outside of the dutch oven, and secondly, you do need a tribit which sits on the ground lifting the oven off the ground. I didn't see what you sat the lid on when you took it off, but you need a special tool to sit the lid on so no dirt gets into the food.

  11. Hi J&J! I'm a semi-regular at Daddy Kirbs & just happened to run across your video tonight. I'm guessing you figured all this out by now, but in case not, THE GO TO GUY for cast iron cooking is Kent Rollins here on YT. The only 2 things he uses that I don't is olive oil & Lodge ovens & skillets; I use coconut oil to season, and I only use Lodge Sportsman Grill to set my skillets on to cook. Since neither Rollins nor I like raisins, it evens out… Let me just tell you from MY experience: 1. My set up was wrong. Always use some sort of trivet or tripod and don't set your oven on the ground. That BBQ pit you had going might have been okay, your oven set atop the grill (not on coals) and if you'd spread the coals out to avoid so much flame. If at any time your oven gets too hot, just take it off the grill or trivet and set it aside and readjust your coals. 2. MAJOR lesson, that oven wasn't near hot enough to even start cooking. Cast iron takes forever to heat up and forever to cool down, whether ovens, skillets, etc. 3. When your oven is on the trivet, the coals should go just around the oven perimeter and very few, if any, under it, then coals on top. During cooking, you really should rotate your oven at least once about 180, and, rotate the top the opposite direction. For meals that need even cooking, esp. baking, this is real important. 4. I season, a bit before I cook, and re-season real good EVERY time after using cast iron. Lodge or any other pre-seasoning doesn't mean much to me, and Lodge, IMO, is not a smooth enough cooking surface. Rollins can resurface cast real easy, but with my arthritis and small hands, I just avoid it altogether.

    I'm sure you figured this all out by now, but all things considered, you got off easy, friend, and I got a good grin out of it. I've made LOTS bigger messes than you, so, I WIN! LOL! See you at Blake's!

  12. My many years of experience with using 12" Dutch oven have come to these simple rules.

    12" oven = 24-26 coals (depending on wind and such).
    Boil, steam or deep fry = all the coals under it.
    Baking bread = 4-5 on the bottom, 20 on top.
    Roasting = 10-11 bottom, 14 on top.
    Most everything else is = 1/3 on bottom, 2/3rd on top, making it 350 degrees inside the Dutch oven.

    Cooking times:
    Most things are about an hour as you are cooking at 350 degrees with 24 coals.
    Breads are 15-30 minutes depending on volume.
    Stews and soups take as long as they take to get bubbly and properly cook raw ingredients completely through.
    Frying takes however long it takes to fry.

  13. This is not a fail. I have just bought a Dutch oven but have never used it yet. Your video and all the comments from those more experienced users out there are really helpful. Thank you.

  14. It's just not finished, that's not a fail. A fail is when all hope is lost. I bet a few minutes over the fire and all was fine. When you throw out a failed meal, and even the rats, mice, possums, raccoons, coyotes, bears, dogs, skunks and whatnot won't even come near it, that's a real fail.

  15. In this time of cover-ups and clandestine back room deals, it’s refreshing to see genuine honesty for a change. The truth be known all Dutch Oven cooks have had a grievous calamity at some point. We’ve just not captured the dreadful event for posterity

  16. Well that was a good try. I have always have mine on warm side of fire pit with hot coals on top or hanging from a tripod with a chain coming down over the fire. You can either make a tripod or buy one already made to use over an open fire pit and another cool thing is you can set 3 or more chains together to use a grilling rack. Some many awesome ways to cook outside.

  17. I have a piece of metal that I put under my Dutch oven to keep most of the heat from the charcoal on the bottom being absorbed by the ground.


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