Outdoor Cooking

Our experiances cooking outdoors.

Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven

   My brother and I do what we consider “down and dirty” Dutch oven cooking.  

Here is our story:

 For years my Brother and I desired to cook in camp in a Dutch oven.  We were scared off by the seemingly complex way you had to cook in one.  We bought books and reviewed articles and web pages on the internet.  We saw other people cook in them, mostly at fairs and such.  It all seamed too complicated to us.  We read about charcoal counts, temperatures, seasoning the ovens, hot spots and a number of other Dutch oven lore.  

Now we don’t dispute that all of these factors can and do make a difference in Dutch oven cooking.  If you find yourself yearning to cook in a competition, woo a girl (or boy) with your cooking or impress someone else with your Dutch oven fare, then all this stuff probably matters to varying degrees.  There are a number of places to get this information.  This will not be one of them.

We are simple people that like to relax and enjoy things while we are outdoors.  Having to spend hours fussing over cooking a meal is a real turn off to us.  We are not trying to impress anyone with our Dutch oven cooking, or win any accolades.  We simple want to make a quality meal for our family and friends.  The less time you have to spend fussing with meal preparation is more time you can spend doing other things you enjoy while outdoors.

We had heard about the mythical “put it in the Dutch oven and let it cook all day.  It will be ready by dinner time.”  This is what originally attracted us to looking into Dutch oven cooking.  Then we read and heard all this stuff mentioned earlier about charcoal counts, temperatures, seasoning the ovens, hot spots and such.  What happened to “put it in the Dutch oven and let it cook all day?  It will be ready by dinner time.”?

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We got to thinking one day and it seamed to us that it had to be easier than that.  People have been cooking in Dutch ovens for decades.  We doubt that the early settlers, pioneer cooks or “Cookie” on the trail drive chuck wagon fussed with counting charcoal briquettes or such nonsense.  They didn’t even have charcoal briquettes as we know them. So we decided to do it our own way and experiment with different methods of cooking in a Dutch oven.

We didn’t invent any of these cooking methods; we just experimented with them to see if it worked for us.  We have used charcoal briquettes, coals from the fire and stove or oven heat to cook in our Dutch ovens.  So far we haven’t created anything that was inedible with any of these methods.  To our great surprise Dutch oven cooking can be easy and fun.  I will describe the way we use each of these methods.

We do cook with charcoal briquettes.  Let me explain our method.  We fill one of the chimney type charcoal starters to the top (we are usually cooking in at least two 12 inch ovens) and let them get going good and hot.  While that is happening we get the food in the Dutch oven.  We never pre-heat.  Once the coals are ready we dump them out of the chimney started and put a bunch under the ovens and a bunch more on top of the ovens.  We don’t count or try to make them even.  This will heat up the ovens and begin to cook the food.  This after all is the goal.  Depending on the weather (hot or cold what have you) the heat will vary considerably even if you always put the same number of briquettes on top and bottom.  To combat this we just check the food from time to time.  We check on it every 15 minutes or whenever we take a break from doing the fun stuff around camp.  Sure you let some heat out when you take the lid off to check the food, but it will reheat in no time.  After all isn’t the old saying that “cast iron holds the heat.”?

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We also cook with coals right out of the camp fire.  This method is a little more scientific.  We take a shovel and scoop out a nice big scoop of coals from under the center of the fire, the ones that are glowing red.  We place this large scoop on the ground and then plop the Dutch oven on top of it.  We then get another good scoop of coals and put them on the top.  If we are really hungry we will add another scoop of coals around the side of the oven to really get the stuff cooking.

We will not describe the stove top or oven method of cooking in a Dutch oven.  You need something to experiment with on your own and we are talking here primarily about camp cooking.

Now what we have found through our way of Dutch oven cooking is that it really is easy, or can be.  After all it is as easy as watching your food from time to time.  If you are using too hot of a temperature your food will generally cook faster.  You can avoid burning by not being afraid to open the oven and check or stir the food.  After all if you are cooking at a higher temperature the oven will replenish the lost heat very rapidly.  If you are cooking at to low of a temperature, your food will generally just take longer to cook.  You can always add heat too raise the temperature. You still do not have to be afraid to look at or stir your food.  The lost heat will only prolong the cooking a bit or let you decide that you need to up the heat some.

It really is that simple.  After all the early settlers, pioneer cooks or “Cookie” on the trail drive chuck wagon didn’t have temperature gauges or recommendations for cooking.  They didn’t have manufactured charcoal briquettes.  They just started to cook their food and made adjustments on the fly.

Please don’t put off Dutch oven cooking, like we did, because you think it is too hard or complicated.  Get an oven, put some food in it and add some heat.  Don’t be afraid to open the lid and see if you need to stir or adjust the heat.  You will succeed.  Thousands of people before you have succeeded in cooking in a Dutch oven, so can you.

Click on the links below to see our demostration videos on just how easy it is to cook in a dutch oven:

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- Apple Cobbler

- Chicken

- Monkey Bread

- Pizza

- Ribs

Rome Pie Irons

What are Pie Irons?

They are a cast iron cooking device and are great for cooking many different foods over an open fire or camp stove.

500 1998 pie iron bag closeup

How do they cook?

You place your food inside the cooking compartment and then fold it shut via the hinge and handles locking your food inside keeping it safe from the fire or stove.

What is a Rome Pie Iron?

Only the best Pie Iron's on earth.  Rome Industries has been making high quality Pie Irons since 1964, and their cast iron is very thick and top quality.  You won't have problems with your Rome Pie Irons like you might have with lesser pie irons.

What can you cook in a Pie Iron?

The basic items people cook are grilled sandwiches and fruit pies.  The only limitation to what you can cook is your imagination.

There are many great recipes.  Some of the foods we have cooked are: (click the name below for a How-To video showing how easy it really is and how great they turn out)

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-      Ham and Cheese Sandwich

-      Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast (Very good and simple to         cook, one of our kids favorites)

-      Pastrami and Cheese Sandwich

-      Pastrami, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

-      Monkey Bread Dessert

-      Cinnamon Rolls

-      Pizza Calzone (very easy and simple from a frozen pizza)

-      Pizza Pocket (home made)

-      Ruben Sandwich

-      Steak

-      London Broil

-      Waffles

Checkout Rome's Pie Irons on their facebook page for other great cooking ideas.





© 2 Brothers' Adventures 2010