Cooking Beyond the Kitchen

It’s hard to beat the versatility and flavor of foods prepared in Dutch ovens over charcoal. Learn more about the possibilities of dutch oven cooking.

| Winter 2019


There’s something special about the meticulousness of camp Dutch ovens, the flavor produced by seasoned cast iron, and food cooked in the fresh air.

Photo by Getty Images/GMVozd

When I attended the National Dutch Oven Gathering (NDOG) in June 2018, the only Dutch oven I knew was the deep, enameled pot I associated with my mother’s stovetop. When I arrived at the event, however, I learned about an entirely new piece of equipment with the exact same name. Perhaps more correctly called a “camp Dutch oven,” this pot is the cooking tool of choice for participants at NDOGs, as well as local and regional Dutch Oven Gatherings.

Cast-iron (sometimes aluminum), flat-bottomed, three-legged, and topped with a flattened lid that has a rim around the edge, camp Dutch ovens are made to be settled over coals when the convenience of a stove isn’t available — or isn’t wanted. The flat, raised bottom allows for coals to be set underneath it, while the rim on the lid keeps coals set on top from rolling off. This method of heating is precise; the number of coals and the way they’re arranged around the Dutch oven results in different cooking temperatures, and even different cooking methods, from baking and roasting to frying and simmering.

Because cooking in camp Dutch ovens involves a hot cast-iron pot and even hotter coals, there’s safety equipment you should have on hand while you work: welding gloves for handling the Dutch oven, long tongs to move the charcoal, a charcoal chimney starter to heat your coals, a lid lifter, and a lid stand to avoid setting a hot cast-iron lid on a surface that can’t handle it. Each of these inexpensive pieces will last for years, and they’re worth the investment.



October 19-20, 2019
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