Cast Iron Dutch Oven Cooking

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Nov 2, 2006
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Some of you may know me from the Outdoor Smoker Thread. For those who need a briefing, I just recently purchased the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and have been enjoying smoked meats for about a month now. The WSM smoker is quite versatile and I've had several very enjoyable main courses, but I think it's about time to add to the outdoor cooking arsenal.....

My next venture is to try a cast-iron camp style dutch oven such as this one:

%7BB9FD289A-1D68-424F-B7D1-B0CC791FBA85%7D_L10CO3.jpg


I envision making stews, soups, chilis, breads, cobblers, breakfast casseroles and more in them. All while enjoying the great outdoors!

I got the inspiration after watching an episode of "Good Eats" last night. The topic as you may have guessed was Dutch Oven Cooking. Alton Brown made a scrumptious looking dish by cooking in a dutch oven over charcoal briquettes. With a lot of outdoor dutch oven recipes, it also calls for charcoal briquettes to be placed on-top of the lid as well. This flat, flanged style lid design and legs on the bottom are made for this process in mind.

Do any of you have any experience with Dutch Oven Outdoor Cooking? I'm curious to hear your experiences. I already have a 12" Lodge skillet, but am wondering which size I should start off with for the dutch oven? What size dutch oven are most recipes based on using?
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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I've mostly seen the 10 and 12" varieties in recipes. I get most of mine from the Boy Scout sites and they are generally for 8-12 boys and a couple of adults.

We have cooked most anything you can imagine being baked including the stews and pot roasts, but also things like paper bag poached salmon, enchiladas, lasagna, pineapple upside down cake, etc.

Yep, I watched Elton as well. Good show, but he barely scratched the surface. One good tip is that if you are doing cakes or something that needs definition, line the oven with aluminum foil. Not only does it make it a lot easier to clean, but the result just slides out of the pan instead of coming out in little chunks.
 
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To get in the mood, I just re-seasoned my existing Cast Iron 12" skillet and cast iron roaster last night. Here's my current arsenal.....

%7BBD01E8B8-2CD5-40C7-B29A-A8FE2A32178D%7D_L8SK3-L14SK3


bc7417_cast_iron_oval_roaster.jpg


To season, I simply slathered every bit of the pans in vegetable shortening, then put in the oven at 350°F for 1 hour. Once done and cooled, the pans had a nice glaze over them. Years of future cooking on these are supposed to season these to a point where they're 10x better than any non stick or Teflon coating.

I will be on the hunt for the 12" Camp Dutch Oven this weekend. Then I can start cooking over charcoal.
 
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In order to cook out on my deck, I'm thinking of getting one of these.....

s7_514234_imageset_02


This cooking table with ultra convenient wind screen is from Cabela's
 
Cyclone

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We used them in Boy Scouts. I think that we made a cobbler in them. You'd just dig a small pit, and put a much of camp fire embers in it, put in the dutch oven, and then cover it up with more embers. I was a kid back then and the adults did the cooking, so I don't remember the techniques though (nor what we actually cooked).

But I remember it was good.
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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The picture is somewhat misleading though. Best technique calls for significantly more coals on the top than on the bottom. I believe the best ration we found for a 350 degree cook was 9 on the bottom and 17 on the top. YMMV.
 
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The picture is somewhat misleading though. Best technique calls for significantly more coals on the top than on the bottom. I believe the best ration we found for a 350 degree cook was 9 on the bottom and 17 on the top. YMMV.

Yeah I've heard the same thing. The main reason I'm looking at this table is to have a solid fireproof surface that I can perform the dutch oven cook. Plus it's of the ground and easier on the back...
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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Yeah I've heard the same thing. The main reason I'm looking at this table is to have a solid fireproof surface that I can perform the dutch oven cook. Plus it's of the ground and easier on the back...

I think this is good for a backyard or deck as well. We generally used an existing fire pit, but that isn't an option. The one thing I don't like about it is that it has a low lip in front. That is going to let embers blow out. I had a friend who lost his deck and almost his house because he left an untopped charcoal grill burn itself out unattended. Embers got loose and within a half hour the entire deck was ablaze.
 
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I think this is good for a backyard or deck as well. We generally used an existing fire pit, but that isn't an option. The one thing I don't like about it is that it has a low lip in front. That is going to let embers blow out. I had a friend who lost his deck and almost his house because he left an untopped charcoal grill burn itself out unattended. Embers got loose and within a half hour the entire deck was ablaze.

You've got quite a point. I do plan on getting a fireproof grill rug to go underneath, but I will be sure to not leave the table unattended while lit.
 
Skyhi

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To get in the mood, I just re-seasoned my existing Cast Iron 12" skillet and cast iron roaster last night. Here's my current arsenal.....


To season, I simply slathered every bit of the pans in vegetable shortening, then put in the oven at 350°F for 1 hour. Once done and cooled, the pans had a nice glaze over them. Years of future cooking on these are supposed to season these to a point where they're 10x better than any non stick or Teflon coating.

I will be on the hunt for the 12" Camp Dutch Oven this weekend. Then I can start cooking over charcoal.


I have two of the same exact skillets....I season them 2-3 times a year with bacon grease and they are the best pans in the world. NOTHING sticks to them....
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

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I have two of the same exact skillets....I season them 2-3 times a year with bacon grease and they are the best pans in the world. NOTHING sticks to them....

except scrambled eggs! Every time I try doing a family omlet, I end up ruining the seasoning, so I keep a stainless frying pan around just for that.
 
cmcgrail

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I also used them in scouts and I recall when I had K.P. duty I thought I would be extra helpful and wash the dutch oven..with dish soap. oh man was the scout master upset about that. So I learned QUICK not to use soap on a seasoned dutch oven. You wash all the good stuff away that takes a long time to build up.
 
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snathanb

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I also used them in scouts and I recall when I had K.P. duty I thought I would be extra helpful and wash the dutch oven..with dish soap. oh man was the scout master upset about that. So I learned QUICK not to use soap on a seasoned dutch oven. You wash all the good stuff away that takes a long time to build up.

Ouch! Not only do you wash away "all the good stuff", everything you cook will taste like soap for awhile.
 
navychop

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Wife just fixed some spaghetti sauce in a new small porcelain covered cast iron dutch oven. Came out great, but what she really was happy about was that the side sloped to the bottom with a curve that almost matched the spoon.

Good for heat retention, easy to clean, no seasoning, but still not quite the same as my "bean pot" cast iron dutch oven.
 
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CI Recipe- Open Face Breakfast Sandwich with Sausage, Cheese, Eggs and Spicy Gravy

Although not a typical CI recipe, I used my Cast Iron Skillet over the weekend to do some breakfast on the grill. (It's just been too darn hot to cook inside). The best part about this cook was that I had everything needed to construct this quick breakfast on Saturday morning. It served two huge servings.....

For this cook, I used (1) 10" CI Skillet, (1) CI Flat Top Griddle, (1) 8" SS Non Stick Skillet.

Ingredients:

Main Dish:
5 large eggs
2 green onions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 English Muffins, toasted
Sausage and Gravy, recipe follows
1 cup grated Monterey jack


Sausage and Gravy:
1 pound breakfast sausage patties
1/4 large onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cooking Instructions:

-I first browned 4 Bob Evans' Sausage Patties in CI Skillet then set aside.
-Then I diced the onions and jalapenos and sauted in the same skillet until soft.
-I then stirred in the flour and whisked the milk in slowly. Brought to a boil and reduced until thickness acquired.
-On my side-burner in the SS non-stick pan, I whisked the eggs, green onions, salt and pepper and scrambled.
-On the flat griddle, I toasted the halves of the English muffins, placed a sausage patty on each half then covered with cheese. Closed the grill and melted the cheese.
-Then, I divided the eggs on top of the melted cheese and scooped the gravy mixture over the entire thing.
-Served 2 halves per person.

*Final Thoughts: The open faced sandwiches had a nice flavor and just a hint of spiciness with the jalapenos. This was a real "stick to your bones" type of meal that served as a good way to start the day.
 

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