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Bucket List For Men - Dutch Oven Cooking

Updated on January 24, 2012
Four dutch ovens at a farm hand cookout.
Four dutch ovens at a farm hand cookout.

Many years ago, while cruising through the endless amounts of channels on our satellite tv service, I stumbled across a cooking show on the Rural Free Delivery TV channel. An older gent, goes by the name of "CeeDub" was showing off his recipes just like any other cooking show that is all the rage these days, only he wasn't using shiny stainless appliances or fancy 6-burner gas stoves, he was only using dutch ovens. And he was cranky out some mighty tasty vittles out of those suckers.

Now, I'm sure I had seen a cast iron dutch oven before, but honestly figured it was something basically used for making stew on a campfire, and since we were 'camping' with a 23 foot travel trailer, I probably wasn't in need of one. However, I watched CeeDub masterfully produce some really great dishes with just his dutch ovens, and carefully placed charcoal briquettes. Rolls, biscuits, sausage, cobblers, mexican dishes, bbq chicken, sweet potato surprise....after several shows, I was hooked. Where I had previously made mocking comments about the channel for farmers, I now was finding myself setting the DVR to record CeeDub wisk up his cullinary magic, in the great outdoors, using the simplest of tools.

I began to research what would be the best dutch oven to get, but wasn't really sure I'd make the best use of one. Would it be another gadget I'd be sure I needed, only to find it lining the shelf of other unused toys for guys that were out in the garage? Eventually, I bailed on the idea, and patted myself on the back for not wasting the money. I'm pretty sure I even made a point of telling my wife how much she should appreciate her money-wise husband for not making another spur of the moment decision with our finances. I'm pretty sure she rolled her eyes as I strolled out of the room, proud of myself for the day.

A few months passed by and as Christmas day approached, I was handed a very heavy package. I opened it up, and was completely surprised to find an 8-quart Lodge Logic outdoor dutch oven! I had continued to watch CeeDubs show, but mostly just admired his recipes and figured they'd be something I would tackle when I retired out in the middle of a barren wasteland with my cowboy chaps and trusty steed. But now I could tackle the recipes I'd been studying for all these months, any time I wanted.

That summer I had built a brick outdoor fireplace in the backyard. It was a mild Christmas that year, so we were able to run out and build a fire without being covered in snow or sleet. The holiday meal was already planned, so I picked a time between gatherings and fired up the oven for the inaugural cooking, and made.....popcorn. Now, before you feel let down with the choice, let me say this was the BEST popcorn ever. Probably because all the kids were outside, around a fire, on Christmas day trying out Dad's new toy....but it really did taste great being made over an open fire, with everyone enjoying the process.

I think every man (and women too, don't get me wrong) should own a dutch oven, or at least cook with one in his lifetime. Gather some friends together, get a roaring fire going, pick a favorite recipe from any of the number of sites that have great tips and recipes out there, and enjoy making your food without most of the modern conveniences you are used to. If nothing else, you will enjoy the time together, and your guests will be impressed and have a good time. You may also find that you've created a new way of cooking that you simply love.


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    • loseweightmama profile image

      loseweightmama 6 years ago from Maine

      I agree with you. Learning to cook over an open fire is such an amazing experience. We own several dutch ovens and cast iron skillets that we got at a local antique store. When the weather is nice we cook out a lot. There is a learning curve to cooking with a dutch oven but once you get it down, there's nothing like it. Good luck to you on your dutch oven adventures. Next on your bucket list should be building a cob oven. Cooking in one of those will change your life.