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Cooking with Camp Dutch Ovens

Updated on October 1, 2016
MaggieMarie profile image

Cooking has been a joy of mine for many years, especially when I can use my cast iron and camp cooking skills with my family. Enjoy!

Always...cook with your kids! Teach them how to be safe and creative.  Besides, if they help cook it...the rule is 'they have to eat it!'
Always...cook with your kids! Teach them how to be safe and creative. Besides, if they help cook it...the rule is 'they have to eat it!'
As you can see...conditions are not always favorible!  We started cooking at noon, and by 3 pm served Pannatone Stuffed Pork Loin (recipe follows), green beans and Calvados Cream Apple Crisp!  (Carrot cake pancakes for a snack!)
As you can see...conditions are not always favorible! We started cooking at noon, and by 3 pm served Pannatone Stuffed Pork Loin (recipe follows), green beans and Calvados Cream Apple Crisp! (Carrot cake pancakes for a snack!)

Basics of Camp Dutch Ovens

Dutch Oven Cooking – Intro

Weather

Weather conditions play an important part in how successful your cooking experience will be outdoors. Sunny and warm conditions are perfect….however, here in the Pacific NW, that doesn’t always happen.

  • When dealing with windy conditions, shelter your cooking area as best as you can, and allow longer cooking times. If using charcoal, remember that the wind will cause these to burn quicker and will also cool the outside of the Dutch Ovens. Sheltering can be accomplished in several ways:
  • If using a canopy, hang tarps on three sides or,
  • If using your dutch ovens in a cooking ring, place rocks or bricks around the outsides of the dutch ovens to maintain heat or,
  • Keep your charcoal chimney ready with hot coals to replace used ones and,
  • Add plenty of time…you’re fighting the elements!
  • …..in some cases, use a combination of any of these!
  • Altitude affects dutch oven cooking as it would home cooking.

It’s all about planning and preparation. The biggest thing to remember is add TIME to your planning when cooking in inclement weather.

********

Selecting your heat –

Dutch oven cooking is the original ‘slow cooker’ if you desire. On the average, the rule of thumb for a 350 degree oven is 3 x’s the size of the oven, with 1/3 of the coals on bottom and the balance on top. At this point, each coal will change the temperature by approx. 20 degrees, depending on cooking conditions. For example: a 12” oven would require 36 coals, with 12 on bottom and 24 on top.

To cook slower, just reduce the amount of coals to lower your temperature accordingly, set it and go! (However, responsible outdoor cooking requires you to monitor your ‘fire’.)

Always use a meat thermometer to check your food prior to eating to assure proper cooking. Probe styles work great for Camp Ovens as it keeps you from opening your oven and losing precious heat.

Once you have placed your coals and started cooking, take your lid lifter and rotate the oven over the coals ¼ turn. This keeps down the chance of hot or cold spots caused by any uneven burning of the coals….especially during windy conditions.

Selecting your cooking area –

Always practice fire safety. Never cook on the open ground EXCEPT when using a fire ring or other designated area. If needed, prepare an area by gathering rocks or lining bricks to create the fire ring. Using a cook table is also recommended and most have the wind screen and clean out space.

Selecting Your Oven

Size
Capacity
Examples
People served
8"
2 Quarts
Baked apple, beans, vegetables
Family of 2-3
10"
4 Quarts
Baked breads, cakes, rolls
Family of 3-6
12"
6 Quarts
Main dishes, pork chops or small cuts of meat, stews, cobblers, etc.
Family of 6-10
12' Deep
7 Quarts
Tall roasts, breads, stews, chili. Can be adapted for smoking small amounts of meat or fish
Family of 6-10+
14"
8 Quarts
Main dishes. Biscuits, pies and other baked goods
Family of 6 - 10+

Sample stacking

Generally speaking, stacking is done from largest to smallest, however, in this case we were utilizing the 10" lid (upside-down on a lid stand) as a flatgrill, and placed the 10" base on top of the 8" to melt butter for our Calvados Cream Apple Crisp
Generally speaking, stacking is done from largest to smallest, however, in this case we were utilizing the 10" lid (upside-down on a lid stand) as a flatgrill, and placed the 10" base on top of the 8" to melt butter for our Calvados Cream Apple Crisp

Pannetone Stuffed Pork Loin


Recipe By: Peggy Miller

Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:30

2 pounds Pork loin roast -- * see note

5 slices Pannetone (add more if desired) crumbled

2 stalks Celery -- finely chopped

1 each Onion -- finely chopped

Sage leaves -- chopped

Salt

Pepper

1 cup Chicken stock

1/4 cup Apricot -- chopped

1/4 cup Apple -- chopped

dash Cinnamon

2 T. Butter

dash Nutmeg

Melt butter in small pan, add onion and celery and cook until tender. Meanwhile, take pannetone, sage, salt, pepper, cinnamon and fruits and combine. Add chicken stock and onion/celery mixture and mix well.

*Take Pork loin and slice in circular motion to lay open for stuffing. Salt and pepper the pork, then take some of the stuffing mix and spread evenly on pork. Roll gently and tie, or hold together using toothpicks. Sear the roll in a skillet* to seal in moisture. Take the remainder of the stuffing and place in bottom of a baking dish. Lay seared stuffed pork on top, cover and cook 350 degrees until done. Remove the cover and allow the dish to brown slightly.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WHEN COOKING WITH THE CAMPOVEN, WHILE PREPARING, START COALS AND HEAT THE CAMPOVEN FOR SEARING THE MEAT. THEN COOK THE MEAT ALONE IN THE OVEN FOR APPROX. 20 MINS PRIOR TO ADDING THE REMAINDER OF THE STUFFING. RESUME COOKING IN THE CAMPOVEN UNTIL THERMOMETER READS 145 DEGREES.

NOTES : This recipe is prepared using only Pannetone which is a sweet bread. If you find it too sweet for your taste, consider using half bread crumbs and half Pannetone. Similar flavor, just not as sweet.

Use this bread for the stuffing on pork....add fruit for traditional

German sweet Stuffing

Sample of Camp Boxes

Lift top model with removable tray.  Muellerwerks, Ltd. can be contacted directly at 360.395.8058 for further information on their camp boxes.
Lift top model with removable tray. Muellerwerks, Ltd. can be contacted directly at 360.395.8058 for further information on their camp boxes. | Source
Note the knife block!
Note the knife block! | Source
Drop front model...door serves as cutting or prep space. (The flatgrill is one I recently picked up...don't worry...I reseasoned it and it works fine!)
Drop front model...door serves as cutting or prep space. (The flatgrill is one I recently picked up...don't worry...I reseasoned it and it works fine!) | Source
Sample drawer packing.
Sample drawer packing. | Source
Example of stack on lid of drop front style.
Example of stack on lid of drop front style. | Source

Equipment

Obviously you will need a few other items to round out your cooking experience.

  • Cook tables designed specifically for Camp Oven Cooking are available, but not necessary when using a fire ring or other safe open fire method.
  • Lid Lifters are an absolute necessity.
  • Lid stands - these help keep your lids clean of debris while checking your food PLUS when in need of a small flat grill surface, turn the lid upside-down on the lid stand. Perfect solution!
  • Long handled spoons, forks and tongs.
  • Charcoal chimney - invaluable!
  • ...and put these in a Camp Box for safekeeping. Easy to pack, take, use and repack for the next time. Carry cooking utensils, foodstuffs, etc. neatly and cleanly! Here's a few examples fo these type boxes:


Reseasoning your cast iron.

Should you notice that your cast iron is sticking or has slight rust, don't worry. Follow these easy steps to reseason your cast iron and it's good as new!

  • While you normally won't use soap on your cookware, when preparing for reseasoning, wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. Rinse and dry completely.
  • Apply a thin, even coating of vegetable spray, oil or melted shortening inside and out.
  • Heat your oven to approx. 400 degrees. Be sure to use either a cook sheet or aluminum foil on the rack .
  • Place your cast iron upside down on the rack and leave for approx. 1 hour.
  • (You may experience some smoking....be sure to turn on your vent!)

You can also do this on a gas grill if you prefer.

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    • YUMMommy profile image

      YUMMommy 5 years ago from USA

      I'm looking forward to doing a little camping soon with my family. So, this was a very useful piece for me. Looking forward to trying out the recipe and putting your tips to good use!

    • MaggieMarie profile image
      Author

      MaggieMarie 5 years ago from Western Washington - Puget Sound Area

      Great! Hope the tips help! Can't wait for the weather to clear here enough to go camping! Let me know how it goes for you! Have fun!

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