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Pioneer Lasagna: Cooking Lasagna in a Dutch Oven While Camping
Dutch Oven Magic
We scored a sweet site in short notice!
We went camping for the weekend at a new campground. Since moving out here, we have yet to find a place that is ‘our kind of camping’. We are tent campers and we prefer the places to be nice and wooded as opposed to in an open field. 100 degrees in a tent placed in an open field is not my idea of smart camping. Actually, it’s a wicked cheap sauna if that is your kind of thing.
We decided a week before that we wanted to go camping and so we decided to call around a bit. We had gotten a recommendation last year about this place, so we thought, what they heck, lets see if they have any spots. I called and not only did they have a few sites; they had nice wooded out of the way sites. Ok, back home, these sites are gold, and calling a week before won’t get you anything. We booked our sites a year in advance to get those primo spots. Needless to say, we were stoked.
Campsite is set up!
Welcome to the Midwest, where weather will change literally in minutes. A wicked storm was brewing and we wanted to get the tent down before it got wet, or worse, blew away! We went back out and noticed it was a much darker color… and as we got closer we realized the color hadn’t changed at all. It was covered, and I mean COVERED in ants. And these ants bite. So we got a broom, brushed off what we could and then proceeded to try to get them off the bottom of the tent by running and dragging the tent all around the yard. Yea. We looked like a couple of fools.
Once we got there, everything turned out just fine and we got right back into the camping rhythm.
One would think that we would try to play it cool and plan easy meals after some of our ‘mishaps’. Nope. We decided to cook lasagna in the Dutch oven like a pioneer. So, we did… and it was ah-mazing. I actually heard “this is the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted”. Whoa. And honestly it wasn’t that difficult; it was just a big time consuming because I didn’t have the convenience of the oven.
You can use your favorite recipe here, so I’m just going to explain how to do this, not tell you what to put in the dish. A few things that I learned: boiling a huge pot of water on the side burner of a grill isn’t going to happen very fast. Be patient. Browning meat in the pan next to it isn’t either, so again, be patient.
Just as you would in a pan for the oven; layer your cooked noodles, meat sauce and cheese mixture evenly until it’s full, leaving about an inch from the top of the Dutch oven. Cover with the lid making sure that it is snug and sitting properly.
Make sure that lid is snug!
Get the coals hot!
Place 16 briquettes on level, non-flammable ground in a formation that will evenly fit beneath the Dutch oven. Light them and let them smolder for a bit getting nice and red hot. Separately, light 10 additional briquettes and get them to the same red hot temperature. Once they are hot, place the Dutch oven on top of the 16 briquettes and with tongs, place the remaining 10 hot briquettes on the lid.
Check the boyscout guide to match briquettes to Dutch Oven size
And then… you wait. Just 45 minutes though! Make a salad while you wait, or play a game of poker like we did. After the time is up, remove the briquettes and place the Dutch oven on a towel on the picnic table allowing it to rest for about 10 -15 minutes. Then dig in and enjoy!
How to season your dutch oven
I can really say if it tasted better before of the work and effort we put into it making sure it was going to work or because it really did get a nice fire roasted flavor to it. Either way, it was amazing, delicious and totally worth it, especially when neighbors walked by commenting on the scrumptious smell!