What ways can I use my Dutch Oven?
Dutch Ovens are wonderfully versatile cookware! They allow you to do many things: Fry, Deep fat fry, Roast, Boil, and Bake. They make a great addition to your storage or emergency supplies because you can do so much with them.
What size Oven should I get?
Dutch Ovens come in Inch sizes. The most common are 10", 12", and 14". My favorite is the 12", with recessed lids and legs as they allow more ease in cooking with coals. 12" is a great size for a family where 10" might be better for a couple. A legless oven is recommended for use in your home oven.
How do I season my Dutch Oven?
1. Remove the oven from the box, inspect for any defects
2. Wash in warm soapy water. When the Dutch Ovens leave the factory, they are sprayed with a clear sealant to keep them from rusting while in storage. The sealant must be removed before trying to season the oven. Look for any rust. If there is rust, remove it with a steel wool or a small wire brush.
3. Dry Oven thoroughly and place on a heat source: a hot fire, gas BBQ grill, or 400 degree oven. Never let the Dutch Oven become heated to the point of being cherry red!
4. When the oven is hot, remove it from the heat and wipe a very thin coat of vegetable oil coating the entire oven and lid-inside and out.
5.Return it to the heat source, upside down and leave it there until it stops smoking.
6. Remove from heat and wipe on another thin coat of oil and let it cool. If it is cleaned properly after each use it will turn jet black and the beautiful shiny surface typical of a well cared-for Dutch Oven.
How do I clean my Dutch Oven?
There are a lot of different ways to clean a Dutch Oven. Do which ever option you feel best about. Every cook has their own personal opinion on cleaning!
1. Turn Dutch Oven upside down in the fire and burn the food out, wipe with a dry cloth when cool.
2. Soap and water clean them like any other pan, however if you wash with soap, you will have to coat with oil again.
3. Wipe oven out. If it is still dirty, put a little water in and let it soak for a minute. Use a putty knife to loosen food. Throw away water and wipe the oven dry.
4. Salt can be used as a scouring agent. By dumping salt in the oven and scrubbing with a paper towel. Be sure to rinse out your oven when done.
5. After cleaning, put a thin coat of oil on your Dutch Oven.
How do I store my Dutch Oven?
Water and moist air can be fatal to Dutch Ovens. Store oven in a dry place where the air circulates. Tuck a paper towel inside (to soak up any excess oil), then place a folded paper towel between the lid and oven to keep circulation open. Next time you get it out, if there is no rust, there is no reason to re-season your oven.
What tools do I need to do Dutch Oven Cooking?
Dutch Oven Lifter -large pliers will work-but a lifter is easier
Shovel (optional) for dumping or moving coals
Aluminum Foil-Lining your Dutch Oven with foil means easier clean up
Long Tongs-For moving hot briquettes
Charcoal Briquette Starters-for easy starting of briquettes. With the starters, you will not need starting fluid
Lid Holders-With lid holders, you don't need to worry about the lid getting dirty every time you lift it from the oven and set it down to check your food.
Garbage can lids or 55 Gal. Lids-Make a great place to cook on and easy clean up
What can I use for a heat source?
You can use Dutch Ovens on the Kitchen Stove, in the Oven, and on a Backyard Gas Grill. They can be used with Fires, and in Deep Pitts. My family mainly uses charcoal because the heat is much easier to distribute and it is easy to work with. HINT: Don't try to use old charcoal, it doesn't light or burn well.
Light Charcoal and wait until it is light gray over much of the coal. Plan on at least 30 minutes before you can start cooking with charcoal. It is a good idea to light your charcoal, then prepare your Dutch Ovens.
How many briquettes will I need?
To heat a 12" oven to approximately 350 degrees, you will need about 10-12 coals on bottom and 14-16 on top. The general rule is, take the size of the oven, double it , then put 1/3 of the coals on the bottom and 2/3 on the top. By adding lots of extra coals and getting the food hot fast then removing to this formula, the cook time is greatly shortened; But leaving them on too long can burn food.
How can I tell how hot my Dutch Oven is?
Hold your hand about three inches over the spot on which you will be cooking. The length of time you are able to hold your hand over the coals will determine the heat of the fire.
Counts Heat Temperature
6-8 Slow 250-350
4-5 Moderate 350-450
2-3 Hot 400-450
1 or Less Very Hot 450-500+
**The best cooking temperature for Dutch Oven is generally 350 Degrees. Keep your coals about that heat unless otherwise noted.
1. If you take the lid off your oven and the contents are boiled so heavily that you cannot see the food, your fire is to too hot, remove a few coals.
2. If you take the lid off your oven and the contents are not boiling after being on the fire for twenty minutes, your fire is to cold, add more coals.
3. If half your food is browning faster than the other, you have a hot spot. Rotate the oven one quarter turn to the left and rotate the lid one quarter turn to the right every 15 minutes until done.
4. Heat rises, some foods such as chicken and potatoes can be cooked with only bottom heat. Anything "baked" needs top and bottom heat.
5. Watch wood coals closely, they burn out quickly and you will need to rotate the oven.
6. When the wind blows it will cause coals to burn faster and hotter on one side. Set up a wind break and be sure to rotate oven. You may have to add more coals to get desired heat.
7. Cast Iron conducts heat very well, so put most of the coals on the lid around the outside edge, it will aid for uniform browning.
8. Ash can build up on a briquette. If it starts to build up, remove the ash by tapping the briquette with tongs, DO NOT use hands.
9. Keep the lid on tight, because each time you open it, you lose heat and increase cooking time.
10. You may stack ovens. This saves coals and space. 3 or 4 high is best.
Dutch Oven & Outdoor Cooking!