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dutch oven cooking on an open fire.

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Disciple, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Call it what you wish, whether it be campfire cooking or chuckwagon cooking, it is a very simple process. I am going to attempt to tell you how I do this process.

    1.) dig two holes----about 5 feet apart first hole about 12 to 14 inches deep, and about 2 1/2 to 3 foot long about 1 -1 1/2 feet wide more of a trench than a hole. This will be your main fire hole where you get your wood burning and turning into coals. Second Hole will be your cook hole....... about 10 inches deep, and three foot in circumfrance,my old cook hole was 14 inches deep and 3 foot around because I put 4'" of pea gravel in the bottom to help fascilitate the cooking process, gives a little more heat retention to the hole equaling less cooking time.

    2.) Wood Choice: this is very important to me anyhow, but it to is a personal choice subject...The wood no matter what you use HAS TO BE DRY, NO SAP AT ALL. as sappy wood has the tendency to gum up on your dutch oven and is hard to clean off. I personally use Oak or Maple.
    It is plentiful in the midwest and easy to find.( I find the best time to get oak or maple is during tornado season. one You are helping in the clean-up
    of the disaster by getting the multiple trees out of their way but also, the other.

    3.) get you a good fire going keep it going not blazing or anything like that
    but just like you would in a fireplace. keep adding wood every so ofton and start your cook fire with coals from the first fireget second hole heated up good before you set the dutch oven in it every half hour pick up dutch oven with lifter and add new coals then set the dutch oven back down on the fire.

    I can literally do everything i can this way with dutch ovens that everybody does in roasters,ovens and about anything else except I cant deep fry and that is something I wouldnt recommend anyhow. Boiling oil on a open fire yeah recipe for disaster.
  2. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    try rubbing the outside of the oven with liquid soap and it will clean up easier if you use sappy woods... (old boy scout trick)
  3. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    always wore myself out with steel wool cleaning that crap off my cast iron
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Why? The only place clean really counts is on the inside. (But you can try brake cleaner next time.)
  5. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    The cast iron I had brother was antique and I didnt want to get messed up. It was my moms set and befor that her moms and before that her moms, and go a couple of generations further back I found out the set was originally cast back in 1845, and my ancestors bought it back then, ordered it from the foundry in pennsylvania. Unfortunatly I had it stored and a worthless piece of garbage uncle of mine stole the entire set and took it and sold it at auction got 10,000.00 bucks and I got crapped on. Today that very set would get right around 35k on auction but I never had sold them I'd still be using them.
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  7. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    I've used mostly pine, because that's what is available in the areas where I go camping.
    it's not a problem because I am cooking with the coals, and all sap has burned off.
  8. hedger

    hedger Monkey+

    Wood Volume

    I'm sort of debating with myself about whether a dutch oven is a good long-term solution for me.

    When I read the above post suggesting two holes, that 5 foot long trench seems like it would be an enormous consumer of wood (to generate the coals for the dutch oven) for the actual cooking.

    The words that come to mind when visualizing the maintenance of the bed of coals and the coals placed on top of the dutch oven are: lavish and generous.
    If you live in an area where you have expansive woodlands, that is a wonderful fit.

    However, I live in the front range of Colorado; our climate is described as semi-arid and that means sparse woodlands for our eastern plains. Our mountains do accumulate lots of moisture (currently 130% above average) and there are woodlands there.

    With the seasonal, horrendous wildfires that we have had in recent years, I am very leery of having an open fire in that setting.

    However, I do have a neighbor that concocts the most delicious creations with their dutch oven. Am I allowing my dutch oven ignorance (never used one) to trump the practical benefits here?
  9. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    You can get past the two hole method if you want to purchase a tripod then you can cook over a good fire. both cabela and bass pro shops and Im sure there are others but cast iron cooking in general, in my honest opinion is the best cooking you can get. as long as you have your pans seasoned and you take care of them,they will last. any of the other conductive cooking surfaces eventually wear out, and you have to go buy more, conversly cast iron, yes it is expensive, but the investment is
    worth the extra cost because of the fact that it is the most durable cookware. If you decide to purchase some cast iron cookware I think you will be very happy.
  10. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Thank you broker for the video contribution, I really liked I actually "Watched" all 3 parts and liked it. These days since I'm disabled I don't go to that far of a stretch for my dutch oven bread, I'm good for a box of Jiffy biscuit mix or corn muffin mix fixed and I'm happy lol.
  11. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    I don't use holes, or 5' long trenches! My dutch ovens have feet on them, I just use a small shovel and rake some coals into a small pile at the edge of the campfire, place the dutch oven on the coals, then use the shovel to put more coals on the top, replenishing the coals on top a few times. If a campfire is out of the question, you can use an old BBQ grill and charcoal briquettes to get the same result.
  12. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    I have seen a steel table where you use the charcoal too was thinking about one of those but since good charcoal ( kingsford) is 6.00 here for a small bag, I said forget that.
  13. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba

    oh boy

    :mad:I will not contradict what has been written so far, I am The KING OF COLORADO CAMPFIRE COOKS. No brag, just fact. I have a standing wager, no one has ever taken me up on it. A seperate party picks the food, fish, game, fowl, pig, any type meat, veggies, anything. You are allowed a set number of spices/cook gear/your choice. Not knowing what you get to cook, 24hr start time. Here you go, It's goat, pig, fish, buffalo, zebra, elk, deer, taters, turnups. parsnips, corn, chiote. You know not. Matters not to me! Hey, some one else picks everything for the contest. Bring it on! Winter, summer, solar oven, wood, I am the BEST! No brag, just fact!

    UH, back to dutch oven cooking. Never have done the 'two hole' thing.. I use one fire and rake the coals to one side. I preheat the top and drop a couple of coals on top as needed. Pies and such are a little harder because the bottom has a tendency to burn before the top is done.

    UH, the wager stands, PM me, all comers welcome. Yeppers just fact~~
  14. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    If you are close to NC/SC then come to our gathering in April. We have a Dutch Oven Cooking contest with awards for different categories. You would be amazed at what comes out of those things. If you want to come and do not have one just let us know so we can bring extras. If interested just PM. We cover all types of survival/pioneering skills and have access to the nice range joining the camp.
    As for cleaning the oven-don't-lol. NEVER use soap on your oven. It destroys the "curing" and makes food stick terribly. If you want pics of the Oct and last April contests go here: NC Spring '10 gathering at the range - Page 2 - CarolinaShootersForum.com
    Scroll to the end for fingernail pics you can enlarge.
  15. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    If anything I would just rinse mine out. Now my mom would wash them in hot soapy water and then just rub a little crisco in it and set them in the gas stove right side up and at 200 degrees and they never had anything to stick in them.
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