Are you ready for another installment of our Outdoor Cooking series (here’s part one)?
So, it’s time to pull out your favorite recipes and a pen and paper to take some notes!
You will want to purchase or borrow a few things to get ready for your Dutch oven cooking adventures. Let’s talk about the charcoal for a minute because it is such an important part of Dutch oven cooking!
The advantage of a charcoal starter is that you can get the coals started quickly and (usually) evenly. Put charcoal in charcoal burner, drizzle with a little lighter fluid (optional, but helps to get it going quickly), the carefully add a lighted match. The general rule of thumb is two charcoal briquettes per inch in diameter, and typically more coals are placed on top than on bottom.  For example, a 12-inch Dutch oven would have 14 coals on top and 8 underneath for a temperature of about 300 degrees F. Secret #5: Do season it well and then rub the inside with a little oil every time you use it.
Even though the Dutch oven has been seasoned, it’s a good idea to rub the inside with a little oil before using it.
Secret #14: As far as clean up goes, if the Dutch oven is well-seasoned, it will be a snap! I chose one of my favorite recipes to turn into a Dutch oven recipe — this Chicken Provencal is amazing! We usually do it in the oven or slow cooker. Combine all ingredients except zucchini and roma tomatoes in a gallon sized resealable plastic bag or large bowl covered with plastic wrap.
The best way to enjoy life is stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you wouldn’t normally do. I’m curious why you use lighter fluid instead of putting crumpled news paper in the bottom of the charcoal chimney and lighting that? Can you tell me why when i cook beans in my dutch oven on a stove top the lid wants to rust and it gets in my food? When cooking biscuits, breads and cobblers, always turn the Dutch oven a quarter turn and then the lid quarter turn opposite direction about every 15 minutes to avoid burnt spots.
It’s hard to duplicate the feeling of cooking outdoors in a big, cast-iron pot over hot coals. Now that most of us do our daily cooking indoors on and in modern stoves and ovens, it seems like Dutch oven cooking is more for hobbyists and campers. Over the years we’ve modified old family favorites for use in a Dutch oven as well as finding new ones. Secret #1: You should buy a Dutch oven a little before you plan on using it to make sure you have time to properly season it. The cooking heat is generated from using coals placed underneath the pan and on top of the lid.


The tall chimney shape keeps the coals protected from wind and keeps them together as they heat up.
Secret #3: To raise the cooking temperature 25 degrees F, add an extra (preheated) briquette on both top and bottom. Cook for about two hours or until the sauce has thickened quite a bit and the chicken is falling away from the bone.
I”ve been in dutch oven cooking for three years and still learning from people like you.
I have been DO cooking for some time now…my first try looked more like the charcoal than food.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!Could you make it to be printed???That would be great.Have a great day! But those starters are made to use paper in the bottom to light your charcoal, not to use lighter fluid with them. Buy the cheap cake pans and punch holes in opposite sides and make a bail to pull your goodies out of the oven.
The best thing is that very little water needs to be added as all the juices from the veggies makes up the stock.
It’s hard to duplicate that flavor too — a cross between cooking over a fire and using a slow cooker. If you haven’t enjoyed Dutch oven cooking as the cook or the eater, you’ve been missing out!
But what you put into the Dutch oven is pretty simple and uncomplicated; the cooking part is where it can get a little tricky. There are aluminum Dutch ovens available, but the most common ones sold and used are cast iron.
Or, if you’re using acidic ingredients like tomatoes, lemon juice, wine, or vinegar, because they can remove some of the seasoned interior.
Know that this will require more time and you might have to add fresh coals to keep it cooking hot enough for both ovens. I personally love dutch oven cooking and I can’t wait to try this stew over Labor Day weekend.
I burnt allot of meals over the years but now I’ve learned how manage the coal distribution. I can make anything in a dutch oven that I can make in my slow cooker or oven at home, as long as it can fit. Seasoning means that it’s been rubbed with oil or vegetable shortening and baked in an oven for a few hours to develop a nice, black coating on the surface of the entire Dutch oven. Dutch ovens are best used for recipes requiring a long, slow cooking time, like stews, roasts, chili, etc. Secret #2: The charcoal needs to be started about 20-30 minutes before you plan on starting to cook.


The bigger (and deeper) the Dutch oven, the more people you can feed, and the heavier they are.
If making in advance, transfer to a large resealable plastic bag or cover bowl with plastic wrap. Part of me wants to try this but a big part of me also takes comfort in the conventional ways especially since they are convenient for a single mom like myself. In addition baking things directly in the oven, I also have several round trivets and wedding cake pans that I use to bake things in my dutch ovens so they will have airflow all around.
I was told long ago that some of the foil gets into the DO pores and over time will ruin it.
When making a potjie the stew is layered and built up through the cooking time, onions in the bottom, then meats are browned, flour added, and then vegetables layered.
But they can also be used for things that cook in 30 minutes or less, like quick breads, rolls, cakes and cobblers. And don’t set the lid directly on the ground — use a pan, brick, or rock (I like using an upside down muffin tin) — it keeps dirt or other things from being transferred from the ground to your food. It’s super simple once all the ingredients are prepped and only takes 30-45 minutes to cook in a 12-inch oven. Looking forward to learn more about Dutch oven cooking coz I might just give that a shot in the future.
I used to use the DO parchment that was mentioned by Linda, but now I buy a roll and cut it myself. I’m sure they were designed that way for other reasons too, but the little legs are nice because the Dutch oven keeps upright much better over the coals. I chose to do it this way for this post because I liked that it was high off the ground — while my kids were running around and playing. I do pizzas in my 16 inch oven and those I prepare in foil pizza pans which I put flat on the bottom of the oven so the crust can brown, and as soon as one is done I can put another one in (we are a family of 9). By the time I’ve put everything into the Dutch oven, the coals are hot and ready to be used.
Walmart also sells parchment dutch oven liners in the camping section which are really nice for cooking sticky foods like cobbler or barbeque chicken. But we also like placing it in on the ground in a fire pit because we can cook other things over the coals at the same time.
I can’t wait for the temperatures to cool a little so we can have a big dutch oven dinner! When you store the oven in the off season, place a folded piece of toweling between the lid and oven to allow air transfer and prevent condensation.



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