Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Questions on using a Dutch Oven
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 > Questions on using a Dutch Oven

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Vintage465

Prunedale CA.

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Posted: 03/30/20 04:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

magnusfide wrote:

Vintage, like regular ovens cast iron DOs vary between manufacturers. Everything from thickness of the iron to the type of iron formula and casting will factor into it.

Types of briquettes vary in temp output too. Most DO chefs find a charcoal they like and stick with that brand so they know what to expect. Like a large number of DO chefs I use the basic Kingsford.

If you have Lodge, start with the basic Lodge chart and just start cooking. There’s no teacher like experience. Remember that cooler weather and windy weather will affect the times and temps because you are outdoors instead of indoors. Humidity can als affect it. These aren’t like “set it and forget it” slow cookers. They need to be watched and smelled. That means staying close by to detect burning. If you think it’s burning remove coals and let the temp drop some. If it’s not cooking fast enough add coals.

It’s more an art form than an absolute science but I’m pretty sure most people can master if they’re willing to put their mind to it. It just takes practice. Here’s a copy of the Lodge chart to get you on your way. It gives approximates for the different size ovens.
Lodge Baking Temperature Chart.


The FIRST THING I do is:..............Make sure dinner isn't depending entirely on my skills with the Dutch Oven. I really don't have much issue with heat on mine. I was just sharing what little I know with the OP. Like you said, time and experience is the best teacher. I've done biscuits and cobblers in mine and had great results. Nothing burned yet. And I would only use Kingsford briquettes. Not worth the worry using lower grade stuff


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ppine

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Posted: 03/30/20 08:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have never understood the fascination with charcoal. It is more stuff to pack around. People run out of it.

With wood there is an endless supply, no formulas, no counting, no starter, no chimney, simple.

opnspaces

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Posted: 04/05/20 05:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^ Hey ppine, can you expand a bit on the last post? If someone wanted to try wood, how do you check or adjust the temperature? There must be some kind of formula you're using.


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ppine

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Posted: 04/05/20 09:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

opnspaces,
Thanks for the question. Charcoal formulas seem to have started in Utah.
Cooking with wood is hundreds of years old. Dutch Ovens were carried by Lewis and Clark, fur trappers and the people coming across in wagons after the Gold Rush. They cooked with wood and sometimes buffalo chips.

There are no formulas. You learn quickly with some practice. I can heat up an oven by eye to 350 degrees. You can test by holding your hand near it. The tendency at first is too much heat. You have to learn it. Trust your oven. Shovel coals over and under and be patient. I never run out of wood in a forest. I have lived my wall tent for a month at a time and never run out of wood.

RickLight

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Posted: 04/05/20 11:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I grew up camping and remember being shocked at charcoal on a DO. I must have been young.

The thing is that charcoal is consistent. You can count it and the same count makes the same heat, mostly. That let's you be precise easily and helps you learn. Without it you'll burn more and have more late meals.

If you want to use formulas just estimate how many bricks would make the coals you use. Sure wood varies more. Some woods burn hotter and most burn faster, just pay more attention. I learned to heat the ground with the fire first and not put coals underneath. But I don't always do it that way. And practice on family, not guests!


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ppine

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Posted: 04/06/20 07:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I cook with pine, ponderosa and Jeffrey. It is easy to get and very consistent. DOs are much more forgiving than people realize. Just don't add too much heat. You cannot "heat up the ground" to cook with. Sorry.

People can do whatever they want. Some people bring gloves, trivets, charcoal chimneys, bags of charcoal, bellows, charcoal starter, oven tables, and plenty of other stuff. I like to travel so I just bring a shovel and a pot lifter. That's it. I can cook anywhere anytime. My favorite time to cook is on pack trips and river trips. Aluminum ovens save weight.

Merrykalia

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Posted: 04/06/20 08:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

opnspaces wrote:

^ Hey ppine, can you expand a bit on the last post? If someone wanted to try wood, how do you check or adjust the temperature? There must be some kind of formula you're using.


I use wood 90% of the time when I am using my DO. I just open the lid and look at it and check the "doneness" of whatever I am cooking, just like I would if it were in the oven.


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ppine

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Posted: 04/06/20 09:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CDub, Butch Welch always used to say if you can't smell it, its not done. If it smells done, it is ready to eat. If it smells burnt, you over cooked it.

You can look in there alright. When in doubt, more heat on the top than the bottom.

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