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Thread: Dutch Oven

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    Default Dutch Oven

    One of my suppliers gave me a 100 dollar gift card for cabelas. Not really sure what to get but am thinking of a dutch oven to keep at my cabin. It will be used in the fire pit. Any thoughts on what to get? what size? I pretty much cook for myself so I'm thinking a small oven, maybe something that will fit a chicken.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?


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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I love my dutch ovens. I think my smallest is a 10" which is fine for cooking for one or two.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    I love my dutch ovens too. I have them from 8" up to 16"

    I would go with a big one if it is to be used in the cabin. You can cook a small meal in a big pot but it is difficult to get a big meal out of a small one.

    The 10" ovens are almost small for a chicken. With the 16" oven you can get the chicken and all the fixings in the pot without crowding anything.

    My wife used to love to put a pork tenderloin in the dutch oven and half way through cooking it dump in a box of wild rice. We would top that off with soda bread baked in one of the small ovens stacked on top of the big oven.

    I have a 16" dutch oven and I love that thing!
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    Dutch ovens are one of my obsessions. There are the new Lodge variety that are good in a pinch.

    Personally, I wold put that $100 toward something else and find a good OLD vintage dutch oven with a handle and legs.

    similar to this

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-12-...gAAOSwLsBZXAud

    I don't know that I would buy it off eBay, but I would comb the antique shops and flea markets. You find one that has a smooth finish, well seasoned inside and scrub it out (there are those who cringe at soap and water in a dutch oven) and re-season.

    I have had new ones and old ones and I prefer the old ones by far.

    Now, nobody has to do what I do, but,

    I get an old dutch oven and clean it well with a wire wheel. Then I wash it super well with soap and hot water. The I dry it in the BBQ pit with a HOT fire on indirect heat. When dry I let it continue to heat, let it cool, and slather the oil (I use peanut oil) to it, heat it again and wipe it periodically with an oil soaked rag. I do not allow the oil to burn on the cast iron. After an hour I start wiping it with a dry rag and let it cool.

    Then it's ready to cook. I do clean with soap and water after cooking but do not scrub.

    Alan

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan R McDaniel Jr View Post
    Dutch ovens are one of my obsessions. There are the new Lodge variety that are good in a pinch.

    Personally, I wold put that $100 toward something else and find a good OLD vintage dutch oven with a handle and legs.

    similar to this

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-12-...gAAOSwLsBZXAud

    I don't know that I would buy it off eBay, but I would comb the antique shops and flea markets. You find one that has a smooth finish, well seasoned inside and scrub it out (there are those who cringe at soap and water in a dutch oven) and re-season.

    I have had new ones and old ones and I prefer the old ones by far.

    Now, nobody has to do what I do, but,

    I get an old dutch oven and clean it well with a wire wheel. Then I wash it super well with soap and hot water. The I dry it in the BBQ pit with a HOT fire on indirect heat. When dry I let it continue to heat, let it cool, and slather the oil (I use peanut oil) to it, heat it again and wipe it periodically with an oil soaked rag. I do not allow the oil to burn on the cast iron. After an hour I start wiping it with a dry rag and let it cool.

    Then it's ready to cook. I do clean with soap and water after cooking but do not scrub.

    Alan
    As this is a gift card from Cabelas..kinda limits where you can do the shopping.....

    Seems like "Lodge" is about the best available these days...IMO

    Have several my in my caston collection....with a pot several frying pans...even a waffle maker.

    Also have a few Griswold and Warners......but they are like gold....finding one wou be a rel score.
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    Most of my good ones are Warners. I have a few off brands and some "No" brands that are decent too. Lodge will do the job, it just takes a long time to get a good season on one and time is not on my side any more.

    I have longed to get good at cast iron cookery. There was an old man that worked with my #1 son when he was a hunting guide. He could cook the entire meal for a group of hunters in 5 dutch ovens that he would stack one atop the other with varying amounts of coals between the ovens depending on what was being cooked in them. The amazing part was that it was all ready at the same time, even desert. Peach cobbler cooked in cast iron, smoke flavored, on a cold evening is worth every penny of whatever you have to pay for it.

    Alan

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Not sure what size is needed...but my favorite oven is big enough that holds a pie tin.........pie or corn bread..
    Also make round loaf bread.
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    I like the long handled ones with legs. I can control the heat easier with them. It has always amazed me how little coals are needed to cook in a dutch oven. I do like to use the big pot type with no legs for chili.

    I made a jambalya one night with deer heart and liver. They ate it all, even the ones who said they didn't like liver. I browned the cubed meat and onions and then mixed the rest of the ingredients, got a seal on the lid, set it on some coals and lined abut ten around the lid, and went hunting. When we got in the rice, etc had swelled the whole thing full and we ate like kings.

    Alan

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    The beautiful thing about dutch ovens is that even a lazy cook like me can make a decent dish because if you don't over do it with the coals the food won't burn, it'll just keep cooking.

    Alan

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    Some of these threads bring back a lot of memories.

    I worked for a ranch in South Texas once that had three big irrigation systems. We grew a lot of grain sorghum and the blackbirds were thick, and I would let off a shotgun blast out over the fields to kinda keep them moving. The old fellow that lived out there asked me one day to get him a bunch of blackbirds. I asked him how many and he said as many as I could shoot. We'll I love that kind of challenge and although I could have easily gotten more, I stopped when I got a five gallon bucket full. When I handed them over to him his wife started plucking. They plucked and gutted those little birds (emphasis on little. These blackbirds were about half the size of a small dove) all afternoon. I stopped by his house on my way home and he had a big dutch oven going in the front of his house with those blackbirds and rice in it. They had used rice, salt, pepper, onions and a few chilli petins. He offer some so I ate a bird and a scoop of rice. It was about the best blackbird I ever ate!

    Sometimes the simplest foods are the best.

    Alan

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    DW and I have won several backing contests at rendezvous

    I put one of my 16" cast iron frying pans on a trivet off the the side...

    Preheat the oven in the fire...then shovel coals on the fry pan..
    Add some gravel in the bottom of the oven (they do make a trivet for in the oven

    Put pie pan in the oven...close cover...set in fry pan...then load up the top with coals as well.
    One load of coals does about 2 pies and a pan cornbread.
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    So, if I'm visualizing correctly,....

    You are using the the frying pan as a container for the oven over heat. Then the pie pan is inside the oven on top of gravel to allow air flow completely around the pie pan. Then the oven top is in place with coals as usual. So the only direct heat is on the top and the pie or cornbread is truly being baked in an "oven".

    Is the 16" frying pan being used just to contain the "fire" (coals) for the bottom of the oven?

    Alan

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    I'l keep my eye out for a vintage dutch oven. I may get a lodge to fool with until then.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    I also camped with two gourmet campfire cooks and the structure of the outdoor kitchen was very precise for them.

    Not only was there a 6 foot long campfire trench for creation of sufficient coals, and a large grate for direct heat cooking, there was a dutch oven pit at each end of the trench to retain the heat of the coals under the ovens. and it was not unusual to have 4-5 ovens going at once.

    I have seen and tasted some excellent food cooked in those "new" Lodge items: breads, cakes, pies, roasts, gravies, vegetables and such. It was no wonder I shot from 165 pounds up to 250 while married to that woman!

    I still have the kettles, pans and dutch ovens stored safely. I also have some old stuff that is impossible to find now, especially the round bottomed cast iron kettles with legs.

    The real trick is that your new stuff never becomes old stuff if you do not use it, and using it is the only way to get the deep seasoning we want on our cookware. Then we are not cooking in a "summer kitchen" like our ancestors did before electricity, gas and air conditioning invaded the kitchen. There was a time when all the cooking was done outside between May and September and the cast iron got a real seasoning, and quickly!

    Add to that the fact that most of the old stuff has gone the ways of the cheap surplus firearms, it has all been bought up and what you do find is expensive and often damaged.

    We need to be out in the back yard cooking with the stuff every night or two and turning it into well used cookware.

    I have to admit that I have used my Good Wagners stuff on the gas grill, and the food was delicious. Not as good as the campfire, but much quicker and easier for an old man like me.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 12-25-2017 at 12:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan R McDaniel Jr View Post
    So, if I'm visualizing correctly,....

    You are using the the frying pan as a container for the oven over heat. ( on a trivet) Then the pie pan is inside the oven on top of gravel to allow air flow completely around the pie pan.(Yes) Then the oven top is in place with coals as usual (NO....on trivet off to the side) So the only direct heat is on the top and the pie or cornbread is truly being baked in an "oven".(yes)

    Is the 16" frying pan being used just to contain the "fire" (coals) for the bottom of the oven?

    Alan
    I don't use the DO on the fire only to preheat the oven.

    The big cast iron fry pan is on a 6" 3 legged trivet.....
    Then fill the fry pan with coals from the fire with a shovel.....

    Place DO on the coals ..in the fry pan...with what you are gonna bake....with the pin tin/pie on the gravel in the oven...for air circulation
    Then shovel more coals on the top...I like the covers with the ridge around the top.

    This whole thing is not on the fire.....the fry pan contain the coals.
    Much easier to control the heat for baking.
    That help.....been looking fir a pic...so far nada.

    Since we started doing this...have not burned the bottom of a pie or bread......

    Stews and soups, go on the fire/coals....as usual.

    Picture bottom coals ..in the fry pan on the trivet..... instead on on the ground
    And yeah you can stack them...

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    Last edited by hunter63; 12-25-2017 at 12:17 PM.
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    I used to get into the blacksmith shop and hammer a piece of 1" strap metal into a circle about 6" diameter. You can do the same cold forming in any workshop if you have a heavy vise.

    I did not weld the circle shut just left a gap so it could hang on the fire irons with the hooks and chains and such, and be ready when needed.

    You put the circle in the bottom of the dutch oven and then set you pie/cake/bicsuit pan on top of the metal circle to get it off the bottom of the oven like Hunter is explaining.

    Stacking the ovens, or using a small pit, allows using fewer coals, more heat control and less chance of burning the food.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 12-25-2017 at 12:22 PM.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Quote Originally Posted by randyt View Post
    One of my suppliers gave me a 100 dollar gift card for cabelas. Not really sure what to get but am thinking of a dutch oven to keep at my cabin. It will be used in the fire pit. Any thoughts on what to get? what size? I pretty much cook for myself so I'm thinking a small oven, maybe something that will fit a chicken.

    I own six Dutch Ovens (camp style, three legs, flanged lid) and have been "cooking Dutch" since I was in the Boy Scouts. (That was so long ago that my Eagle Scout Certification card was signed by Pres. Harry S. Truman.) I own two 10", two 12", and two 14" D.Os.

    Given your post, I suggest you buy a Lodge 12" Deep D.O. It will cook a chicken and about anything else you want to eat, and if you have a guest or two, not one of you will leave the table hungry.

    In my opinion, the 12" Deep D.O. is the most versatile D.O. out there, unless one is into cooking for a bunch of people.

    Don't forget that one of the secrets to good D.O. cooking is to have your D.O. warm and your lid hot before putting in the food. Lots and lots of D.O. videos on You Tube.

    Just my thoughts.

    S.M.
    Last edited by Seniorman; 12-25-2017 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Correct D.O. size.
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    P.S. --- Be sure you buy a good lid lifter at the same time you buy a D.O. They are extremely handy and prevent dumping the ashes off the lid into the food when checking the cooking food.

    S.M.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seniorman View Post
    P.S. --- Be sure you buy a good lid lifter at the same time you buy a D.O. They are extremely handy and prevent dumping the ashes off the lid into the food when checking the cooking food.

    S.M.
    Good advice...covers full of coals need to be handled carefully.

    My fire pokers have a have lid lifter for the lids...poker on the other.

    Blacksmith made them for me along time ago.......
    He had pokers....and he had lid lifters...so he just modified to a dual purpose iron.
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    That lid lifter needs to be about a foot long too!

    Not going to have much hair left on your knuckles if not.

    I tried using an S hook from the fire irons a couple of times. It did not work out well.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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