Dutch Ovens

Several years ago I attended a workshop on outdoor skills. It was not about survivalist skills but instead about wildlife identification, compass use, map reading and various other skills having to do with the outdoors. It was during this class that I was introduced to the art of dutch oven cooking, or in my case perhaps the curse, most defiantly an addiction.

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Dutch oven cooking is something that has a death grip on my brain. I can't go to a restaurant and enjoy a meal without trying to figure out if I can cook whatever meal I am having in my dutch ovens. Through trial and error, fear and terror, I have come to realize, there is not a lot you can't do with a dutch oven. Be it simple to complex anything can done in a dutch oven.

As a kid we used to go camping and for some reason food always tasted better when camp cooking.  Fresh fish and fried potatoes  always tasted better at the camp site. Over the years i have invested in many gas grills a couple of smokers and a Big Green Egg, these have served their purpose, then I discovered dutch ovens. Something as simple as a cast iron pot and some charcoal a few ingredients and you are ready. One of my good friends “Chuckwagon” started me with a simple recipe book.” The recipe is on the back of your hand ” he said, from there, things have taken off.

Now don't start thinking that only one oven will do. Oh, you can go out and buy a single oven and cook a meal, sure, but before you know it you want to do a main dish and a side dish, got to buy another oven. This is not a bad thing. As time goes on you start thinking a desert would be a nice touch so off you go to buy another oven. Now you have started a collection. At this time I am up to 5 ovens and thinking I probably need one or two more to complete my collection.

I have cooked for small groups several times and even cooked for a church breakfast without being kicked out of the congregation. Last year while attending a national shooting contest for youth from throughout the country two other Like Minded Dads along with our wife's ( the wife's did most of the work) prepared a meal for a large group of the youth competitors and their families. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40 people gathered together and enjoyed each others company. We had 10 dutch ovens going and it was a great time. Several people asked for recipes and we had to tell them the cookbook was “on the back of our hands.” Many would not believe but many did. One husband and wife asked lots of questions and were showing a lot of interest in the entire process. When I saw them at another event later that year they were both excited to tell me about the new dutch oven they had purchased. I asked them if they only purchased one and they said they felt one would be plenty. Poor dumb fools. They now own a second oven.

Along with the purchase of a new oven you need to purchase or make several accessories and this is almost as addictive as buying ovens. Charcoal chimneys, lid lifters, lid rests, pans for the fire, something to protect the surface you are cooking on if necessary,  a wind break of some sort, trivets, must have a trivet ,etc, etc, etc. Accessories, accessories man it is great. Then you must have a camp kitchen box as no responsible addict can do without one. A camp box can be anything of your choosing, used to carry all the necessary items needed to become your own mad scientist at dutch oven cooking.

Wonder if the folks with the new oven have a camp box yet? Poor dumb fools. Now where did I put my trivet?

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