Dutch Oven 101- What You Need To Know Before You Cook


Can I stack Dutch Ovens when cooking in more than one at a time?

Stacking Dutch Ovens saves coals and space. We usually stack 3-4 high.

How can I heat my Dutch Oven?

Dutch Ovens are most often heated with briquettes or the coals of a campfire. They can also be used on the BBQ grill, in the kitchen oven, over the fire or buried in a pit with coals.

How do I clean my Dutch Oven?

There are quite a few different cleaning methods that we have tried and heard over the years. We have included them all so you can make our own decision as to how you would like to clean your oven.

Turn your Dutch Oven upside down in the fire and burn the food out. Wipe down with a cloth when done and oil if needed. Never let your Dutch Oven turn red from excessive heat.
Wipe out your oven with a cloth. Many foods will come out easily and simply wiping down your Dutch Oven will clean it sufficiently.
Soak in water and use a plastic putty knife to loosen stuck on foods. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Again, coat with oil if needed.
Salt is a great scouring agent. Pour a good bit of salt into your Dutch Oven and rub around with a paper towel until clean. Rinse, dry and coat with oil if needed.
If the food is stuck on and you don’t want to scrub at the time, try filling your Dutch Oven with water and adding about 1/4 cup to ½ cup apple cider vinegar and soaking it overnight. The food will easily come off the next day. Rinse and dry.
You can also use soap and water to clean your Dutch Oven. Although many people refuse to use this method, we have used it for years and have found that it works great, although it does require thorough rinsing and a coating of oil when done.
How do I remove the gummy buildup in the bottom of my Dutch oven?

The “gum” in the Dutch oven is old oil. Place the Dutch oven on a good heat source, just as you would to season it. When it begins to smoke, remove it from the heat and wipe the old oil away with a paper towel. This will also help remove any rancid odors that may have developed.

How do I season my Dutch Oven?

When you first buy your Dutch Oven, you will want to inspect it for any defects and then wash in warm soapy water. Use a coarse scouring pad to make sure you get it clean. When Dutch Oven leave the factory, they are sprayed with a clear sealant to keep them from rusting while in stoarge and this sealant must come off completely prior to seasoning.

Once clean, dry your Dutch Oven and lid well and cover both with a light coat of vegetable oil, inside and out. This will need o bake into your Dutch Oven and there are several ways you can do this. Use a hot fire, BBQ grill or 500 degree conventional oven. You will want your Dutch Oven and lid to rest upside down so the oil does not pool up in the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Place on cold grill or in the cold oven and turn on the heat and leave at the high temperature for a couple of hours or “until the smoke clears” as many have said. This high temperature will for a black Teflon-like finish on your pan.

How do I tell how hot my coals are?

Cover your Dutch Oven with coals and begin cooking. Hold your hand a few inches over the coals on the lid and count the seconds you are able to hold it in place. 6-8 seconds means your coals are between 250 and 350. 4-5 seconds means your coals are between 350 and 450. 2-3 means your coals are between 400 and 450. If you can’t hold your hand over the coals for a second, they are too hot and are above 450 degrees.

How many briquettes should I use?

To heat a 12″ Dutch Oven to approximately 350 degrees, you will need about 10-12 coals on bottom and 14-18 on top. There are a lot of factors that you have to remember when cooking outdoors and all of them will adust your temperature and cooking time in some way: wind, temperature, rain and other conditions. An easy way to determine how many briquettes to use is to add three to the size of your Dutch Oven 12″ oven plus three is 15 coals. Put those on top. Subtract a few coals to get the amount needed for the bottom.

Briquettes should be placed evenly around the outside edge of the lid. This will help conduct the heat better and bake food more evenly.

How should I store my Dutch Oven?

Water and moist air can harm a Dutch Oven. Store it in a dry place where the air circulates. Tuck a paper towel inside to help absorb any moisture that may get into the Dutch Oven. Many people will even crack the lid so the air moves easily through the oven while in storage.

What do I do if my food is not cooking fast enough?

Your coals may have burned out or the wind may be blowing all your heat away. Add new coals or construct a windbreak to retain the heat.

What if half of my food browns faster than the other half?

You have a hot spot. Rotate the oven one quarter turn to the left and the lid one quarter turn to the right every 15 minutes or so until done. This may also be the result of the wind and you may want to consider a windbreak.

What if there is a lot of smoke coming from my oven while I’m seasoning my Dutch Oven?

If you find that there is an excessive amount of smoke while seasoning your Dutch Oven, you have most likely applied too much oil. Though this won’t hurt the Dutch Oven, it may make a mess in your conventional oven. Make sure you wipe out your Dutch oven well before you store it away.

What is the best temperature for baking in my Dutch Oven?

The best baking temperature for Dutch Ovens is 350 degrees. Keep your coals close to 350 unless otherwise noted in the recipe.

What size Dutch Oven do I need?

Dutch Ovens come in several different sizes. They are sized in inches or by quarts depending on the manufacturer. The most commonly used Dutch Oven is the 12″ or 8 quart size. They also come in deep or regular. The two different depths of Dutch Ovens cook about the same, and should be bought according to how many you plan to feed and the capacity you will need.

Can I fry foods on my Dutch Oven lid? Simply turn your lid handle side down and set on a lid holder or place rocks around the edge until it’s steady. Place hot coals under the lid and use it as a frying pan. Your lid can also be used as a serving platter when placed upside down on a lid holder. Great for those upside down cakes or foods you want to turn out of the Dutch Oven for serving.Can I use my Dutch Oven on my Camp Chef? The Dutch Oven will heat evenly when placed on a Camp Chef Grill. Use low heat to avoid burning the contents in the bottom. However, when cooking breads or cakes, the top doesn’t brown quite as well. You can purchase a cover for the 12″ Dutch Oven that keep the heat unifrm all the way around the oven and allows you to bake on top of your Camp Chef without using any coals. Do I need to rotate coals while baking? Wood coals loose their heat rapidly and should be changed every 10-15 minutes. Charcoal will hold heat about an hour, though times vary by brand and outdoor weather conditions. If the coals look as though they have died out, replace them. If the food is not cooking quickly enough, replace some of the old coals with new ones. You should be okay for about an hour without changing out coals if the weather is good and the coals are high quality. How can I save time when preparing food outdoors? Try mixing all the dry ingredients of your recipe in a ZipLock bag before hand. When you are ready to begin cooking, simply add the wet ingredients, mix inside the bag and pour into the Dutch Oven. This not only saves time while outdoors, but saves on clean up as well.

What do I do if my food cooks too quickly?

Your fire is too hot and you need to lower the heat or remove a few briquettes.

Can I use my Dutch Oven in my home oven? Definately. Prepare your food, place the lid on top and place in your preheated oven. Use 350 degrees unless otherwise specified.

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