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Need Help Learning to Cook with Cast Iron Dutch Oven

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello,

I am looking for some help in learning how to cook, (the right way) with a dutch oven. I see all these glorious results people are getting using a dutch oven and have to say, my attempts are bleak at best and nightmarish at worst.

 

I believe I have the proper seasoning of the dutch oven and have tried several suggestions ranging from coals atop and underneath as well as one who suggested to dig a small pit, line with coals, place dutch oven in, cover with coals, etc. The results I achieved were dismal, usually ending up with dry, over cooked non-edible food stuff.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

post #2 of 6

Tell us more about what you'want to cook

 

 

post #3 of 6

What type and size of dutch oven are you using?

 

I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make but are you using a camping dutch oven or a stove top dutch oven?

The camping oven has legs on it  and the lid is made to hold coals and naturally the stove top version doesn't.

 

And of course as Phatch stated what are you trying to make with your oven?

Are you trying to make a stew, roast or maybe your baking something?

 

In all honesty it sounds like your fire is too hot ie.. your using to many coals ... dutch ovens are more for making slow cooked foods which would more or less mean using lower temps.

 

I hope we hear back from you soon and let us know how things are going.

 

Best of luck.

post #4 of 6

This covers most of what you need to know:

 

http://www.cheftalk.com/a/cast-iron-dutch-oven-basics

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am looking at cooking main courses with beef, pork, chicken, potatoes, and other vegetables as well as desserts. I have both types of dutch oven...stove top model as well s the one with three legs made for outdoor cooking (which i prefer actually). I am gonna have to look at there sizes...hopefully this helps you help me..

post #6 of 6

Marty,

 

Don't know where you're located, but I'll be conducting several live-fire cooking workshops this winter, at Fort Boonesborough State Park, in Kentucky. Dutch oven cookery is an integral part of that.

 

If you're interested, contact me privately at historicfoodways@hotmail.com.

 

As others have said, it sounds like you're using too many coals and cooking too long. It also helps if you follow a few rules-of-thumb, all of which replicate the conditions found in your home oven.

 

1. Use a separate cooking dish. F'rinstance, if you're making a cobbler, put it together in a baking dish, and put that in the Dutch oven.

2. Use a trivet in the bottom of the oven. Having that air cushion can really help. Doesn't have to be much. I use 3/16 square stock and bend it to shape. Some people just use a few small stones.

3. Always pre-heat the oven. You'd think this would be obvious, but it's amazing how many people don't do it.

4. While it's often not feasible, try to not let hot coals actually touch the bottom of the oven. That can cause hot spots, which lead to burning. Hot spots are one of the reasons a trivet helps.

 

Until you develop a feel for Dutch oven cooking, you're better off using charcoal briquettes. And follow the rule of three: take the # of the oven. Subtract three. Use that many briquettes on the bottom. Add three. Use that many on top. This will give you a 350F oven every time.

 

It also helps to replicate hearth cooking, because raw ground, particularly if it's damp, can really suck the heat out of the coals. We use

16" square pavers. Arrange your bottom coals on the paver, cover with the oven, and you're good to go.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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