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I'd rather be Jeeping...
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I have a couple of dutch ovens, a 10" and a 12", that I've been trying to learn to use the last few weeks. They are an important part of my cooking plans after TSHTF so I need to learn how to use them. I thought I would share a few websites that I have found especially useful.

The first is an article from Backwoods Home Magazine entitled "Seven Secrets of Dutch Oven Cooking." It will help you get started and can be found here:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/beattie47.html

My favorite is by a woman in Utah that, starting on Jan 1 of this year, cooks something in her dutch ovens every day and writes about it on her blog. Some turn out good, some not so good. She rates each dish and states what she learned in cooking it. She lists, important for us beginners, how many coals she used top and bottom. She also has DO cleaning and seasoning tips, etc. I really enjoy her blog, I visit it every morning, and have tried a couple of her recipes. I can vouch for the cranberry chicken on Day 77. I made it last night and it was very good. Her blog can be found here:
http://dutchovenmadness.blogspot.com/

Here are a few recipe sites:
http://www.justdutchovenrecipes.com/index.html
http://papadutch.home.comcast.net/~papadutch/
http://www.cowboyshowcase.com/recipes.htm

Most of the things I have tried cooking have turned out pretty good, but a couple wound up in the compost. Cornbread and peach/blackberry cobbler are a given, they turn out very good every time. It's a learning process and one I have found very enjoyable. I hope you all find this thread useful.

~JohnP
 

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Wanderer
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The dutch oven is the undisputed master of the camp kitchen. It's good to remember that not all are heavy castiron DO's. You can make a personal size DO with a Scout style mess kit and some bulldog binder clips that will allow you to enjoy DO cooking in a lightweight pack.
The possibilities are endless.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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I love cooking in dutch ovens. I don't get to do it as much as I'd like to. For a while I was trying to fine tune some recipes so I could compete in the dutch oven cookoffs, but my business took too much of my time back then. Temperature control is an art is itself.
 

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It seems to take quite a bit of charcoal to cook with a dutch oven. When you run out of charcoal, can you use firewood somehow? Make charcoal from it?
 

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BASS
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Hot coals from a campfire is what the early pioneers used. It takes a little trial and error so I suggest starting with an easy recipe. A cobler or simple meat recipe. Remember this isn't a "set it and forget it" method of cooking. The chef needs to pay attention to the oven and the heat. Start simple and have some good food and some fun by doing some cooking the "old way".

At the end of summer many of the bulk food stores, BJ's; Costco and maybe Sam's Club have sales on charcoal. This is when we buy it. BASS
 

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Proverbs 26:4
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Dutch Ovens are great.
I think they are one of the most overlooked and underestimated cooking tools. You can use them easily enough in normal situations and would excel in a crisis, short or long term.

They don't really require that much charcoal. and as you get better and more accustomed to using them fire coals will serve you just as well.
 

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It seems to take quite a bit of charcoal to cook with a dutch oven. When you run out of charcoal, can you use firewood somehow? Make charcoal from it?[/QUO

We only use wood for all outdoor cooking,2 yrs ago went to Montana and because of how dry it was we were forced to learn how to use charcoal which we never did before in our lives,Had a learning curve to it but managed.It is easy to make charcoal but takes days to make and if you would be on the move wouldn't do you much good and all the extra weight I don't think it is worth it.
 

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For rural situations, the dutch oven is good. However, for urban or suburban situations, they are less than ideal. IF you have a fireplace, then they're an OK option.

For those situations, a hobo stove is much better. A very small outdoor woodstove that can use twigs, garbage, or virtually anything that can burn. It is very fuel efficient. With some caution and ingenutity, a modifed version can be made into a small indoor woodstove with a vent pipe made from car exhaust tubing going out a window via a plywood insert.

To me a small pressure cooker is a more valuable asset. Perfect for fuel efficiency and scent concealment. Folks will likely smell your food from a long distance expecially if the weather keeps the air from rising.

For bug out, I have a lightweight 3 quart aluminum stew pot. I stuff my clothes and some dry food in there. Perfect for boiling water, cooking, or transporting water.

I have several cast iron ones and a aluminum one for camping weekends down a river in a canoe.

you can also cook on an open fire with a tripod. I usually do most of my cooking in a dutch oven that way.
 

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Prepared
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I bought one about 10 years ago. Took it out of the box once! It's not the cooking that scares me, it's all the bending over! And where the heck do you set them up?
 

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That Girl...
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Very informative John. Thanks for sharing the sites. I will check them out as I want to start experimenting with dutch oven cooking. :) Oh and nice Jeep :) Mine is also yellow..a 04 Wrangler X soft top. Love my baby :thumb:
 

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I'd rather be Jeeping...
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Discussion Starter #15
I bought one about 10 years ago. Took it out of the box once! It's not the cooking that scares me, it's all the bending over! And where the heck do you set them up?
I have mine sitting in metal hog feed pans that are, in turn, sitting on fire bricks. I got the whole setup at the Tractor Supply Store. The hog pans were $3.00, the fire bricks about $1.00 each on sale. I've cooked in fairly high wind and not been too concerned about cinders blowing out and starting a fire. It's a pretty safe setup. I plan on using cinder blocks to raise things up a bit, but haven't got around to it yet. I have used an inverted metal trash can lid placed directly on the ground and the coals and DO on that. It works pretty well as long as you get the trash can lid level. There are many ways to do it, the main thing is to be mindful that you are dealing with fire and hot coals. Be safe.

~JohnP
 
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