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Old 10-27-2015, 03:56 PM   #1
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Teach me.. dutch ovens and cast iron skillets

While camping I've always had an electric skillet, and the grill so I've never used a dutch oven or a cast iron skillet. Teach me what I need to know. What are they used best for, what purpose do each serve... everything. I love cooking, so anything to up my game.

Welcoming recipes for a brisk fall trip to the mountains in 2 weeks (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:32 PM   #2
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They can be used for any and everything, Baking, frying, boiling, broiling, soups, etc..

The first thing to learn is proper seasoning. I've been using cast iron cookware for decades and most of the info on the internet is wrong.

1. Get some oil, and it really doesn't matter what kind. I use vegetable oil.

2. Clean the piece well with soap and water and dry it well over heat.

3. Then I take a paper towel and wipe a thin coat of oil all over it. Make sure you get everywhere. Make the coating as thin as you can get it.

4. Then put it in the oven or bbq grill and heat it to 500F for and hour. Turn off the heat source and let it cool.

For new pieces you'll want to do steps 3 & 4 two or three times.

From then on just repeat the seasoning steps whenever it needs it.

Don't be afraid to wash it with soap and water, and don't be afraid to cook whatever you want to in it.

Frying is good for them and the more you fry in it the better the coating gets. However, it's not imperative that you fry in it.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:54 PM   #3
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Dutch Oven Recipes

I can personaly vouch for teh Cola Chicken, Chuck Wagon Casserole, and the Beef Stew!
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:41 PM   #4
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are you planning outdoor cooking or just using your stove's oven ?
cast iron dutch ovens need outdoor know how with bbq charcoal bricks or campfire coals...its all there in the google ....
if you are truly keen...buy colleen sloan's cook books.."log cabin dutch oven"
and "log cabin campfire cookn"
if you have trouble finding them in bookstores call 801 571 0789..thats her #.
i've watched her cooking out of 5 dutch ovens with coals at the same time feeding a group of us...man o man...never had anything so tasty in my whole life.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:12 PM   #5
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We always used cast iron when younger. I seasoned it with peanut oil by heating it until a drop of water would skitter around the inside surface, then add some oil (about a tablespoon) and run it around the inside then coat missed areas with paper towel. Then heat it until it starts to smoke then take it off the burner and let it cool. Then wipe out the excess and put away. Never wash with soap and water (removes the oil). Rub and scrub after cooking with hot water, rinse, dry with a paper towel the put on the stove burner and heat, oil and cool as before. Put it away. After three rounds with this, it will perform like Teflon. Eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, burgers will not stick.

The Dutch Oven is an entirely different beast. The number of coals underneath and on top control the temperature. Find a book that describes this. It isn't hard but you would be very surprised how few coals it really takes to do a good job. Season in the oven and have fun.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:40 PM   #6
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The tendency on a Dutch oven is to put too many coals on the bottom which usually burns your dish. Use about a 3-1 ratio top to bottom on the coals, with about a dozen on top for a medium size oven. The bottom coals I space them out pretty far to avoid having one really hot spot. Anything you can cook in an oven at home you can cook in a DO. I started using the parchment paper liners you can get in the camping section at Walmart to save a lot of cleanup, but some purists will poo -poo that I'm sure. Its not difficult, it just takes experience to learn to judge the amount of coals and cooking time.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:04 AM   #7
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No soap, ever, unless you like the taste of soap (it get into the pores of the cast iron).

Wanna bake? Put 2x coals on top as under. Wanna boil? Put 2x coals under as on top.

You almost cannot kill cast iron and I love to do Jambalaya in mine over a full heat 30,000 BTU burner.

Already good suggestions about oil wipe down as part of each cleanup.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevejahr View Post
No soap, ever, unless you like the taste of soap (it get into the pores of the cast iron).

Wanna bake? Put 2x coals on top as under. Wanna boil? Put 2x coals under as on top.

You almost cannot kill cast iron and I love to do Jambalaya in mine over a full heat 30,000 BTU burner.

Already good suggestions about oil wipe down as part of each cleanup.
I agree.

I use table salt to clean my Dutch Oven and cast iron pans over a low heat. Wipe away the salt after cleaning this may take several paper towels. Then re-oil with peanut oil, not vegetable oil as this will spoil.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:42 AM   #9
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I agree.

I use table salt to clean my Dutch Oven and cast iron pans over a low heat. Wipe away the salt after cleaning this may take several paper towels. Then re-oil with peanut oil, not vegetable oil as this will spoil.
Is there another oil I can use? Daughter has a nut allergy. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:59 AM   #10
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ApexBunk

My years as a Scout Leader taught me a few things. But, just like black tank flushing there is more than 1 way to dutch oven cook.

Season with a low fat oil like vegetable oil. High fat oils can go rancid on your pot.
Try to use an oven with a rimmed lid. They hold the top coals better.
Use the +3, -3 calculation for coals. A 10 inch oven uses 13 coals on top and 7 coals under for about 350 deg.
Replace coals when that are about 1/3 burned up.
Use a charcoal chimney to maintain a set of ready coals.
Don't skimp on quality charcoal.
Start out baking biscuits and you will learn what it takes to not burn stews and such that you try later.
Practice in your backyard before you invite the in-laws to a dutch oven thanksgiving dinner :-)
Don't be afraid to wash the thing with dish detergent just make sure you rinse it, dry it, and lightly oil it before you put it away.
YMMV but these are my habits and serve me well.

Frank
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