Today it’s all about how to use a Dutch Oven! You may think a Dutch Oven is just for camping, but it’s a great survival cooking source as well! Here’s the deal, I grew up with cast iron products from the time I was very young. My mom always had a brand called Lodge. I was not paid or given any product from Lodge to write this post, just in case you were wondering. There are many other really good cast iron products you can purchase.
My mom fried eggs, bacon, cheese and so many other things in her cast iron frying pans. Cooking on cast iron is more convenient than you may think. You can actually cook with a Dutch oven outside with just charcoal, for instance. You can also bake something in a Dutch oven in your conventional oven inside your home. It’s a lot easier if the Dutch Oven is flat on the bottom instead of having legs if cooking inside.
Not Great For Glass Top Stoves
I would not recommend cooking with cast iron on a glass top stove. Please let me know if you use cast iron pans on your glass top stove since my experience hasn’t been good. I’ve also heard that stove manufacturers have suggested against doing so.
We finally got a gas stove a few years ago, so I don’t have to worry about scratching the glass top anymore. I have used gas stoves for years until we bought this house and it had an electric stove with a glass top. We have always had a gas stove and think they are less expensive to use, and I like how I can turn the gas flame up and down with instant results, rather than waiting for the electric element to heat up or cool down. Mark and I love cooking with gas here in Southern Utah because our electric bill is outrageous!!!
Let’s talk about the size of the Dutch oven to buy. I prefer the 6-quart because size when the pot is full I can lift it very easily. The 4-quart is a good size as well. The larger the capacity, the heavier they become. A really strong guy may prefer a larger 8-quart size.
The lid is a 12-inch lid on both the six and eight-quart Lodge Dutch Ovens. The 8-quart is deeper and can cook more food for sure, but would be too heavy for me to handle. If you take care of your cast iron it will truly last a lifetime.
Charcoal Starter Canister
I thought I would show you how I get my “charcoal” going with a little newspaper and this fire-starter canister. It costs about $20.00 and I have had it for years. You place it in a safe location to light it. Next, you take some loosely made newspaper balls or small twigs and place them at the bottom of the canister. Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Next, I place charcoal on top of the newspaper in the canister. Then I use a match or butane fire starter to light the newspaper on fire. I wait until the charcoal looks half black and half whitish, this means its almost ready to use on the top and bottom of the Dutch oven.
I have a 6-quart Lodge Dutch oven with a lip on the lid and it’s my favorite for cooking with charcoal on the top and bottom. It’s great for stacking Dutch ovens as well. As I mentioned, the lid is 12-inches in diameter.
Dutch Oven Stand
You may have seen this Dutch oven stand my brother-in-law, Duane S., made for Mark and me. Dutch Oven Stand post. It sure makes it easier to cook standing up than on the ground. It’s so awesome and you can recycle items to make it.
Too Many Charcoal Pieces
Well, I got distracted, which I often do, and put more than 24 charcoal pieces in the fire-starter canister. So of course, we used all of the charcoal anyway. Here the charcoal is ready to put the Dutch oven on top of the hot charcoal.
I melted a half cube of butter in the bottom of the oven before placing these potatoes in the hot Dutch Oven. These are dehydrated potatoes that I soaked in tepid water for 45 minutes and drained off the water.
Here I placed some pre-cooked bacon cut into pieces, some freeze dried onions (not reconstituted) and lots of freshly grated cheese. I put the hot charcoal pieces on top of the lid. See the lid lip, I like these for this kind of meal.
You can buy some Dutch ovens lids without the lip, but the charcoal won’t stay on top where I need it. Remember, I lost count on the charcoal so I just threw the remaining charcoal on top. It still works.
Here is the finished meal, fabulous, I think it took about 20-25 minutes.
Food You Can Cook In A Dutch Oven
- Soups or stew
- Pot Roast with potatoes, carrots, and sliced onions
- Pulled Pork
- Peach Cobbler
- Sloppy Joes
- Beef Brisket
- White Chili
- Mac and Cheese
They Last For Many Years-If Cleaned and Stored Properly
If you missed my post on how to clean and restore cast iron, here it is: How To Clean And Restore Cast Iron by Linda
PRINTABLE Cooking Chart
PRINTABLE Lodge Dutch Oven time and temperature chart I put together after getting permission from the company: Dutch Oven Cooking Chart
There is something awesome about having even just one Dutch oven. If you think it about it, you can survive any disaster if you store charcoal in airtight containers to use as fuel to cook some meals. Please store the charcoal without the lighter fluid because it will store indefinitely.
If you take care of your cast iron it will truly last a lifetime. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda