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How To Use A Dutch Oven


Staff member
Feb 16, 2024
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Dutch Oven Cooking

Today, it’s all about how to use a Dutch Oven! You may think a Dutch Oven is just for camping, but it’s also a great survival cooking source! Here’s the deal: I grew up with cast iron cookware products when I was 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 excellent cast iron products you can purchase.

My mom fried eggs, bacon, cheese, and many other things in her cast iron frying pans. Cooking on cast iron is more convenient than you may think. For instance, you can cook with a Dutch Oven outside with just charcoal. You can also bake Dutch Oven recipes like baking bread in a Dutch oven in your conventional oven inside your home. It’s much easier if the Dutch Oven is flat on the bottom instead of having legs if cooking inside.

Cooking with a Dutch Oven

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 stovetop 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 in our Southern Utah home, so I no longer had to worry about scratching the glass top I’d had with my electric stove. I had used gas stoves for years until we bought this house, which 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. I always felt like I was waiting for the electric element to heat up or cool down. Mark and I loved cooking with gas in Southern Utah because our electric bill was outrageous!!!

Let’s talk about the size of the Dutch Oven to buy. I prefer the 6-quart size because when the pot is full of ingredients, I can still lift it very easily. The 4-quart is a good size as well, and somewhat lighter. The larger the capacity, the heavier the Dutch Oven becomes. A stronger person 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 definitely cook more food, but it 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​

Lodge Dutch Oven

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, place some loosely made newspaper balls or small twigs at the bottom of the canister. 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 it’s almost ready to use on the top and bottom of the Dutch oven.

I have a 6-quart Lodge Dutch Oven with a lid lip, and it’s my favorite for cooking with charcoal on the top and bottom. It’s also great for stacking Dutch ovens. 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 rather than on the ground. It’s so awesome, and you can recycle items to make this stand.

Tutorial On Using A Dutch Oven | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

Too Many Charcoal Pieces​

I got distracted, as I often do, and put more than 24 charcoal pieces in the fire starter canister. Of course, we used all of the charcoal anyway. Here, the charcoal is ready to be placed in the Dutch Oven stand with the Dutch Oven on top of the hot charcoal.

Tutorial On Using A Dutch Oven | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

For today’s recipe, 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 rehydrated in tepid water for 45 minutes and drained off the excess water.

Tutorial On Using A Dutch Oven | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

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 or rim? I like these for this kind of meal.

Tutorial On Using A Dutch Oven | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

You can buy some Dutch oven lids without the lip, but the charcoal won’t stay on top where I need it. Remember, I lost count of the charcoal, so I just threw the remaining charcoal on top. It still works.

Tutorial On Using A Dutch Oven | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

Here is the finished meal. It was fabulous, and I think it took about 20-25 minutes. I suggest you purchase a lid lifter so you can take the lid off to check on your food, and to remove it when the cooking is done.

Tutorial On Using A Dutch Oven | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

Some Food You Can Cook In A Dutch Oven​

  1. Chili
  2. Soups or stew
  3. Lasagna or other pasta
  4. Pot Roast with potatoes, carrots, sliced onions or other vegetables
  5. Spaghetti
  6. Bread
  7. Biscuits
  8. Pulled Pork
  9. Peach Cobbler
  10. Sloppy Joes
  11. Beef Brisket
  12. White Chili
  13. Mac and Cheese
  14. Pizza
  15. Chicken
  16. Other Deep-frying entrees
  17. Casseroles

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

Cast iron Dutch Ovens and other cast iron cookware items are known for their durability. Refer to the How to Clean link above to see if you can use soapy water to properly clean the units.

Can I Use the Dutch Oven to Sear or Do Some Braising if the Recipe Calls for It?​

Although most of us look for the Dutch Oven to function more like a slow cooking device, you can use the unit to sear or braise meat before you add in the liquid ingredients. As with other slow cookers, the Dutch Oven can make the meat have more tenderness with longer cooking times. Gently cooking the meat first and then simmering the meat along with the other ingredients that provide the needed moisture tend to work best.

Are There any Advantages to Using Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?​

The enamel coating that you find on an enameled Dutch Oven gives the unit a smooth surface that helps resist food sticking and makes it easier to clean when you’re done. The coating also prevents the iron from rusting and leaching.

The enamel may add some additional weight to the already heavy cookware. Some home cooks and chefs have noticed the enamel can chip and make the unit more unsightly. If you’re concerned with the ease of cleaning a unit, other non-stick cookware surfaces may be easier to clean. Note that the enameled Dutch Ovens could prove to be more costly.

PLEASE NOTE: Enamel-coated Dutch Ovens cannot be used outside. Check your brand before using one outside. Most are designed for stovetops or conventional ovens.

PRINTABLE Cooking Chart​

PRINTABLE Lodge Dutch Oven time and temperature chart I put together after getting permission from the company: Dutch Oven Cooking Chart

Final Word​

There is something remarkable about having even just one Dutch Oven as an additional cooking method. If you think 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

The post How To Use A Dutch Oven appeared first on Food Storage Moms.
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