View Full Version : Dutch Ovens
So who's actually used one? Any good?
Quite like the idea of getting one but never used one or seen anyone with one before. :-?
Aluminium (Light but not good at heat retention) or cast iron (heavy but good at heat retention)?
Also, what size would you recommend as a good all rounder?
I have used cast iron dutch ovens for many years going back to my days in scouts as a kid. Never used an aluminum one. They are great for group campouts.
They take a little experience to use well. The key is to control the heat carefully so you don't burn your food. A friend sent me a sheet from Lodge Mfg. Inc. that lists the number of briquettes you use above and below a dutch oven, matched to the size of the oven, to get a specific temperature. When I get some free time, I'm going to put the information on the web. Using briquettes is probably the best way to start until you get a feel for how to use one. Some things to keep in mind are to always keep your pot seasoned and never wash in soap. You can also crack your oven (this has happened to me once) so you should be careful with it i.e., don't put it on a fire when it is empty or don't bank coals on one side. Also don't pour cold liquid in a hot oven and try to always warm the oven gradually.
This is an excellent dutch oven website:
I saw some people using a pottery one on Adam Hart Davis' 'What the Romans did for us' On BBC3. They cooked snice looking bread.
I am a regular and year round user of iron Dutch ovens and I have several in sizes from 9 inch through 14 inch. For two people, a ten incher work extremely well for main courses. IMHO they are one of the best and most problem free methods for outdoor cooking. Simply light the brickettes and leave it. Breads and pastry items may require you to take the oven off the bottom heat source a bit early to prevent scorching. Anything you can prepare in a modern kitchen oven can be prepared in the Dutch oven. Delectable recipes abound, clean up is easy- they are terrific! Meats such as barbecued spare ribs come out especially tender and flavorful. Be sure to get one with legs and a flanged lid to hold the coals. The others are meant for indoor stove top use.
Tip - season the oven on the outdoor gas grill to avoid stinking up the kitchen.