Log Cabin Cooking: Using a Dutch Oven

dutch oven photo
Photo by Robert Couse-Baker

What do you know about dutch oven cooking?

We know, we know. It’s not only a method of cooking. But a dutch oven is a great way to cook a delicious meal without the build-out! In a continuation of our Log Cabin Cooking series, we’ve got a few good tips on how to use this traditional form of cooking. Soon enough, you’ll be cooking gourmet meals like a wilderness pro!

First of all, what is a dutch oven?

A dutch oven is a metal pot that you can set into the campfire. Easy as that. Used in stews, casseroles, and even in baking, a dutch oven can be a great way to make some excellent meals when all you have is a fire-pit. Simply put hot coals beneath–if it’s a stew–or on top (if you’re baking) to heat up the dutch oven. Like most other outdoor cookware, it’s built to withstand a fair amount of use, if treated well!

What sort of things can you cook in a dutch oven? Well, that depends on your ingenuity! We’ve seen recipes for everything from cornbread to casseroles. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, we’ve even seen things like dutch oven cheesecake! Though it may take some figuring out, there isn’t a lot you can’t do with a good dutch oven.

We recommend, if you’re going for the true dutch oven experience, going with cast iron.

Though you can find dutch ovens made from aluminum, enameled steel, and all manner of different materials, we’ve found that cast iron heats most evenly, and can be used for the widest range of applications. For instance, you can both use the deep base for cooking, and lay food in an inverted lid as an impromptu skillet, as well!

Regardless of the type of dutch oven you go with–each has its own benefits–make sure to avoid meltable plastics. Though most dutch ovens are built with safety and usability in mind, plastic components can severely limit the functionality of your oven. After all, you don’t want melting or burning plastic in your food!

Each type has its ups and downs

If you go with a cast iron dutch oven, make sure to check out our blog on caring for cast iron cookware. Just like with other cast iron cookware, it’s important to keep it clean, dry, and seasoned! Other dutch ovens, such as enameled steel ovens, work just fine. We’re just traditionalists.

And remember, if you’re looking for the TruLog log-cabin lifestyle, make sure to check back in with us for more back-country cooking tips and guidelines! Nothing says ‘log cabin’ like a hand-cooked meal, and TruLog’s log-blog can help. Bon appetit!

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