Cast iron dutch ovens have been used for hundreds of years to cookout in the wilderness. For good reason. Their versatility and ease of use are hard to beat when you’re miles from nowhere. Below you’ll find some of our favorite dutch oven camping recipes:
- Mountain Man Breakfast – Easy – A big pot of eggs, breakfast sausage, potatoes, and cheese.
- Chicken and Dumplings – Easy – Perfect rib-sticking dutch oven food for a chilly day. Tastes much better cooked in the woods than at home.
- Simple Pinto Beans Recipe – Easy – A pot of savory West Texas-style beans.
- White Beans and Tasso – Moderate – A fancier pot of beans with creamy white kidney beans and spicy cajun ham.
- Dutch Oven Chili – Easy – Real chili and not that canned stuff.
- Red Wine Braised Brisket – Easy – Five-star French dining in the boondocks.
- Braised Beef and Onions – Easy – Rich and hearty braised beef chuck and onions cooked in their own juices.
- Red Beans and Rice – Moderate -Traditional Cajun red beans and rice.
- Catfish Creole – Moderate – Spicy Creole catfish that is the perfect alternative to yet another fried catfish fillet.
- Dutch Baby Recipe – Easy – Sort of an eggy pancake. Perfect for getting the kids involved in breakfast.
- Chicken Provencal – Easy – Creamy, garlicky, oniony French Provencal chicken stew.
- Char Sui Ribs – Easy – Get you some Chinese take-out in the wilderness.
- Scalloped Potatoes – Moderate – Leave the boxed stuff at home and make the real thing.
- Easy Dutch Oven Biscuits – Easy – Buttermilk biscuits from scratch in your cast-iron dutch oven with very little effort. Make some sausage gravy for extra points.
- Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits – Moderate – They may not be the prettiest biscuits you’ve ever seen, but they may very well be the tastiest.
- Cinnamon Rolls – Challenging – Scratch cinnamon rolls for the dutch oven pro.
- Cracklin Cornbread – Easy – Old school Southern cornbread with a crispy crust and bacon smokiness.
Dutch Oven Camping Tips
- You don’t need to spend a fortune on every cast iron dutch oven gadget and gizmo out there to master your dutch oven camping recipes. Skip buying all the junk and stick with the basics, learn more about the dutch oven equipment and accessories that we use.
- Learn how to season your cast iron so that you can start building a strong non-stick surface on your most useful tool for campfire cooking. It’s a good idea to rub the inside of your dutch oven with a light layer of vegetable oil before each cook so that you can improve your seasoning layer over time. It won’t be long until it’s almost as nonstick as a Teflon pan.
- Acidic ingredients like tomatoes can eat away at your layer of seasoning. Try to vary what you cook to maintain it.
- Coals burn down approximately every 30-45 minutes depending on wind conditions. Be certain that you have fresh coals ready if you’re doing a long cook.
- As you replace coals, be certain to sweep ashes off to the side with a natural bristle hand broom (no plastic). A layer of ash works as an insulator and can reduce the heat of your coals.
- Clean your dutch oven as soon as possible after you cook. With a good layer of seasoning on it, it should come clean very easily. If you let the food sit and dry, it may require heavy scrubbing, which can damage your seasoning layer.
- As you cook, rotate your dutch oven lid and dutch oven on occasion. Maybe every fifteen minutes or so. This will help prevent hotspots on your food. A good idea is to rotate each a quarter turn each time.
Dutch Oven Charcoal Guide
We recommend using charcoal to heat your dutch oven. At least until you get good at cooking by sight and sound. Wood coals may look cool, and in many cases be free, but charcoal is the most consistent method.
Charcoal will always burn the same in controlled conditions. Some woods burn hotter than others. The type of wood and the moisture content of that wood can make a massive difference in heat output.
Cooking with charcoal isn’t perfect though. You still have to take into consideration many things, such as the outside temperature, the wind speed, how wet the ground is (if you aren’t using a burn pan), and many other factors.
The chart below should be taken as only a general set up. You may need to adjust up or down on your charcoal based on the factors listed above.