The Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven

The origins of the Dutch oven come from the Netherlands. During this time the Dutch, using copper and brass, were supplying the world with the world’s best cookware.

Abraham Darby, an English craftsman, believed that there was a market for less expensive cookware by using cast iron. The Dutch, using sand molds, were producing cookware that possessed a fine sheen on the finished product. It would be quite the challenge for Darby to do this. So, Darby and James Thomas, a Welshman and worker of Darby’s began the task of producing cast iron cookware by using sand molds.

Using brass was so much different than using iron, the first attempts did not succeed. They didn’t give up and worked diligently to produce a cast iron cookware from sand molds and finally found success with their method. They were able to produce a cheaper, more durable cookware.

In the beginning they were used directly in open flames. Later on, embers from a fire were used on the lid and underneath the Dutch oven to cook. A well-fitted lid was a must to keep ashes that the embers produced, from finding their way into the food. Because of this the Dutch oven had to be rugged to withstand these harsh conditions.

The Dutch oven evolved, and changes were made. The American style of ovens added small legs to the pot, so the Dutch oven would be elevated over the coals instead of sitting directly on the coals. To keep ashes and embers out of the food a, hinged lid was attached to the pot. The legs made it possible to stack ovens on top of each other, sometimes as much as 5 high.

The DO can be used to cook, fry, braise and bake food. It can be used to cook food the same way that one can cook in a conventional oven. I have one large enough to cook a 13-pound turkey. The bad thing though is it comes in at a weight of 45 pounds.

Because of its durability and versatility, the settlers and colonists valued cast-iron cookware. The ovens were considered so valuable in the 18th and 19th centuries that they were included in wills. Mary Ball Washington’s (George Washington’s mother) will specified that half of her “iron kitchen furniture” should go to her grandson and the other half to her granddaughter.

Dutch ovens were found among the gear of Lewis and Clark. Pioneers took along Dutch ovens and they were used by “camp cookies” on wagon trains and cattle drives. Something I found interesting is that the Dutch oven is the state cooking pot of Texas, Utah and Arkansas. Mountain men were also fond of Dutch ovens. Today there are many Dutch oven organizations that organize contests where Dutch oven cooks compete for prizes. The Boy Scouts of America even teach their scouts Dutch oven skills.

Today Dutch ovens are quite popular with campers. I have had as many as 25 people attend one of my clinics, The Basics of Dutch Oven Cooking. Everything cooked in a Dutch Oven tastes better.

I hope you enjoyed my blog. Be kind to one another and spread the love. Happy cooking!

Dutch Oven Cornish Hens

Half hour from being done.

I love cooking in the DOs. Food tastes so much better. I never pass up good road kill. After all it has already been tenderized and why let the meat go to waste if it’s salvageable?

I have this great daughter in law who isn’t big on wild game. One day my son and her were at the house for a BBQ. I walked in the house and there she was going through the trash looking at the meat wrappers. The look on her face was priceless. She told me she didn’t trust me and had always checked the meat wrappers. She was afraid I might slip a squirrel or possum in on her. God love her. Sorry I digress. Back to tonight’s supper.

My original plan was a Cornish Hen stew but with a cloud bank building in the west I knew I wouldn’t have enough time. I opted to just bake them and make some dressing.

I normally bake them at 325 degrees but went with 375 degrees to speed things up. After I wash them thoroughly I rub them down with olive oil then season them with chicken seasoning.

I used a 10 inch deep Dutch Oven. I used 17 briquettes on the lid and 6 briquettes on the bottom. I preheat the oven for 15 minutes then I placed the hens in the oven. I will cook them for an hour and a half. Now Dutch Oven cooks have their own way of doing things. To get an even cook I rotate the lid 1 quarter of a turn clockwise and I rotate the oven 1 quarter turn counterclockwise every 15 minutes. I consider this an essential part of the process.

I thought I had a bag of cornbread fixings for the dressing but it turned out to be just a bag of stovetop dressing mix so I had to modify it to bake in a DO. I added 1 egg and a 1/4 cub of melted butter. I then added some chicken seasoning and enough chicken broth to get the desired consistency and poured it into a 10 inch DO that was preheated. I baked it at 350 degrees for a half hour. I used 12 briquettes on the lid and 3 underneath careful not to burn the cornbread on the bottom. I did the fifteen minute rotation.

Cornish hens on right cornbread on left.

My grandson will be upset with me because he loves my Cornish Hens. Even though I had to change my supper plans in midstream it still turned out quite tasty.

Dutch Oven cooking is gaining in popularity. It definitely is an art and takes a lot of practice but it is well worth the time spent learning. As near as I can figure I have been doing it for nearly 40 years. I have a MACA 15 inch deep oven that I can cook a 13 pound turkey in. Turkey never tasted better. Hope you enjoyed my blog and thanks for reading.

Lazy Man’s Stew

Decided to do something different this time. For those who know me they know I love to cook and Dutch Oven cooking is my method of madness.

I would normally do this in a bean pot on a wood stove but I like to let it cook all day and this particular day I didn’t have that luxury. I make a fire pit out of rims and a 10 inch dutch fits snugly in the center of the rim. Works perfect.

The reason I call it Lazy Man’s Stew is because for the most part you are just opening cans.

1 pound top sirloin steak

3 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps minced garlic

1 medium onion (diced)

12 oz Heinz mushroom gravy

24 oz beef broth

4 tbsps Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp pepper

1/2 tsp curry

2 medium potatoes (cut in 1/4 inch cubes)

15 oz canned carrots

15 oz canned green beans

15 oz canned corn

2 glasses Elderberry wine

Add olive oil to Dutch oven and when it gets hot add onions and minced garlic. Cook,stir frequently, until onion is clear.

Then add meat.

Now pour your first glass of wine. (optional)

When meat is cooked add the gravy and beef broth. Then add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to a rolling boil and cook for twenty minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Pour your second glass of wine. (optional)

Lower heat (I raise the pot higher off the fire) and let simmer for an hour. Remove from fire and let sit for 10 minutes then serve.

As you can see I always use my finest China.

How many does it serve? Depends on how hungry you are.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Feel free to give me some feedback in the comments.

One Year Later

This was me a year ago. I camped out the weekend before Christmas. (12/22 – 12/23). The temps were high 40s low 20s. I am camped on my property.

This year on December 23 I had cataracts removed from my right eye. I went in at 8:30 and was out by 11. The marvels of modern medicine. Everything went fine. High that day in the 50s and low 30s. Christmas Day high is supposed to be near 70. We have a saying here in Missouri, “If you don’t like the weather just wait a few minutes.”

I wanted to camp out on the property the weekend before Christmas but the surgery put a damper on that. The worse news I got was that I couldn’t fish for a week or kayak for two weeks. Now enter temps of near 70 for Christmas Day.

I always carry with me a number 10 Lodge Dutch Oven. I think that is the most versatile size for camping for one. I can prepare a complete breakfast in it all at once. Sorry I digress.

Back to cataract surgery. I was amazed it only took a little over 15 minutes for the procedure. The people involved in my surgery at the Farmington Surgical Center were wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about them.

There was a little girl, I would say around 4 or 5 across from me. I watched as she entertained herself opening and closing the blinds surrounding the areas we were in. She suddenly stopped and was staring at me. I was probably quite a site lying there in the bed hooked up to an IV and all the other gadgets. She then says in this concerned little voice, “Mister are you all right.” I assured her I was fine and she smiled and went about her business.

Beside me there was a young boy around 11 that was having his tonsils removed and as they were wheeling me into the OR he said, “Mister, it will be okay. ” God love ’em.

What a difference a year can make. Hopefully I will be able to camp on the property the weekend before Christmas. One can only wonder what the weather will be like. We will just have to see.

Cowboy Cooking


I decided to change course tonight.  I want to share what I think is a treasure for all of you cowboy cooks and Dutch Oven cooks out there.  It is a cookbook called Trail Boss’s Cowboy Cookbook that was made possible by The Society For Range Management.  The proceeds from this cookbook will be used to support and promote the art and science of good range management.

The cookbook contains 458 recipes from 24 states and 8 countries.  There are recipes from the 6666 Ranch, the LBJ Ranch, W9 Ranch and JL Bar Ranch to name a few.  It contains recipes for foods in 31 categories.



Chuck wagon chow was the main staple of the cowboy and even though they took their orders from the trail boss the real keeper of the crew was Camp Cookie.  The cowboy’s dining room was pretty rough.  His table was usually the ground, bedroll or the his lap.  Cowboys were on their best behavior around the chuck wagon.  They never rode their horse into camp and tied it to the chuck wagon.  The great era of cattle driving only lasted from 1865 to 1885.



Following are a couple of the recipes I found amusing:

Camel Stew

3 medium sized camels                                                                                   1 ton salt

500 bushels potatoes                                                                                        1 ton pepper

200 bushels carrots                                                                                           3000 sprigs parsley

Cut camels into bite size pieces.  This should take about 2 months.  Cut vegetables into cubes (another 2 months).  Place meat in pan and cover with 1000 gallons of brown gravy.  Simmer for 4 weeks.  Shovel in pepper and salt to taste.  When meat is tender, add vegetables.  Simmer slowly for 4 weeks.  Garnish with parsley.  Will serve 3800 people.  If more expected, add two rabbits.  (I have the two rabbits but having problems finding camels.)



Recipe For Happiness

2 heaping cups of patience

2 handfuls of generosity

1 heart full of love

Dash of laughter

1 head full of understanding

Sprinkle generously with kindness.  Add plenty of faith.  Mix well.  Spread over a period of a lifetime and serve everybody you meet.

There are some really good recipes along with some history about range management. It also has some great illustrations of old brands used by various ranches.


I hope you enjoyed my blog.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  If you are a Dutch Oven junkie I highly recommend that you add this cook book to your collection.  Remember to spread the love.






Breakfast Bake


Breakfast Bake

Breakfast Bake

1 can of biscuits

6 eggs

one half cup milk

1 pound sausage

1 cup cheese


4 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

4 tbsp butter





Cook sausage until done then drain and put aside.  Cut the biscuits into pieces.  Place into a baking pan.  I am using a 12 inch dutch oven.  Mix eggs and mix real well then pour over biscuits.  Spread cheese and sausage over the eggs, milk and biscuits.


Baked Breakfast


Melt butter in a sauce pan then  stir in flour then add milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Then pour over mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.


Breakfast Bake ready to bake.

I made mine with half vegetarian sausage and pork sausage.  I baked mine in a dutch oven. I used a 12 inch dutch oven.  I used charcoal briquettes.  Since it was a 12 inch and I needed 350 degrees I used 30 briquettes.  I used 8 under the oven and 22 on top.


Placement of briquettes on bottom.


Briquette placement on top

I rotate the lid a quarter turn clockwise and the bottom counter clockwise every 15 minutes.


My outdoor kitchen.

I hope  my blog was helpful.  It was quite delicious.  I should have put some aluminum foil on top the last 15 minutes but it turned out ok.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

Cast Iron Cooking

When I am not cooking in a Dutch oven I am usually using a cast iron skillet to get the job done. Just like the DOs I will use the skillets outside on the open fire. A couple of years ago I decided to make something to make the skillets a little more user friendly and still be able to cook on wood. I took two golf cart rims, modified them some and welded them together and made me a miniature stove.

Not much writing this morning.  I am going to post some pics of food being prepared in cast iron.

Leg of lamb

Pork sausage and taters

Chili fixings.

Cornish Hens

Sorry but I had some issues with posting the pics and captions. Hope you enjoyed the pics and thanks for reading.

Be safe, be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless !


Intro to Dutch Oven Cooking

“Cast iron is so superior for cooking utensils to our modern aluminum that I not only cannot grieve for the pioneer hardship of cooking in iron over the hearth, but shall retire if necessary to the back yard with my two Dutch ovens, turning over all my aluminum cookers for airplanes with a secret delight.”  – Majorie Kinnan Rawlings, “Cross Creek”

I am an avid Dutch oven cook and have been doing it for many years. So many, I have seemed to lost count. Anything you can cook in your oven, I can cook in a Dutch oven ( DO ). There are DO cooking contests and the International Dutch Oven Society dedicated to DO cooking enthusiasts. Recipes are abundant. There are tons of information out there for beginners.

The picture of the three DOs at the beginning of this article, are mine. You don’t need a setup like this. Some people will pull the grill off their BBQ grill and set their DO inside of it or you can place it directly on the ground. I built my cook station like this to help keep the wind from blowing across my ovens and cooling them.

This Thanksgiving I cooked a 13 pound turkey in my largest DO.  It was my first and it was the best turkey I ever ate.  For the most part I use charcoal briquettes to heat my ovens. One method is the 3 rule. If I want my oven at 325 degrees and it is a 12 inch oven, I would subtract 3 from 12 and get 9. So I would put 9 coals under the bottom.  For the top I would add 3 and get 15 so I would put 15 on top.  Another method would be to double the 12 and get 24.  I would take a third of that, which would be 8 (bottom) and leave me with 16 on top.

I hope you have found this article interesting and helpful.  I have ruined many a dish trying to master the art of DO cooking and so will you probably.  Don’t give up.  I will try to do some more in depth articles in the future.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.