"Dutch Ovens are made out of cast iron which has been around a long time. In fact, for centuries! Early settlers who came to America brought black iron pots with them and used them as their primary cooking utensil. When Lewis and Clark made their famour expedition to the Northwest, they depended upon the tried and tre Dutch Oven.

In the early days of the west, the black iron Dutch Oven played a very important role. To the mountain man it was one of his most prized posessions in which he cooked stews and wild game to perfection in his back iron kettle. The pioneers who came across the plains to the Rocky Mountains also prized their Dutch Ovens. As they traveled to UT, CA and OR, they always had a Dutch Oven on their wagons. Sometimes it would be tied on the side of the wagon, or perhaps you would find it swinging from the tailgate of the wagon, but you could count on finding at least one." (Dutch Oven Cookin', Dick Stucki, p. 14)


"Cooking in a Dutch Oven is not only fun but versatile. Dutch oven cooking is more then just dumping food in a black pot and putting it on the fire hoping that it will be good to eat. Choose the type of cooking that fits the food and you will have much better results."

"There are several types of cooking you can do in the Dutch Oven. Some are stewing or boiling, steaming, roasting, baking, poaching and frying. Each of these types of cooking have their place depending on the recipe. Learn to use them all and your group or family will enjoy your cooking even more! You can cook anything that you would normally cook in your home oven, like bread, rolls, homemade pies, pizza, crown roasts, meatloafs, lobster and even prime rib! I have never tasted anything that didn't seem to taste better cooked in a Dutch Oven! As you become more proficient at Dutch Oven cooking, you will become aware of the scope of recipes available to you which will leave your family and guests in awe. Remember, anything that can be fried, boiled, baked, steamed or poached, can be cooked in a Dutch Oven."

"Another important point in favor of the Dutch oven is its versatility in times of emergency. Just think if your power or gas were off for a prolonged period of time, you could still fix great meals for family using your Dutch Ovens. That is a comforting through. So as you use your Dutch Ovens regularly, you will be able to become proficient enough to do just that!" (Dutch Oven Cookin', Dick Stucki, p. 14-15)


"A Dutch Oven is a cast iron pot with a flat bottom, and the lid has a flange around the outside of it which helps hold the coals will cooking. Because it is made out of cast iron it will heat evenly with very little heat. You will find your Dutch Oven to be a valuable tool for cooking in your yard or in the hills. As a valuable tool you should take come care in slecting the oven because they will last for many years if taken care of."

"When you shop for a new Dutch Oven, you should be aware that all ovens are not the same. There are ovens ranging in size from 8 inches in diameter to 22 inches in diameter. And there are various depth available. Most average families start with 12 or 14 inch ovens and then add ovens to meet their particular needs."

A few of the things to watch out for: I would check the fit of the lid. You want it to fit well. The lid, during cooking will make a seal and turn the oven into a form of pressure cooker, so the fit is "very important." Check the oven finish and be sure that it is not uneven. The walls should be the same thickness all the way around. I would avoid any oven that doesn't look even and of good quality. It may break and surely will not heat evenly. The surface should be an even gray color and should not show too many signs of grinding where they have had to fix imperfections. Remember the old adage 'you get what you pay for.'" (Dutch Oven Cookin', Dick Stucki, p. 21)


To view some great tips on seasoning, cleaning, storing, and restoring your Dutch Ovens go here.


* Dutch Oven Cookin'- This is outdoor cooking at its best! Whether you are just starting out with Dutch ovens or a seasoned outdoor chef, you will find some great recipes, help and tips inside the covers of "Dutch Oven Cookin'." For those starting out there are detailed instructions about the care and use of your Dutch ovens. Learn how to season your ovens. The most important instructions on how to control the heat. A chapter covering cooking recipes "On The Simple Side" will walk you through some wonderful recipes that are very easy yet have big flavor. For those looking for more complex recipes, there is a full chapter from the "Old Deseret Cook-off" that gives you the actual recipes used in this well known cook off. From champion to runner-up, they are all fantastic, and not hard if you follow the instructions Dick Stucki gives in this book. Dick Stucki is recognized as America's leading authority on Dutch oven cooking. No matter if the meal is for your own family or a group of friends, you will really enjoy this way of cooking. After you get hooked on cooking with a Dutch oven, you will be trying to find excuses to use your Dutch ovens continually, either inside or outside. Go here to purchase this book.

* For cooking advice visit the "Dutch Oven Dude" website go here.



Email: johnjen at reynoldsnet.org