Roses in Forest Grove, Oregon

Roses in Forest Grove, Oregon

Monday, August 4, 2014

Have it your way Baked Beans

Place about 25-30 coals in a charcoal chimney, or BBQ, light and wait until they just begin to turn grey. At this point, they are ready for use!

I call it "have it your way" baked beans because you have options to make it just the way you like!

Place 10 coals under Dutch oven, heat for a few minutes.


Start with EITHER:

1 large onion & 1 stick butter    --  OR --  1 large onion 
1/2 lb of left over beef brisket,                 1/2 lb bacon
tri tip or burnt ends

chop onion, saute' in                         cut bacon and cook, wick up most of
1/2 stick melted butter                      the grease with paper towel, then sauté 
add meat                                            chopped onion

1  28 oz can your favorite BUSH'S baked beans UNDRAINED

4  15 oz cans your favorite beans such as, kidney, black, pinto, garbanzo, 
                    butter beans, or white beans  DRAINED

DO NOT drain the Bush's beans, but DO drain the other cans, reserving 1 C of liquid.

When the onions are cooked to translucent color, add UNDRAINED Bush's beans
and the DRAINED beans from 4 cans.

NEXT, add 1  18oz jar SEEDLESS fruit preserves, such as cherry, peach, etc.

ADD 9 to 18 oz of your favorite BBQ sauce.  Keep in mind, if you add a "sweet" BBQ sauce it will have a sweeter taste than a BBQ sauce that has a "vinegar taste"  (I used Sweet Baby Rays BBQ)
You can also add the remaining butter if you wish.

Stir it all together, Cover and place coals around the entire rim of the lid.  

Check the oven every 45 min or so to make sure it is maintaining a simmer, and to make sure the liquid is still sufficient. Add liquid if needed.

Cook beans 2-3 hours, being sure to check it.

ONLY use wooden spoons to stir!  NO METAL, it will scratch the oven.

I have made this recipe twice, and it is an immediate HIT!!! Even people who normally don't care for baked beans have told me they love it!!! The variety of beans in taste and color make it intriguing and it tastes wonderful with the sweet/sour taste of preserves and BBQ sauce!

Please feel free to share this recipe, just give me credit for it! I want lots of followers on my Blog!

Also, PLEASE let me know if you have tried any of the recipes I have (and will) post. I'd love to hear!

More info and my baked bean recipe!

More very useful info before I get into another recipe.

You might be asking "OK, so how do I use charcoal with my Dutch oven???"

Some recipes call for using charcoal only under the oven, many call for charcoal both on the lid and under the oven.

Here's a temperature guide:

size of oven        oven temp

                                       350 F        375 F            400 F            425 F          

10"   Total briquettes      16              17                  18                    19                
          top/bottom          11/5            11/7               12/6                 13/6                

12"   Total Briquettes     21               23                 25                     27                
          top/bottom           14/7           16/7              17/8                 18/9              

14"    Total Briquettes    32               34                   36                   38              
          top/bottom          21/11          22/12               24/12            25/13          

16"  Total Briquettes      39               41                  43                   45                  
          top/bottom         26/13           27/14              28/15             29/16        

Now please keep in mind that you'll need an oven thermometer to make sure the temp INSIDE the oven is kept constant, that will mean replacing charcoal as needed.

The recipes I've tried so far are not "BAKING" recipes, they are COOKING recipes... and yes, there is a difference!  Ernie, my mentor is a baker, NOT a "cooker" He bakes breads and the like in his Dutch ovens. I am the "cooker". I haven't tried baking yet, but will!

When I made my first two recipes, I didn't feel it was super important to keep the inner temp constant, I just made sure the beans were simmering. And actually for this second recipe I'm going to post I didn't need to add more coals at all.

Some Dutch oven  users will tell you that a good point to start on the charcoal use is to think of it this way.  "plus 4, minus 4".  That is the size of your oven, 12" for example... so 12 PLUS 4 for the top, and 12 MINUS 4 for the bottom. if it's a 14" oven, 14+4 for the top and 14-4 for the bottom. that would most likely be to retain a 350 F temp inside the oven. But as you can see, this formula differs from the chart above, which is from Camp Chef.

I feel any chart can be used, with a little "tweaking" here and there.  If you get your coals set up and take the internal temp and find it to be too hot, take coals away and if it's not hot enough, put another couple on to get to the desired temp.  You get the idea.

Next is my Baked Bean recipe!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time to cook!

One last thing you WILL need for your Dutch Oven cooking is actually VERY important...

You are going to need an ash bucket and scoop! While shopping at Sportsman's Warehouse, I found a metal scoop, or shovel (small sized) but didn't find a metal ash bucket. Both MUST be metal! The "spent" charcoal you take away from your oven (replacing it with fresh hot charcoal) will still be hot and will melt right through plastic.

OK so... here's the first recipe I made. It's from a book called 101 things to do with a Dutch Oven. I have added a couple of personal notes at the end of the recipe)

White Chili

Dutch Oven size: 12-inch

1 pound dry white beans
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion, diced
4 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons salt
8 to 10 cups water (plus enough to cover the beans)
2 cans (6.5 oz each) chunk chicken
2 cans (4 oz each) diced green chiles
1 container (16oz) sour cream

Rinse beans, cover with water and set aside. Melt butter in dutch oven using 10 coals on the bottom. Add onion and cook until translucent. Drain beans and add to onion with bouillon, salt and 8 cups water. Cover and cook 2-3 hours, or until beans are tender, using 30-40 coals on the bottom only. Add chicken and chiles and cook 30 minutes more. Add sour cream and simmer until serving time. Check water level often and add more water as needed. Remove enough coals to achieve simmer. Makes 12-14 servings.

NOTES:  I was a bit intimidated to use dry beans, and I actually put them to soak a couple of hours before cooking time. They could have been a bit more tender, but for my first time it turned out pretty good! I also found it odd that coals were only used on the bottom, but the recipe only needed to simmer, and coals aren't needed on the top for that. I put too much water in, so mine was more of a soup than a chile. I think next time I'll start with 7-8 cups and keep an eye on the water level.

Next time... I'll post a new recipe I'm cooking this week!

If you want to join other Dutch Oven cookers, look for a group in your area! Mine is called
Central Oregon Dutch Oven Society.  There may be a small yearly cost for you to join in your area.  The CODOS fee is minimal, and it covers all the charcoal needed for our monthly D.O.G. That stands for Dutch Oven Gathering. DOGS are fun to attend, as you get to socialize with other enthusiasts, as well as eat wonderful foods prepared the "old fashioned" way! I encourage you to find a group, club, or what ever it's called in your area! Many members are very willing to share their recipes. The recipe  I'm making this week is from a CODOS member and it sounds perfect for our Church summer camp fire night!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Well howdy!

Today we'll discuss cast iron care.  Taking good care of your cast iron will ensure you have it around for MANY years.

Most cast iron products come "pre-seasoned" from the factory. This means it's not "really" necessary to season it before you start cooking in it.

What I'm about to tell you is steps to maintain the seasoning, and keeping your cast iron in good shape.

After you've used your cast iron for cooking...

LET IT COOL DOWN! Wipe any food remnants out of the pot/pan. If there is food stuck on, DO NOT... I repeat... DO NOT use anything like steel wool to scrub. You can purchase plastic scrapers, OR you can sprinkle salt in the pan to act as an abrasive to get the stuck food off. Use really warm water to wash the cast iron

Next, let it dry. Thoroughly. There are several things people use to "condition" the cast iron after it's been washed. Some use Pam or some brand of spray. Both Lodge and Camp Chef sell a conditioner. Some use crisco, or liquid vegetable oil.  I use either crisco or a spray. This basically "coats" the cast iron and keeps the nice black color. I do this after EVERY use, inside and out.

If the Cast Iron becomes dull looking, wash and dry it, and put a thicker coat of whatever you condition it with. THEN... place in in your home oven at 400 degrees. BE AWARE that the cast iron will smoke as the seasoning "bakes in" to the cast iron. I haven't had to do this yet, but I've read that around 45 min. is good. Open windows, turn on your over the stove fan. CAREFULLY remove from oven and allow to completely cool.

Store your cast iron in a dry, clean area, (don't forget to condition it first) It will be ready for use next time you are ready to cook in it!

Avoid locations that have a wide fluctuation in temperatures.

Next time... we'll start cooking!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Blog is geared toward beginner Dutch Oven cooks, like me.  I will share info as I learn it, as well as camping tips and GREAT "Camp Oven" recipes.

So... away we go!  Above is my Lodge 12" Camp Oven, purchased at Cabela's. I have a camp cooking mentor, someone who has been camp cooking for many years.  I've bent his ear on many occasion (already!) and have learned much from him. Most of what I'll write about I've learned from Ernie, or read on other Blogs or in books.

I'm sure there are several brands of Cast Iron cookery.  Two that I have read about and researched are Lodge Mfg and Camp Chef.  Now everyone has their own reasons for WHY they like one particular brand over another.  My brand of choice is Lodge.  They have been in the Cast Iron business for a very long time, and that is their main focus. Cast Iron. I sat and talked to Ernie in length about this subject. He has a number of Cast Iron cookers, Lodge and Camp Chef are among those he has. While he likes, and cooks with both, he feels that Lodge is just more well made. Period.

The main thing I learned in shopping for my first Camp oven is:

     1) What will I use it for? Why are there so many sizes??

     2)  How well does the lid fit?

1)  How do you plan to use your Dutch Oven?  There are two types of Dutch Oven.  There's the CAMP oven and the STOVE oven. AND there are deep and shallow ovens. Deep ovens are geared more for "cooking" and shallow are more for "baking", but keep in mind that both can be used any way you like! Plan on purchasing liners for your ovens...  easier clean up!

The CAMP oven is what I'll be using. It has three legs on the bottom, so it sits directly over the coals, and the lid has a lip around the outside so the spent coals don't spill into what you've so painstakingly cooked.

The STOVE oven has NO legs on the bottom and NO lip around the outside of the lid. This type is meant for stove top or oven cooking.

I have read that the CAMP style can be used in place of the STOVE style, but it's a bit more tricky to use the STOVE style in place of the CAMP oven.

As far as the sizes... there are several! The most popular and the one you'll find in "sets" that are sold, are the 10" (5 qt) and the 12" (6 qt). Again, it's a lot of personal preference here, as well as thinking about how large a crowd you'll be cooking for.  As you can see in my photo, mine is a 12". 

2)  How the lid fits is actually very important.  If the lid has too much "wiggle room" it probably won't hold heat as well as a tighter fitting lid.  I'd suggest when you are shopping, give the Cook ovens the "wiggle" test.  You will find a difference in the brands. Lodge tends to have a tighter fit (although I think they all have just a BIT of "wiggle") Please consider purchasing a "lid lifter" and/or a pair of HEAVY DUTY (leather) gloves. Lids are heavy and they WILL be HOT!

Please keep in mind that I'm learning all this just as you may be. If you are a seasoned Cast Iron cooker, please feel free to chime in, and please help me if I'm incorrect in any of my posts here.

Next time I'll give you tips on caring for your Cast Iron!

Happy camp cooking!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A New goal for my Blog

I have new goal for this Blog!

This summer I am beginning a new hobby! In fact, THIS Thursday June 5, 2014 I'm purchasing my first Lodge Dutch Oven!  This is something I've been wanting to do for a while now, and the plan is to get some great dutch oven experience for when my Hubby and I purchase our tent trailer and start doing some summer traveling.

So, my Blog will now contain tips, tricks and recipes for Dutch Oven cooking.  I hope you'll stick around for some delicious fun and I also hope you will contribute your own tips, tricks and a recipe or two if you have any!

I'm REALLY excited to get started! Are you ready?  Let's cook together!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Posting issues

I haven't posted in ages. I'm having issues posting through Safari so I'm trying firefox and it looks like I'm able to post.  Anyone else have these issues? I'll keep you posted on my issue and if I find a solution. Just know I'm still around!