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!