We had so much interest in our Dutch Oven cooking post, we're going to explore it a bit further. In the first article, we mentioned "stacking" Dutch ovens...so what's that all about? Here's more from our own Tiffany Noble, camping Associate and Dutch Oven cooking expert...and she has included another recipe!
Stacking your Dutch Ovens is a good way to save space and share heat. Stacking is best done when ovens need the same amount of heat on top and bottom.
The coals on the lid of one oven serve as the "underneath" coals for the oven stacked on top...and the oven on top helps trap heat for the oven underneath. Items that need more heat should be on top.
So, let's say you're making a cobbler, roast, and a stew. How do they stack up? Breads, desserts, and baked items should be in the bottom oven, since they want very little heat underneath. Placing an oven with a cake, pie, or rolls in it, on top of an oven loaded with coals on the lid will burn your food.
Then, put your meat to roast in the middle and the stew on the top. Heat estimating can be more difficult when stacking and you might have to make several tries before you get the hang of doing this. Here are some more tips:
- Don't mix and match ovens that require different amounts of heat on top and bottom.
- Remember to check your food a few more times than you would normally when you first try this stacking technique.
- Rotate each oven and the lid, every so often, to get even cooking.
- There are many environmental factors that can change the temperatures of your ovens. Wind might blow heat away, colder air temperature, light rain, higher humidity and higher elevations reduce heat from coals, and heat from the sun can make your ovens hot.
- A dutch oven holds a lot of heat in the sides and lid. You can move it off of the coals before it is finished cooking and let it finish with just the heat of the pot.
It takes some planning, but an entire meal can be fixed this way, so it all gets done at the same time.
What about the number of coals? As an example, if you're using three, 12" diameter pots to make your cobbler, roast, and stew by stacking, following are some basic rules of thumb to figure out how much coal to use on each. Remember, in our first post, we said to take the diameter of the pot and add three for the top coals and subtract three for the underneath coals. In this case, that would be 12+3 (15) and 12-3 (9). When stacking you do it a little differently because, as mentioned earlier, the pots absorb heat from each other.
|Baking||Take your total number of coals that you calculated for use, and use 3/4 on top and a fourth underneath.|
|Roasting||Use half of your coals on top and half underneath.|
|Stewing, Simmering||Put a fourth of your coals on top and 3/4 underneath.|
|Frying, Boiling||Put all your coals underneath.|
Now, another one of Tiffany's fave recipes...an easy one for first-time Dutch Oven cooks...enjoy!
Homestyle Chili and Cornbread
1 lb ground beef (ground venison or other wild game works, too!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 (20oz) can tomatoes, chopped or tomato sauce
1 lg yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 lb uncooked kidney beans
Cover beans with 2"-3" water. Bring to boil, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer about a half an hour. Then, I mix up a cornbread mix (Uncle Buck's Cornbread Mix is perfect for this!) and pour it right on top of the chili. After about another half-hour of cooking time or when the cornbread is cooked all the way through and golden brown it's ready!
Variations: Use black beans instead of kidney beans. Add fresh ground coriander, cilantro, ginger, Smoked paprika, or cocoa. Add chopped jalapenos or canned diced green Chiles for extra heat!