A thick walled (usu. 1/4"+) cast-iron kettle
used for simmering
food. The Dutch Oven was a fixture in our Boy Scout
troop for use on camping
trips. If you are using a Dutch Oven for baking in the outdoors (it works surprisingly
well), I would recommend heating it with charcoal briquettes
. Each briquette added to the bottom adds 30 deg (F), briquettes on the top add 25 deg (F). Mind you, this is not an exact
measure, it depends on ambient atmospheric conditions
and many other variables
, but is good enough for government work
For example, to bake a cake at 250 deg (F), place 4 briquettes on the bottom and five on the top. The briquettes must be fully burning
, which is indicated by a grey ashy outer coating with cherry
red hiding under the grey.
A dutch oven must be seasoned
for it to heat evenly and for food not to stick
to the interior. Seasoning is best accomplished by cooking fatty foods in it for fifty years or so (dutch ovens used to be passed down from generation
The one I use today was my grandmother's), but if you got a new dutch oven and don't want to have to spend 10 years breaking it in, take a paper towel
and coat it in lard
and wipe the entire oven down with it until there is a thin coating of your substance of choice all over the oven (inside and out). Place this in a home oven
or use briquettes to heat this to 350 deg (F) for an hour. Repeat until the oven feels slightly greasy to the touch.
***CAUTION*** if you use too much shortening or lard and are seasoning in an oven, the shortening may drip from the outside of the dutch oven, land on the heating elements and catch fire
. Be sparing with your coatings.