What is Dutch Oven Cooking all about?

Our thoughts on dutch oven cooking.

As the weather grows colder and winter sets in, my thoughts invariably turn to my Dutch ovens and some great Dutch cooking fun. (I can't help it, really. If you've been following my ramblings on this site, you know I just love outdoor cooking, and it's difficult to grill in the rain. Incorrigible, my wife calls it.)

That's not to say that you can't use your trusty Dutch oven in the summer – it's great for camping and outdoor cooking generally– but I tend to use them for outdoor cooking fun when the weather is a little cooler.

Dutch oven cooking produces delicious meals, and if you love outdoor cooking, you should really think seriously about putting them to work for you.

I have found that there are five basic rules or guidelines you should adhere to for perfect results every time. If you're new to Dutch oven cooking, just check them out. If you're a seasoned pro, why not click on over to check out our free Dutch oven cooking recipes.

And if you feel like it, why not share one (or more) of your favorite recipes with our readers? You're assured instant worldwide recognition and - dare I say it? – fame, too.

What is a Dutch oven?

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary sums it up pretty well, I think: “A Dutch oven is a heavily constructed kettle with a close-fitting lid, used for pot-roasts, stews, etc”.

Original Dutch ovens were made of cast-iron, and the best still are. They were instrumental in opening up new areas of settlement during the formation and expansionist period of many countries and empires. You may remember your grandmother's prized cast-iron cookware, cared for with pride.

There are several different types of Dutch ovens. Some are made of aluminum, some of ceramics, some are electric and some are enamel coated.

While aluminum Dutch ovens can be used outdoors, the others are usually best for slow cooking indoors. Despite a purely personal aversion to aluminum cookware (I think this probably dates back to my army days), all are perfectly suited to slow cooking. My personal favorite for outdoor cooking is the cast-iron type, as I feel it produces the best tasting meals.

Dutch oven meals are usually slow cooker meals - so they are prepared well in advance. When cooking outdoors they are prepared over coals. Quantities are usually large, making this type of outdoor cooking ideal for entertaining.

For me, this is one of the main upsides – because they are prepared well in advance, I get to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. (Somehow, they all tend to show up whenever the word that the Dutch ovens are out gets around). 

Now that you know what Dutch oven cooking is all about, let's take a look at the five basic rules and guidelines I was talking about before (and a couple of sub-rules as well):

More Dutch Oven Cooking Tips

Select the topic of interest from the list of links below.

  1. How to choose a Dutch Oven that works best for you
  2. How to cure your Dutch Oven
  3. How to clean and store your Dutch Oven
  4. How to control Dutch Oven temperature
  5. How to tips for cooking a perfect Dutch Oven meal

Now that you've read all the tips and techniques, it's time for you to try your hand at preparing some dutch oven recipes.