Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cast Iron Dutch Oven Cooking

Whether over a campfire in the woods or in the backyard using modern conveniences, cast iron cooking with dutch ovens goes hand-in-hand with low and slow barbecue techniques.

I have two cast iron dutch ovens.  One is a Lodge #10 and the second is a #12 purchased at a local sporting goods retailer that imported it from a Chinese manufacturer (I don't recall the brand). I wish I'd held out for another Lodge, but I was in a hurry and needed a larger oven for a backyard event at the in-laws the next weekend. The price was attractive, so I purchased it.

Tonight I decided to cook supper on them.  I pulled out the dutch oven recipe book and prepared two cornish hens in the #12 and a delicious casserole made from potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and sevreral strips of bacon.

I don't use Kingsford charcoal much anymore,
but it works well for dutch oven cooking.

After combining the casserole ingredients in the #10 dutch oven.

This was one of the best dutch oven dishes I've ever cooked.

I should have used a little more top heat to brown the chicken toward the end of cook.

I forgot how much I enjoy campfire cooking with the cowboy version of a microwave.  I hope to add dutch oven cooking segments to the bbq blog on a regular basis going forward. Now I need to find some more receipes.

For the casserole I started by browning 1 pound of bacon and saving the drippings. Then I sliced 12 small potatoes, cut two large onions into rings, added 1 pound of baby carrots, sliced two large bell peppers into rings, and added a packaged of sliced mushrooms. The mixture was combined and cooked for 1 hour with 10 briquettes for bottom heat and 12 briquettes for top heat.

The cornish hens were cooked for 1 hour in two cups of water and 2 tablespoons of chicken broth using a trivet. I cooked them with 12 briquettes of bottom heat for 1 hour. I added 12 briquettes for top heat during the last 30 minutes of the cook.  The hens were basted with a vinegar and butter mixture every 15 minutes. The end result was a moist chicken that paired very well with the potato casserole.

These two recipes and several others are available from the American West Dutch Oven Cooking cook book.


Chris said...

We have a #12 Lodge. We take it camping and my mom brings her 12 and 10. With the three of them we make some impressive camp fire side meals.

I haven't tried hens in there yet, what a great idea.

Anonymous said...

I can really agree with your comment on the Lodge dutch ovens. I have three dutch ovens and I held out for the lodge and I am really glad I did. I am going try you cornish hens. That sounds really good. I have cooked a turkey in a dutch oven before but never a game hen. Thanks Brad

Joyce said...

I use what my mother-in-law and generations before them use. The Iron Kettle with a rack. Browing pot roast, adding carrots potatoes and a Lot of Parsley. Cover and forget. It's perfect. Hey my wesite If you know iron kettles you know the dice game Bunco