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Charcoal

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by spectra, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    Has anyone been picking this up? I have seen a few sites on cooking with it in a dutch oven and got to thinking about it. If you think about it a grill would be easy to make so it might be worth it to throw a few bags in your stash and hold onto them. After reading about it they do not go bad so might be something to think about.
     
  2. simpleguy

    simpleguy Clackamas Active Member

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    I hold charcoal, I don't really dutch oven cook, my brother inlaw does. I just have it as a #4 backup. We have a gas stove upstairs, electric downstairs, propane BBQ and charcoal BBQ.
     
  3. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I have it (and a dutch oven) & would probably use it in an emergency. But, I don't really consider it as part of my supplies - just something in the house that I'd use-up before dipping into my cache.
     
  4. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to forty years of running rivers... I have 5 dutch ovens, cast iron griddle and even a cast iron wok! What non-dutchers may not realize is that the dutch oven can be used to bake lasagna, cake or bread as well as using the inverted lid as a frying pan or for heating tortilias. When the ground is soaking wet, you can build a fire inside of your D.O. for cooking or staying warm. Put the lid on that fire to smother it and the D.O. can be taken inside a shelter for temporary warmth.

    Mine are well oiled and packed into 20mm ammo cans / rocket boxes. :)
     
  5. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    I used mine last night.

    DSCN0640.jpg
     
  6. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    great. now i have to figure a way to fit a 10" Dutch oven and 10 pounds of briquettes into my BOB...
     
  7. Decidion

    Decidion Washington county, Oregon Member

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    Lol :)

    Maybe try an ankle holster! :laugh:
     
  8. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    Kids make good pack animals! ;)
     
  9. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    That could be tough. :)
    Don't be fooled into thinking charcoal is a requirement for cooking in a dutch oven. Properly applied heat from any source will work.

    BTW - There are aluminum dutch ovens. Cast iron works a lot better for cooking but aluminum would be easier for your kids to carry.
     
  10. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    Dutch ovens and duct tape will get us through TEOTWAWKI!
     
  11. bradley

    bradley salem area Member

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    I bought one a couple of years ago and still havent tried to use it. I would love some help if there is anyone in the salem area that already nows how to use one.
     
  12. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Bradley,

    Dutch oven cooking is deceptively easy. Most people I know started by baking a cake and 'pineapple upside down cake' is easiest because it's hard to burn the bottom. Start my being certain yours is properly seasoned.

    Essentially, there are 3 areas where mistakes are make. Too much heat on the bottom, too little heat on the top, and opening the top too soon.

    Example:
    Get your ingredients together.
    Count out the minimum about of charcoal briquettes by laying them end to end around the outer edge of your D.O. lid. Add 2 more for the center plus more equaling half the DO size. {5 more for a 10" DO}. Toss in a couple extra for just in case...

    You need a dry place to start the charcoal and do your cooking. Moist ground will sap away all of the bottom heat... Start the charcoal, lightly oil the DO, assemble your pineapple topping in the bottom of the DO. When the charcoal is ready {mostly covered in white ash} mix up the cake incredients and gently pour into the DO on top of the pinneapple.

    Set the 5 bottom charcoals in a circle about half the diameter of the bottom of the DO. Set the DO over the coals, put the lid on and place coals all around the outer edge and one on each side of the handle.

    Now RELAX. Every 5 or 10 minutes, lift the DO by the handle and rotate it a few degrees then set back down. This prevents burning spots on the bottom of your food. No need to ever twist the top but plenty of people do.

    It is IMPORTANT to not lift the lid even to check baking progress. Doing so releases heat that takes time to build up and your charcoal may not last long enough to finish the cooking.

    So, how do you know when things are ready to eat? SMELL. I'm not talking about getting on your hands and knees and sniffing at the edge of the lid. When you smell the cake from your lawn chair, it's ready to open.

    Lift the lid just long enough to check. If it's done cooking, dump the ash to the side, remove it from the bottom coals and let it cool.

    For the upside down cake, place 3 rocks so they will hold the lid, put the lid on the DO, flip the whole DO while holding the lid on tightly and set it on the rocks. Twist the DO a bit to separate the cake from the sides, lift the DO off and serve.

    When baking something 'wet' like lasagna or a roast with sauce, you'll likely need to fire up a second batch of charcoal to bake it long enough. No matter what you're baking, use the smell test. :)
     
  13. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I've spent quite a bit of time perfecting the DO cooking technique. Compared to others mine may be a bit unorthodox. The number 1 misconception about DO cooking is that it needs to be on/in a camp fire, I usually will set the DO near the campfire in it's own fire ring. For those who are in fire country, this means clearing a section all the way down to mineral earth, and then putting some stones around it to keep the fire in.

    I will then take and put whatever I am cooking inside, usually corn bread, biscuits, or some other creation (I don't cook stews or chilli like most people do, I have pots for that, DO is for actually baking). I will then take a small shovel full of coals and put them in the second pit, and set the dutch oven on top. Then I will put a small shovel full on top. I usually put more coals on top than I do the bottom, as the food is never touching the top, but is usually touching the bottom. For corn bread, it's easy to burn the sides, so keeping the bottom to low heat is best, and keeping the top to a high heat makes sure it gets good and brown on top, and also helps cook the center.

    My prep on the oven is fairly standard, take some shortening, butter, or cooking oil, get the oven so it's hot to the touch, and spread around the inside. at that point it is usually ready to add the batter for cornbread, or if making biscuits, you can usually stick about 4-6 of them to the bottom, and if you're crafty, you can stick a few to the sides as well. Again, usually putting a few coals underneath, and a bunch on top seems to work the best.

    Dutch ovens are a great multi-purpose cooking utensil, they can cook everything from breads, pies, brownies, to stews and chilli. I've even made baked potatos, hams, and cornish game hens in mine. But they take practice to master. With certain meats that will cook out a lot of juice, you should start them out by heating over the fire for a while first, and then finish the cooking in the oven. They both cook faster, retain the juicyness, without all the juice coming out and then boiling the meat.
     
  14. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Cornbread is a great recipe to make in the dutch oven! I might add that for cornbread and other batter breads, it's a good thing to heat the bottom of the oven really well before pouring in the batter. This lightly fries the bottom and reduces any chance of sticking.
     
  15. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    Been using that my whole life. Funny how alcohol consumption changes your perception of what smells good enough to eat. :thumbup:
     
  16. d1esel

    d1esel Ridgefield WA. Member

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    That's funny on so many levels.:p
     
  17. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Beaverton, OR Chief Cook/Bottle Washer

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    Gentleman on PBS called Ceedub had a show called "Dutch Oven & Camp Cooking". Some REALLY good dishes and a fun show. Take a look at his web site. Cee Dubs Dutch Oven Cooking and Camp Supplies are the perfect Gifts for guys and gifts for husbands or your favorite Camp Cook . Spring Hunts are just around the corner for Hunters and outdoorsman . His cook books are pretty good too.

    I took one of his beef rib receipies and used it to cook some really tasty ribs with my dutch oven. Since then I have explored a little of the dutch oven but haven't done a LOT with it.

    Good site. Check it out.

    Sod

    Check it out.
     
  18. littlecars

    littlecars tacoma wa Member

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    I love my dutch oven. I cant think of anything bad about them. BUt please dont keep them with your emergency supplies. keep them in your kitchen, use them on a regular basis. They are kinda fun and make much better food.

    Also keep in mind there are two very different kind of dutch ovens. One for using in/on a oven and one for using on a fire. The ones with legs and a concaved lid are the style you want for a fire pit. The legs hold it up a little off the fire and the lid allows you to put wood/charcoal on top of it.