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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dutch Oven Cooking:

In my effort to half-way "go back to the old days" theme, I am interested in how to do as many things as possible without electricity.  In case of emergency.  Electricity is fine by me in all other cases.  I am not an extremist.  So, anyway, I have decided to learn how to cook in dutch ovens this summer.

Last year, I bought these cast iron dutch ovens and griddle at Bi-Mart.  They were unseasoned, and I got them in the camping department.  It is much cheaper to season them yourself.  (The seasoned cast iron is in the housewares department and costs $15.00 to $20.00 more per item.)  Seasoning is not difficult, I just slathered them inside and out with shortening and baked them in the oven on low for several hours.  You might want to do this on a nice day so that you can open the windows if things get a little smokey or smelly.

This is the griddle (you flip it over and it is a grill) and the smaller cast iron dutch oven that I have.  I will not be able to use these on my stove, but I can use them in my oven.  I guess when you have a flat-top stove top  using these will wreck the burners, and we can't have that.

This is the grill side of the griddle.  This large dutch oven has legs on it, so I could use this on the stove if I want to.  However, I already have my favorite pots and pans, and the stove requires electricity, which kind of defeats my purpose here.

I figure that I have several of choices on using my cast iron.  On the propane BBQ, on the propane stove in the travel trailer, with charcoal, and with fire.  I think that I can figure out the BBQ and trailer stove, so I want to learn how to cook with charcoal.  

I have learned so far that there is a real science to cooking with charcoal:  so many pieces of charcoal on the lid and so many underneath equals 325*, for example.  I bought a bunch of charcoal last year at Costco.  Charcoal is kind of expensive, come to find out.  If you get a good deal on it, go for it.  You can always store it in a new, clean plastic garbage can lined with a garbage sack to keep it fresh and dry. 

Also, I am printing out recipes and making a notebook on all of this stuff, because if you don't have electricity, you may not have computer access either.

Below are some links to dutch oven cooking.  When I actually do some of, I'll give you a step-by-step photo tutorial of what happens.  I know you are on edge waiting for that post.  I just hope my first meal turns out better than that dang rock candy!

"Seven Secrets of Dutch Oven Cooking"
by Roger L. Beattie

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