There are so many things to love about camping. One of my favorites is cooking over an open fire. I have a set of cast iron cookware that gets used almost exclusively for camping. Lugging the heavy cookware around can be cumbersome, but the food . . . oh, the food!

My Basic Set Up:

Image courtesy of Lodge and Cabelas

I position the poles over a fire that has burned down a bit, so the wood is dark and glowing, throwing off plenty of heat. Then, I add my dutch oven with a cover that has a large lip. I have the lid lifter in the picture, because oven mitts just don’t cut it.

Heap Coals on Its Head

What the picture doesn’t show is the coals you heap on top of the lid. Before I even set up the dutch oven, I throw some coals in with the fire when it gets going. Later, I pick them out with a little shovel or a pincers from a fireplace set. Whatever is in the dutch oven will cook nice and evenly if you don’t get the bottom too close to the fire and if there are plenty of coals on top of the lid. Because of the lip lid, you don’t have to worry about them sliding into your food when you lift the lid to check on it.

Although there are some guidelines for how hot your oven will be with just the right amount of coals underneath and on top, you get the idea after a while and experiment. Outside temperature, winds, and what kind of wood you use all play with the accuracy.

Oh, what fun it is to lift the lid and see a perfect loaf of bread, a casserole, or thick, bubbling stew.

Jacob and Esau’s “Dutch Oven Cooking”

Whenever I read about Jacob and Esau, I think about how they probably had a similar set up at their home. Here’s a bit of the story:

Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted.  And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.

Genesis 25:28-30

I imagine Esau smelling the stew as he walked up to their home, having spent all his energy working the fields that day.  He looks into the pot and can’t stand to wait a minute longer. It looks and smells so delicious!

I think my camping family may have had similar thoughts. After a day of hiking or just being out in the fresh air, we can work up an appetite.

Some outside links that I recommend. Full disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon, and the book is one I wrote. So, I do benefit if you buy them. But, I would never share them with you just to make money. I whole-heartedly recommend these products:

Question: Do you cook in a dutch oven? What’s your favorite dutch oven recipe?


Thomas Peterson · June 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

Well of course I cook in a Dutch oven. The last thing I made was some bread. Nothing fancy, just some flour, water, salt and yeast. Turned out great and very tasty. I would have liked the crust to have been just a bit darker, but for a first attempt, I’m not disappointed.

Leave a Reply