For Christmas this past year we received the 4 Quart Lodge Logic Camp Dutch Oven, I can’t think of a better gift for a Camp Recipe blogger. We’ve already made pretty good use of it, and based on the delicious results plan to use it even more.
The Dutch Oven: American Campers’ Love Affair
American campers have been using Dutch Ovens since before the United States existed. While cast metal pots have been around since the seventh century, the Dutch Oven as we know it today came into being in the early 18th century when an Englishman named Abraham Darby went to the Netherlands to observe the more advanced Dutch method of creating cast metal cookware. A few years later Darby patented a casting procedure similar to that of the Dutch and began producing cast metal cookware for Britain and the American colonies. And thus began the American campers love affair with the Dutch oven. It went on to be used by the mountain men who explored the great American frontier and by Lewis and Clark on their journey to explore the northwest. It was used by the pioneers who settled the west and is the state cooking pot of Utah – who knew?
After using the Lodge Logic Camp Dutch Oven I understand why American campers have had such a long history with Dutch ovens. Lodge seems to have taken that history and experience and used it to perfect the Dutch oven. This Dutch oven was pre-seasoned so it was ready for use as soon as it came out of the box. The legs allow the oven to sit just high enough over the coals to allow enough air through so as to not smother the coals but to also not lose heat. The lid will hold your hot coals so that you can heat the oven from the top and the bottom, the lips on the lid will keep the coals and ash from getting into your food. The lid fits nice and tight so you’re not losing heat and the flavors are locked inside. Clean up is quick and easy and it doesn’t need to be re-seasoned if you don’t use soap and you dry it right away. The 4 Quarts seems to be pretty much the perfect size for our family of 3, leaving enough leftovers to have a decent lunch the next day.
The Dutch oven doesn’t come without its downsides. It’s not light. This is not cookware that you would want to take with you backpacking. The Dutch oven should only be used when you are car camping or you have something carrying your gear for you. Cooking time with a Dutch oven is a bit longer than just firing up the stove, you have to wait until the coals are nice and hot before you can even begin cooking. But the wait is entirely worth it because you can use the Dutch oven to cook so much more than you can on a typical camp stove. The Dutch oven also gets very hot. This is what makes it so good to cook with, the iron conducts heat very well which will uniformly heat the pot and cook your delicious meal evenly, but it makes it very difficult to handle without some added tools. Fortunately, Lodge has thought of this and makes a Dutch Oven Lid Lifter to save your hands from a good burning.
From chili and stews to pizza and breads to shepherd’s pie and chile verde to s’mores’adillas and peach cobbler, the Dutch oven is extremely versatile. The Lodge Logic Camp Dutch Oven will definitely become a staple in our camp cooking and I look forward to the many delicious adventures that it will bring.