Dutch Oven Cooking With Charcoal


Cooking food in a Dutch oven with charcoal allows you to prepare many of your favorite recipes while camping. Nearly any recipe baked in a standard oven can be modified for use in a Dutch oven with a little trial and error. Sandwiching the Dutch oven between layers of charcoal instead of cooking food directly over an open flame helps to regulate the cooking temperature and cook your food evenly without burnt or undercooked areas in the dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Fire pit
  • Wood
  • Charcoal
  • Metal rake
  • Dutch oven
  • Recipe ingredients
  • Tongs
  • Hand broom
  • Heavy potholders
  • Start a campfire with wood in a safe area.

  • Pour approximately 1/2 bag of charcoal alongside the campfire. The goal is to create a hot, flat bed of coals, so arrange the charcoal close enough to the fire that it will ignite, but not directly on top of the wood. Use a metal rake to arrange the charcoal if necessary.

  • Wait until the charcoal turns an ashy gray color. This indicates that it is hot enough to use for Dutch oven cooking.

  • Place all of the ingredients for your recipe into a Dutch oven.

  • Secure the lid on the Dutch oven and make sure that it fits tightly; a loose lid could allow ash to leak into the Dutch oven and ruin your dish.

  • Place the Dutch oven directly on the bed of hot charcoal.

  • Pick up several pieces of charcoal from around the Dutch oven with tongs and place them on the lid of the Dutch oven.

  • Leave the Dutch oven on the hot coals until the food is finished cooking. Use the cooking time indicated in your original recipe as a rough guide to determine when the food will be done.

  • Remove the coals from the top of the Dutch oven with tongs and brush away any remaining ash with a hand broom or heavy potholder.

  • Remove the Dutch oven from the bed of hot coals using heavy potholders to prevent burns.

Tips & Warnings

  • The entire Dutch oven, including the lid and handles, becomes extremely hot during the cooking process. To avoid burns, do not touch the Dutch oven with your bare hands unless you are sure that it is completely cool.

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  • Photo Credit charcoal on fire image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com
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