Dutch Ovens Skillets

Time Warp: Dutch Oven Camp Skillet Cookery


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Time Warp: Dutch Oven Camp Skillet Cookery

kaleokahu | Sep 14, 2010 07:36 PM

OK, here's something a little different from the typical urban technophile theme, a hopefully not unwelcome thread, of a cruder, yet soul-satisfying sort.

Last weekend I went on a (all-too-infrequent) camping trip, and on a lark took my old No. 12 bare cast iron Dutch oven and tripod kit. Now, no offense intended, but Staub and Le Creuset don't make the Dutch ovens I want to use off of the pavement. Traditional American Dutch ovens (called such because of their Pennsylvania Dutch sellers, nothing to do with Holland), are un-enameled, have three stubby legs on the bottom, and a heavy, tall-rimmed, tightly-fitted lid. The idea is to be able to cook IN an open fire (I know, induction fans, the horror!) by putting your oven directly into a fire's coals--suburban reading: charcoal briquets. The legs help stand the pot up off the live coals, and the rebated lid is for shoveling in more coals, so the vessel acts as... well, an oven. They also have bails, so you can pull 'em out of the fire without igniting your Bruno Maglis, or hang them from a chain OVER the campfire (that's what the tripod is for).

Now, I also took a Swiss Diamond nonstick skillet and an eentsy-beentsy white gas campstove for bacon and eggs, but the stove either disliked me or the scenery, and refused to run. So I was S[lightly]OL. What to do?

Well, it's sorta like Bikram yoga in practice, but you CAN put your thick Dutch oven LID, inverted, down over the selfsame coals to use as a skillet. This I attempted without either burning my face or filling my "skillet" with ash. Actually worked better than I feared, because the slightly domed lid kept things inside the lines, even it it was a bit wobbly.

So, here's my question: For us minimalists/bumpkins, is there a Dutch oven out there with legs on the LID as well, so you can fry your heart out? Or, better yet, one whose lid has its own bail so I can hang it and skip the chiropractor? Failing a direct answer, maybe someone can give some tips for making do with what I have.

Thanks. OK, back to 2010.

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