Submitted by ITA volunteer cook, Hugh Cooke.

What is a Camp Dutch Oven?

  • Kitchen dutch oven has rounded dome lid to capture liquids and flat bottom to rest on range. Camping coals will not stay on this lid with ease.
  • Camp Dutch Oven has three legs to hold pot above a bed of heat/charcoals and a flat lid with a rim to hold charcoals on top.
  • Dutch Oven are made from cast iron or aluminum. Cast iron is much heavier, heats slower but retains heat longer.
  • The Lodge brand has been made in Tennessee for generations. Most common quality cast iron in America.
  • Anything you can cook in your kitchen, you can cook in a Dutch Oven

Cooking techniques and secrets

  • Baking rolls, cobblers, brownies and pies needs more top heat and less bottom heat (2/3 heat on top/1/3 on the bottom)
  • Simmering stews, pot roasts, whole chicken, soups and chili needs about equal bottom heat and top heat (1/2 heat on top and bottom.)
  • Heat for beginners is best and simplest using charcoal briquettes.
  • Briquettes are started well in advance of cooking, ready to use when grey in color-don’t rush. Let the coals get hot.
  • Cooking times longer than 45 minutes require refreshing with fresh coals.

Estimating heat and counting briquettes

This chart from is a good place to start for estimating how many briquettes needed:
From Cookbook to Camp Kitchen:
Adapting recipes.
  • 8 x 8 baking pan = 8 or 10 inch dutch oven
  • 11 x 7 baking pan = 10 inch dutch oven
  • 9 x 13 baking pan = 12 inch dutch oven
  • 10 x 15 baking pan = 14 inch dutch oven

This chart is a great place to start for estimating a good size of Dutch Oven to buy:

Simple menu ideas for novice

As a beginner, start simple! Master the process on simple items to build confidence and experience.

-Baked Russet Potatoes (6 potatoes, puncture skin-bake 50-60 minutes.
-Biscuits in a tube, oil oven “bake and serve” per directions.
-Cinnamon Rolls in a tube, oil oven “bake and serve” per directions.
-Brownie mix from a box, oil oven “bake and serve” per directions.
-Hamburger/Veggie Stew, basic recipe found everywhere, often tomato sauce and fresh veggies, etc. Get bold and add ‘bake and serve biscuits” on top of stew after an hour of slow cooking. They become semi-dumplings.