Dutch ovens and cast iron pans are the perfect tools for cooking. They’re long lasting, heavy duty and versatile. You can use a dutch oven or cast iron pan for indoor and outdoor cooking, inside a convection oven, on a gas stove top, over a camp fire or just about anywhere outdoors when using charcoal.
The size of your dutch oven matters. It determines how much food you can cook and how many charcoals you’ll need to heat your food. The chart below explains dutch oven sizes and capacities to help you decide which size will be best for your needs.
Charcoal is a great way to heat a dutch oven. It’s portable, inexpensive fuel that’s easy to use, but should only be used outside. Always store charcoal in moisture resistant containers to keep it dry. Using a charcoal chimney is an easy way to heat up charcoal briquettes for cooking.
How do you know how much charcoal you’ll need? For Dutch oven cooking, use the oven size in inches plus 3 briquettes on top and the oven size in inches minus 3 briquettes on the bottom for 350-375 degrees. The chart below shows how many charcoal briquettes you’ll need for the size of your dutch oven.
To clean a dutch oven or cast iron pan, clean out the remaining food as well as possible. Add a few inches of clean water and heat with the lid on. Use a dish scraper and sponge to clean out the inside of the oven. Put back on the heat to dry. Once the oven is cool enough to handle, use a little unflavored oil, such as mineral oil. on a paper to towel to wipe the inside of the oven and lid. Never use dish soap.
For more information on dutch ovens and charcoal, click here and here (they also have some great recipes).