Taking Your Dutch Oven to the Max, Part 1

The art of cooking outdoors has always required innovation, creativity, and fortitude.

Those being the three ingredients that kept many people alive; this is not about survival but about creativity and perhaps a little innovation.Dutch ovens have been an indispensable cooking tool for hundreds of years but it occurred to me one day that perhaps there is more than one way to use a Dutch oven?

In this 3 part series of articles, I will be introducing you to new ways to use your camp Dutch oven. Cast-iron Dutch ovens are amazingly versatile, resilient, and virtually indestructible. If your children or grandchildren do not sell your price Dutch ovens on eBay, they will last for generations with proper care. What I’m about to share with you may seem a bit harsh treatment for Dutch ovens but we will protect them and prove that they are more amazing than you originally thought.

The concept that Dutch oven has to be used as a Dutch oven is about to be thrown out the window. Think of it as an exceptionally versatile cooking tool and your creativity may surprise you. We will be using our 12-inch Camp Chef Dutch oven for this recipe but a 10-inch Camp Chef Dutch oven will work just as well. You could even use a 14-inch Camp Chef Dutch oven if your skewers are long enough.

Yep, I said it – skewers! We are going to use our Dutch oven for Shish Kabobs! No fear now……….


Dutch Oven With Foil


First thing you need to do is line the inside of your Dutch oven with one to two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Form the sheets inside the Dutch oven so that the aluminum foil lays flat on the bottom. Now you need to prepare your charcoal briquettes. Couple of notes here; do not use charcoal lighter fluid or pre-soaked charcoal briquettes, the after taste will ruin the food! The bottom of your Dutch oven should hold about 10 to 12 briquettes once they are ready.


10 to 12 Briquettes in the Bottom of the Dutch Oven


Your kebabs can be any type you would like, shrimp, chicken, beef, vegetables or a combination of both like I did with my chicken and vegetable kebabs.

Make sure to cut all of your food pieces are cut to uniform size, I cut mine at about an inch and a half square for each piece. If you choose to cook the same dish, then marinate your chicken with a store-bought teriyaki sauce and let that sit in a zip lock bag for couple of hours in the refrigerator. You can use whatever type of marinade that fits the food you plan to put on your skewers. Make sure to reserve some of your marinade for basting.

So let’s do a double-check on where we are at: foil lined Dutch oven ready, 10 to 12 briquettes ready, meat of choice marinated, all pieces cut to uniform size, skewers ready.

Let us talk about skewers. Choices, choices, choices … flexible to bamboo, what should you choose? In my opinion they all work just fine, the advantage of metal skewers is that they are reusable multiple times. I like the ones with the flat skewer rods, as opposed to the round as these prevent it from rolling when I am using it on my Dutch oven. Bamboo skewers are extremely popular but you have to remember to soak them first, approximately 30 minutes to one hour will do.

Okay let us skewer our food up and get ready to do some Dutch oven kebab cooking. Place your coals on the foil in the bottom of your Dutch oven, spaced evenly across the bottom surface. Now before you place your skewers on your Dutch oven you need to do a quick heat test. That is the good old fashioned “put your hand 6 to 10 inches over the coals and count to three.” If you cannot hold your hand above the coals for the count of three then it is too hot. You will need to wait several minutes for them to cool off or you might burn your kebabs.


Shish Kabobs in a Dutch Oven


Cooking your kebabs on a Dutch oven is the same as cooking them on the grill. No secrets here; you probably all remember the good old fashion hibachi. You just created a portable hibachi out of your Dutch oven!

Turn your kebabs as needed and use the marinade that you set aside to baste your food as it cooks. A nice helping of your favorite rice as a base will make your chicken kebabs the perfect meal cooked outdoors in your favorite Camp Chef Dutch oven.


Shish Kabobs on Rice


When you are done with cooking, just pull up the aluminum foil and dispose of the ashes, no harm done to the Dutch ovens seasoning from the briquettes!

Check back in a couple weeks for part two in this three-part series of taking your Dutch oven to the Max!

Gary House Cooking-Outdoors.com