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Cowboy Cooking : How to Cook with a Dutch Oven

Cowboy cooking is the easiest way to cook outdoors. Using Dutch ovens that are cast iron pots with lids, a cowboy traditionally cooks with these pots oven an open fire. Unbreakable and easy to transport, this type of cooking is perfect for people on the move. The good news is that you don’t need to be a master chef to master the art of cowboy cooking. Although traditionally all food cooked in this way is fresh, you can use packaged food in Dutch ovens too.

Cowboy Cooking : Controlling the Heat

The most popular question there is when it comes to cowboy cooking is how you control the heat of an open fire. This is something that takes a bit of practice. You can use wood or charcoal for your cowboy cooking, hardwood working best. You should have twice as much heat on the top of your oven than at the bottom.

cowboy cooking

Cowboy Cooking Recipes

The trick to successful cooking outdoors is to keep it simple and then learn harder recipes as you get the hang of heat control and working outdoors. Cuts of meat like sirloins are an easy start, and there is no waste. Set your pot up with some water in it, and add meat that has been seasoned. For easy seasoning, use a package soup mix. After about an hour you can add vegetables, add more coals if necessary, and add more water.

Check on your pot to make sure it is not going dry, and add water when needed. Simple vegetables you can add to your pot include onions, carrots, and celery. Potatoes are a staple of your sirloin roast and should be added along with the vegetables of your choice.  Make sure you don’t overcook your potatoes as they will turn to mush.

If you are out in the wild, you can actually cook meat by burying it in the ground. A dug hole of about 2 feet should be filled with wood. Once the wood has been reduced to hot coals, you can add your meat, wrapped in foil, and add more hot coals on top. This type of cooking takes around 6 hours, but needs no attention. Simply dig up your supper after a day in the sun!

Cowboy Cooking : Biscuits

Maybe not the first thing you would think of making in a Dutch oven, biscuits can be made in a cooking pot. Either buy a biscuit mix, or mix your own. Divide up your biscuit mix into around 16 biscuits for a 12 inch oven. Roll each of your biscuits with oil so that they will brown. You will need coals on the top and the bottom for your biscuits to cook, and once they start to rise you need to gently reduce the heat on the bottom so that they cook through without getting burned.  Biscuits take about half an hour to cook in a Dutch oven; perfect for an afternoon treat while camping.

Cowboy Cooking Tips

To be successful with cowboy cooking, you need to get the hang of controlling the heat of your oven by adding and removing coals. You also need to make sure that you use the right type of utensils for the job. Cast iron utensils can stick and they will also leave an unpleasant metallic taste. You will need to season your utensils if you want to cowboy cook like a professional. Heating utensils on your stove and then rubbing them with oil will prevent your utensils from sticking. This process is similar to the way we clean woks for cooking. Woks are never washed; instead they are heated and covered with oil, ready for their next use.

In the same way that you will never use soap with a wok, it is recommended to avoid soap when cleaning your oven and your utensils. Great news for people who hate washing up! Clean you oven with water, and a little soap if desired, and then heat and spray with oil and wipe. This will protect your oven, and it will protect your utensils from becoming rusty if you are going to store them outdoors.

Outdoor cooking should be fun. It should involve little preparation, virtually no washing up, and some of the finest food around. Using an oven on a stove or a hole in the ground to cook with allows you to prepare a simple meal, leave it to cook, and then enjoy your time in the outdoors to the full.

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