_Decking Your Dutch Ovens

Serves: 5



Take a tape measure and check the length of the legs on your Dutch oven. Mine all measure from 1 1/2+ to about 2-inchs and with the metal trivets I use under my legless 10-inch aluminum it Dutch also measures about 2-inch. These legs which make it possible to put charcoal or coals underneath a Dutch allow the charcoal on the lid of one Dutch to also cook something in another Dutch placed on top. Depending on the type of dish you’re cooking you can often deck (stack) your Dutches to make more efficient use of charcoal and firepan space.

My copy of the Guinness Book of World Records does not list a category for the most Dutch ovens decked up with food cooking in them. However should they ever entertain the notion of such a category, I will submit photographic evidence, plus a list of twenty-two witnesses who will attest to a dinner cooked by the author on the Middle Fork of Salmon River in l989. In this case, the menu included chicken cacciatore, rice, steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce, and sourdough french bread, all cooking in Dutch ovens decked nine high! Should you wish to attempt such a feat yourself, it would be an understatement on my part if I just said, “BE CAREFUL”!

This deck of Dutches contained six aluminum 12-inch Dutches and three aluminum 10-inch Dutches. Since my ten inchers were without legs, I used three river rocks to set them on as I completed the deck. The two bottom Dutches contained the cacciatore, with the steamed cauliflower with pepper cheese sauce placed third. The brown and serve circular loaves of bread occupied the other three 12-inch Dutches. Rice, to serve with the cacciatore, topped the deck of the three 10-inch Dutches.

I started out by cooking the two Dutches of cacciatore for about 30-40 minutes before I decked them. With about 12-14 briquets on the lid of the second cacciatore Dutch, I set the cauliflower on to steam which took about 15-20 minutes. To warm the bread, I put approximately 12 briquets around the outside of the lid of the cauliflower before I set the first Dutch of bread on. This was repeated for the other two Dutches with bread. Because I just needed to warm the bread, those three Dutches were only in the stack for 10-15 minutes. The rice, in three 10-inch Dutches which had been started in another firepan were decked atop the bread to finish cooking. Each 10-inch Dutch had about eight briquets underneath to finish steaming the rice which only took about 10 minutes.

Good planning allowed me to cook this meal with about a third the charcoal it would have required if I’d cooked each dish separately. The question begs to be asked at this point. Do I recommend going to such lengths and ‘heights’ to save some charcoal? No! But sometime when you’re feeding a group something easy like stew you might try it.

A Back Country Guide to Outdoor Cooking Spiced with Tall Tales - Camp Cooking with Dutch Ovens

This _Decking Your Dutch Ovens recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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