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How to Convert Recipes for Dutch Oven Cooking

You know what question I get all the time? “What is your favorite Dutch oven recipe?” Or “What is your favorite Dutch oven cookbook?”

My answer is always- nearly any recipe or cookbook can be used for Dutch oven cooking! While it may seem a little intimidating at first, all you need are a few quick tricks and tips and you can easily convert nearly any traditional conventional oven recipe into a Dutch oven recipe.

The biggest factors are dish size, temperature and time.

Since we cook with real wood coals, we don’t set a specific time or temperature for cooking. We rely mainly on sight and touch. We’ve put together a quick video to show you some of the ways you can easily convert your favorite recipe to the Dutch oven.

And for dish sizing check out the diagram we’ve listed below to know which size oven to use based on your recipe.

Now get out there and get the fire hot!

 

Click for our: dutch oven baking cheat sheet

 

Watch the Video…

 

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Storage Tips for Cast Iron

Cast iron is tough stuff, but you have to take care of it if it’s going to last and also to maintain it’s flavor and seasoning. Proper storage is an important method in keeping cast iron performing at it’s best. Whether you’re putting your cast iron up for the season or just a few days we’ve got some tips listed below that should help you out.

Tip 1: Clean and Dry

Making sure your cast iron is clean and dry is the first step before storing. Remove any debris, food, etc. Be sure the cast iron is dry and re-seasoned before storing for short or longer periods of time.

Tip 2: Air Wick

Cast iron has to breath during storage. This will prevent the seasoning from becoming rancid. We like to hang skillets on a wall. For Dutch ovens, place a piece of paper towel or newspaper between the oven and lid.

Tip 3: Add a little dry rice

For folks living in more humid climates we recommend sprinkling a little dry rice in the bottom of a Dutch oven on top of using an air wick. The rice will absorb any added moisture during storage.

Tip 4: Charcoal

You can also add a little charcoal to the bottom of a Dutch oven. It will absorb moisture and also absorb any unwanted odors.

Tip 5: Paper Sack

If you don’t have a spot to hang skillets (that bugs, etc. won’t get to) you can wrap them in a paper sack and zip tie it closed. The paper sack will absorb moisture and keep critters out!

 

See these tips in action! Watch the Video…

 

 

 

Cowboy Baked Beans

You know what I don’t like? When someone says we’re going to have baked beans and they pour a can in a dish and serve it. Now don’t get me wrong- I use canned goods and canned goods can be good, but you have to give them a little more love.

This recipe is my go-to for any gathering. They’ve got just a little bite and a sweet BBQ flavor. Good beans come from knowing how to blend flavors and this one is spot on and cowboy approved! 

 

Watch the Video….

Print Recipe
Cowboy Baked Beans
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 26 oz can Ranch Style or Chili Beans
  • 1 28 oz can Pork ‘n Beans
  • 1 7 oz. can chipotle peppersadobo sauce chopped,
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2-1 cup BBQ sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 26 oz can Ranch Style or Chili Beans
  • 1 28 oz can Pork ‘n Beans
  • 1 7 oz. can chipotle peppersadobo sauce chopped,
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2-1 cup BBQ sauce
Instructions
  1. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Add to a skillet and cook over medium-high heat until about ¾ done. Set aside.
  2. Using a colander, drain the juices from the beans. Add to a 12-inch Dutch oven.
  3. Stir in the chipotle peppers, to taste. Stir in the onion, mustard and brown sugar and BBQ. Adjust taste, if needed.
  4. Cook over coals until the mixture reaches a boil, let simmer a few additional minutes and the mixture thickens just slightly. Serve warm with a slotted spoon.
Recipe Notes

If cooking in the house use an 11x13-inch casserole dish. Cook at 350 degrees F. for about 30 – 40 minutes.

For a less intense heat, lessen the amount of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce.

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Dutch Oven Baked/Grilled Ribs

You don’t have to have one of them fancy smokers to get that smoked flavor you want out of those ribs. Just grab that Dutch oven and lets get to simmering. Simmering these little fellers in chicken broth will keep them really tender. Then we’ll finish them on the grill for that little color and flavor until they fall off the bone.  

 

Watch the Video…

 

Print Recipe
Baked/Grilled Ribs
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 side Baby Back Ribs
  • lime juice
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Red River Ranch Original Seasoning or your blend
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 side Baby Back Ribs
  • lime juice
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Red River Ranch Original Seasoning or your blend
Instructions
  1. Remove the membrane from the bone-side of the ribs.
  2. Rub lime juice on both sides. Sprinkle meat tenderizer on the meat side of the ribs and rub in. Repeat with the Red River Ranch Original Seasoning or substitute. Cover and place in the icebox for about 4 hours.
  3. Place the ribs in the Dutch oven bone side down- either standing up or on the sides (as described in video).
  4. Pour about 1 ½ to 2-inches deep of chicken broth in the bottom of the oven. Cover.
  5. Cook for about 2 to 2 ½ hours or until fork tender. Add more broth while cooking, if needed.
  6. Remove from the oven and place on a hot grill. Grill on both sides to absorb some smoke flavor and until a dark golden brown color appears. Baste while grilling with the excess chicken broth.
Recipe Notes

1 side of ribs feeds about 3-4 people.

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Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler

What’s a more iconic dish to cook in a Dutch oven than a cobbler? I’ve cooked many a cobbler and let’s just say when Shannon came up with this recipe I wasn’t excited about another cobbler. But the cherry and almond together make a great combination. It’s also a really easy dump cobbler that is great for beginners or to please a crowd. 

The batter recipe can be used for any cobbler and fruit combination. So get creative and get in the kitchen!

 

Watch the Video…

Print Recipe
Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional- great with cherry)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional - great with peaches)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 cups fruit or more to taste, we like to add about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of juice to for more taste
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional- great with cherry)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional - great with peaches)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 cups fruit or more to taste, we like to add about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of juice to for more taste
Instructions
  1. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt baking powder, milk and vanilla together.
  2. Pour the butter in a greased 12-inch deep Dutch oven or a 11x13-inch casserole dish.
  3. Pour the batter in the Dutch oven. Evenly top with the fruit and juice.
  4. If baking in the house- bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until it’s about ¾ baked through like a cake, but still has a soft center.
Recipe Notes

If you like more of a gooey cobbler add more juice and don't cook the cobbler as long.

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Easy Trick to Clean Cast Iron

A lot of folks are intimidated by cast iron because they’re not sure how to use it and especially how to clean it. But I’ve got an easy trick that will quickly and in most cases easily clean your cast iron.

The trick is to steam the cast iron!

 

Step 1: Make sure you have hot water. You can either have this running out of the tap or you can heat some on the stove.

Step 2: The cast iron piece you’re cleaning needs to be hot.

Step 3: Pour the hot water over the hot cast iron. Make sure it’s hot on hot- if you pour cold water over hot cast iron it can crack. The hot water will create a steaming effect and essentially the food will easily come off. You can take a sponge and lightly buff/scrub any remaining debris.

Step 4: You’re done! Make sure you removed all the food and wipe it clean. Now re-season and you’re ready for the next cooking!

 

Check out our step by step video for this process…

Deep Fried Strip Steak

It’s a pretty exciting day here at the chuck wagon. Now many of you may have seen my chicken fried steak videos, but this is one of my favorite fried foods ever. Don’t go to the fair to get this great dish- Deep Fried Strip Steak! 

 

Watch the Video…

Print Recipe
Deep Fried Strip Steak
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 12 oz strip steak
  • lime juice
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Red River Ranch Original Seasoning (available kentrollins.com) or favorite blend
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Miracle Dip (http://www.decoty.com) 1 cup milk or buttermilk and 1 egg
  • in Fry oil (we prefer creamy liquid shortening found bulk at Sam’s or Costco
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 12 oz strip steak
  • lime juice
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Red River Ranch Original Seasoning (available kentrollins.com) or favorite blend
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Miracle Dip (http://www.decoty.com) 1 cup milk or buttermilk and 1 egg
  • in Fry oil (we prefer creamy liquid shortening found bulk at Sam’s or Costco
Instructions
  1. Rub the lime juice onto both sides of the strip steak. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the steak and rub in. Wrap in plastic and place in the icebox for about 4 hours.
  2. Remove the steak from the icebox and let warm for about 30 minutes.
  3. In a bowl mix together the flour and seasonings. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the Miracle Dip according the package or whisk together the milk and egg.
  5. Dip the meat in the wet mix and then into the flour mixture to generously coat. Repeat.
  6. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Place the steak in the oil and fry on both sides until a rich golden brown. Let the steak rest a couple minutes before serving.
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Cold Weather Cooking Tips for Grilling pt. 1

It’s always the season to cook outside or grill. So let’s go over some top tips I have for y’all when grilling or cooking in a Dutch oven when it’s cold outside – let’s get the fire hot!
Grilling Tip #1:
Preheat your grill longer. Allow for more time when you preheat your grill because the cold weather is going to stel your heat. If you have a temperature gauge let it get up to a good 400 degrees F.  Also allow for a slightly longer cooking time as well.
Grilling Tip #2:
Use a hotter fire. When using a wood or charcoal, you’ll want to get your food a little closer to the coals. and use a few more coals than when cooking in warmer weather. Now you folks out there with a gas controlled stove, you’re not going to have as much trouble as we are with a live fire controlling the heat.
Grilling Tip #3:
Ventilation.  A lot of grills have those ventilation deals on the side to allow for airflow.  In the summer time, sure I’m going to open them up, because I’m going to get me some fire going and some smoke rolling. In cooler weather, I’m going to leave the vent open just a little until l I get the coals good and hot, but then I’m going to choke it down to nearly nothing. You don’t want that cold air circulating through there.
Grilling Tip #4
Alright, most of the grills you’ve got have a lid, but if yours doesn’t you’ll need something to help keep some heat in. Grab a dishpan, washtub or my favorite is a cast iron skillet. I’ll preheat this skillet a little then turn it upside down over the meat or food I’m grilling. This will trap some of the heat and also give me a little radiant heat.  So if you don’t have a lid you may have to fabricate one. But remember when you get done the skillet may have gotten hot enough that you need to give it a little re-seasoning.
Watch the How-To Video

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Cold weather cooking tips for Dutch oven cooking part 2

Dutch Oven Tip #1:
Prep Your Ground. Before you place your Dutch oven on the ground to cook on you need to warm the ground. Rake off any snow or debris, make it level and then place a shovelful of coals on the ground to allow the ground to warm and/or dry out. If you place a Dutch oven on cold ground, place coals around it and begin cooking- that cold ground is going to suck all of that heat away from the coals and you won’t be cooking as well.
Dutch Oven Tip #2:
Gradually warm and cool cast iron.   You don’t want to put cold cast iron on a cooking heat right away because it may cause it to crack or warp. Gradually warm cast iron before cooking in it. The same goes for cooling it. Don’t finish cooking something in it and then place it directly next to a snow bank. Allow it to cool gradually before storing, etc.
Dutch Oven Tip #3:
Remove old coals before cooking. Now you heard me mention before that you need to warm your ground before cooking. Well, before you put your Dutch oven on the ground to cook, now that you have pre-warmed it, you need to remove those old coals. Removing the coals will allow you to start with a fresh batch when cooking and you’ll know exactly how much new heat you have.
Dutch Oven Tip #4:
You don’t need to start with more coals. Folks often think that in cold weather you need to start with a lot more coals to cook with. False. You’ll add the same amount of coals you would normally, but the difference is you may need to add a few more coals as you go along if the cold weather steals some of your heat and causes it to burn out a little quicker. Adding a lot of coals at the beginning may just cause you to burn food.
We preheated the ground, we pre-warmed our oven. So you may have to add a few coals as you go along. But don’t start out with no heap in helping, you’ll end up with burned biscuits.
Watch the How-To Video

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Strawberry Peach Cobbler

This is a classic dessert done in a Dutch oven or in the house.
It’s usually the first dessert we make when we are cooking for a ranch because it’s our tradition to put the ranch’s brand on top to kick off the works.
Use the batter as a base for any cobbler recipe- don’t be afraid to mix fruit and experiment!
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 60 MINUTES
MAKES 8 TO 10 SERVINGS
1 (15.5-ounce) tub sliced frozen strawberries, reserve juice
1 (29-ounce) can sliced peaches in heavy syrup, ½ juice drained
2 cups all-purpose flour2 cups sugar4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt½  teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups milk1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted1 to 2 cups Hershey’s Kisses
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle. Lightly butter an 11-x-13-inch baking pan or 12-inch
2. In a large bowl, combine the strawberries with the juice and peaches with juice. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk in the milk and vanilla.
4. Pour the melted butter into the baking pan. Pour the batter into the pan.
5. Spoon the fruit mixture evenly on top of the batter.
6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until about three quarters of the cobbler has baked through like a cake and is golden brown on top. The rest should be slightly gooey because it will set as it cools. I like to poke the cobbler in several spots with a spoon about halfway through, to help even out the baking.
7. About 10 minutes before the cobbler is done, place the Hershey’s Kisses on the top, pushing them in slightly. Continue baking until the cobbler is done. Serve warm or at room temperature.