If your anything like me, then you may have a tendency to burn your wonderfully prepared dutch oven meals. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips on how to get the right heat when doing your dutch oven cooking.
Here is a little guide when using charcoal briquettes. If you aren’t sure what temperature you need, stick with 350-degrees. This is usually pretty safe and will allow the food to be cooked evenly without any burning.
The Dutch Oven Dude also has a nice little calculator that can be used as a guide for different sizes of dutch ovens. There is also a quick “hand check” guide to see how hot your oven is burning. After taking the lid off the dutch oven, hold your hand close to the oven and begin counting how many seconds it takes before you have to pull your hand away from the heat. For each second, the temperature is decreased about 50 degrees. The first second would be 550, the second second would be 500 degrees, and so on.
Another rule of thumb when determining how many charcoal briquets to use is the “rule of 2”. Here is how it works:
- Take the diameter of your dutch oven in inches (for example 10-inches).
- Multiply that number by 2 for how many briquets you need (10 inches x 2 = 20 briquets total).
- Now place half – 2 below the dutch oven (10 – 2 = 8 briquets below)
- Place half + 2 on the lid of the dutch oven (10 + 2 = 12 briquets on the lid)
Arranging coals should also be modified for the type of meal you are cooking. Use this as a guide:
- Baking (Breads, pies, etc.) – place 2/3 the briquets on the lid, and 1/3 below the oven.
- Simmering (Soups, chili, etc.) – place 1/3 the briquets on the lid, and 2/3 below the oven.
- Roasting (meat, casseroles, etc.) – place 1/2 the briquets on the lid, and 1/2 below the oven.
Now with this new knowledge in hand lets go cook some food!
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