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Is the grill the better stove?

Preparing potato gratin, braised ribs or apple pie on the campfire? No problem with the Dutch oven. Because it is the new miracle among BBQ fans. With the thick-walled cast iron pot, the grill becomes a stove.

One pot conquers the world

The Dutch oven is at home wherever cooking takes place outside. The Australian shepherds call it the “Camp Oven”, the French farm workers pack their “Cocotte” when traveling and in South Africa the “Potje” goes on the grill. As different as the names sound, they always mean the same thing: a thick-walled cast iron cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid that is used directly on the embers. The name “Dutch oven” became established primarily in English-speaking countries in the 18th century.“Dutch” means “Dutch”. An Englishman named Abraham Darby also brought the production process for cast iron pots with him from there. He patented the process and sold his “Dutch Oven” in England and the British colonies. The pots were particularly popular with the settlers of the still young America. On the long journeys across the country, they were practical cooking, roasting and baking utensils all in one. The cast iron also makes the pots particularly stable and durable - even for generations. The Dutch oven was often so valuable to the settler families that it was even passed on in a will.

This is how the Dutch oven works

The functionality is simple and can be used in a variety of ways. The cast iron is heated by placing it on coals . To ensure that the metal heats up evenly, coals are also placed on the lid. The Dutch oven works with top and bottom heat. This means the food is cooked gently without burning. To ensure that the coal stays on the lid, the edge is raised on the outside. The material thickness of the pot means that the heat is retained for longer.

Many possibilities with one pot

When used classically, the pot provides the perfect conditions for baked and stewed dishes. But the Dutch oven is also suitable for roasting meat . First, a piece of meat is briefly fried in an open pot until roasted aromas emerge. Then just put the lid on and let it continue cooking. By the way, this form of preparation also goes perfectly with delicious dry aged beef .

The pots come in different sizes and shapes. Flat models are more suitable for dishes that are prepared at higher temperatures. Deep Dutch ovens are ideal for braising and baked goods. The lid can also be used on its own. If you turn it over, it becomes a pan. When camping, you get a perfectly fried egg and bacon breakfast.


The perfect temperature

In the USA there is a simple rule of thumb. To create 180 degrees, take the size of the Dutch oven (in inches) and double it. This gives you the number of briquettes required. According to this calculation, a 12 inch Dutch oven requires 24 briquettes. The placement of the briquettes depends on the contents of the pot. Depending on the dish, the stacking is done specifically. For soups, stews and anything that needs to simmer, 1/3 of the briquettes are on top and 2/3 under the pot; for baked goods it is the other way around. This is where 2/3 of the coals go on the pot. When braising and roasting, the briquettes are evenly distributed.

Burn it in first, then get started

To season, the pot is rubbed with sunflower oil and left in the fire or oven at 200 degrees for about 1 hour. This creates a patina that protects the metal from the moisture in the air and thus from rust. A non-stick coating is also formed. The food doesn't stick to the pot, but ends up on the plate. However, in the kitchen at home, burning could lead to the fire department being called out. Because there is a lot of smoke. It is therefore better to burn the pot outdoors. Many manufacturers also offer the pots pre-seasoned.

The right care

After use, the Dutch oven is cleaned of food residue. Only warm water is used . Soap or detergent would destroy the burnt-in protective patina. The pot is then rubbed and briefly air dried. Finally, apply a thin layer of oil. The Dutch oven should never stand in water, but should only be wiped wet. You should definitely avoid cold liquid on the hot cast iron. The metal can break and the pot is then ruined.


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