Cast Iron Cooking Revisited

Cast iron cooking is such a fun way to prepare a meal at the campground!

Cast iron cooking is not new to me.  I grew up cooking in cast iron at home and it organically grew into a passion at the campground.  Over the years, I have shared several posts about cooking at the campground and cast iron cooking.  Each year, I learn a little more.  Today I'm wrangling up a little more information from what I have learned at the campground over the years.  
This was my first set of camping gear I received for Christmas the year we bought our pop up camper!  And that Dutch oven has served me well!

Cast Iron Cooking Revisited

I recently completed a three part video series on cast iron cooking.  And I'll share each of those videos in that series here.  One reason that I chose to do a series is that every person that cooks at the campground has a different need or desire to learn something in the process.  So, I've broken this down into:  gear, cooking and care/storage.  I feel like this covers all of the bases!

Cast Iron Cooking Gear

This type of cooking can be simple or complex.  Your gear comes down to what you what to cook and how often you do this kind of cooking.  When we purchased our pop up camper, my Dutch Oven was an oven as well as a large braising and stew pot.  I cooked in it a lot!  7 years later, I still use it and love it.  I started with a Dutch Oven, pit paws gloves, lid lifter and a charcoal chimney.  Over time, I have added to that gear list.  But it is because I have loved this type of cooking so much that I continue to do it even with an oven in our travel trailer.  


Cooking in your Dutch Oven is not hard.  However, it is a learning curve.  First you have to start with a chimney of coals.  And I recommend using an app to help you get to the appropriate heat.  For example, the app that I use will tell me that if I want to Bake at 425 degrees in a 12 inch Dutch oven that I need 10 briquettes on the bottom and 21 on the top.  This will give me a golden brown color on the top of my baked goods without being too brown on the top.  

Star your coals in a chimney using an electric starter.  It is so easy to do this, and it works like a charm every time!

Tips for Success:
  1. Treat your Dutch Oven like a home oven.  Preheat.  If your oven needs about 10 minutes to preheat, do the same for your Dutch Oven.  You will get better results.
  2. Once you are cooking, rotate your lid about a quarter turn a fourth of the way through the cooking time increments.  For example if your biscuits take 18 minutes to bake, rotate about every 4 to 5 minutes.  This helps ensure even cooking throughout.
  3. Check for doneness before the time is up.  Charcoal can be very hot and cook faster than your home oven.  Or, it can take longer if your coals cool off.
  4. If your coals cool off or you are baking in batches, have an extra chimney of coals ready to go and add to your Dutch Oven.  One chimney of coals may not cook every dish or meal.  It depends on outside temps, amount of cooking time and more!  
  5. Use a liner for easier clean up.  I typically use parchment paper to line my Dutch Oven.  You can purchase premade aluminum and paper liners.  But this will make life a lot easier!

Care and Storage

Once you are done cooking, take care of your cast iron.  I scrub mine with hot water and a metal scrubber.  Dry it completely.  I recommend doing so on a gas burner.  Let it heat up and treat with seasoning.  I use Crisbee stick.  But you can use other oils to do so.  I rub my Crisbee stick all over the top and inside of the cast iron while still hot.  I use a paper towel or napkin to get into all of the spots.  Be sure to use a pot holder to flip and treat the underside and exterior.  

After everything is cool and dry, it is important to put a paper towel or newspaper in the bottom.  Add a few charcoal briquettes to absorb moisture.  Then put some paper (newspaper or paper towels) folded and draped over the edge of the vessel.  Close the lid.  This will provide enough of an opening and air to allow air to circulate and moisture not to be trapped.  

If you live in a humid climate like us in Mississippi, this last step is crucial.  The humidity will create the perfect storm for cast iron to collect moisture and mold, rust or mildew.  Just a few briquettes will help prevent that problem!

What are some of my favorite things to cook in my Dutch Oven?
This Dutch Oven Enchiladas is a campground favorite every time!

Of course I also do things like potatoes and pizza.  You can use homemade or store bought crust.  I even see recipes for chili, lasagna and more.  The Dutch Oven is one of the most versatile pieces of cooking gear you can own in an RV.  Even if you use your RV oven, this gives you a second oven and a larger cooking space.  RV ovens are small and won't cook for a crowd.  A Dutch Oven will do just that!  I plan to cook a whole chicken in mine at Thanksgiving this year.  I just don't see my RV oven as being the right place to try and do that.  The Dutch Oven wins a lot at the campground.

I have an entire Pinterest Board with lots of other ideas to use at the campground.  There isn't really a wrong way to cook in cast iron or a Dutch Oven.  I highly recommend it.  I keep all of my gear on hand so that I can easily prepare a meal this way, and it is just a fun way to spend time cooking in the great outdoors.

Until next time...Happy Camping!

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