My family has a love affair with cast iron. Well, I should say my father has a love affair with cast iron. It all started when Dad was taken to a Dutch Oven cook-off and they placed (2nd or 3rd I can’t remember). The prize was a 12″ oven. Dad was told to go home and practice.
And practice he did. We eat out of dutch ovens quite often, especially when we’re camping. Dad’s even done an entire Thanksgiving Dinner (including the turkey) in dutch ovens.
(Side Note: When living in Wichita, Kansas, Dad participated in Bel Aire Days annual dutch oven cook-off and even chaired the event one year. After being featured in the Wichita Eagle, Dad was contacted by the owner or a local hardware store and invited to put on cooking demonstrations once or twice a year. Dad, along with friend Richard Smith, became pseudo-celebrities as news crews eventually heard about the demos and came out to cover it.)
Now some 8 or 9 ovens later, as well as several griddles and skillets, Dad’s love of cast iron is being passed on. I was given a 12″ oven (item #L12CO3) as a gift several years ago and have used it while camping. For Christmas 2007 I was given a Lodge cast iron skillet (item #L9OG3).
As chance would have it, I was given the impromptu task of helping with our Ward Pioneer Day celebration last year. When asked if anyone had any dutch oven experience, I raised my hand and was asked to cook the 12 or 13 cobblers that we had for desert. Having never attempted a job that large before, I panicked and called Dad. He was able to walk me through it and things worked out fine.
Fast forward to our Ward’s 2009 4th of July breakfast. I was asked to head the cooking – for around 200 people. I called in the reinforcements (Dad) and he came down to help. Breakfast consisted of an Egg and Ham Casserole, Mountain Potatoes, and pull-aparts. When we were finished I could feel myself catching the bug. I wanted to do more dutch oven cooking!
I got my chance two weeks later at our Ward’s Pioneer Day dinner on the 24th of July. After the success of the breakfast, I was asked to spearhead the dinner. This time, Dad would not be able to help and I got my chance to put on a dinner, followed by desert. Tammy and I smoked 15lbs of pork butt at home, which then was shredded and went into both a deep and a regular 12″. Add that to Mountain Potatoes (potato, onion, cheese, bacon, etc) and some salads (which weren’t made in dutch ovens). We had a great dinner. Followed by cobblers (since they’re easy and feed large groups).
Recently, I broke out the skillet. Its 10″ diameter is perfect for crepes (which my wife loves) and is perfect for eggs, pancakes, and anything else that is benefited from a non-stick surface. I love this thing!!!
The only deterrent that I have to cooking more in my dutch oven is that our apartment complex doesn’t not allow the use of charcoal.
I highly recommend cast iron cooking. If you haven’t done it, it’s not difficult. Each new oven comes with instructions and recipes are abundant on the interwebs. You may have heard that anything you can do in a regular oven can be done in a dutch oven. That is true. We’ve done pizza, quiche, breads, and anything else you can name. I am by no means an expert, but if you have questions or would like some of our family’s favorite recipes, drop me an email.