Dutch Oven Cooking > Stirrin' the Pot

Cookin' for Scouts


I have a scouting event coming up--a "High Adventure" camp for the older scouts--aged 14-17.  I planned on going because I'll be able to enjoy this time with both of my sons--possibly for the last time since my oldest is now technically an adult.

When the scouting leaders found out I was going, they, of course, asked if I could cook a couple of the meals.  I was, of course, happy to oblige.

The first night, we're just going to stick with hamburgers/hot dogs cooked on a big flat top on a 3-burner stove.  We're arriving at the camp a bit late, so I figured that easier would be better.  The next night, I'm going to cook my (what has become legendary in my area) Dutch Oven Lasagna.  The last day, I'm going to be cooking up a bunch of country-style spareribs.  I figure that 2 1/2 - 3 hours of cooking should make them tender and delicious.  I figure that one of those nights, I'll cook up a couple cobblers and/or cakes for dessert.

So... I don't really have a recipe for the country-style spareribs.  I made them for a different group of scouts a few years ago on the shore of Lake Powell.  They were planning on cooking them for an hour or so, and I decided that would be a good day for me to stay in camp and catch up on my reading while the ribs simmered low and slow.  I browned them for a while, then layered them with onions, covered them and cooked them at about 250 degrees (only about 130 degrees hotter than the ambient temperature at Lake Powell in July ;) ) for a couple of hours, skimmed off the fat, added some bottled BBQ sauce and some honey, and cooked them until they were fall-apart and bubbly.  Maybe this time I'll write down the recipe and add it to the approved recipes.

So that method of cooking sounds good to me.

The only thing that I wonder is if you could somehow supercharge the flavor before/during the cook. Brine? Some sort of braising liquid? Then you don't need to dump in the sauce - it becomes a condiment instead.

Just a thought, albeit not a very well formed one.


Speaking of cooking for Scouts...

So I'm going on another campout this weekend myself. It's me, another leader, and three scouts. They are wanting lasagna.

I'm thinking that I should really cut the recipe down and fit it into a 10 inch. A 12-inch lasagna for 5 people...overkill?

Obviously, I'm a little late to answer the overkill question, but I think I would defer to the two rules of dutch oven cooking on that one.  :)

The food I did at our high adventure camp this week turned out perfectly.  I did 3 recipes of the lasagna in 2 ovens--a 14 and a 12-inch deep.  I will be posting a recipe for the ribs in the next few days.  They weren't falling apart--they still had some bite to them, but they easily cut with a plastic fork, so I think the timing was just about right.  I think that they were too tough when dinner time rolled around, but since nobody showed up for dinner until about an hour later (they were having too much fun at the lake), the ribs ended up getting just that much more cooking time.  Desserts are always pretty easy and the chocolate fudge cake and blueberry cobbler were excellent as well.

Forest service fire restrictions required that all cooking happened either with propane or IN the firepit.  I thought about feigning ignorance and just cooking with my tables NEAR the firepit, but when I heard that the forest service loved to drive through the campground at dinner time, I decided to find a happy middle ground.  I placed my two dutch oven tables across the top of the firepit's metal ring and cooked on them there.  A forest service employee did, indeed, stop by while I was cooking, looked at my ovens and moved on.  I heard her talking with people at a couple of other camp sites giving warnings and explaining that next time, citations would be issued.

Anyway... it was a good time and the food was DEVOURED by hungry scouts, leaders, and parents.  Hooray!

Sounds like a good cook...and now you might have a better idea of the timing of ribs? One more hour than previously thought, it seems.

I ended up doing 2/3 of a recipe in the 10" oven. It was almost exactly the right amount of food.

And considering the 12" oven with the two loaves of Pillsbury bread (yes, I "cheated" this time...  :D ) and the 12" oven with the S'More Cookie Bars...we were STUFFED.

By the way, S'More Cookie Bars the next day for lunch...STILL good.

We had complete fire restrictions as well - but when I talked with the camp director, he said that my tables would be just fine. I found it interesting...I received an email 4 days before camp that said that charcoal would be OK, but at the initial camp meeting, they told the whole camp that charcoal was banned. It was after the initial meeting that I spoke with him, and he said that yes, charcoal on my tables would be fine, as long as the coals were placed in a fire barrel before we left our campsite.

I wonder what the rest of camp thought...all they heard was that charcoal was banned...and here I was, lighting it up both in the evening and the next morning.

What rebels, no? :)


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