Author Topic: Why "Chef?"  (Read 4072 times)

Offline Darren

  • Global Moderator
  • Saucier
  • *****
  • Posts: 87
Why "Chef?"
« on: June 07, 2011, 10:47:26 am »
I've been thinking about the name of this site - why "Dutch Oven Chef." I was at a scout training, and I think I got a good illustration as to why.

Dutch ovens are just a tool. Like any other tool, the craftsmen who wield the tool can make the difference.

I loved the guy who was in charge of the camp. He was a great person, a wonderful instructor, and held a pretty good program.

But to me, there is something more than dumping an entire bottle of pre-made barbecue sauce over something.

I know how this sounds! What a snob! In reality, the food was pretty good. It was hot, it was cooked in a dutch oven (over a propane burner), it was great for being out of doors.

But isn't there something to be said about taking just a bit more time for the craft? Isn't there something to be said for going above and beyond? If you are going to take 2 hours to boil some ribs, how about instead of just boiling them until the water is gone and putting in some sauce...

...What if you took a little bit more time with them? What if you braised them (instead of boiling them) for 4 to 5 hours instead?

What if you took some sort of braising liquid and infused a bit of flavor all through the rib? This liquid could be thin to begin with, but over the course of the hours, it would reduce down to what just might be the best bbq sauce you've ever had...

There is an art to this dutch oven thing. Of COURSE when you have no time, you can do it the quick way! This is not my point.

And I'm not saying that pre-made bbq sauce has no place in dutch oven cooking! For that pulled pork that I posted, I had Sweet Baby Ray's sauce to put on, if it was desired. But - it was not NECESSARY for there to be flavor in the meat...the brine and rub took care of flavor. The bbq sauce, used just a tiny bit, was an addition, not the only flavoring.

My point is that sometimes, when you have the time, look up what braising means. Look up what happens to tough meat when you cook it low and slow - not just what happens, but WHY it happens.

Find a new recipe that can add just a little bit more - something just a little bit better. Gain some skills! (Watch Alton Brown - he's pretty good at the explanations...)

And do your best to become not just a dutch oven cook...

...but a Chef.

Your family and friends will thank you for it.

-Darren
There are two rules of Dutch Oven Cooking:
1) If you cook too much food, share.
2) Cook too much food.

Offline DeShawn

  • Administrator
  • Chef de Partie
  • *****
  • Posts: 176
  • The Dutch Oven Chef
    • Dutch Oven Chef Forums
Re: Why "Chef?"
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 12:09:31 pm »
Darren, I don't believe we've ever discussed why I chose the domain dutchovenchef.com.  You're exactly right.

Anybody can dump a couple of cans of peaches in a black pot, sprinkle a ready-made cake mix on top, and pour on a can of lemon-lime-flavored beverage.  To tell you the truth, I will agree that the result, paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is pretty darned tasty.

But if you slice a few fresh peaches, macerate them in a little bit of lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, pour a homemade yellow cake batter over the top, bake it in your dutch oven, and serve it with home-churned vanilla bean ice cream and you have something that is fantastic.

I am finding that I really CAN cook just about anything outdoors and have it turn out as well, or even better than the same dish cooked indoors.

With a little more knowledge, patience, and time, you can become that "legendary dutch oven guru" in your neighborhood--the one that everyone points to as the guy that can cook anything


Offline Darren

  • Global Moderator
  • Saucier
  • *****
  • Posts: 87
Re: Why "Chef?"
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 02:20:18 pm »
And again, I want to stress that in reality, I have no problems with the dump cakes, and the quick 'n' dirty ribs, or whatever! To tell you the truth, any time you spend out of doors cooking with cast iron is worth it.

The point is that you get out of the pots what you put into them. Just like practicing an instrument, or woodworking, or software engineering - the more time you spend honing your skills, the better results you will have in the end.

So that, to me, is the point of this site. You can search anywhere for a dump cake recipe. But not many places will you go that will give you the recipe for the cake itself, the different ingredients.

Anywhere can have recipes...these will help you become a Chef.

DeShawn, do I have it right?
There are two rules of Dutch Oven Cooking:
1) If you cook too much food, share.
2) Cook too much food.

Offline DeShawn

  • Administrator
  • Chef de Partie
  • *****
  • Posts: 176
  • The Dutch Oven Chef
    • Dutch Oven Chef Forums
Re: Why "Chef?"
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 08:36:22 pm »
Yes, you're exactly right, Darren.

Thus the format of not having just anyone be able to directly post a new recipe.

There are a LOT of Dutch oven recipes out there, and a lot of them are pretty good.  But until I either try it out myself or talk to someone else that I trust about a recipe, it's hard for me to shell out the money for the ingredients and to put in the time necessary to prepare the recipe.  I hope that this site can become that "trusted friend" for people--that they can come here, find a recipe, and know that it's going to turn out well.

For example, one of the first recipes I found sounded really good, but just didn't have the flavor profile that I had hoped for.  No, that recipe isn't on this site.  It used a cheap cut of meat cooked for way too short a time.  In the dozen or so years since I prepared that dish, I have learned a ton, and to be honest, that recipe isn't really even salvageable.

Several of the other recipes on this site, I found elsewhere, and then modified slightly or clarified things before I posted them.  The recipes posted here will have exact measurements and precise directions so that the recipe can be prepared time and time again with the same delicious results.

I'm also trying to add photos of the different steps of preparation of the recipe.  My camera is getting more and more use while I cook these days.

Please suggest new recipes.  Please feel free to contribute to the discussion threads attached to each recipe.  Tell us how it worked (or didn't work) for you.  Did you modify the recipe?  Why?  What improvements would you make?  Together, we'll make all of the recipes on this site hi-quality recipes that a top chef would be proud to serve.

And you, like me, will just chuckle and smile when people say, "you cooked THIS in a Dutch oven???"