Dutch Oven Cooking > Tips and Tricks

The art of patience.


I have thought a lot about "what makes you a better chef." I have cookoffs here at work twice a year, and we get to share the fruits of our labors with the company in general.

I cooked a pot roast about a year ago. (Yes, http://dutchovenchef.com/smf/main-dishes/pot-roast-with-vegetables/ <-- that pot roast.) One of my co-workers took a bite, and the reaction was what you and I would expect - the eyes roll back into his head, and the guttural moan came out.

He said, "How in the world is it that good?"

You know, and I know the answer:

Good ingredients...

Good recipe...

And a lot of time.

The thing that I think makes a dutch oven chef more than just a guy with some heavy pots is the lost art of patience.

You have to be able to wait. You have to know when you should have prepared. You have to know your timeline! Because if your chuck roast is going to take 4-5 hours, you have to prepare up front!

And you just have to stop taking the lid off so much. Yes, I'm a peeker. My brother is SO much better than I am about that. (And some things are a little more forgiving...)

Trust the coals. Trust the iron. Trust the little bit of steam that escapes. Trust that oh-so-quiet bubbling noise.

Do your preparation, put in your time, and then just...


As a wise man once said, "Your patience will be rewarded."

A couple of summers ago, I went camping on the banks of Lake Powell with a couple dozen young men in our church youth group.  We spent a few days waterskiing, fishing, and baking in the July heat.

One of the meals that was planned was country-style pork spareribs.  The plan was to cook them in Dutch ovens.  I found out that they were planning on an hour or so of cooking time.

That's the day I decided to just hang out at camp and read.  I took those fatty, tough spareribs, seasoned them with some salt and pepper, browned them really well on all sides, and then put them in the ovens with a generous amount of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, and let them cook low and slow for about 5 hours.

These guys still all talk about those fall-apart ribs we had on the shore of Lake Powell.  One of them, a transplant from Austin, TX, said they were the best ribs he's had outside of Texas.

If they had eaten those ribs after an hour of cooking, they wouldn't have been memorable--just another piece of meat that likely would have required a knife to cut through.  By exercising a bit of patience, I was able to give them fall-apart tender ribs that they still go on and on about nearly three years later.

Darren is right.  Patience really REALLY pays off in Dutch oven cooking, ESPECIALLY when cooking large or inexpensive (or both) cuts of meat.

I'll probably post something about "no peeking" later, but that's something I've become good at.

Incidentally, The other meal they still talk about?  My Dutch oven lasagna.


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