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camp dutch oven

Camp Dutch Ovens 101

Everything you need to know to get the absolute best out of your camp cookware.

The Anatomy of a Camp Dutch Oven

Whether you're new to camp oven cooking or a seasoned pro looking for the next piece in your collection, here's what makes the Camp Dutch Oven great:

Wire Bail Handle
  • Heavy-gauge wire bail used to hang the oven over hearth or campfire
  • Helps transport meals for serving

Flanged Lid

  • The flange along the rim holds coals
  • Invert the lid to use as a second cooking surface

Small Legs

  • Designed with 3 legs ideal for placing over coals
  • Limits wobbling on uneven surfaces

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How to Cook with a Camp Dutch Oven

Light It Up

The first step is to light the coals or charcoal briquettes. If you're using wood, get the fire going 30 to 45 minutes before starting. If you are using briquettes, ignite them 15 to 20 minutes before they are needed.

Pro tip: To get cooking faster, you can reduce the time it takes to heat coals by using a Lodge Chimney Starter, piece of paper, and a match.

Heating Coal
Using Coal

Using Coals

Arrange the charcoal by placing them under the oven in a circular pattern so they are at least 1/2 inch inside the oven's edge. Arrange the charcoal on the lid in a checkerboard pattern. Top or bottom, do not bunch the charcoal. Bunching can cause hot spots that will burn food or damage the oven. To prevent small hot spot problems in cooking, lift and rotate the oven quarter turn every 10 to 15 minutes and then rotate the lid a quarter turn in the opposite direction.

Pro tip: The Lodge 4-in-1 Camp Dutch Oven Tool is an essential to safe Camp Dutch Oven Cooking. It protects your hands, keeps your cookware off the ground, and maximizes your cooking area.

Cooking Tips

Check your food occasionally to ensure it's not burning, cooking too fast, or not cooking fast enough. Be careful when removing the lid to keep ashes from falling in the Dutch Oven. If it is necessary to add or remove briquettes, replace them in the same proportions top and bottom.

Pro tip: Keep your lid out of the dirt and flip it over to use it as a griddle with the Fire and Cook Stand.

Lodge Fire & Cook Stand sits in a campfire.
coal chart image

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"While new boutique versions of the cookware classic can run as much as $200, Lodge’s offering is sufficiently non-stick and wildly affordable. Throw it on a grate or, if your campsite doesn’t have one, directly into the coals of your fire. (Just don’t leave it out in the rain overnight.)"

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Camp Dutch Oven FAQs

Designed for outdoor cooking, our cast iron Camp Dutch Oven has a flat bottom with three small legs that hold the pot above the heat source. This allows for air to circulate. The lid has a flanged outer edge and a handle for easy lifting. The oven also has a bail handle to lift it off the coals or hang off a tripod.

Store with the lid ajar to keep moisture from collecting inside. Rolled up paper towels are great to keep the lid open during storage.

It's generally accepted that the ovens with shallow sides are called "bread" ovens. When baking, the heat source on the lid needs to be close to the object being baked. Your rolls or biscuits will then be brown on the top as well as on the bottom. The ovens with deeper sides allow room to cook meats, vegetables, soups, and stews.

Seasoning is simply oil baked onto the iron, giving you a natural, easy-release finish that will improve with each use. Visit our All About Seasoning page to learn more.

Try these top-rated camp cooking recipes! 

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