Friday, June 22, 2012

Dutch Oven Camp Cooking: King's Canyon 2012

As some of you long-time readers may know, B and I go on a camp trip each May after Labor Day in King’s Canyon National Park.  Last year we weren’t able to make it up because I was recovering from an injury.  This year we were both healthy and dying to get up to “the trees” and use all of the new camping gear B had added to our arsenal.  This year we enjoyed hot showers, bug-free eating at the picnic table and a lot of good old fashioned dutch oven cooking.  It was so much fun planning, shopping for and then assisting in the cooking.  Yep, that’s right… I was assisting!  B did a fantastic job as head chef.  One of the recipes we were most looking forward to making was Pioneer Woman’s “Dump Cake” which we referred to as Camp Cobbler.  This recipe is perfect for camp cooking as it’s super simple, using only five ingredients and really tasty.  We left out the margarine and didn't make whipped cream, although we added walnuts.  I took pictures of each step to show you how easy this recipe is.

Step 1 - mix pie filing and crushed pineapple

Step 2 - top with cake mix (yellow is best)

Step 3 - top with hunks of butter and walnuts

Step 4 - Bake
Step 5 - Enjoy!
 Keeping it simple was a requirement for all the recipes we used this year as it was our first time cooking with hot coals and cast iron.  B had been consulting youtube "how-to" videos for weeks and had a good idea about what he wanted to make.  Ask and ye shall receive.  Our menu included ribs, lasagna, barbecued chicken and chili dogs.  I made my cabernet meat sauce at home and layered up the lasagna (cheese, noodles and sauce) once at camp.


Dutch Oven Ribs
For the ribs, we bought a couple pounds of baby back ribs and had the butcher cut them into four bone segments so as to make cooking them in the round pot easier.  Having them do it for us before our trip was the way to go and I highly recommend it.  We decided that the easiest way to make them was to roughly chop three large brown onions to make a bed for the ribs and cover them with our favorite barbecue sauce (Hot Bone Suckin’ Sauce), basting every so often.  B turned the pot every 15-20 minutes to help everything cook evenly.  Since you can’t fully control how much heat goes where, it’s best to rotate the pot so it cooks more evenly.  After a couple hours, they were falling off the bone tender. 

Mountain Man Breakfast - Note the bug tent in the background!
I am really looking forward to coming up with some recipes for next year now that we have the hang of it.  We've planned to use our fire pit in the back as a test kitchen for recipes.  Using a dutch oven is actually perfect for summer months because you can slow cook something you would otherwise cook in the oven outside and not heat up the house.  For those of you who camp, what are your favorite foods while camping?  Links welcome!

Bon Appetite! 

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