Thursday, August 03, 2006

I don't know if I would have experimented with Dutch Oven pit cooking if my boys hadn't joined Scouts. The grill and smoker are usually fine for home cooking, but you've got more variety and can do larger quantities with Dutch Oven over an open fire. It's also just plain fun. It didn't take me long to get with the program.

As a the big time cook in our group, I decided to buy my own Dutch Oven. Then, the boys and I put up cinder blocks to create a small pit in our yard. We later expanded that to hold two dutch ovens. It's nice to be able to start a dessert while the main meal is cooking. This whole project was very low tech and nothing fancy. Another Scout family simply used a tractor rim for a pit in the yard. You just need something to contain the fire and centralize the heat.

Since the guys in our group like to fish and dutch oven cook, I experimented with some ideas for doing fresh fish in the DO. The easiest recipe I came up with was to just put the fresh fish in the dutch oven, pour a bottle or two (depending on the amount of fish) of Italain dressing (the spicy Italian type--oil not creamy) over the fish, close the lid, and let it cook.The only thing you've got to watch here is that you need to make sure the fish is cooked through. It should flake and look very white when done.

This dish is a bit messy, but it's outdoors or should be if doing Dutch Oven. It works well for any fresh caught stream fish. The spices give it a mild kick but not enough to turn off the picky eaters. Some of the kids were not used to seeing bones in fish, but if you've been a fresh fish eater, you can quickly show someone how to get the bones out. It's rather a rite of passage for the big outdoor types.

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