How to Cook with Dutch Oven over a Campfire

Camping trips are super exciting, while the pre-packing stage gives head scratches! So, why not simplify the cooking utensils to keep the car drive through the picturesque forests excellent & trouble-free.

First and foremost, open fire cooking while sitting by a stunning woodland lake like the Puntzi Lake in the Cariboo Chilcotin region of British Columbia gives the authentic camping feels! To ensure the music we listen to (in our scenic drive) comes from the car stereo instead of the pots & pans clanking at the back, let’s stick to carrying just one pot- a Dutch camping oven.

Now, to set you up for a perfect fun-filling camping weekend with family & friends enlisted below are some critical aspects related to campfire cooking!

What are the things needed to cook on an open fire?


1.  6 or 8-quart camping Dutch oven to serve 4-8 persons.

2. Bag full of top-quality charcoal briquettes or wood embers

3. Bottle of charcoal lighter fluid or charcoal chimney starter & newspaper.

4. Lighter or matchbox.

5. long-handled tongs.

6. Lid lifter (safely lifting the Dutch oven lid, often loaded with hot coals).

7. Barbecue Mitts

8. Heavy-duty foil sheet (if recipes call for lining the Dutch oven, it also helps keep the pot clean for cooking another dish).

9. Wooden spoon.

10. Ingredients, sauces, & seasonings regarding the camping dishes you desire to prepare.

Why pick a Dutch Oven?


The Dutch oven is a heavy, large-sized cast iron pot with a lid. Carrying it in the car/RV is worthwhile for its sturdiness, versatility, & precise design to transform many ingredients into a gourmet meal.

• Its heat-resistant body allows the Dutch oven to sit directly on the fire, hot coals, camping stove, as well as kitchen stovetop or induction.

• Being a heavy-duty deep pot can prepare soups, stews, or slow cook meat.

• When placed on the campfire and covered with the lid, it retains heat & moisture and is perfect for baking biscuit buns, pies, & bread or roasting a whole chicken.

• When cooking without the lid, it can serve as a skillet to make vegetable sautés, stir-fries, or sear meat devouringly.

How Camping Dutch Oven differs from Home Dutch Oven

The Camping Dutch Oven consists of all cast iron. It has a flat bottom that’s with an enamel coating. It also has legs at the bottom so that the pot can be placed on live coal on the ground, while the flat flanged lid allows placing the hot coals on top.

Additionally, camp-style Dutch ovens are available in Shallow & Deep Depths. The shallow-depth 6-quart Dutch oven is suitable for baking, while the deeper 8-quart design is the best fit for soups & stews.

Charcoal or Wood Embers: Which Is Better For Campfire Cooking?

 Briquettes are the best pick here! They come in even shape, distribute heat uniformly, & last long enough to finish cooking.

Lump Hardwood Charcoal lights up faster than Charcoal Briquettes, but they burn up fast too. Thus, more lump charcoal needs to be added mid-way through cooking. In addition, they are less processed and come in variable shapes/sizes, making it difficult to maintain even heat distribution.

Wood Embers are available as softwood & hardwoods. Unfortunately, the softwood variety generates weak ambers and quickly burns out. Opt for the popular hardwood ones sold at campsites if you want wood embers to last long.

Heat Management


For baking in a Dutch oven, you’ll need to achieve 350° F temperature and provide heat both from top & bottom. So-

• 21 Charcoal Briquettes are needed for a 10-inch Dutch oven, with seven hot coals at the bottom & 14 hot coals on the lid.

• 25 Charcoal Briquettes for a 12-inch Dutch oven, with 8-9 hot coals at the bottom & 16-17 hot coals on the lid.

An instant-read probe thermometer comes in handy to accurately measure the pot’s internal temperature.

To conclude, here are some handy tips to keep in mind while cooking with a Dutch oven over a campfire.

Outdoors are generally windy, so prepare your campfire cooking site with wind shelter to prevent the coals from burning out quickly. At times, leaving the Dutch oven untouched for a long duration can cause hot spots. Avoid hot spots by rotating the pot & lid every 15 minutes.

Time to pack your stuff and head out on an unforgettable camping trip! At Woodlands Fishin Resort, there are provisions for RV sites and tent/cabin stays too.