Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a six quart cast iron, enameled dutch oven from Lodge and a power outage likely to last a few days. The dutch oven looks like this and has one of the oven safe knobs on top:

yum yum

The black out looks like this:

eek

Can I use an enameled cast iron dutch oven on either a charcoal grill, or better, a camp fire without worrying that the grates on the grill or the wood of the fire will scratch, crack, or otherwise damage the enamel?

share|improve this question
5  
+1 for the very pertinent blackout photo. –  Sobachatina Jul 2 '12 at 14:27
    
A heavy stainless steel cake pan is what I use on our campfire. We've also used cast iron, with no coating however. You'll get soot film but a good cleaner should take it off. –  tam Jul 10 '12 at 12:40
1  
@tam welcome to Seasoned advice. I find it very nice that you decided to share your knowledge with us, and have already upvoted your appropriate answers. Please note that we insist that answers are really relevant to the exact question stated, not just be tangentially related. For example, I converted this answer to a comment, because it doesn't answer whether the enamelled pot will suffer damage or not. –  rumtscho Jul 10 '12 at 13:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you get an enameled cast iron pot too hot, you can soften the enamel enough to damage it. My brother ruined one when we were younger on an electric stove, set on high (was making ramen, forgot about it, turned off the stove after the water had boiled off, when it cooled it fused to the burner)

The thing about camp fires is that they burn at different temperatures depending on the fuel and how much air's getting into it.

As you're using a dutch oven, I assume that you're doing something that requires low and slow cooking ... so you should be okay. If I were doing this, I'd try to pay attention to the fire (put the palm of your hand near the coals -- if you can't keep it there for a few seconds, it's too hot; move it somewhere else). And make sure that you have enough liquid in there that it won't risk going dry. If necessary, you can make a flour & water dough to use to seal the lip of the pan shut, so steam can't escape.

I'd also soap the bottom of the pot -- take a liquid dish soap, and rub the bottom and lower edges of the outside, so that when soot starts to deposit, it's depositing on the layer of soap, and not the pot itself. (it makes cleaning so much easier).

I'd also beware of grills for another reason -- many manufacturers are making lighter weight grill parts to save materials (so it costs them less to make). Many are so thin that I doubt they'd take the weight of a heavy cast iron pot. (I've broken one using a cast iron griddle)

It's also worth mentioning that what you have isn't quite ideal for campfire cooking, as it doesn't have the little legs to stand if off the ground a little bit, or the lip on top so that you can put coals on top, but be able to lift the lid without the ashes falling in your food. You can get around problem #1 with the grate, and might able to do something about #2 with some creative use of aluminum foil.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 on this not being for campfire cooking. There are ovens designed specifically for this (namely not enameled) purpose. They last forever and might be a good investment here: lodgemfg.com/Logic-camp-dutch-ovens.asp –  paul Jul 3 '12 at 17:32

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.