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I love the added flavor that comes from cooking in a cast iron dutch oven like the one shown below:

What is it that causes this? Is it from the charcoal or from the seasoning?

If I season a legless dutch oven (the cast iron kind, not enamel) and use it in my electric oven will it still add that same flavor?

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    What charcoal? Do you mean you're using a cast iron dutch oven on a charcoal grill? – Cascabel May 18 '15 at 18:30
  • @Jefromi The OP also mentions legs... maybe they mean something like this? – Catija May 18 '15 at 19:17
  • @Catija : very likely. it's often called a 'camp stove' to differentiate it, but a lot of people also call them a 'dutch oven'. – Joe May 18 '15 at 19:20
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    @Joe That's what I'm referring to. I've never heard it called by that name. This is what I call a camp stove. – saltface May 18 '15 at 20:09
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    Are you South African by any chance? What we consider a dutch oven is different than in the US. – Neil Meyer May 19 '15 at 14:45
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It is not good to use a dutch oven in a... conventional oven. It hurts the pot way too much.

I think what the OP may be mentioning is a 'potjie' Which has legs and is usually used in South African cuisine outside on a charcoal fire.

The common notion is that the smoke from the fire does not penetrate the pot to flavour the food but rather it is the cast iron pot and the very slow cooking that give this type of cooking its distinct flavour.

POTJIE

  • I'm not South African and potjies are new to me. (But I can see the similarities.) An American dutch oven is flatter with a large lip around the top and charcoal is placed on both the top and bottom. These bake at up to 450° F (232° C). I don't see how a conventional oven could harm them. – saltface May 19 '15 at 18:33
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    The item in the picture you have posted is called a cauldron in the US and would be used mostly for stewing. In addition to the differences noted by @saltface, a dutch oven/camp oven has a flat bottom which makes it a little more versatile, useful for braising, stewing, frying, and baking. – Didgeridrew May 19 '15 at 19:35
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    The confusion is probably due to enameled Dutch Ovens (which are fine for oven use at reasonable temperatures and with an appropriate lid knob) - these are kitchen equipment rather than camping equipment. We also use the term "Dutch Oven" for a metal pot (aluminum or cast iron) designed to be placed upon the coals of a campfire. – RI Swamp Yankee May 20 '15 at 11:53
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Most cast iron pots designed for the fire have lids that fit well enough to keep ash and embers out, but not the smoke

After sitting in embers for an 30 minutes, even a loaf of bread has a very smokey flavour

It's more subtle than hanging something in a smoke house, but it is definitively a smokey flavour

Also, since most dutch oven recipes are for slow cooking over hot embers, you get quite a long cook time in fresh hot smoke

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