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Just because you're camping in the wilderness doesn't mean you have to eat like it! From preparing lasagna to enchiladas, camp ovens are an increasingly popular way for campers to make gourmet meals away from home.
When you’re ready to load up your camp oven, put your bikes in the bike rack, and hit the trail, you’ll need to know how to cook up some great food.
There are two main ways campers cook with their camp ovens.
The first way is the original way camp ovens were designed to be used. Traditionally, campers would dig a hole in the ground just large enough to fit your camp oven. Then, they would fill the hole with coals, place the oven on top of the coals, and then rake more coals over the top. The cast iron heats quickly and disperses the heat evenly so that your food is cooked thoroughly on all sides.
This method of cooking is straightforward and easy. All you have to do is add or remove coals to adjust the heat to your desired temperature and voila! You have a delicious meal with minimal effort on your part.
Of course, some methods of cooking work better than others. If you find yourself baking breads, spreading most of your coals over the top of your oven will prevent your bread from burning. However, cooking foods such as stews will require a majority of the coals on the bottom, with only minimal heat on the top.
If you’re new to cooking with a camp oven, experiment! Trying out different methods of cooking is a great way to spend your evening. Just make sure you do all of your experimenting at home, where you can go to the grocery store if you mess up a meal.
The second way to cook with a camp oven has become more popular in recent years. Campers use a tripod, typically made of steel, and hang the camp oven above an open flame.
The heat from the flame would make sure the bottom is thoroughly heated, while the cast iron and the oven lid make sure that heat is distributed thoroughly throughout the whole oven.
Although using a tripod makes for a more picturesque scene, it isn't the most practical option. Campers may find it difficult to take the lid off of their oven to check their food since it will be right above an open flame. Also, coals tend to give off a more intense, consistent heat than an open fire will.
Regardless of which way you choose to cook with your oven, there a few things you will need to do to make sure it is adequately maintained.
The most important things are:
Seasoning your oven is great because it creates a non-stick surface for your food, prevents rust, and makes your oven last longer. All you need to do is coat it in cooking oil and heat it at a high temperature for at least an hour!
Despite popular opinion, cleaning a camp oven can actually be quite easy! All you have to do is clean it with soapy water, rinse, and then make sure it is dried thoroughly.
Always make sure that your oven gets a thin layer of oil after every cleaning. This will ensure that it doesn't rust. Also, keeping the lid cracked when on your oven will make sure that air continues to circulate within the oven, which will help keep moisture out.
Camp ovens are a great way to spruce up your menu while camping and will last forever if you take care of them!
Last updated: 7th June 2018