dutch ovens with coals

How to manage heat in a Dutch Oven

It’s time to talk about the elephant in the living room. By that I mean, we wish to answer the question that everyone is afraid to ask…

How do you know what the temperature is inside a Dutch oven?

The old song is “two over, over…and two under, under.” However that works fine if you were using charcoal briquettes. What if you’re using Oak, or Mesquite, or if there’s a 20 mile an hour wind blowing or it’s 30° outside. Also, what about when you need to get the temperature up to 400° to bake bread?

Well folks, the answer is: “it depends.” Mostly, you fly by the seat of your pants. You try one thing or something else. You burn a lot of wood and you feed a lot of biscuits to the cow dogs. Just remember, you need more coals on the lid, and fewer underneath – unless you like black bottom biscuits!

Hint: a 12 inch oven with six briquettes underneath and 18 on the lid gives a pretty reliable 350°.

2 thoughts on “How to manage heat in a Dutch Oven

  1. Have you heard of cooking in a barrel? Meat is hung on a stake driven the ground. A barrel is placed over it. Coals are placed around the barrel and on the top.

  2. I heat my oven and lid over the fire about 3 to 5 minutes before cooking with coals, similar to preheating the home oven. Mom did it when I was a kid.

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