Tips for Cast Iron

Discussion in 'Pots, Pans, Grills, Other Cookware / Cleaning & Fo' started by squid, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. squid

    squid New Member

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    Jul 7, 2011
    Just returned from a weekend camping and decided I was tired of trying to cook with hand me down and old Teflon/ceramic skillets. Decided I could replace all old skillets with one or two cast iron skillets. I can and do cook with cast iron at home just not 100% of the time. However, cooking at camp on a fire or Coleman stove is different. So I have a couple questions. When cooking over campfire how to you regulate the heat? Can't raise the grid. Move some coals from under the skillet or add coals as needed? If you were cooking something like stew, chili that you wanted to simmer, how would you regulate temp of food or rate of cooking? And lastly, is there a cooking over a fire with cast iron for dummies book out there? How about one for Dutch ovens? Thanks
     
  2. theyellowbeard

    theyellowbeard Member

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    Sep 18, 2016
    Cary Illinois
    There is Cast iron for dummies books and i regulate temp by adding or subtracting coals as needed.
     
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  3. bsandey

    bsandey Active Member

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    Jun 9, 2005
    SE Minnesota
    I'm planning on starting my adventures in cast iron cooking this year, and plan to do a lot of cooking over the fire. I haven't done any yet, but have done reading on it on various web sites (sorry, I didn't bookmark them. But Google is a lot of help finding sites with information on dutch oven/cast iron cooking). You can also search Amazon, and should find a lot of different books. I have a couple that I bought for recipes, but they also have a "How-to" section covering how to use the dutch oven.

    As far as controlling the heat, if you can't adjust the height to move the cast iron further away from the heat, then all you can do is adjust the heat. On a camp stove, that's easy - Adjust the burner. On a camp fire, though, you have to move the hot coals around until you have the temp you desire. One way to tell is to hold you had about 5 to 6 inches over the grate, and if you can hold it there for 5 to 7 seconds before you have to pull it away (and it's not a contest - pull your hand away before any damage to your skin occurs), then you have it at about 350 to 400 degrees. The longer you can hold it there, the lower the temp, and the shorter you can hold it there, the hotter the temp.

    There is also a tripod they sell for dutch ovens. The dutch oven hangs on a chain over the heat, and you adjust it by adjusting the chain. Don't get one of the cheap ones with a grill. Those might not hold up to the weight of the dutch oven. Something like this is made for dutch ovens, and is a lot more heavy duty to hold up to the weight.
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    2,137
    92
    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I cook over the fire and on the camp stove with cast iron. I don't attempt eggs over the campfire at least not yet, because it is harder. Coals can be your friend and enemy when cooking over a fire. Spreading the coals out some helps and moving the pan further or closer to the heat helps. I first start off with a small fire and let it burn down. Keeping it small allows for easier spreading of the coals especially if your stuck with the grate being only so far from the flame. I also move the pan to different parts of the grate as needed. Just have a very good gloves to use to handle the pan or Dutch oven. For a Dutch oven I use briskets or coals from the fire, but it's easier with briskets as there is a special Dutch oven calculator app that is really handy. It specifically calls for so many coals to be used top and bottom to cook what you need. The biggest problem is the weather when cooking over the fire. Rain and cold can cool things down fast and take longer to cook. For the Dutch oven I use a Dutch oven tent to help with that. Good luck. It will take practice and might be easier to first start with meals that just need to be warmed or longer cooking time meals vrs pancakes and eggs.
     

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