Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No promises

I just have to say I never promised to be consistent or regular about posting.  I have been busy and distracted lately.  For those who have expressed interest in my pages, I thank you and apologize for the delays.  I am glad to report, however, that I have not quit dutching during this delay.  Several cool things have occurred.  Thanks to my friend Kyle and his Garage of Wonder, I have constructed a cook station.  I used 2 large pieces of wire utility shelving, 4 long  legs, and a 10' roll of 14" wide roof-valley tin. Add my oil drip pan, and then a high-sided pan.  Put it all together, you get a dutch oven cook station.  Not entirely amateur looking either.

The bottom shelf is placed low enough that I can actually put coal in the bottom pan and use the shelf as a skillet shelf that I can cook on.  Good place for the 17".  I was surprised at how well everything fit together.  My only concern was that the heat would affect the shelf brackets, which are plastic.  I broke it in with a load of burning coal and about 50lbs of cast iron.  There was surprisingly little heat transfer to the metal around the plastic, so I wasn't concerned beyond that.  My favorite feature, aside from the fact that it is very cool, is that it is reasonably portable.  It will be traveling to our next campout, which I think will be Fort Clinch.  By portable, I mean it can be taken apart and loaded into the Jeep easily.  The tin windscreen is pliable, and can be removed and "folded" up.  I broke it in with a neat recipe.  I went to Publix and got two of the "Hormel" marinated sleeves of meat, in this case, beef shoulder, one peppercorn and one terryiaki.  The theory was that the spice and sweet would blend and balance.  There ended up being about 3 pounds of meat.  I sliced an onion into rings and laid it across the bottom of the 12" 6qt, along with a handful of peeled baby carrots.  I then unceremoniously dumped the meat in, which was in large cutlets.  I didn't do anything else to it.  Just lidded it and did the charcoal, 14/10 for 25 minutes.  When I opened it up, there was literally an inch of juice in the bottom of the pot.
Let me tell you, the meat was buttery tender and delish!
Continuing the adventurous and experimental theme, I remembered John Howard, Dutch Oven Genius, showing me how he had used canning lid rings to hold up a pan in a large dutch oven to make brownies.  I was inspired to quest for the rings.  I then saw a set of stove burner rings and had a vision.  I took the 8" one and put it in the bottom of the 12", where it fit perfectly.  I used a 10" pie pan, which came in a 3 pack.

The low profile of the burner ring allwoed for even heat and airspace on the bottom, which prevented any scorching whatsoever.  I used a Ghirardelli chocolate brownie mix, sprayed the pan with Pam, and usedthe Lodge recommendation for 325 degrees.  After the first round, I felt the brownies came out a bit moist and gooey.  I did another round and changed the charcoal mix to 16 over and 9 under for 45 minutes exactly.  It came out perfectly. 
So here it is.  I am still cooking.  Is anyone still reading?
Love and iron, Del

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