The weather here has turned cool now. Cool enough to actually enjoy a campfire. The wife and I had a day’s worth of outdoor work to last weekend so we decided to use some of our garden’s remnants to cook up a pot of chili.
We cook over fire several times a week and have become very efficient at it. We can often quickly grill a meal just using some wood chips and twigs that have been knocked off our trees by the wind. We’ve also used the dutch oven as a simple oven but never used it as a hanging kettle before. Since we had plenty of time, the decision was made to give this (new to us) method a try. While my wife prepared the meat and veggies, I built a fire. We put the kettle on at around 11:00AM.
It didn’t take long to bring the chili to a simmer. It was a windy day and I noticed that the wind did have a cooling effect on the kettle at times. I found myself tinkering with it constantly, raising and lowering the hanging height, probably because it was the first time we’ve cooked like this and I didn’t want to burn the meal. We stopped working around 5:00PM and the wife made cornbread and honey-butter. The meal was awesome.
Some observations I had:
- This is a fuel-hungry way to cook. It took a relatively large amount of wood to maintain the cooking temperature as compared to grilling or just burying the oven in coals. I wouldn’t recommend this kettle method if your fuel supply is limited but if you are planning to have an all day fire this is a great way to prepare a fairly carefree meal.
- A wind block would be a good idea.
- I was very surprised to see that the kettle was easy to clean. Nothing was burnt onto the inside of the pot. Clean up was quickly done with warm water and a dishrag.
I think I’m going to try this again in the near future, probably when the leaves start falling and we need to spend another day on yardwork. Not only is it fun but it gives me an excuse to take a break from the work once in awhile!