5 Easy Make Ahead Camping Meals for Dutch Ovens
Do you want to be the ultimate backcountry chef? I promise you will make everyone's mouths water with these five make ahead camping meals for dutch ovens. Dutch ovens are a classic and delicious way to make food in the outdoors but can look difficult to use. If you’re new to this; don’t worry, it’s pretty simple.
What you will need to get started:
- Seasoned cast iron dutch oven (Lodge makes a great one, for example): Seasoned means you don’t want the cast iron to be dry before cooking. Rub a little oil on the inside of your dutch oven and heat it up slightly to let it moisturize before using.
Lid hook: this is so you can open the lid when there are extremely hot briquettes on top (back of hammer works too).
- Metal tongs: these are used to move hot briquettes on and off the dutch oven.
- Briquettes: these are the coals you will use to cook your food.
- Smokestack: this is for heating up the briquettes. When they turn grey and red that's when they are perfect to use for cooking in a dutch oven.
- Fire pan or campfire ring: you don’t want to burn the ground so make sure you have a barrier between the ground and the dutch oven.
1. Dublin Coddle
Are you the camper who enjoys going out when the crowds are low and so is the temperature? This recipe is the perfect thing to warm you up. Dublin Coddle is one of my favorite make ahead camping meals for dutch ovens. This is a traditional recipe made with onions, potatoes, bacon, and sausage. The perfect thing to comfort you as you sit by the fire enjoying nature.
Time: 2 hours
- 2 lbs of red or gold potatoes, sliced.
- ½ Red apple
- Ground black pepper
- Garlic Powder
- 14 oz of thick cut bacon
- 6 Bratwurst
- 2 large white or yellow onions
- 14 oz of chicken broth
- 1 16oz can of beer (traditionally Guinness)
- A ¼ cup of chopped parsley
- Preheat 25-30 coals for distribution of 8-16.
- Lightly oil or use a tin foil lining for your dutch oven
- Line the bottom of the dutch oven with the sliced potatoes. You can lay them overlapping in a shingle pattern.
- Cut the apple into small cubes and sprinkle over the top of the potatoes
- Dust the potatoes with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Cook the bacon in a separate skillet until crispy. Take the bacon out of the skillet and put to the side, but do not remove the grease. When ready, chop the bacon finely.
- Brown the Bratwurst in the bacon grease, but do not cook them fully. Set the bratwurst aside when browned.
- Add the sliced onion to the hot skillet once brats are removed. Cover with a lid and cook them down, about 6 minutes on med/high heat. After onions are cooked add the chicken broth, 5 tbls of beer, pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and pour over the potatoes and apples.
- Add ½ of the chopped bacon and parsley on top of the potatoes and apple.
- Put the Brats on top of the potatoes, apple, and bacon.
- Place the dutch oven over 8 coals and place 16 coals on top of the lid for a heat of about 325-350 °F.
- Cook the coddle for about 1 hour rotating every 15 minutes. Make sure to check on it to make sure it doesn't burn.
- After about an hour add the rest of the beer. Cook for another 45 minutes to an hour. Add new hot coals as needed.
- Remove from the heat and top with the rest of the bacon and parsley.
2. Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
If you enjoy easy but hearty meals after a long day hike this jambalaya is what you need to spice up your night. The jambalaya is made with chicken and sausage instead of the traditional shrimp and sausage, but is just as good!
Time: 1 ½ Hour
- 1 Tsp of olive oil
- ½ lb of smoked sausage cut into slices
- ½ lb of spicy sausage cut into slices
- ½ lb of cooked chicken thighs cut into slices
- ½ large yellow onion
- ½ chopped green pepper
- ½ chopped red pepper
- ½ Tbsp of Cajun seasoning, or more if you’re feeling spicy
- ½ Tsp of paprika
- 1 cup of uncooked white rice
- 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic
- 14 oz of diced tomatoes, with juices
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 Tsp of thyme
- Preheat 30 coals, for distribution of 10-20 coals for a 12 in. dutch oven
- Heat the olive oil in a separate skillet. Heat the cut sausage and chicken for about 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken, onion, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and paprika. Cook the vegetables until they are soft, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the vegetable and meat mixture to the preheated dutch oven. Add in the rice, tomatoes with the juices, garlic, chicken broth, bay leaves, and thyme.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
- Make sure rice is fully cooked, and serve!
3. Meat or Veggie Lasagna
Lasagna is one of the easiest and most satisfying make ahead camping meals I've ever made. It’s also a favorite everyone will love, and there's enough in this recipe to come back for seconds!
Time: 1 hour
- Meat option: ½ lb of ground beef and ½ lb of spicy Italian or pork sausage, cooked
- Veggie option: 1 cup of diced zucchini and 1 cup of diced carrots with a ¼ cup of nutritional yeast (mix the veggies together with the nutritional yeast).
- 1 package of no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 ½ cups of ricotta cheese
- 12 oz. of mozzarella
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan
- 12 oz. of spaghetti sauce
- 8 oz of pesto
- Preheat 38 Coals for distribution of 16- 22 for a 12 in. dutch oven
- Lightly oil the inside of your dutch oven
- Combine the egg, ricotta, and Parmesan
- Combine ½ of the spaghetti sauce with either the sausage or the veggies
- Cover the bottom of the dutch oven with non-veggie or sausage sauce and then layer with no-boil lasagna noodles. Add a layer of pesto on top of the noodles and a layer of the veggie sauce or sausage sauce with ground beef. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture and mozzarella cheese. Then cover with noodles.
- Repeat this ending with a layer of just non-meat or veggies sauce
- Bake in the dutch oven for about for about 25-30 minutes
- Add a generous cup of mozzarella cheese to the top of the lasagna and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is browned
- Remove from the coals, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and serve!
4. Backcountry Chilaquiles
Breakfast or dinner, this recipe is the perfect make-ahead camping meal for your weekend getaway. With origins from Mexico, this will be the thing that gives you energy for the activities you have planned for the day or the meal to sustain your hunger after a long day in the backcountry.
Time: 50 min
- 16 oz Enchilada Sauce (green or red)
- 20 Corn Tortillas Cut up
- 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
- 1 cup of Black or Pinto Beans
- 1 cup of Corn (I prefer roasted)
- A ½ cup of cotija cheese
- 5-6 eggs
- 1 lime
- Salt and pepper
- Hot Sauce (chalulah is my favorite)
- Lime slices
- Crema or sour cream
- Pickled onions (you can do this quickly by cutting up red onions and soaking in rice vinegar for 15 min)
- Preheat 38 coals for distribution of 16-22 for a 12 in dutch oven
- Grease your dutch oven or line with tin foil
- Pour the tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the dutch oven
- Line the cut up tortillas on the bottom of the dutch oven
- Cover the tortillas with a layer of beans and corn and cheese (or any topping you desire, this could be with meat or other veggies)
- Pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas and toppings
- Crack the eggs on top and season with salt and pepper
- Set on the coals and cook for 30 minutes, or until browned and egg whites are set with runny yolks
- Top with your preferred toppings and serve!
5. Easy Dutch Oven Fruit Cobbler
Craving something sweet after these 4 amazing entree options? This cobbler is by far the easiest and quick make ahead camping meal, so you don't have to spend hours in the makeshift camping kitchen. Choose one or a few of your favorite fruits and whip them together to have a perfect end to a delicious meal and a great day.
Time: 30 min
- 4 cups of your favorite fruit (I used blackberries and peaches)
- ½ of a yellow or vanilla box cake mix
- 1 cup of lemon-lime soda (add as needed)
- 2 Tblsp of cold butter cut into cubes
- 2 Tblsp of granulated sugar (optional)
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to go on top
- Preheat 45 coals for of 15-30 for a 12 in dutch oven
- Grease dutch oven with canola oil or line with tin foil
- Combine the cake mix and lemon-lime soda in a separate bowl. You want the mix to have a thick but moist consistency
- Put your desired fruit in the bottom of the greased or lined dutch oven
- Spoon your mix over the fruit and top with the cold cubed butter
- Place the dutch oven over the 15 briquettes on the bottom and 30 on top. Rotate the dutch oven after 10 minutes to get an evenly cooked cobbler. After about 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling, remove from the coals.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream!
Hailey Light is an experienced outdoor guide and aspiring steward of the natural world. When she's not skiing, climbing, backpacking, canyoneering, or white water rafting you will find her trying out new recipes to share in her articles.
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