Teach your Scouts how to improve their cooking skills using a dutch oven

The freshman patrol is planning their menu for the upcoming camp: cereal for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, and hot dogs for dinner.

This is not the first time the Scouts have camped; this is the third outing in a row with such a simple fare. This might be an opportune time to introduce them to the wonders of Dutch oven cooking. Traditionally, Dutch ovens for camping are heavy cast-iron pots that make outdoor cooking easy. You can also steam, fry, sauté or boil food in them.

If your Scouts need a little help putting together some creative dishes, show them these recipes from explorer life magazine. Recipes include how to make pizza, breakfast casserole, and turkey. The latest entries, to be featured in the October 2022 issue, feature troop-submitted ideas that may satisfy your sweet tooth.

You can find dutch oven cooking instruction videos here.


cooking tips

Use Dutch ovens on the ground and on durable, fire-retardant material such as rock, gravel, or dirt. Always keep a bucket of water handy to put out stubborn flames or extinguish embers when you’re done cooking.

How is the temperature controlled in a dutch oven? Change the amount of embers above and below the oven. Check out how many coals you need for different temperatures in this conversion chart for ovens from 8 to 16 inches in diameter.

Once you are done cooking and enjoying your food, properly clean the dutch oven. For a well seasoned oven, you can use a non-metallic sponge or scouring pad and warm water to wash and rinse. You can also use salt and a paper towel to clean it. Do not use metal scouring pads, which will damage the oven lining.

You generally don’t use soap, but check the manufacturer’s instructions; small amounts of mild detergents might be fine to use.

Once you’ve cleaned your oven, add a thin layer of food-safe oil to its entire surface, including the legs and handles. For storage tips, click here.

Submit your recipes

If you have a tasty recipe, like this one below from Troop 163 out of Washington, Ill., feel free to share it with explorer life magazine here or with Exploration magazine here. They might appear in a future post.

Black Forest Shoemaker

Cooking time: 35-45 minutes, temperature: 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


2 cans cherry pie filling

1 can apple pie filling

1 yellow cake mix

1 chocolate cake mix

1 bar of butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of cinnamon


Line your dutch oven with a double layer of aluminum foil. Pour cans of pie filling into bottom of dutch oven. Mix the chocolate cake mix with 2/3 of the water called for in the mixing instructions. Pour it over the filling inside the dutch oven.

Mix the yellow cake mix with 2/3 of the water called for in the mixing instructions. Pour over the chocolate layer. Combine oats, sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle over cake mixes.

Cut the stick of butter into pats and cover the top of the cobbler. Put the lid on and bake until done. It should take 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. That’s with about 10 coals at the top and five at the bottom.

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