Cooky Jason’s World Famous Pouched Salmon

Cooky Jason’s World Famous Pouched Salmon

Alrighty, campers. I know a lot of the country is still gridlocked in a winter wonderland and most of you won’t be camping anytime soon. So with that in mind I try to FB_IMG_1451784156186write recipes that are just as easily done at home as at the campsite. Pouching is a very efficient way of cooking over a campfire or on a grill. And with fish it’s great because sticking isn’t a problem. You can very well do these in the oven. In my opinion, salmon needs very little help in the flavor department. However, in pouching you’re essentially steaming the food and not getting that charbroiled flavor from open fire. But that’s ok because steaming is much healthier than charring food anyway. And the key to countering that, especially with fish, is a combination of herbs. Follow along…

Major players:

  • 1 6oz salmon fillet per person (these will be individual servings per pouch)
  • ½ cup of 2 to 3 different chopped herbs. (Thyme, sage, tarragon, dill, marjoram, parsley, etc…)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper (I prefer white pepper here.)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (This is about half a lemon, so you can do two per lemon.)
  • 1 foot x 1 foot square of heavy duty foil

OK, now for the fun stuff. Put the olive oil down on the foil first. (Put oil on the foil) Then sprinkle a little salt on the oil and also about half of the chopped herbs. Then place the salmon, skin side down, on top of your bed of oil and herbs. Next, place the pad of butter directly on top of the fillet and top with the remaining salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest. The grill heat should be medium…ish. Try to keep it to around 325 to 350 degrees. The salmon will be done in about 30 minutes or so. When you get close, you can peel one back and check by cutting one fillet open. And lastly, drizzle the lemon juice over the finished product and serve. If you’re plating, also pour all the deliciousness from the pouch over the salmon and other veggies or pasta. (See below)

I don’t like handling raw meat at the campsite. So what you can do is prepare the pouches at home and just keep them on ice until you’re ready for them. Let them sit out, out of the ice or refrigeration, for about 20 minutes before cooking to take the edge off the chill.

Also, you can throw in broccoli or asparagus right in with the salmon. You can even steam pasta the same way. Take fettuccine or linguine and break it in half so the uncooked noodles are about the length of the salmon. Just place the pasta on top of the salmon and close it up. The pasta will steam and cook just fine. A whole meal all in one pouch. Enjoy!

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at

Tear Drops in Desert Sand

Teardrop Rendezvous in Quartzsite


Remote Camp Site

Little Guy Trailers and Paha Que Wilderness have just completed an epic backcountry tour of the Gold Mining areas in the old Fort Tyson area.

Participants traveled from San Diego (main group), Poway, Torrance, Fresno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Utah and Michigan via Miami (some people use these Teardrops for long term). The tow vehicles varied from radical Off-Road Jeeps to simple family cars… all easily accessing the main camp site in the Plomosa foothills.

It’s amazing how a couple hundred yards off the pavement places you in the same terrain where Wyatt Earp lived!

Teardrop Round-up


Both novice and experts were mixed together in comfort as our guide and counselor Jeff Basford of Paha Que Wilderness organized and led a treat in the ultra-dry wilderness. We were surrounded by lava rock formations, gas vents, dozens of cacti, gravel like surfaces of dark volcanic pebbles and rugged volcanic flows.

The history of this area is rich and steeped in the Old West. From the mid 1800’s, hundreds of mines were claimed and worked by individuals and consortiums with rudimentary methods being employed next door to highly-engineered systems. Of the more fascinating accounts was the influx of the French prospectors. The cabins they built can still be seen and visited (rock structures with double wall base). These miners utilized the placer mining techniques and their tailings can be easily identified. Typically, there was a dump area within several feet consisting of old meat cans, soup and food tins intertwined with wagon and equipment skeletons.

Blooming Desert

The desert is lovely this time of year. Many cactus are blooming and the bees are busy. Although in my mind I expected absolute dryness, it was off set by the numerous Palo Verde trees with it’s vivid light-green bark. The Ocotillo cactus featured wonderful red blossoms plus the royal color of Barrel and Prickly Pear cactus flowers. Apparently, this year with the increased rains, we caught the bloom even at the end of March.

This particular trip was unseasonably warm …. around 105 degrees during the day and 90’s at night. We were very glad for the powered roof vent in our Little Guy Rough Rider model… when an inversion occurred in the middle of the night rendering our exhaust mode useless, I simply reversed the fan direction and wah-lah, we enjoyed a comfortable desert night on our queen-size bed.

Desert Shade

What a great way to camp with these Teardrop Trailers. They have just enough storage capacity to make the campsite perfect for a fresh-air outing with amenities. We noticed the various methods employed by our neighbors and it really boils down to personal needs and choices. We saw barbeques next to Dutch Ovens and discussions of utilizing Sun Ovens with the unlimited power supply of the sun. We witnessed solar power panels recharging battery systems and practical Teardrop designed side rooms attached to off-set the heat and provide a lee-side breezeway (built by Paha Que our organizer). A couple Teardrops even employed Air Conditioners with a small generator purring nearby and solar shower cabanas (no need for towels in the super dry air).

Evening Meals

This event will hopefully launch into an annual outing with the possibility of a second event into the backcountry with 4×4 vehicles only (and high clearance campers). I anticipate quite a number of participants joining us as there was plenty of area for many more campers.

If you have a Teardrop or Aliner and want to join in, please send your email address to us and we’ll include you in subsequent notices of our campouts. So far, we still want to catch Death Valley in the late fall or early spring, a mountain region lake in Arizona waiting for us on an Indian Reservation and a winery near Julian which would be perfect on a moonless night.

Our sincere thanks go to Jeff Basford and Mike Greaves of Paha Que Wilderness Camping Systems, our organizer, for designing a worthy trip with great historical and geographical account of the area. We also want to thank our participants for becoming good friends in a matter of a few days! There’s nothing like camping buddies.

French miner cabin site

Most of all we want to thank Camping Life Magazine for joining us with the trip. We should see a great article by fall with the possibility of a cover theme on Teardropping in the remote desert. We highly recommend subscribing to this publication as they endeavor to cover the type of camping near and dear to us all.

See you next trip!

Eric Krag, Regional Sales For Little Guy Trailers

The Gear Doctor for July 2015

How to Repair a Damaged Tent

While we offer a full warranty and repair services on our products, sometimes damage can occur while on a trip, and being prepared to make effective field repairs can save the day and prevent a good trip from turning bad.


Field repairs are often necessary and having a repair kit on-hand is always a smart idea.

A small tear in a tent can worsen quickly, but it’s easy to repair even on the trail. Carry mending materials with you to keep your tent secure.

Materials: repair tape, seam sealer/tent patch kits. We use and recommend McNett Gear Aid Field Repair Kits, found at

Time: 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the damage.

Most rips, tears, and leaks occur because a tent has been pitched too rigidly; find ways to set up your tent so that it can flex in high wind conditions. Always use shock cords. Check your campsite for dangerous limbs, projecting roots, and sharp rocks that could cause damage; if you must pitch your tent on a hazardous site, pad sharp rocks and clear away debris before pitching it.

Rips and tears. To mend small tears, cover the damaged, on both sides, with adhesive tent patches. Apply a liberal amount of seam sealer around the edges of patches on both sides of the tear, smoothing the edges of the tape carefully to prevent snags and leaks. Patches come in different sizes and shapes. Try to use patches that are at least an inch larger than the rip on all sides. You can use more than one patch on each side if necessary.

Large tears must be sewn closed or patched with repair tape. There are Outdoor Sewing Kits available from Gear Aid. If the tear is in a part of the tent where extra pressure doesn’t matter, turn the top edge of the tear under about 1/4 inch and stitch the turned fabric over the outside of the bottom torn edge, using a sewing awl and strong waxed thread, forming a new seam. Plan your sewing to account for water runoff; turn the edges of the patch to create a shingle effect to shed water, not a shelf to hold it. Make your stitches short and close together; double seams are strongest. To ensure a watertight seal, apply a bead of seam sealer to the bottom edges of the overlap or patch, on the outside of the tent.

Patch holes or tears in tightly stretched areas of the tent with strips of repair tape cut at least 1 1/2 inches longer and wider than the damage; if necessary, overlap strips in a shingle pattern to cover the damage completely. Tape both sides of the damaged area, and seal all edges of the tape with seam sealer, inside and out. If the patch isn’t sturdy enough, replace it when you get home with a patch of tent fabric. But the best thing to do is, after your camping trip is over, get your tent to a proper repair shop where more permanent repairs can be done.

Grommets. Tears around grommets require the removal of the old grommet and replacement of the damaged material. This typically requires special tools and presses to accomplish, although there are temporary grommet kits available and it doesn’t hurt to have some on-hand.

Leaks. To stop a leak in the rain fly or upper surface of your tent, apply seam sealer when the fabric has dried out. Leaks in the floor are probably the result of tears. Locate and repair the tear; be certain that the ragged part of your seam is on the inside surface of your tent. Seal this seam. To protect the patch, cover it with repair tape. To prevent any further damage to a waterproof floor, use a Footprint under your tent.

Celestial Navigator – December 2014

With luck, skywatchers can catch sight of the five brightest planets in the sky this month.

The smallest and innermost of the planets, Mercury, will be overwhelmed by the dazzling glare of the sun for much of December, but by New Year’sEve, it will have edged far enough away from the sun’s vicinity to be glimpsed low in the west-southwest sky right after sundown.

Also slowly becoming more evident in the evening sky this month is the dazzling planet Venus; in fact, you can use it to point the way to Mercury by month’s end. On Dec. 22, Venus will be joined by an exceedingly thin crescent moon. Also in the western evening sky is Mars, now a full eight months past its brilliant apparition of last spring and continuing to fade as it pulls away from Earth.

Jupiter is now a brilliant fixture in the late evening and overnight hours, hovering not far from the sickle of Leo, while the ringed wonder, Saturn, begins to slowly lift higher in the east-southeast predawn sky.

Dec. 8: Mercury passes superior conjunction today, when the planet is on the opposite side of the sun from Earth. As this event coincides with the date of Mercury’s aphelion — its farthest point from the sun — the planet withdraws only very slowly to the east of the sun.

Dec. 11: Looking low toward the east-northeast horizon around 10 p.m. local time, you’ll see the waning gibbous moon, accompanied about 6 degrees to its upper left by the brilliant planet Jupiter shining at a dazzling magnitude of minus 2.3 — more than twice as luminous as Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

Dec. 19: If you look very low toward the east-southeast horizon at around 5:30 a.m. local time, you’ll see a delicately thin waning crescent moon. Sitting about 5 degrees below and to its left will be a bright yellow-white “star” shining with a sedate glow. That will be Saturn.

Dec. 22: Venus returns to its role of “evening star” this month. When December begins, this planet is just 5 degrees high in the southwest at sundown (as seen from about 40 degrees north latitude) and touches the horizon just over half an hour later.

This evening, this magnitude minus 3.9 world is 9 degrees high at sunset and remains up for another hour. Look for it about half an hour after sunset low to the southwest horizon; if you spot it, look about 7 degrees to its right for a breathtakingly thin waxing crescent moon less than one day from new phase.  Binoculars will help.

Dec. 24: If you look southwest at dusk on Christmas Eve, you’ll see a crescent moon, and about 7 degrees to its left, shining with a yellow-orange hue, will be Mars. The Red Planet has now receded to a distance of 180 million miles (290 million kilometers) from Earth.

Dec. 31: Mercury is still setting in the middle of evening twilight. Using binoculars, search for it within half an hour of sunset, about 4 degrees to the lower right of the much brighter Venus. These two planets will put on a great evening show during the first three weeks of January.

Excerpts from

Cooky Jason’s November Tip – Stuffed Mushrooms

Cooky Jason’s Well-Known Stuffed Mushrooms


It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll never make enough of these, unless your group happens to be filled with monsters who don’t like mushrooms. (If that’s the case, time to get new friends…) Seriously, though, these are great because they’re super simple to do and there’s a thousand variations. As usual, this can just as easily be done at home in the oven as at the campsite on a grill or open fire with a grill grate. You don’t have to pouch these in foil necessarily, but it does help keep the mushrooms a little more moist. If you like them to be a little more fire-kissed and have the outside get that nice grill color and flavor, then feel free to uninvite the foil from the party.


  • 20 to 25 crimini or white button mushrooms, stems removed
  • 8 to 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, cilantro, time, etc… Stay away from rosemary on these as there isn’t enough time for the needles to soften, unless you have ground rosemary. But rosemary sprigs are good to throw right in the heat, or just on the grill racks by themselves. Not only do they make the campsite smell fantastic, but the smoke from the sprigs will infuse the mushrooms, just like using wood chips…)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ stick softened butter (NO margarine)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, or truffle oil
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pine nuts
  • ½ cup finely sliced green onions
  • ¼ lb ground sausage, beef, or lamb (cooked)

What’s great here is that you can do a lot of the work at home and transport to the campsite for only a step or two left to do, which I’m a big fan of. It’s a lot harder to clean dishes at the campsite, so I like to use as few as possible.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the mushrooms. (You didn’t really have to be told that, right?) Make sure you mix thoroughly. If you want to leave the meat out, use ½ cup of bread crumbs instead. If you want to stuff the mushrooms at home, what you do is use a large plastic bowl with a lid and separate the layers with foil or plastic wrap. Keep them chilled in the fridge and transport in a cooler with ice. If you’re going to stuff them at the campsite, just transfer the stuffing to a large plastic zip-top bag or another plastic bowl with a lid.

This is a good one to let the kids in on. I think it’s easier to use a fork for this. Mushroom sizes vary greatly, but you’re going to be using somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of stuffing for each mushroom. The size of the mound past the brim on the mushroom cap should be about half the size of the mushroom itself.

You’ll need to have tongs for this: Place mushrooms over medium heat in rows. Cook time will be about 25 minutes. You can also carefully wrap them in foil, in groups, and seal. Make sure you leave an opening for steam to escape. It doesn’t matter which way you do it; it’s just personal preference. Remove with tongs and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Come ‘n get em!

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at





Celestial Navigator – October 2014

There are few things more enjoyable during a night in camp than staring at the night sky. Now you can be a celestial expert and dazzle your camp mates with your night sky knowledge. There’s lots going in the September night sky, so grab your telescope and your tent and get out there!

Here is something to think about – even in the vastness of the American West, the glow from cities has become so bright that places with truly dark skies at night are becoming an endangered species. In the continental US, experts predict that in a decade, there will be just three areas where the sky will be dark enough to see the Milky Way clearly, the Arizona Republic reports. One area covers part of eastern Oregon and western Idaho, another includes parts of Nevada and western Utah, a third takes in parts of northern Arizona and southern Utah-and the latter two are in danger from the bright lights of Las Vegas and Phoenix, which can be seen for more than 200 miles. Take time to look up now and then, and especially this month – lots to see in the October night sky!

October 4 – Astronomy Day Part 2. Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find out about special local events by contacting your local astronomy club or planetarium.
October 7 – Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
October 8 – Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 10:51 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. This moon has also been known as the Travel Moon and the Blood Moon.
October 8 – Total Lunar Eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of North America, South America, eastern Asia, and Australia.
October 8, 9 – Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 8th and morning of the 9th. Unfortunately the glare from the full moon this year will block out all but the brightest meteors. If you are extremely patient, you may be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
October 22, 23 – Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. This will be an excellent year for the Orionids because there will be no moon to interfere with the show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
October 23 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 21:57 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
October 23 – Partial Solar Eclipse. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun, sometimes resembling a bite taken out of a cookie. A partial solar eclipse can only be safely observed with a special solar filter or by looking at the Sun’s reflection. The partial eclipse will be visible throughout most of North and Central America.

Celestial Navigator – September 2014

There are few things more enjoyable during a night in camp than staring at the night sky. Now you can be a celestial expert and dazzle your camp mates with your night sky knowledge. There is lots going in the September night sky, so grab your telescope and your tent and get out there!

  • September 9 – Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 01:38 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Corn Moon because the corn is harvested around this time of year. This moon is also known as the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the September equinox each year.
  • September 23 – September Equinox. The September equinox occurs at 02:29 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • September 24 – New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 06:14 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • October 4 – Astronomy Day Part 2. Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find out about special local events by contacting your local astronomy club or planetarium. You can also find more about Astronomy Day by checking the Web site for the Astronomical League.

Skywatching Terms

Asterism: A noteworthy or striking pattern of stars within a larger constellation.

Degrees (measuring the sky): The sky is 360 degrees all the way around, which means roughly 180 degrees from horizon to horizon. It’s easy to measure distances between objects: Your fist on an outstretched arm covers about 10 degrees of sky.

Visual Magnitude: This is the astronomer’s scale for measuring the brightness of objects in the sky. The dimmest object visible in the night sky under perfectly dark conditions is about magnitude 6.5. Brighter stars are magnitude 2 or 1. The brightest objects get negative numbers. Venus can be as bright as magnitude minus 4.9. The full moon is minus 12.7 and the sun is minus 26.8.

Terminator: The boundary on the moon between sunlight and shadow.

Zenith: The point in the sky directly overhead.

Night Sky Observing Tips

Adjust to the dark: If you wish to observe faint objects, such as meteors or dim stars, give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness.

Light Pollution: Even from a big city, one can see the moon, a handful of bright stars and sometimes the brightest planets. But to fully enjoy the heavens — especially a meteor shower, the constellations, or to see the amazing swath across the sky that represents our view toward the center of the Milky Way Galaxy — rural areas are best for night sky viewing. If you’re stuck in a city or suburban area, a building can be used to block ambient light (or moonlight) to help reveal fainter objects. If you’re in the suburbs, simply turning off outdoor lights can help.

Prepare for skywatching: If you plan to be out for more than a few minutes, and it’s not a warm summer evening, dress warmer than you think necessary. An hour of observing a winter meteor shower can chill you to the bone. A blanket or lounge chair will prove much more comfortable than standing or sitting in a chair and craning your neck to see overhead.

Daytime skywatching: When Venus is visible (that is, not in front of or behind the sun) it can often be spotted during the day. But you’ll need to know where to look. A sky map is helpful. When the sun has large sunspots, they can be seen without a telescope. However, it’s unsafe to look at the sun without protective eyewear.


One last note – Sky Safari is a great mobile phone app for viewing the night sky, and we use it frequently on our trips.  Highly recommended!

Cooky Jason’s September Tip – Breakfast in Camp

Cooky Jason’s World Famous Herbed Egg Scramble

OK, I’ve been getting emails from you guys asking for more breakfast recipes. So we’ll start out with a simple scramble that can just as easily be done at home as at the campsite in a Dutch oven in a skillet on the grill. Of course everyone knows how to scramble eggs. The idea here is all the fun variations. Here are some of the ways I do it…

(This will make about 12 servings. You can of course divide the portions accordingly for less campers.)

Major Players

  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs shredded hash browns. (Yes, you can use packaged and frozen hash brown potatoes. But it’s easy enough to do yourself. Take 2 large russet potatoes and run them through a medium grater. The important thing after that is that you gather the shreds up in your hands and squeeze all or at least most of the moisture out of them. Very important.)
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 16oz shredded cheese (Again, this is where it’s fun. Havarti, cheddar, pepper jack, parmesan, mozzarella, etc… Or combinations are good, too.)
  • 1 cup freshly chopped herbs (Parsley, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, thyme, savory, or any combination you like)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s get to it.

Over medium-high heat start by browning off the sausage and breaking it up. When it’s no longer pink (8 minutes or so) add the onion, garlic, and hash browns. After about 5 minutes the hash browns should be showing some color. Then add the bell peppers, and salt and pepper. You can also add some sliced mushrooms here if you want. After about 10 minutes, add the herbs and pour the beaten eggs over the top of the sausage/hash brown mixture. Cover your Dutch over or skillet and bake until eggs are firm, around 25 minutes. Then sprinkle with cheese and recover for another 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with chives or green onions and serve. Come and get it…

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at

Cooky Jason’s August Tip – Dutch Oven Cooking

Dutch Oven Cooking – by Cooky Jason

 So you picked up your very first Dutch Oven and cooked your first dish. To your dismay you find that the bottom was overdone and the middle was a bit mushy. What’s the secret to cooking award winning dishes with the Dutch Oven? Well in my opinion it all comes down to controlling the heat. Most folks will agree that regulating cooking temperature is the hardest thing to master when learning to cook in a Dutch oven.

Charcoal – For starters always use high quality briquettes. Everyone has their favorite and my briquette of choice is Kingsford. Most Kingsford users will agree that the briquettes are packed tighter than most other brands which minimizes popping and spitting. Kingsford charcoal also burns longer than other brands. Kingsford charcoal will generate good heat for roughly an hour, so for recipes that take more than an hour to cook, remove the remaining briquettes and ash from the oven and replenish them with new briquettes. Since the Dutch oven is already hot, you will not need as many briquettes as when you started cooking. Removing 2-3 briquettes from the top and bottom of the Dutch oven usually does the trick.

Cooking Methods When Using a Dutch Oven
There are four different methods of cooking with a Dutch Oven over a campfire – each achieved by altering the source of heat. Remember not to rush the cooking process. If you allow adequate time for the oven to heat up before adding the food, and keep the coals manipulated to maintain the temperature, you will have great results.

Roasting – In roasting, the heat from your coals should come from the top and bottom evenly. You will place coals on top, as well as pulling the coals up under the pan to create an even heat. Place the same amount of coals on the lid as under the pan. Roasting is best achieved at high temperatures and short cooking times. This will seal in the juices.

Frying and Boiling – When frying and boiling, all the heat should come from underneath the pan. The temperature should be high and kept even during the cooking process.

Baking – Baking requires cooking mostly from the top. You should place the coals on the lid and underneath the pan at a three to one ratio, with most of the coals on the lid. You will want to watch baking foods very carefully.

Simmering and Stewing – Most of the heat should be from the bottom of the pan. The coals should be placed on the lid and underneath the pan in a four to one ratio, with the bulk of the coals underneath the oven. Regulate the heat in stewing and simmering by moving hot coals underneath the pan

Number of Coals to Use to Achieve the Desired Temperature
Here’s a secret that even most seasoned outdoor cooks don’t know: You can prevent burned bottoms, raw tops, and dried-out foods by using properly sized and spaced coals to control the interior oven temperature. Virtually all baked goods can be baked successfully at 350°, which is the ideal temperature for a Dutch oven.
The number and placement of the coals on and under your oven is critical.The optimal number of coals used for any oven is based on its diameter. For example, if you are using a 12-inch oven, you will need two coals per inch, a total of 24. More coals will likely burn your food and less may necessitate too long a cooking period. To determine how many coals go under and how many go on top, remember the magic number 2:
· 2 coals per inch of oven diameter
· place 2 more coals than the oven size on the lid, and
· place 2 less than the oven size under it.
Example: For a 12-inch oven, 12-2=10 coals under the oven, and 12+2=14 coals go on the lid, for a total of 24. The same formula applies to all ovens. A 10-inch oven should have 8 coals underneath and 12 coals on the lid. A 14-inch oven should have 12 coals underneath and 16 coals on the lid.
The placement of the coals is also an important part of proper heat regulation. The proper layout for coals or briquettes under the oven is circular. Coals should be approximately one inch apart in a circle under the oven. Never place coals directly under the center of the oven. If you do, you will create a hot spot and burn whatever you are cooking. By placing the coals in a circle, the natural conductivity of the oven will distribute the heat evenly and effectively.
The coals on the lid of the oven should also be placed evenly in a circle along the flange of the outer lid. However, four of the coals should be placed toward the center of the lid, two on either side of the handle. This coal placement will produce an even, consistent temperature within the oven of approximately 350° and maintain that heat for up to two hours.
In the event that you need to generate a higher temperature inside your oven, “cheat up” the coals. Additional coals placed two at a time, one on the lid and one under the oven, will add another 50°. Two additional coals top and bottom would bring your oven’s temperature up to 450°. It is extremely rare to need a temperature of 450°, and you should never need one higher than that.

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at