Secrets of successful camp oven cooking
There is no doubt sitting around a camp fire, in the company of friends, enjoying the smell of cooking and the sounds of the bush while your dinner cooks in a Camp Oven is sure hard to beat. Check out these tips for cooking with camp ovens.
Not much comes close to the flavour and convenience of cooking your favourite meal in the bush than using a camp oven. Whether you like hot coals or gas, it’s a versatile and easy way to cook either inside or outside your van.
The most popular materials are cast iron and spun steel. Well-known brands include Southern Metal Spinners (Bedourie & Aussie Camp Oven ranges), Lodge and Furphy (believe it or not!).
Cast iron camp ovens are generally the easiest to use. They hold heat well and need very few coals. The drawback is that they are heavy and can break if dropped.
Spun steel camp ovens (an Aussie innovation) are lighter and won’t break in a fall. As they’re made of thinner material they need a little more care to get the cooking temperature right.
Now, here are a few tips we’ve received from community members…
- If you only purchase one oven, choose a 12 inch (30.48 cm) pot as it is more versatile than other sizes available – like 10 inches (25.4 cm) and 15 inches (38.1 cm).
- If you prefer to cook on a gas stove go for a flat bottom camp oven, however, if you enjoy a lot of open fires you may choose an oven with extended feet.
- Go for a design that will hold heat beads or coals on the lid as well as inside and below the pot while stopping ash from getting inside.
- If you’re handy at welding, don’t be afraid to modify your oven to suit your preferred cooking methods.
- Never wash your camp oven with soap or detergent. The porous metal will absorb the cleaning agent and ruin the taste of your cooking. Instead, use only a sponge or cloth with hot water.
- Before using your oven for cooking, be sure to ‘season’ it for protection and to ensure quality of flavour (how-to article coming soon).
- Invest in a model that can be used for roasting, baking, frying, boiling and smoking.
Choose quality equipment and utensils to use with your oven such as:
- Oven lifters – sourced from a disposal or camping store
- Tongs – any strong type will do
- A cheap thermometer – for testing the cooking temperature
- A quality trivet – essential when baking things like breads, cakes and muffins to allow your food to be up off the bottom of the camp oven so the heat can circulate around it.
You can also buy accessories that fit inside your camp oven like:
- Pie plates
- Muffin trays
- Roasting trays
- Pizza trays
- Cake containers; and
- Bread tins
This should be enough to get you started. To further your skills, we’ll soon have some more great articles on cooking while traveling:
- How to ‘season’ your camp oven
- Managing cooking temperatures; and
- Camp oven cooking fuels.
Contact ACC’s Accessories Team for further questions or if you think you may need this option.