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Thanksgiving Side Dishes: The Cast Iron/Dutch Oven Collection

November 27th, 2013 by ironcooker

Thanksgiving Side Dishes: The Cast Iron/Dutch Oven Collection
For November this year, we’ve gone out to gather up some of our favorite recipes that you can cook in a dutch oven or on iron cookware.  So even if you’re going ‘Over the River and Through the Wood’ as the song says, you might not even have to make it to Grandmother’s house to get a solid meal.

Before we run down the recipes, let’s look over the rules:

  1. Each recipe must be prepared using cast iron cookware or a dutch oven, or at least have a reasonable option to do so.
  2. We’re not covering turkeys.  There are already enough ways to make a turkey—oven-roasted, grilled, or even fried, for example.  We’re not going to through our hat into that particular debate.  But in case you think that’s disingenuous, have you thought about putting your bird on a spit?

Thanksgiving Stuffing & Dressing (via All Food Considered)

Thanksgiving Stuffing Dressing

Stuffing?  Dressing?  Is that the same thing?  These are all questions that you ask at the very beginning of the meal because that’s the only time you have enough attention and energy to care.  But whatever you call it, this savory and starchy side is better when meat is introduced.  A smoky, savory, spiced element really places against tender vegetables and makes a base of flavor for bread.  This recipe starts with a pound of pork sausage and ends with sage and thyme.  How do you go wrong?

Bacon Cheddar Corn Pudding (via Every Day Dutch Oven)

Bacon Cheddar Corn Pugging-banner

There’s definitely a checklist of things you need to have Thanksgiving: turkey, gravy, rolls, potatoes, stuffing—and after that, things get hazy.  If corn pudding isn’t on your list of must-haves, this year try it out.  This recipe is creamy and savory, where the natural sweetness of the corn plays against the sharp and salty notes of bacon, cheddar, and ranch dressing.  This pudding has literally all of the good stuff you want during a barbecue—but it’s served at Thanksgiving.

Mashed Potatoes (via Delicious As It Looks)

Mashed Patatoes

Mashed potatoes are the requisite starch at Thanksgiving.  It’s easy for most people to cover a pile in turkey gravy and never give them a second thought, we suggest this recipe that you might think twice to season yourself.

It starts with a base of red potatoes, smashed with milk and butter.  The fattiness in the dairy plays against the potatoes’ natural and somewhat waxy texture make for a silky, substantial side.  Finished with garlic oil, thyme, and fresh ground pepper, you may want to break out a separate dish so you can enjoy them on their own.

Shirley’s Apple Crisp (via Salted Sugared Spiced)

Shirley Apple Crisp

Honestly, what’s Thanksgiving without dessert?  This apple crisp takes advantage of one of our favorite seasonal fruits without being fussy.  You get exactly what you came for: tart apples, sugar, cinnamon, done.  You might ask, why not add in different kinds of apples, or other spices?  The answer is simple: you don’t need to.  As told in the introduction, this recipe has a 75 year history in the author’s family.  That’s an endorsement that I’d take in a heartbeat!

Do you have any favorite thanksgiving recipes that make you break out the cast iron or dutch ovens?  Will you be trying any of these recipes this year?  We’d love to hear your reactions and reviews in the comments below!

Posted in Dutch Oven Recipes, Iron Cookware Recipes | No Comments »

Dutch Oven Soda Bread

March 8th, 2013 by ironcooker

Dutch Oven Soda Bread - Featured Image
Just in time for your St. Patrick’s day festivities, enjoy a Dutch Oven Soda Bread!

Soda bread is quick-rising bread often made with baking soda, which sets it apart from the more common yeast-rising bread.  Traditional soda bread is made with flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk.  The lactic acid reacts with the alkaline soda, and little bubbles full of carbon dioxide form in the dough.  It’s a sort of synthetic edible, made by and for people who were hungry and had no time to waste.

An Irish Tradition

Dutch Oven Soda Bread CompleteThere are many takes on soda bread in Ireland.  One method avoids gluten and embraces a more delicate texture.  For that, cake or pastry flour is used instead of bread pastry to keep the glutens in check, and some recipes will go with a live yogurt—or even a stout beer—instead of buttermilk to react with the soda.  It takes only the tiniest bit of mixing—kneading the dough is out of the question.

In Ulster, wholemeal flour gets used, and the locals distinguish between a savory variety and a sweetened variety, called wheaten bread.  This recipe gets duplicated in southern Ireland as well and called “brown soda.”

Another method is to form it into farls, made by rolling out bread dough and folding it in on itself twice.  These are also called “griddle cakes”, “griddle bread”, or “soda farls”.  These are cooked on the griddle or a flatter shape and split into four sections.

Your Dutch Over Version

What have we learned?  That soda bread comes in all shapes, sizes, and compositions—but it’s got to be flour leavened with soda and some kind of acid.  Let’s see how we can do!

Dutch Oven Soda Bread - Ingredients

  • 4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt

Dutch Oven Soda Bread - Instructions

  1. Preheat Cast Iron 4-Quart Round Dutch Oven to 375 degrees.  You can do that by setting about a dozen coals on top and putting another 7 underneath the pot.
  2. Pour your milk into a small bowl and mix in the vinegar then set the mixture aside.
  3. In another large bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients together.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into large bowl and combine it all until it’s thoroughly moistened.  The mixture should have a doughy consistency.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured board, and knead it for 10 minutes until smooth.
  6. Form into a 9-inch round loaf and put it in your dutch oven.
  7. Score a large cross across the top, penetrating the dough by about ¼ of an inch.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, or until the bread is brown.  If you tap the crust, you should get a hollow sound.

Did you like this recipe?  Are you looking for more great recipes for St. Patrick’s day?  Check out our Recipe Slam going on over at the Ironcooker Facebook pageAnd don’t forget to comment if you’ve tried this festive recipe!

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Thanks to Dutch Oven Dude for a great and festive recipe!

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Posted in Dutch Oven Recipes | 2 Comments »

Dutch Oven Cowboy Beans

January 11th, 2013 by ironcooker

Dutch Oven Cowboy Beans

The dutch oven has a long history.  As a European import to the colonies that would become the United States, this humble cooking pot became one of the most valuable pieces that a person could own.  Its design allowed for both in-home cooking and transferred well to outdoor life.  Mountain men, fur trappers, cowboys, and other pioneers thought of the dutch oven as one of their most valuable possessions.

Since in-home amenities have evolved over time, dutch ovens have retained a certain mystique that parallels those pioneering individuals of our past.  Some of the most popular recipes give a respect to that spirit, even if the ingredients differ some from what is authentic.

Howdy, Stranger.

Dutch Oven Cowboy Beans BowlCowboy beans are a great example of such a dish.  Cowboys were certainly fans of beans baked in a dutch oven.  Many varieties of beans contain what is referred to as slow carbs, meaning that the caloric energy that they contain is processed over a longer span of time than foods like sugars and grains.  They’re also a great source of water-soluble fiber, which can make its way into the blood stream and clear congestive substances out of the arteries.  For cowboys, means would have provided a great way to maintain energy, stay healthy with a high-protein or high-fat diet, and (maybe most importantly) stay regular.

Most recipes you see today for what are called “Cowboy beans” are more about character than they are authenticity.  Many of these recipes include Texas-style barbecue flavors that incorporate tomatoes and sweet bases.  Ingredients like ketchup and barbecue sauce would’ve been foreign to a cattle man who was more at home on the range than in the big city, but these recipes aren’t about authenticity—they’re about a enjoying the many flavors of the dish.

Bring on the beans!

Dutch Oven Cowboy Beans - IngredientsFor this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 2-lb. can of pork and beans
  • 4 slices of bacon, sliced into squares (maple-cured or hickory smoked preferred)
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/8 cup of cider vinegar

Instructions:Dutch Oven Cowboy Beans - Baking in Pot

  1. In a Cast Iron 4-Quart Round Dutch Oven [], place beans, onion, brown sugar, mustard, ketchup and vinegar.  Mix thoroughly.
  2. Place bacon on top of the bean mixture, being careful to cover the top as much as possible.
  3. Cover and cook at 350 degrees at least 1 hour.

This recipe serves 8 to 10 people.

Cowboy Up!

Have you tried this recipe yet?  This is the type of dish that just wants to go with other southwestern barbecue fair, like cornbread and beef ribs.  But it’s equally at home alongside franks and potato salad.  Don’t be afraid to make your own adjustments—this is a recipe that just begs to get a special ingredient that becomes a family secret.  Tell us in the comments how you enjoyed your cowboy beans and what you served them with!

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Thanks to for the offering the great recipe that this version is based on!

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Posted in Campfire Cooking, Dutch Oven Recipes | 18 Comments »

Thanksgiving Side Dishes: The Cast Iron/Dutch Oven Collection

Wednesday November 27th, 2013 in Dutch Oven Recipes, Iron Cookware Recipes | No Comments »

Dutch Oven Soda Bread

Friday March 8th, 2013 in Dutch Oven Recipes | 2 Comments »

Dutch Oven Cowboy Beans

Friday January 11th, 2013 in Campfire Cooking, Dutch Oven Recipes | 18 Comments »

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