Camp Oven Cooking Australia – A Complete Guide for Aussies
Because Camp oven cooking is really a fun thing to do!
Words by Ashley
Updated: This camp oven cooking season
Here is the deal!
Camping shouldn’t be about depriving yourself of your usual dieting habits.
After all, who is that person who wants to eat raw bird at campsite? And the number of people wanting to cook on skillets on campsite is decreasing.
But, for beginners, camp oven cooking can be as troublesome and demanding as skillet cooking. It’s not as easy as cooking in a proper oven at home, after all! What did you expect?!
It starts with temperature management. Or maybe you are too perfectionist, it starts with space management in your RV. Even the act of choosing and buying the right camp oven for your trips makes a chore that requires special skills. (For that, we’ve got you covered here!)
It All Starts with the Right Choice
If you are worried about space in your RV or if you are wary of shouldering the oven to your campsite from the parking space, you have to be cautious of its size. At the same time, being part of a large group of friends and family means you may get help easily. In that case, choosing larger oven will not only allow you be quick with cooking, the more capacity will also make it possible to connect over joint-cooking-venture – hey, there could be a thing like that!
You may also want to look for the features it offers. The basic camp ovens are nothing more than skillets built to suit outdoor cooking ordeal. But you don’t have to restrict your camping to those skillets. Instead, you can go for multi-purpose camp oven like ones offered by Coleman. These ovens even allow baking in them. But then you have to be vigilant of the space it will occupy in your luggage. Don’t forget, you have to pair them with suitable stoves. Fire pits wouldn’t work!
Before You Use, Prepare to Care…
You don’t buy a camp oven every other day, right. It’s a long-term investment and should be used in a way that ensures its longevity. One crucial step towards ensuring this longevity is seasoning the oven. Seasoning will prevent the oven from losing its enamel; thus, elongating its life.
So how do you season your cast iron camp oven? The process starts with properly cleaning it. If your oven is new, you should peel off its labels and then wash the oven and its lid with ample warm water. Next, you have to dry it.
Once your oven is washed and dried, it’s ready for seasoning. Use some quality vegetable oil to grease the oven as well as lid. Avoid using animal oil as it will leave its smell. Use a paper towel to season.
The next step involves baking the oven over oven rack. You have to be careful to place the oven upside down on the rack so its interior gets smooth finish. At 300 degrees, keep heating the oven for an hour or so.
… And If You Forgot, Pay the Price
There can be times when you forget seasoning your camping partner. Hey! Camping is hectic in itself!
In that case, you may notice dents in its sheen. The cast iron enamel would soon desert the utensil. And you will be left with an oven which not only looks horrible but is also less forgiving of cooking temperature you choose.
If you are witnessing these two attributes from your camp oven, don’t despair. There still is hope for your camping partner and the name of this hope is restoration. Ready to learn how to restore your buddy? Let’s begin!
Start with washing and scrubbing it thoroughly and drying it. Once dry, use a mixture of oil and salt to scrub of naughty debris. Rinse again!
The next step is to use a diluted solution of vinegar in water to scrub off the pot. Rinse well. You can skip this second scrub if you are satisfied with the result of previous step.
Place it on the stove for drying. Once it has dried completely, take it down and use vegetable shortening like Copha to season it. Put it back on the stove – this time, place it upside down. Give it an hour to restore completely.
Depending on the harm your camp oven has endured, this coat may or may not be enough for its complete restoration. But you are allowed to give it another coat of shortening if you deem it feasible for your camp oven and its beauty.
Temperature Makes All the Difference
One development in the world of camp oven is how they minimize the effects of environmental factors on outdoor cooking. By packing the food in an enclosure, they protect it against winds and temperature changes.
Yet, a lot is left for the users to consider and worry about. One such factor is the temperature at which you are cooking your meal. Ah! Why don’t they arrive with thermostats!
But you can work around this limitation. This kitchen towel trick will tell you that the temperature at which your camp oven is right now. The trick starts with you taking a piece of kitchen towel or a newspaper and putting it in the camp oven for a second.
You will notice that the paper has changed its color under heat. Its light color shows slow to medium heat. If the paper is yellow or light brown, the oven has moderate heat. Dark brown color of the paper shows that the oven is very hot. And if the paper is black or smoking, you have gotten an oven hotter than you would like.
Remember the Coals
If you are not using a modern camp oven for cooking, I wouldn’t judge you. Every camper is unique and upholds unique likes and dislikes. After all, it’s about fun and not about a race to use all the modern technology.
So, if you are that person who has ditched modern camp oven cooking in favor of a conventional one, you should also be ready to become a pro in temperature management.
You don’t get any knob, digital readouts, and switches to manage the temperature of your meal under process. Instead, the success of the process resides on your abilities, experience, and knowledge.
Take note of, and remember by heart, the coals needed to give a certain temperature for a specific oven size. Better yet, keep note of the number of coals you need for a certain mode of cooking. For example, roasting needs more coal than baking. And smaller ovens would need fewer coals.
At the same time, the place for these coals varies with the cooking method. Roasting and baking, for once require you to put coals both on top and beneath the pot. Stovetop cooking modes require coals only under the oven; while, broiling requires you to put these heat sources above the pot only.
And if you are wary of using too much coal – after all, energy preservation is a thing – consider heating the oven on main fire before putting it on coals. This way, no coal will be used up heating the utensil and heat will go straight into cooking.
If you are using wood for burning, remember to check the meal after every 20 to 30 minutes.
Take Note of the Environment
One factor which is undeniable for camp oven cooking is the effect of environment factors. Outdoor cooking takes effect from the wind, humidity, and temperature of the environment. You have to option to either accept this influence or to escape it using a simple technique.
The technique is to keep your camp oven at a lower surface than soil. You do this by digging a hole which is deep enough to hold the coals and wide enough to support the pot. If you are doing this to escape windy weather, avoid opening the pot’s lid as much as you can. Of course, you also wouldn’t want to burn your meal. So, the best option is to open the lid after every 20 or thirty minutes.
Don’t Forget the Water
Camp oven cooking has evolved over time. It has become more streamlined, more practical, and less experimental. Yet, there are a few factors that need care. One of them is fire.
If you are using coal to heat your camp oven the danger is high. In that case, keep a water bucket in proximity. It will help you put out the fire as soon as it gets uncontrollable.
Also, it will help with extinguishing the fire once you have finished cooking. If that’s the case, don’t believe the coal you can see on the outside when they are out of fire. Instead, prod the ashes to see if they are hot. Pour more water on them so they can cool down quickly enough.
Camp oven cooking has evolved over time. But if you are taking traditional route, you have to learn quite a few tricks to claim to be a pro. If you think temperature management is the most difficult task, think about having to clean and season your camp oven after every use. And don’t forget the possibility of having to restore your camp oven.
Even after all these complications and commitments, camp oven cooking has its merits. Don’t forget the coal steamed flavor of your meals.