“Never pick up anything hot, until you have a place to set it back down”…. Some of the best cooking advice that can be given, especially true for any kind of outdoor cooking! 😉
Dutch ovens are heavy – even their lids. DOH!
We have a mess of ovens, one of each size, so they are “stackable”. One of the really fun things to try is to take advantage of the heat from the coals on the lid of the larger bottom oven to provide for cooking a side dish in a smaller size set over them with coals added to its lid in turn. Some folks try this stacking technique with up to 4 or 5 ovens – but anything over 3 takes entirely too much preplanning and forethought for me to enjoy the experience.
Other than the pots themselves and a suitable place to cook – there are several accessories I like to keep handy:
Number one involves long-handled tongs to enable moving coals around one by one.
I have a pair of dutch oven lid lifters that are pretty essential. You can get away with using a set of vice grips or some such, but you can beat the lid lifters designed for the specific purpose of lifting or rotating a hot lid.
The lid stands aren’t “essential” but sure come in handy when looking to set a hot lid somewhere other than back on the oven.
A good pair of heat resistant gloves are essential – you can buy the “specialty gloves” sold for the purpose, OR you can be cheap like me and pick up a good pair of welder gloves that also cover your forearms. 😉 You can buy the “gauntlet style” welders gloves up to 18″ long and they sure work great.
A good (automobile style) straw whisk broom to handle brushing ashes away to help keep them out of your food and for general cleanup.
I like having a small, flat-bladed hand shovel available for getting rid of hot coals – an old galvanized bucket with a handle is a great container for them.
A set of long handled metal utensils, (mixing spoons, a good ladle, etc.).
One item that most younger folks can do without is a cooking table. At this end of life, I no longer bend/squat as easily and have found one of these add immensely to the pleasure of outdoor cooking, especially with the dutch ovens.
Yes, the table is heavy metal construction, but once set up just as handy as it can be. You can light a pile of coals right on it, then move them around with your tongs for actual use. The ability to shield those ashes from the wind sure helps to keep them out of your food! With the addition of a small grill grate (one that has “feet on it”) I can readily spread coals on the bottom and use it as a grill while cooking something else in a dutch oven or two. After cooking, I simply swing out the left “wing” and use the shovel/whisk broom/bucket to get rid of the coals/ashes
I’ll wind up this post with an item I have used extensively over the past few years and will NOT go camping without. That is my propane Big Kahuna burner:
The one in the image isn’t mine, (to begin with I use a cast iron wok and *love* it), but it presents the burner well. I have used all of my dutch ovens as simple pots on this to prepare side-dishes, chili, beans, and so forth. Its like having a single-burner stove-top right along with you that can be used outdoors while camping or simply out on your patio. I have used it to heat up a mess of stew while baking biscuits in a dutch oven on the cooking table. This is one device I love almost as much as the dutch ovens themselves. 8)