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So far ive under cooked hash browns and made eggs squishy in an attempt to make "mountain man" breakfast and i ve waited and waited on cookies that were so so. I am hellbent on learning and ive deceided to make a desert twice a week so i can dial at least one in for trips some day lol. So how about some favorites that are raft trip friendly!? Easy to pre-make dry igredients or simple store bought stuff? Or Grammys recipe that is super delicious! Someday soon we'll all be around a fire and since iam old and skinny- fat i just really like desert after a meal on the river. Thanks in advance if you'd like to participate!!
 

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I'll bite.....First off you will need to heat your oven to 350 degrees for most things you cook, like cake. You get that with the right amount of briquets on the top and bottom of the oven. The formula I use is size of oven times 2 for the amount of briquets that is needed to reach 350. So a 12" oven takes 24 briquets to achieve that temperature. To make it hotter or colder you add or subtract 2 briquets per 25 degrees. You put two more briquets on the bottom than the top to get it to cook evenly. So a 12" oven would get 14 briquets on the bottom and 10 on the top. I use a 10" dutch oven to make a cake in so I cook with 20 briquets for an oven temperature of 350 degrees or 12 briquets on the bottom and 8 on top. So here is the formula for briquets one more time. Size of oven x 2 = number of Briquets for 350 degree. Divide that by two and put two more on the bottom and two less on top.

Now for my cake recipe. Take any Betty Crocker super moist cake mix and mix it up in the oven. Substitute the oil or water the recipe calls for with sour cream. Take one can of pie filling and add it to the middle of the mix and leave it or stir it into the mix, your preference. Add briquets to top and bottom of oven and wait until you can smell it before you lift the lid. (Each time you lift the lid it will take longer to cook.) Check to see if it's done with a tooth pick.
 

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I'll bite.....First off you will need to heat your oven to 350 degrees for most things you cook, like cake. You get that with the right amount of briquets on the top and bottom of the oven. The formula I use is size of oven times 2 for the amount of briquets that is needed to reach 350. So a 12" oven takes 24 briquets to achieve that temperature. To make it hotter or colder you add or subtract 2 briquets per 25 degrees. You put two more briquets on the bottom than the top to get it to cook evenly. So a 12" oven would get 14 briquets on the bottom and 10 on the top. I use a 10" dutch oven to make a cake in so I cook with 20 briquets for an oven temperature of 350 degrees or 12 briquets on the bottom and 8 on top. So here is the formula for briquets one more time. Size of oven x 2 = number of Briquets for 350 degree. Divide that by two and put two more on the bottom and two less on top.

Also, when you're learning your oven, load it with briquettes (caverdan's ratio is a good one), get it hot, then lift the lid and stick your hand inside. Count backwards 550-500-450-400-35 *ouch*. When you say "Ouch", that is the temperature.



Aluminum dutch ovens also cook hotter than cast iron dutch ovens.


Add briquets to top and bottom of oven and wait until you can smell it before you lift the lid. (Each time you lift the lid it will take longer to cook.) Check to see if it's done with a tooth pick.
The smell test is key. You should be sitting around drinking cocktails and eating, your tastebuds and nose will let you know!


I really like brownie mix. Stupid simple. Mix-oil-eggs-water-cook.
Everyone likes hot brownies.

Also, cobbler or crisp. Mix oatmeal, flour, brown sugar at home in a ziploc. In camp, melt butter in the DO, dump half your mix on the bottom and spread it in the melted butter. Then dump in a can of pie filling (or fruit + sugar + corn starch) and then cover it with the other half of the dry mix. Then spread pats of butter on top of that.


Monkey brains are a good one for car camping or at home, but I think they'd be pretty messy on the river.
https://www.jocooks.com/course/desserts-2/monkey-brains/




And bread. Ever bake bread in a dutch oven? It's amazing. it bakes in a wet/steam environment and makes the crust amazingly chewy.
 

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Do keep your focus on simple. The river is not the place for desserts that take extensive prep or long cook times.

People will be hungry from being in all the fresh air--and drinking--and something quick, sweet and hot will be awesome.

A dish that might be seen as "boring" or people will pass up due to calories at home...will be devoured with no crumbs left in camp.
 

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I use a charcoal chart, they are online everywhere if you need one. I place more charcoal on top than bottom, just the opposite of caverdan. If your baking biscuits, Cakes, cookies and can use a elevated cake pan inside the DO, it will keep you from burning the bottom,better heat circulation and easier clean up. Always pre-heat the lid also. I lift and rotate the oven 180 degrees at least once and after rotating the entire oven than I rotate the lid at back the same 180 degrees everything will bake more even if the charcoal is not evenly placed under and on top or if the wind is blowing a little. Cowboy Kent's videos Are a great place to learn from. Using DO aluminum foil liners for pre assembled and frozen meals like lasagna makes it much easier and if they start to thaw a little in the cooler not a messy problem.
Now for a recipe.
Lasagna
Serves 6-8
Meat Prep:
1 lbs cooked hamburger and 1/2 lb Italian sausage slightly browned and drained
1 28oz. can of Cento San Marzano peeled tomatoes or two 14.5oz cans of stewed tomatoes, either crushed by hand
1 12oz. can of Huntes tomato paste
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp basil flakes
simmer on low until tomatoes cook down and thicken with the meat
Cottage cheese prep: (while doing meat)
24ozs. cottage cheese
3 eggs
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
mix together
Cook 8 lasagna noodles until 1/2 cooked (flex-able, not soft)
In DO liner (in a 9" x 12" pan if cooking at home)
Place a layer of noodles, trimmed to fit 3 or 4
2/5 to 1/2 of cottage cheese
A layer of shredded cheddar cheese, about 4ozs
A layer of shredded mozzarella cheese about 4ozs
A Layer of meat
Repeat the layers
Cover and freeze for later (if cooking in conventional oven bake uncovered)
Thaw as best possible on the river, than cook at 350 degrees F, for 50 if thawed to 90 minutes if frozen or until done. It depends on how hard it is still frozen
Let sit for 10-15 minutes uncovered before serving while you make toasted garlic bread on the griddle (one stick of melted butter and one teaspoon of garlic salt). Mix well and brush on liberally
 

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Make your pineapple upside down cake look pretty, it tastes better.
Cook did not rotate DO to even out heat as you can see.

Below is a chocolate upside down cake recipe

Chocolate Upside Down the River Cake

Cake:
I cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2/3 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) in as zip lock bag. Mix with 1/2 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanillia, 1 Tablespoon veggie oil. You can substitute 1/4 cup powdered milk and 1/2 cup water. Pour in 9 inch round greased cake pan.

Frosting:
1/2 cup brown sugar,1/2 cup white sugar and 4 tablespoons of cocoa mixed in a zip lock. Sprinkle over cake batter. Pour one and one quarter cups of boiling water gently on top (do not stir).

Pre heat DO and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350

While it is still hot, place a platter over the cake, quickly and carefully invert the cake. Scrape out any topping remaining in the pan and spread it over the inverted cake.

Serve warm, whipped cream optional.
 

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You get that with the right amount of briquets on the top and bottom of the oven. The formula I use is size of oven times 2 for the amount of briquets that is needed to reach 350. So a 12" oven takes 24 briquets to achieve that temperature. To make it hotter or colder you add or subtract 2 briquets per 25 degrees. You put two more briquets on the bottom than the top to get it to cook evenly. So a 12" oven would get 14 briquets on the bottom and 10 on the top. I use a 10" dutch oven to make a cake in so I cook with 20 briquets for an oven temperature of 350 degrees or 12 briquets on the bottom and 8 on top. So here is the formula for briquets one more time. Size of oven x 2 = number of Briquets for 350 degree. Divide that by two and put two more on the bottom and two less on top.
You've got the ratio backwards. You put more on top than on the bottom...about 2/3 of the briquettes go on top. My 10" DO is the deep version, and I put an extra 2-4 on top, beyond the ~2/3. Otherwise, cakes and breads burn on the bottom long before they're done. The 2 quart, 8" isn't as picky, but I still put a little more on top. Deep ones need extra on top, beyond what the chart shows.



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Bighorn's post is seconded by me.

My go to DO's are GSI 12's. Reason is on raft trips these hard anodized aluminum units can be washed with the regular dishes and lighter weight. Lodge cast iron I think is great for car camping but require more care than GSI's. Lodge is the best for biscuit and corn bread I think because they heat up and distribute heat better than aluminum. On the other hand, whatever DO material or design a person has or likes can work well on cooking good food. The key success factor is the cook's ability.

Charcoal count for me on my GSI 12's is Total ignited 30 with 8 on the bottom and I just ring the top with the rest. This is loosely based on Dinwiddie Ring Method but based on experience I might add or delete more on the top. Rare to add more on the bottom.

If wind is blowing, cold weather or for biscuits, I double ring the top.

I do the smell test, that is if you start smelling the product, you are close to finishing.
Depending on the recipe, weather and my guesses, I check after a while if no smell test add more charcoals.

Every time you open the lid, heat is lost big time. I try not to over do looking.

If baking, rotation of the lid and bottom can prevent hot spots.

Dutch Oven cooking number of coals is more or an art than science. The way to find out what works for you is start out with what ever base amount of charcoals the Lodge Chart shows for cast iron. Cook the same food, say cobbler again and maybe add or delete a few more charcoals on top.

Nothing is cast in stone on charcoal count. I keep the bottom count pretty low and just load up the top depending on cold, wind, rain etc. to get top browning. Cee Dub taught me that it is easier to correct by adding more charcoals than to fix starting out with way to much heat (especially on the bottom). If possible go to a Cee Dub DO weekend clinic. Highly recommended. As a DO newbie, I did cut the bottom out of several cakes due to burning, but the top part of the cake was very good.

I have both GSI and Lodge DO's. Aluminum and Cast Iron cook differently but the Lodge Chart is a good place to start for both. As mentioned I think the best way to get charcoal count guessed right is experience with your DO's.

My experience with DO cooking no matter what mistakes a person makes, the DO will work pretty good. The more you cook dutch ovens the better you will be. The better you are at DO work, the more river invites you will get.
 

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You've got the ratio backwards. You put more on top than on the bottom...about 2/3 of the briquettes go on top. My 10" DO is the deep version, and I put an extra 2-4 on top, beyond the ~2/3. Otherwise, cakes and breads burn on the bottom long before they're done. The 2 quart, 8" isn't as picky, but I still put a little more on top. Deep ones need extra on top, beyond what the chart shows.



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I have to agree with KipG.

12 inch GSI aluminum,16 on top, 8 on the bottom gives you about 350º

Don't lift the lid until you can smell whatever it is you are cooking.

I got this recipe out of a river runner's cookbook. I can't remember her name.

It takes more like 60 minutes to cook. I normally cheap on the frosting and just use store bought Cream Cheese frosting.
2 teaspoons of cinnamon is not enough for me. I go with more like 2 tbsp

The best carrot cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups grated carrots
1 can (8ounces) crushed pineapple drain and save juice
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans toasted if desired

1: Line a 12” Dutch oven with parchment

2: In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts. Pour batter into pan.

3: Bake in Dutch oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or in 350F conventional oven for 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool and frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

Combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat again until smooth.


This cake is always a winner.
 

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Lots of great recipes above. When I'm cooking in the desert, I generally like to make things I can eat without having to grind my teeth together due to the grit that often gets into food in the desert. So really soft stuff works best for me...
 

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okieboater built this elevated pan to catch the ash, get off ground, cut down on the effects of a breeze. Yes he can cook, biscuits perfectly browned on the top and bottom which screams for sausage gravy in the morning;)
 

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My go to is Lasagna. You basically make it like you do at home... just make layers of sauce (preferably meat sauce), ricotta cheese (none of that cottage cheese for this guy), no boil lasagna noodles and to make it "healthy" some spinach or other veggies (Zuchini or finely chopped Broccoli work great...I've done carrots and bell peppers too). A layer of mozzeralla cheese on top of it all...and then do a 8-12 charcoal underneath and ring of briquettes around the rim of the DO plus 4 or so in the center. Cool it till its bubbly and nice and the cheese is a bit crispy on top... ~45 minutes.

I've actually found that if you are making a cake or brownies...that partially used briquettes work great. Nice to do a on grillables night, since there are plenty to choose from. Basically, knocking the ashe off of them first, cover the entire top in half used charcoal pieces and the same underneath...and it will gently cook the brownies. Its kind of easy to burn baked goods, and the gentle heat the half used charcoal imparts seems to keep that from happening. I got lazy and didn't want to use new charcoal one day when I made brownies...and I made PERFECT fudgey brownies that didn't stick or burn on.

I do the smell test too... for me...its the second time you smell them that they are done. It'll probably come ~5-10 minutes after the first wiff. Basically, if you are smelling them...the steam inside broke the seal of the top enough to let it out. The second time seems to always correlate with doneness for me.
 

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I'm dying of boredom which beats the possible alternative, but since I am not allowed out and do not want to risk getting sick anyway a week before the rivers reopen hint, hint. Here is a pretty good corn bread recipe (you need cooler space for butter/eggs only).

DO Corn bread
Pack dry ingredients together in a over sized zip lock bag. Combine eggs, warm milk, honey and melted butter.
Stir together the wet and dry ingredients lightly in the zip lock bag. Pour into well-greased 9" round pan.
Bake @ 425°F for 20-25 minutes until it smells great and is golden brown.

1 cup flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 1⁄4 cup honey, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1⁄4 cup butter.
If carrying milk is a problem I substitute 1/2 cup powdered milk and hot water.

For fun you can put one slice of red/yellow/green peppers in bottom of cake pan and use the leftovers in salads. Jalapenos are fun:twisted:eek:r a small drained can of corn.
 

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Get any cake mix and use a can of soda for the wet ingredients. Mix and cook.

My personal favorite is like a french vanilla cake mix with a orange soda. Turns it into like an orange dreamsicle cake. Root beer with chocolate, coke with chocolate, etc etc etc. Go nuts, super easy and it works 100% of the time. Google it, its a common thing someplaces.

Lasagna is always good and I thought was pretty easy. I think OARS has a youtube video on it that I used when I was teaching myself. There are so many good ones from people on here its honestly your best resource.
 

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I'll bite. Firstly, I laughed at my friend's Dutch voodoo and invented my own. I turn really frequently and will lift the lid to peek, also totally agree on the sniff test.
I like to mix up dry goods ahead of time so I can make real, not from a box brownie, gingerbread (my fav dessert) etc. Just add oil, eggs etc. For crumble or crisp I will rub in the butter at home and store the bagged mix in the cooler. I prefer fresh fruit if possible; apples are super easy to store or late season Salmon R apricots are the best. I just prefer to steer clear of canned and packaged stuff but I still keep it simple and prep is quick, besides my group always want to help who ever is cooking so it gives someone a job to do.

River pizza is the bizz but not for a group, you just can't make enough quickly. I carry my small Dutch in my sea kayak, it just fits through my back hatch. My husband laughs and rolls his eyes until we are eating fresh scones for breakfast and pizza for dinner on some NW island beach.

Seriously, I laughed at the whole Dutch thing for years (decades) as it did not fit my back packing mentality then hubby bought us (me) a small one...... so an evangelizing convert!!
 

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You've got the ratio backwards. You put more on top than on the bottom...about 2/3 of the briquettes go on top.
Your right...I do have it backwards.....more coals on top than bottom.....I blaming it on posting first thing in the morning before coffee. :mrgreen:
 
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