Saturday, September 26, 2015

Simple Dutch Oven Roast Chicken

Roasting a chicken in a Dutch oven is a very easy thing to do. It looks complex but it’s not. The end result is delicious and an easily feed a family, probably even with a little left over.

I did this a couple of weeks ago, and reminded myself how wonderful and impressive this is.

12” Deep Dutch oven
10-12 coals below
14-16 coals above

1 whole chicken (thawed, if you bought it frozen)

dried parsley
dried rosemary
dried sage
a touch of crushed red pepper

2-3 large potatoes
2-3 medium to large onions.

1 14 oz can green beans (optional)
1 14 oz can whole corn (optional)

First, I got the coals lit, and let them start to get white and hot. Then, I got the chicken ready.  I opened the package and let the chicken drain. I rinsed it off, then padded it dry with paper towels. poked the skin over the breast and the legs with holes so that the juices and flavors could penetrate the meat.

I sprinkled on the seasonings of the second set of ingredients, then drizzled on a little oil. I rubbed that over the surface of the chicken. I don’t list amounts here because I didn’t really pay attention to that as I was sprinkling them over the bird. Just be liberal. Except with the red pepper. Be more cautious there, if you don’t like heat.

If you’re the more precise type of chef, you could mix the spices as a blend first, tasting along the way, to get the exact blend you want.

Then, I cubed up the potatoes and the onions into 1” or 3/4” blocks and tossed them into the bottom of the Dutch oven. This will help flavor the dish, and lift the chicken up above the heat and the juices as it cooks. Plus, the potatoes and onions make great sides to add to your plates.

I put the dutch oven onto the coals, and started cooking. This is a fun kind of cooking, because I sit there and watch the coals burn. All the while, I can tell people, “Don’t bother me, I’m cooking.” Great times. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to stay with it, because you’re going to need to replenish the coals from time to time.

I cooked it for about 2 hours, total. I cooked it to an internal temperature of 175-180. In a traditional indoor oven, cooking it that long will usually dry it out. But in a Dutch oven, the juices are all trapped under the heavy lid. I cook it that long because then not only is the meat done and tender, but it also falls off the bone and the connecting tissue is broken down.

If you want some veggies as a side dish, the easiest way to do that is to drain a can of green beans and a can of corn, mix them together and pour it around the sides of the chicken when there’s only about 15-20 minutes left in the cooking.

An even better option would be to use fresh beans and fresh corn. If you do that, snap the beans, and shuck the corn. You could either cut the corn off the cob, or break the cobs into short lengths. If you use fresh veggies, add them when there’s 30-45 minutes left in the cook time.

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Dutch Oven Artichoke and Veggie Chicken

My wife and I recently got invited to attend an awards dinner. Unfortunately, we weren’t the ones receiving any awards. Oh, well. Someday, I’ll get to thank the Academy and all the little people that have helped me along the way...


But the dinner was great! It was this delicious chicken breast surrounded by veggies. It had a bit of citrus and acidic twang to it, too. So, I thought I’d give it a try in my Dutch ovens, along with some variations. These mostly come in the form of the various veggies you can add in, depending on what you’ve got.

I decided to serve it all on a bed of brown rice, which was also different from the formal dinner we attended.

12” Dutch oven
24+ coals below for searing stage
10-12 below for baking stage
24-26 above

8” Dutch oven
12+ coals below

6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (we buy them frozen in a bag). Make sure these are well-thawed.
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
Dried oregano
2-3 medium to large potatoes
1-2 medium to large onions

Vegetables to put on top
1 bottle or can (about 14oz) brined or pickled artichoke hearts
15-20 cherry tomatoes
2-3 stalks celery
2-3 carrots

1-2 lemons

2 cups brown rice
4 cups water
a cube of chicken bullion

The first step was to prepare the chicken, which I did while the coals and the Dutch oven were getting hot. I made sure that the chicken was well-thawed, and pat dry with paper towels. One problem with chicken breasts is that the middle is much thicker than the edges, so it’s a little more difficult to regulate the cooking. If I were to do this again, I would pound the chicken a little thinner with one of those meat tenderizer mallets. Not so flat like you do for a cordon bleu or some other kind of roll-up, but just so that it’s not so thick in the middle.  Then I drizzled on some oil, and rubbed in the spices and herbs, onto both sides.

I put a lot (a couple of dozen) of coals underneath my Dutch oven, and I let it get really hot with a little oil drizzled on the bottom.

Once it was hot, I set in 3-4 of the breasts and let them sear a little on each side. Then, I pulled those out, let the Dutch oven heat up again (you might even want to replenish the coals) , and I finished the remaining 3-4 breasts. They should have a little brown and the spice rub should be nicely cooked on. It’s OK if it’s not cooked all the way through, though. We’re going to bake it still.

Then, I set up the Dutch oven with the coals configured for baking (the second set of numbers above). I cubed up the potatoes into large chunks about 3/4” to 1” big. Then I cut up the onions into big 1/8th chunks. By that, I mean, I cut each onion in half, and then each half into quarters. All of these got tossed into the bottom of the Dutch oven and stirred up a bit, to coat with the oil.

On top of that, I layered the browned chicken breasts, and I arranged them so that they were overlapping as little as possible. I put on the lid and put on the coals for baking.

Then I started slicing up the other veggies. They should be sliced thin, on the bias, if possible, so that there isn’t much thickness and they can cook more quickly. I chopped and diced the artichoke hearts coarsely, just to make the bits a little smaller. I cut the cherry tomatoes in half once. Then, I scattered all of these over the chicken breasts. I poured the artichoke brine over the chicken as well, and, after zesting one of the lemons, added the zest and the juice of the lemons as well. I let that cook for about a half hour.

Making the rice is easy, too. I added the rice, the bouillon, salt, and the water to the Dutch oven and set it, with the lid on, on the coals specified. I watched for it to start venting steam out from the side of the lid, showing me that it was boiling. I gave it about another 10-12 minutes before removing it from the coals. Without lifting the lid, I just set it aside to cool down and to finish cooking. I let it go for quite a while, because brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. I had to resist the temptation to lift the lid and check it! I wanted the steam to stay in and cook the rice.

When it was all done, and time to serve, it smelled delicious, and looked great. I spread a bit of rice on the plate, then added the chicken breast and the veggies. I scooped a bit of potato and onion onto the plate, too, then drizzled some of the broth liquid from the bottom of the Dutch oven over the entire entree. It was a great meal!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dutch Oven Rubbed Roast

Last sunday, as I was contemplating what to cook, I got really tempted by a beef roast we had in the freezer. I wondered how to do it, and my wife suggested that I do the traditional onion soup mix braise. That got me thinking! I looked up the ingredients of the mix, and thought of my own ideas and came up with what would be my roast rub!

It turned out, sadly, that I was way low on veggies, so I ended up only adding in carrots, but it was still delicious and tender!

Dutch Oven Rubbed Roast

12” Dutch oven

20-24 coals below for browning/searing

12 coals below for roasting
12-14 coals above

4-6 lb beef roast

Rub (I don’t include amounts here, because I just sprinkled and scattered the ingredients over the top of the roast, then flipped it and did the same to the bottom)

Dried onion chips
Dried green and red pepper
garlic powder
chili powder
olive oil

Extra veggies in the pot (all optional)

1 cup baby carrots or 2 peeled and sliced carrots
2 - 3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 medium yellow onions, quartered or sliced
2-3 medium potatoes, cubed


1 heaping Tbsp flour
1/2 cup hot water
lemon juice

The first thing to remember is to start with a fully thawed roast. A couple of days in the fridge, or a few hours under cool water will do the trick. Once it was thawed, I put it on a plate, and sprinkled, grated, and/or tossed the rub ingredients onto it. I was pretty liberal with the garlic powder, the dried onions and peppers, and cautious with the chili powder (it’s homemade, and it’s got a big, bad kick). I drizzled on the olive oil, and rubbed it into the surface of the meat. Then, I flipped it over and did the same to the other side.

I let that sit, covered with plastic, on the counter while I got the coals and the Dutch oven ready. That allowed the seasonings to absorb more fully into the meat, especially the salt (which also tenderizes).

While that was getting more and more flavorful, I got some coals lit, and then put a lot of coals under my 12” with a bit of olive oil in the bottom. I let that sit and heat up.  A lot.

Finally, I could tell that it was really hot, and I put the meat on the bottom of the open Dutch oven. Immediately, it started sizzling, showing me that my waiting was worth it!

After a few minutes, I turned it over and I could see the sear on the meat and the blackening of the spice rub. The smell was wonderful!  By the way, searing the meat does not “seal in the juices”. It triggers what’s called “The Maillard Reaction”, browning the surface of the meat and giving it that sweet-ish tangy tones that we love so much!

Once the second side was seared, I re-arranged the coals for roasting (I also replenished a bit, since they were starting to diminish). Every 20-25 minutes or so, I would take coals from my chimney and replenish them under my Dutch oven and on the lid. Then, I’d add more fresh ones to the chimney to start. I think, in the end, I cooked it about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When I was about an hour away from serving, I started getting the veggies ready. In this case, that just involved checking the fridge to see what was available, and opening up a bag of baby carrots into the Dutch oven. If I’d had potatoes, onions, or anything else, I would have cut them up and added them to the Dutch oven, around the meat.

Finally, it was done. I brought it in and removed the meat and veggies to a serving plate. Then, I took the gravy ingredients and the Dutch oven back out to the coals. First, I dribbled in some lemon juice (maybe 2 Tbsp, maybe more), and used that acid with the heat to scrape up all of that yummy brown fond that the meat had left on the bottom. Then, I whisked together the water and the flour (so there are no clumps), and slowly whisked that into the liquid in the Dutch oven. It heated and boiled, and became a wonderful gravy.

The meat was tender and flavorful, the veggies were perfect, and the gravy livened them all up and tied them all together. It was a delicious meal.

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.


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