Friday, December 7, 2007

Dutch Oven Pizza in the Rain!

Normally, I cook on Sundays. But on Fridays, I come home from work early. And on this particular Friday, I was kinda hankering to cook something on the back porch in the dutch ovens. As I drove home, I was a little bit deterred by the drops of rain on my windshield, and the “wikk, wikk, wikk” of my wipers. But I decided to go for it anyway.

I didn’t want to do anything complex, or fancy this time. I decided on pizza. It had been a really long time since I’d last done that. In fact, as I recall it was another rainy day, I believe, last March or so when I did it. Jodi’s not a big fan of pizza, so whenever I suggest it, she comes up with other ideas. But she’s working late tonight.

So, I stopped off and bought some supplies. Pepperoni, canadian bacon, mozzarella, olives…

The first thing I did, of course, was to mix up the crust so it would start to raise. Here’s the recipe I used: It’s actually the same one I posted a long time ago as “GIGO Pizza.” The fundamental concept of that recipe still holds true.

Dutch Oven Gigo Pizza

2x 12” dutch ovens
8 coals below
16 coals above

(In this case, because of the rain, I did the coals differently)

The Crust

  • 1 ½ c. warm water
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ~4 c. Flour

I started by putting the yeast in some of the warm water to let it foam up. My experience has shown me that things tend to raise very slowly or poorly in my house (could be the altitude), so I do a little sprinkle extra of yeast.

Mix the other ingredients in a bowl, add the water and the yeast, and knead it into a ball. I also put in a little extra sugar to help the extra yeast along. Use the last bit of flour to adjust the smoothness of the dough. Not too dry, not to sticky. You might not use exactly 4 cups. I sprayd the bowl with cooking spray, put the dough ball in it, and then sprayed the top of the dough.

I set that aside to raise.

After about a half hour to 45 minutes of twiddling my thumbs and watching lame TV on the Disney Channel (my kids are home), I went outside and lit up about 50 coals or so. At that moment, it wasn’t raining, so I was doing OK. Once the coals were glowing, I scattered them into to groups and put two 12” dutch ovens on. I split a pound of mild Italian sausage between the two ovens, and let that start to brown. Pretty soon it was drizzling, so I put lids on the ovens.

In the meantime, I mixed up the sauce.

  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp celery salt
  • 1 Tbsp oregano (maybe a little more)

Actually, those amounts on the spices are estimates. Just go until it smells rich!

My timing was good. Just about the time that the sausage was browned, the dough had risen enough. I brought the dutch ovens inside and pulled the sausage out. In the bottom of each oven, now well greased from the sausage, I added some minced garlic (about a tablespoon), a bit of butter (about a tablespoon), and some generous shakings of celery salt.

I took the now-raised ball of dough, split it in half, and formed one half into the pizza flat. That went into the bottom of one dutch oven. The other half of the dough did the other dutch oven.

Onto that went the sauce and a thin layer of cheeses. I had bought one of those shredded Italian cheese blends, with mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, and romano. Mmmmmm….

Then, I piled on the food! The sausage, the Canadian bacon, the pepperoni, fresh sliced onions, olives! And finally, the whole thing gets layered under a pretty thick blanket of the cheeses. I was doing this all as fast as I could, since the coals were outside getting rained on.

So, I took the ovens back outside. I have this big round metal hood that’s designed to shelter dutch ovens, and so I decided to use it. I put about 12 coals in a circle, and put an oven on top of that. Then, I put about 14 coals on top of that oven. I stacked the second oven on top, and put about 14 coals on top of that one. Then the whole thing went under the hood.

After about 15 minutes, I unstacked them, turned them, and restacked them to distribute the heat more evenly. It was raining pretty steadily, but not heavily the whole time. Finally, after about 35 minutes, it was done! ...And it was snowing!

Dang yummy pizza, and very filling! There’ll be leftovers for lunches!


  1. Funny, we had dutch oven pizza at an OA activity on Friday night -- three ovens worth. The scouts really got into it, and piled the toppings on much higher than any commercial pizza I've ever seen.

    In the end, it was so good that I did another round on Sunday for my family to enjoy.

  2. Wow, Mark,

    Dutchin' in the rain... I already winterized my black pot. You are an inspiration to us all!



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