Dutch Oven Workshop 2016




          A Dutch Oven cooking workshop is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, in conjunction with the 22nd annual Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.  The workshop will be presented by members of the Ozarks Dutch Oven Cooking group, and will be located at the Cooking Stage in the Brush Arbor on the West Plains Civic Center’s west lawn.  All are invited to attend and learn how to cook in Dutch ovens.  This will be a great opportunity to become more familiar with Dutch ovens and learn from some masters in the art. 


                Teaching techniques and promoting the use of cast iron camp Dutch ovens was the reason for the Ozarks Dutch Oven Cooking group formation in 2012.  Founders Dennis Slane and Barry Trimmel wanted to provide the opportunity for people to learn how to cook in Dutch ovens, share in cooking experiences, and share recipes.  Dutch Oven Group meetings (DOGs) allow members and anyone interested in Dutch oven style cooking to assemble and practice and share their culinary skills.  Meetings occur every 2 months or so.  “With the groups Facebook page (Ozarks Dutch Oven Group) and an active email list of 145 different households, we have a good amount of involvement and attendance at DOGs in the Ozarks area,” says founder Dennis Slane. 


No dues are collected or charged to attend events.  Everyone that comes brings what they wish to cook and all dishes are shared pot-luck style.  Typically they have 2 to 3 large banquet tables filled with all types of culinary delights all prepared in camp style Dutch ovens on-site.  The group is often asked to present classes and hands-on how to lessons to other groups such as Boy Scout and Girl Scouts troops, conservation groups, and at planned outdoor events.  Several members compete in Dutch Oven Cooking Competitions in neighboring states from Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, and right here in Missouri.  3-Pot competitions include a main entrée, yeast raised bread, and dessert fixed on-site timed, and judged by culinary experts.  “Seeing the look on folks faces when they see gourmet foods prepared outdoors in Dutch ovens never gets old.  We enjoy opening people’s eyes to the potential they have in their cast iron pots.  It’s not just about stews or chili,” Slane says.


The workshop will be led by Dennis Slane, co-Founder of the Ozarks Dutch Oven Cooking Group.  Slane began actively preparing foods in cast iron Camp Dutch Ovens in 1996 as part of Boy Scout Adult Leader Training, and began teaching basic Dutch oven cooking skills classes as outreach with the Federation of Fly-Fishers – Southern Council for groups in 5 surrounding states.  In 2011 after attending a competitive Dutch Oven cooking competition in Wichita, Kansas he co-founded the Ozarks Dutch Oven Group with Barry Trimmel. Dennis has continued to host Dutch Oven Gatherings (DOGs) and competed in competitive cook-offs and enjoyed having successes and passing on techniques and skills to those interested in learning the cast iron cooking methods.  In 2014 he formed the first State of Missouri Dutch Oven Cook-Off in Sarcoxie, MO and did so again in 2015 with both adult and youth teams attending.


The term Dutch oven generally refers to a cast iron pot or kettle with a flat bottom and three legs that hold the oven above a fire’s hot coals.  The kettle also features flat sides and a flat, flanged lid to hold the hot coals placed on top. The versatile, portable cooking tool has been used for more than 300 years, and became the cooking tool of choice in places as far removed as the American West and the South African coast, organizers pointed out.  George Washington’s mother bequeathed several of them among her iron kitchen furniture to her heirs.  Native Americans also were captivated by the ability of the pot to cook food literally inside the fire, organizers said. In the Ozarks, the Dutch oven became a mark of civilized living and lifted the chore of providing meals for a family from drudgery to art. 

Here are some photos from last year’s workshop and cook-off.

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