Dave Landers

Dave’s thoughts (such as they are)

Dutch Oven Cooking for 100

Last weekend, I was able to cook for our Order of the Arrow Lodge’s Fall Ordeal weekend. This is a weekend where we do service for the scout camp, and induct new members who have been elected by their troops.

We had about 100 scouts to feed – 3 meals on Saturday plus Breakfast on Sunday.

The kicker is that we were at the Cub camp (Camp Nicol), which doesn’t have a kitchen. The main dining hall is over at one of the Boy Scout camps. During summer camp, they shuttle meals from there to the cup camp. Our weekends are usually held near the main dining hall (I got to cook there last fall). But it was closed for some water treatment work, and the Cub camp needed our service.

There is a nice dining area, and a prep kitchen, so we had refrigerators, freezers, a warming oven, and a nice big 3-bay sink for washing up. And there is a big covered patio out back. So we brought up our stoves, a big 4′ griddle, and a bunch of Dutch Ovens (to add to those we borrowed from the camp), and mostly cooked outside on the patio.

Friday night, everyone else brought a sack dinner, but being the cooks, we made chicken fajitas and a peach pie for ourselves. Then, we got busy baking 6 of Lawrence’s famous Tropical Carrot Cakes so they could cool and get frosted for Sat dinner. We had 6 of our 14″ Dutch Ovens going and burned up about 20# of charcoal. The aroma of those cakes drove everyone crazy, especially when we brought them into the dining area to cool!

Lawrence and Ellen mixing up the cake The cakes are cooking
Saturday morning was easy – pancakes and bacon for breakfast, then grilled ham and cheese with chicken noodle soup for lunch.

For dinner, we filled 20 12″ Dutch Ovens and used up another 20 or 30# of charcoal. We did “Trail Driver’s Goulash” (a recipe from this year’s summer camp cookbook). It was a pretty basic recipe, but went over pretty well.

The dish is 2# hamburger, browned with a large onion and 3 stalks of celery, chopped. In the Dutch, mix that with 2 cans tomato soup, 2 cans water, 2 cans of beans, and about 16oz cooked pasta (we used penne). A tablespoon or so of chili powder, some salt and pepper and it’s ready to cook for about 45 or 50 minutes. Cover with shredded cheese and let it melt and you’re done.
So it’s an easy dish, but multiply that by 20, and put it in heavy cast iron pots and we had some work to do.
Ready to fill em up 20 Dutch Ovens cooking dinner The "Cast Iron Chefs": Lawrence, Tim, Ken, Ellen, and me (not shown)

We stacked the ovens 3-high, and rotated them 3 or 4 times over the hour it cooked. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew grilled up a pile of garlic bread and mixed up a salad, etc.

It was a fun weekend and the meals worked out well. And we proved that we can cook for 100 just as well as we can cook for 10 on a campout.

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