Shallow vs deep

Discussion in 'General Dutch Oven Information' started by jeremy5431, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. jeremy5431

    jeremy5431 Fire Starter

    Got a new lodge Dutch oven last week. The only one I could find was a Lodge 12 inch shallow. I plan on making biscuits, sloppy joes, baked beans, etc.

    Of course after I bought it, I read that I should have bought a deep model. I'm not going to have that many people to feed maybe 6 to 8. Will the shallow work or should I get a deep instead?

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  2. siege

    siege Smoke Blower

    To qualify my remarks....I own upwards of 40 dutch ovens, plus assorted cast iron skillets, muffin pans, chicken fryers, grills, griddles, etc, and have catered, and taught dutch oven cooking classes for over 30 years. I have had the pleasure of feeding a youth group consisting of 125 hungry teens and 12 adult leaders a sit down meal 15 miles from the nearest power outlet on a few occasions. I'm still learning every time I do dutch. I like cooking with other dutch oven cooks, and trading tips and recipes.

    First, please understand, dutch oven cooking is a sickness. You didn't just get a dutch oven, you got your FIRST dutch oven.

    To answer your question, the standard, or shallow model is the best for biscuits,( and cobblers ) because the radiant top heat can reach the tops of your biscuits before the bottoms ( contact heat ) get too done. I put 2/3 of my coals on the top, 1/3 on the bottom when baking. As soon as the bottoms have just started to brown, I take the dutch off the bottom heat, and put the coals from underneath on top with the other coals.

    For food you would cook on top of the stove, like soups, stews and beans, it's almost all bottom heat and the depth does not matter as much. A 12" standard dutch oven is a great way to get started and you will get a lot of use out of it. For casserole type dishes, the heat distribution is about half and half, just like baking in the oven at hone. When you are ready to start doing roasts, and loaves of Basque sheepherders bread, or even doing a prime rib, you will probably move up to a 14" deep dutch. Eventually, you will find yourself stacking the ovens, and making 3 or 4 course meals.
    Dutch oven chicken, spuds and onions, and a blueberry cobbler for dessert are staples for river bank meals, or boy scout camp outs. Tender Swiss steaks from beef or elk, smothered in cream gravy, and served with sourdough biscuits make a memorable dinner, served with a chilled lettuce salad and sweet corn that is roasted in the husks on the coals beside a dutch oven.

    Don't say I didn't warn you.....take your time, and enjoy the journey. There is a lot of very good eating ahead. If you need directions on some particular dish, or anything else,there are lots of experienced folks willing to answer your question here on the forum, or please feel free to PM me.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
    smokinal and fatboycoalition like this.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Points for a great answer siege!

  4. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have a couple Lodge 12 camp ovens that I have used for years. They hold 4 1/2 qts. This spring I bought a new Lodge 12 that is 5qt. It is deeper and I bought it for roasting large chickens. I read that it is an old pattern that Lodge has not made for a while and recently they made some. The shallower model works great for most things I cook but the cover is touches the tops of the chickens. It eventually will push the chickens down but the chickens don't brown like I want them. I haven't used the deep model yet but I'm looking forward to trying it.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For a starter you'll be fine with the shallow. As mentioned it's great for baked goods. Then when you're ready grab a deeper oven. You can't just have one you know!

    When you feel really brave get yourself a discada to complete your outdoor kitchen!
  6. siege

    siege Smoke Blower

    Woodcutter, you might try cutting the backbone out, turning the bird over, pressing down with the heel of your hand, and breaking the breastbone, but leaving it intact, like when you spatchcock a chicken for the grill. Then you can press your whole birds down a little lower in the pot. Breaking the leg and wing joints will also help get the chicken to conform to the shape of the pot better. The presentation will still be great, and it will cook a little faster.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016

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