Review: Woody's Dutch Oven -- light, compact
November 21, 2014
Dutch ovens are huge, heavy, cumbersome cooking tools that people love and have in their families for generations.
How do they fit in with canoeing and backpacking? ...Not very well. They weigh 15 pounds! They're round and take up a lot of space.
Well, outdoor guide pal Michael Gray and a friend revived a nifty old Dutch Oven that actually worked for canoers. But it had gone out of production. Michael and his friend designed an improved version.
Woody Woodruff had made the original for Scouts and other lovers of outdoor cooking who needed to carry their own wares. And he made it out of aluminum, not cast iron. And he gave it a square shape with nesting top and bottom. It weighs half as much as iron, and it travels easily.
Michael had long loved the one he used every day in his guiding service, but it was rare, collectible, and folks who wanted one couldn't get one. He's a renowned outdoor chef who publishes the best book on outdoor cooking, which I have retailed here.
So those two guys revived the Woody, and improved it along the way -- making it fit into kayak hatches and sit easily on a backpacking stove! It's cast entirely in Michigan, as are its tongs for lifting the pieces when hot.
You can do a lot with these ovens! They can bake and they can fry. They can be one oven or two pans.
They love being used on campfire coals. They absorb and distribute the heat like nuthin' else.
Now, they are pricey, but they will never wear out. And they still weigh a fair bit, so you'll want to be a paddler and let the water carry them for the most part. But they're the only way you can get a quality baking oven into the woods! (Paddlers like to eat and their boats let them haul things that packers can't.)
I used mine last week, which prompted this write-up. I was burning brush in the yard then having a potluck, weenie roast. Well, why not bake in the coals as well? So we tossed sliced apples and oatmeal, brown sugar, etc., into the Woody, and put the lid on, sat it in coals and shoveled more on top. 20 minutes later: wonderful dutch apple crisp! It didn't even get scorched and just scraped clean.
Order here: woodydutchoven.com
Time to eat!
Apple crisp: perfect! ...the Woody way. Dig in! (Lid with coals on it off to side.)