Camp Cooking the Easy Way - in Ground Roast




Posted in OutsideCamping

Introduction: Camp Cooking the Easy Way - in Ground Roast

About: Retired after 40 years as a photojournalist working at 8 different newspapers. Now freelance photographer and fine arts landscape photographer ( Love the outdoors and camping. Married ...

Camping is fun, exhilarating, and the activities can be exhausting. Spend the day in the woods hunting, on the river fly fishing or kayaking your favorite river or estuary and you will arrive back at camp ready to eat and STILL have to fix it yourself or wait for someone else to do it. This is a way to be eating within 10 minutes of getting back to camp and just needs a little time in the morning to prepare and all day to cook.

Step 1: Prep Work Makes the Going Easy

One small bag of new potatoes
Two onions - 1 chopped - 1 quartered (also some small pealed but uncut onions are great too)
One small bag of baby carrots
usually use one small bag of celery
3 tablespoons of garlic
1 - 4 lbs chuck roast
spices as desired

Step 2: Sear the Roast - Important!!

Put the Dutch oven on the fire and get it super hot
Sear the 4 lbs chuck roast on all sides

Step 3: Finished Searing

After you sear all sides, put the roast aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Step 4: Saute the Onions and Garlic

Sauté the chopped onion and just as they are turning translucent add 3-4 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic and sauté for only a few minutes. This smells great and everyone from 3 campgrounds around will be ready to eat with you at this point.

Step 5: Put It All Together

Put the 4 lbs roast on top of the onions. Add new potatoes, carrots, quartered onions, celery (forgot mine this time - but see tip later)

Step 6: Spices Make the Meal

Season to taste - this is what I used this time. I usually just use my nose and add things that smell like they would work together well.
TIP - for forgotten celery - I used celery seeds to make up for my missing vegetable.
After spicing - Pour one 12 oz can of beef (or chicken) broth over everything.

Step 7: Time to Go Into the Ground

Dig hold deep enough to fit the entire pot and your coals, but make the sides close (as in picture). The depth of the hole will need to be 6-9 inches deeper than your Dutch oven to accommodate the coals from the fire or charcoal brickettes. One more word about cooking with a dutch oven. Not all dutch ovens are created equal. You need a dutch over with 3 short feet on the bottom AND a lip around the lid that will hold the coals in place. (also I love Lodge cast iron!!)

Step 8: Coals on Top AND Bottom

There is a layer of coals under the Dutch oven and a similar bed of coals on top of the oven (note how the lip holds them in place). You are now ready to bury it. WARNING: Do not cover more than 1 inch with loose dirt. The coals will go out and you can recover them ... but if you cover too deeply or pack the dirt down,  you can kill the fire before it finishes cooking (I learned the hard way).

Step 9: 5 Hours Later and Almost Ready to Eat

5 hours later it is ready to come out of the ground. Sweep the coals and dirt off the lid. Note: coals in background are from the top and they were dead out - but roast was perfect.

Step 10: Clean Clean and Clean Again

Make sure you have the lid and outside rim perfectly clean - you do not want the dirt and grit in the pot!!

Step 11: Yum

Voila,cooked to perfection while we rode rafts down the Hiawassee River in Tennessee.

Step 12: Let's Eat!!

Nothing beats coming back into camp from hunting, fishing or canoeing and having supper ready to eat. No cooking and an easy clean up. Good, well seasoned cast iron Dutch oven just needed to be wiped out and then it was ready to cook the peach cobbler that we had for dessert.



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    Could you put a layer of aluminun foil over the top of the dutch oven to keep the dirt and coals out of the pot.?Or over the top of the dutch oven before you put on the lid? Or both? Your recipe looks delious and your photos are beautiful. Do you have an ible for the peach cobbler?

    1 reply

    I guess you could do that with aluminum foil ... but if you are careful you wont get ashes in you meal. For the best and easiest peach cobbler I have had - especially camping, just click on this: cobbler.

    Good eating! walt

    Loved your recipe. BTW, I am fortunate to live only a few miles from the Lodge Plant in South Pittsburg, TN. I have so much of their cast iron cookware it is ridicilous. I wouldn't take anything for it.

    1 reply

    Barry, I have lived in and around Chattanooga for over 30 years and like you I have an indecent amount of cast iron cook ware. Most of it is for camping, but 2 dutch ovens, a couple of frying pans and a griddle at the house. Love the Lodge Store in So Pittsburg!

    Man - you've inspired me to go buy a camping dutch oven! I remember having one as a kid in the boy scouts - your recipe is going to be my first re-visit!

    1 reply

    Thanks Mike, I hope you enjoy it half as much as we do. Usually our campsite looks like an ad for a cast iron cookware company.

    Aren't you afraid a bear will eat your meal before you return?

    Terrific! I've got a sudden urge to try it out in my slow cooker at home right now... =)

    We have always started a fire in the hole to cook breakfast on first. Then used those coals and the accumulated heat to cook lunch/dinner. Just drop in the Dutch oven and cover with dirt before you leave for fishing.

    Since you will already have your Dutch oven with you to make the roast ... take a look at the easy Dutch Over Peach Cobbler I just posted.

    I can smell the deliciousness all the way to Idaho! Good job!!!

    Love your presentation! Thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    Thanks - Coming this weekend. No mess, easy clean-up and delicious Peach Cobbler cooked in a dutch oven.

    I know I have a have a knife in the picture where I am eating, but the truth is I could cut it with a fork. Just remember if something goes wrong (only once for me in 20 roasts). You can finish cookIng over the fire or with brIckettes.

    This is great, I might have to try this next time we take the family camping! That roast looks REALLY good. If the taste was as good as the visuals then that must have been one heck of a roast to eat!

    Great job!

    Now i'm hungry so i'm going to go find a

    Thanks for the invite!!

    Also, If you leave your bread dough overnight to prove in a pre-warmed dutch oven it will be ready to bake for a fresh breakfast. Careful - if you get the oven too hot either your yeast will die or your dough will over prove ane push the lid off your oven.
    I have made MANY loaves this way in the outback and the warm bread for breakfast is awesome.

    p.s. The lid of a dutch oven makes a great fryan

    p.p.s. That roast does look awesome I think I'll try it next time I'm camping with the family.