When it comes to food preparation, cast iron skillets do wonders, but after spending my fair share of time with a cast iron skillet I’ve come to realize two probelms: one, they weigh a metric ton and require a measured degree of maintenance. The solution to my problem? A GSI Hard Anodized Aluminum Dutch Oven.
Unlike products made of cast iron, the Hard Anodized Aluminum Dutch Oven proved to be a dream. The 10″ oven weighs in at about 6 lbs (the cast iron version weighs 14 lbs), which makes it suitable for camping and potentially even backpacking. Also the aluminum is far easier to clean, and you can actually use soap.
For my Dutch Oven cooking debut I went with a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Yes, you probably expected a test with meat, but we here at Gear Patrol like to try the path less taken. I began by firing up 20 or so briquettes in my BBQ. After all, it’s best to test out any gear before hitting the trail.
Allowing the coals to burn and I headed to the kitchen to prep my cookies – a relatively simple recipe with the basic ingredients (butter, sugar, flour, etc.) you’d find for any cookies. Once mixed, and several globs of dough place at the bottom of the Dutch Oven, I headed out to my BBQ and set the oven on a bed of coals making sure to place a few more on the lid.
12 minutes later, I discovered my small globs had morphed into one giant cookie with an ever so slight char. The top quite tasty, and the bottom… well, not so much. But you shouldn’t let my lack of baking skills sway you (timing and flour were my mistakes), the Hard Anodized Dutch Oven is in fact an excellent cooking product as subsequent cooking sessions yielded not only tasty cookies, but succulent savories as well. The possibilities of dishes that can be made with a Dutch Oven are endless (seriously just Google “Dutch Oven Recipes“. Better yet, the ease of cleaning and lightweight construction have turned me on to a life beyond cast iron skillets. I’d suggest you give it a shot.