Wednesday, May 21, 2014


By Cliff Jacobson
Woody Dutch oven
When I was a Boy Scout in the 1950’s, Dutch oven cooking was big. Our troop had two well-seasoned cast iron ovens that probably weighed 20 pounds each.  Those babies were heavy but they sure did produce great meals.  Mostly, we base-camped and day hiked out from there so the weight wasn’t an issue.  Except when we were on the move, we relied largely on the Dutch ovens for our meals.  From soups and stews to biscuits and apple pie—our Dutch ovens did it all. But oh how we wished for a model that was more portable.
Oven closed. Note the pot-lifer holes on top of the cover.. Woody makes a nice cast aluminum pot-lifer that fits the holes perfectly..

Cast aluminum Dutch ovens began to appear around 1960. They were modeled after their cast iron cousins—meaning they were round, had long legs to stand above the smoldering fire and a deep dish lid to contain hot coals. Space is tight around an open fire and these ovens weren’t very stackable. But everything changed in the early 1970’s when Woody Woodruff designed a rectangular, stackable cast-aluminum model that weighed just 7 pounds. The “Woody Dutch oven” became popular overnight and remained so long after it went out of production in the 1990’s. 
The Boy Scouts especially loved the oven and for many years it was sold in their catalog along with Woody’s popular book, “Cooking The Dutch Oven Way”, which was released in 1977 (a newer version of that book is now available). I had an early model Woody and liked it enough to recommend it in the first edition of my book, “Basic Eseentials of Cooking in the Outdoors (1989)”. I’m pleased to say it’s now back again!
Oven open
Recently, a new company has brought the Woody Dutch oven back to life. Here’s what makes the new “Woody” so unique:
Both halves stacked for easy packing
1.    It has attachable legs on the bottom which allow several ovens to be stacked and heated on a single fire. Longer legs can be added.
2.    When closed for baking it measures 10 inches square by 7 inches high. Packed size is just 10 inches square by 4-1/2 inches high.
3.    The cover can be used as a second pan for frying or boiling.
4.    The cover has a location where a hole can be drilled to hold a cooking thermometer.
5.    The sealed oven holds about eight cups of liquid—enough to feed a crew of four.
6.    No seasoning is required—just start cooking immediately. 
7.    The oven won’t warp no matter how hot it gets.
8.    It works on top of a gas or electric range, camp stove, and with a charcoal or wood fire.
9.    It will bake, boil or fry. Each two-quart lid can be used as a separate pot or skillet.
10.  Did I say that it’s beautifully made? The casting and finish are even better than the original! 
Two ovens stacked
If you love good food, you’ll love the Woody Dutch oven. It’s the lightest and most compact cast aluminum Dutch I’ve found.
It works on trail stoves
NOTE:  You can order your Woody Dutch Oven from Piragis online CLICK HERE or over the phone (item number WD01).  Call 1-800-223-6565

Cliff Jacobson 


1 comment:

Dutch Oven said...

I'm Pretty new to cooking with a dutch oven! That's a very interesting oven. I've never seen one before...