Friday, March 23, 2012

Campfire Fridays - Pizza!

For the longest time, I kept a picture of my youngest son eating breakfast on my cellphone wallpaper. Every time I would turn it on, there he sat in his red hoodie in the cold morning air, eating breakfast. He looked very happy to be enjoying his campfire cinnamon rolls. Simple fare is 10 times better when eaten in the right surroundings.

A great thing about cooking meals in a dutch oven is that you generally have only one pot to clean-up (unless you LIKE cleaning dishes when camping… I don’t). The fact is though that sometimes the kids (and I) want something that just isn’t normally feasible while your camping (cue the whining in the background). For this I have a

solution. Pizza and beer. Well at least I’ll enjoy the beer. But the largest dutch ovens I’ve ever seen (and certainly can’t afford to buy) were 16” across. That just won’t do when you’re trying to cook enough pizza to feed four. The real “trick” here is to load the oven with more than one pizza at a time. My favorite oven is a 12” wide and about 6” deep and it will easily hold two pizzas.
If you haven’t already got a lid holder or a trivet, now is the time to. They come in handy for more than just holding the lid. They can in fact be used to stack pizzas. 

Here’s how:

By now I know the fire is lit and the oven is being gently heated above it. The dough is pulled (or rolled if you must… you sure didn’t bring that pre-made Boboli stuff did you??) and you’re ready to go. The pizza crust on top will: a) droop into the lower pizza, and b) NEVER get “crusty” if you don’t cook it first. I use a touch of oil and actually fry it just a little. Start by putting the first crust into the bottom of the oven and cover the lid with coals, start with about 8-10 coals on the bottom.  You need to let this crust cook pretty well before you extract it because it does need to be able to hold some shape later.  When that crust is done, remove it and build your 2nd (or 1st…. however you view the world) pizza in the bottom of the oven. Now, be brave here…. Place the lid holder on that pizza (gasp). Yes it will make a mark but trust me … all is OK. At this point you can use foil, but a better option if you can plan ahead, is to cut out a round piece of heavy screen or some kind of mesh (available at any hardware or home improvement store)and place that on the lid holder. Now build the 2nd, 1st whatever, pizza and cover the oven. At this point re-fresh the coals under the oven, and maybe remove half the coals from the top. In 10-15 minutes the top pizza will be done. Remove the oven from the coals, take out the top pizza, and return every coal you have to the top of the re-covered oven. Don’t heat the bottom any more.  
While your family enjoys pizza, and you enjoy the beer, the bottom pizza is browning nicely on top and will be ready to serve  just as they finish the first. Remove that lid holder and screen, and voila… two pizzas from one oven, and easy (easier anyway) clean-up, and that desire by the kids for “fun” and “regular” food is satisfied (at least until tomorrow night). 


  1. Super idea, Peggy! I love cooking over a fire with a dutch oven and this will be fun to try and to eat.

  2. It's great when we're out camping, because my husband does all the cooking!

  3. Hi Peggy,

    The pizza looks delicious. And what a cutie your little guy is. As far as men doing the campfire cooking, isn't that how it's supposed to be? :)