Unless cooking in a fire pit, cooking with your Dutch Oven, coal chimney or ash can directly on the ground can be a problem. It not only burns unsightly marks into the grass, it kills the living organisms and bacteria in the soil, making it much harder for the environment to recover. Dry grass, pine needles, or leaves can also easily catch fire from the heat, rapidly turning a fun camping trip or Dutch Oven Gathering into a dangerous situation.
Leave No Trace principles, applied to Dutch Oven cooking, translates into cooking on an elevated surface. Getting the fire off the ground will protect the environment, prevent fires, and you may even get invited back to your cook spot if you don’t leave char marks behind.
Below we list some of the options used by members of our group, and at some of the Dutch Oven Gatherings where we have participated, to keep the heat off the ground. Some are available for purchase, while others are very much DIY. If making your own cooking table, make sure that none of the parts are plastic, will melt, or will catch fire.
The Walker: walkers used as dutch oven stands. Click here to learn more about how Ron built these neat cooking tables.
The Wagon: this little red wagon does double-duty as a Cooking Table. Click here to learn more.
Dutch Oven Guys Cooking Stand: the “Dutch Oven Cooking Stand” made by the Dutch Oven Guys and offered for sale. This stand is made from galvanized sheet metal. It rolls up to a small, easy to transport, and lightweight size. Click here for more information.
Garbage Can: upside-down galvanized metal garbage cans made an affordable and multi-purpose cooking surface.
The Ladder: folding ladders are a convenient, affordable and light-weight option for an above-ground cooking surface that can hold a lot of Dutch Ovens.
The Cowboy: Randy’s frontier-style cowboy setup hovers on short legs just above the ground.
Fire Table: with or without windscreens, fire tables are available on the market from several manufacturers. The most popular and readily-available are Lodge and Camp Chef.
Chuckwagon Supply Cooking Table: while lower in height than most cooking tables, this table boasts and extremely high wind screen and two attachable side tables to hold all of those accessories. They are made one-at-a-time by a small, family operation in Idaho. Click here to learn more.
Chuckwagon Supply Dandi Stand: these are portable, with three legs that screw on, making them convenient when space is tight. Click here to learn more.
Tripod with a Low Table: combining a tripod with an above-ground cooking table is a great way of easily adjusting the heat while keeping the camp safe.
Some other options that are used include old car wheels (metal part only), bricks or cinder blocks.