It is always a good thing to simplify your meals when you are out camping. This Dutch Oven Chili and Cornbread is a really simple way to feed your crew a hearty meal while you are out enjoying nature!
What Makes This Recipe So Good For Camping
I love this recipe when my family is camping because it is such a hearty meal! The chili is so filling, which makes this a perfect fuel for hiking, exploring, and whatever else you have planned for your camping trip.
If it’s a cold day, there’s nothing better than some hot chili.
Another thing that you’ll love about this recipe is how it simplifies cooking on your trip. The chili and cornbread are both made in the same pot, so there isn’t unnecessary clean-up afterward.
My chili is also made ahead of time, before the trip. Then it is chilled and stored in the cooler, ready to go when I am!
This meal is a great recipe for beginners. It is very simple to put together and with these simple instructions, you will have success right away.
Notes For Cooking In Dutch Oven
One of the most important things about cooking with a dutch oven is to make sure you have the right kind of pan. There are two kinds of cast-iron pans, bare and enameled. Be sure your pan is not enameled, they cannot stand high temperatures and aren’t made for campfire cooking.
Be careful when working with the coals. You might think the fire is the only part that’s hot, but watch out for the coals as well! Use heat-proof gloves and a lid lifter.
One thing to check before you start cooking is that your wood or charcoal is plenty hot. You want to give it enough time to get started and burned down so that it is hot enough to cook with.
This recipe is best served if you have the chili ahead of time. You can either make it at home or buy it, and then all you have to do is dump it in the dutch oven and add in the cornbread.
- 6-10 cups of chili– I will include my favorite recipe below. If you like a spicier chili, we also love this Texas Red Chili.
- Cornbread– I will include my recipe below, but just know you can also buy a mix. If you don’t like jalapenos, you can always omit them from my recipe below.
- Grated Cheddar Cheese– optional, but really good.
- 10-14 quart Dutch Oven- The size of the dutch oven will depend on the amount of people you are feeding.
- Lid Lifter– Not necessary, but makes things so much easier.
- Heat Proof Gloves– Again, not necessary, but really nice to have.
- Shovel or tongs for moving coals onto the dutch oven.
How To Make The Dutch Oven Chili And Cornbread
- Start your wood or charcoal. I will explain the pros and cons of each below. This takes awhile to heat up, so start it early.
- Add your chili to the dutch oven.
- Place the chili over hot coals to heat the chili. You will need pretty hot coals to do this, so make sure and start quite a few.
- Mix your cornbread mix as directed. If you are feeding a crowd you can use 2 bags.
- Pour the cornbread mix on top of the chili. Spread over the top. Sprinkle with cheese if you are using. Cover with the lid.
- Return the pot to the fire, using about 15 hot briquets or the equivalent in coals on the bottom.
- Set the dutch oven on top of the hot coals.
- Place another 20 coals on top of the dutch oven. Spread across the top for even cooking.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes. You will need to carefully lift the lid to check for doneness on the cornbread.
- That it is! Now, sit back and enjoy.
Dutch Oven Recommendations
The 2 brands I use more than any other are Lodge Cast Iron and Camp Chef. They are brands I have used many times, I trust them, and they come at a decent price. Both these brands are also easy to find at most major stores and of course sporting goods stores.
The size of the dutch oven depends on how many people you are feeding. I only have 2 children, my hubby, and I. But…I have 2 teenage boys, so I generally plan pretty big meals. The 12-14-inch dutch oven works well.
- Here are some Lodge Dutch Ovens, I have the 10 and 12 quart. These are nice with the feet on them and the flat top. They are perfect for stacking if you are cooking multiple things at one time.
- I also use skillets for sauteeing over the open fire as well.
- If you are looking for a less expensive option, Camp Chef also makes a great Dutch Oven. I use the 12-inch classic in Camp Chef.
How Do You Clean A Dutch Oven?
Keeping your dutch ovens in good condition is very important. This isn’t hard, but you do need to clean them right away.
One important thing to stay away from when taking care of your dutch oven pans is to not let them soak in water. When washing it, rinse with warm water and then scrape off any dirt or food with a plastic scraper.
After this, let it dry completely with paper towels or cloth towels. When it is totally dry put a little bit of grapeseed oil in it and wipe the whole interior of the pan with that.
Be careful when you are cleaning not to take off the seasoning. Stay away from metal scrapers that will take too many layers off your pan, I use a plastic spatula.
How Do You Start Charcoal In A Chimney?
Charcoal is the perfect way to cook dutch oven meals, but for a first-timer, it might seem a little daunting to get the perfect coals for cooking. A chimney is a great way to do this, and easy to use.
To start, fill the top of the chimney with however many briquets you need for the recipe (In this case, 40-50). I used quick-light charcoal for mine, so you just light to it with a lighter. Then let it heat for about 10 minutes and the charcoal will be ready to go.
If you used regular charcoal, the process is a little different. Add paper or something that will light easily into the bottom of the chimney. Add the charcoal on top.
Now, light the chimney from the bottom with your lighter. I have torches I use as it is really quick. Once the paper catches on fire, it will start burning the charcoal on the bottom. From here, the other charcoal will also heat.
It will be ready in about 15 minutes.
FAQ Dutch Oven Cooking
You sure can. When I said they were versatile, I meant it! This recipe should be cooked over coals though, as you want this to work like an oven.
Yes, I always do this to conserve on coals.
Mine sit out on a shelf in our garage. They are sturdy and don’t need pampering. The most important thing to remember is to keep them away from moisture. That is the one thing that will give you problems.
Other Dutch Oven Recipes
- Campfire Nachos
- Dutch Oven Hash with ham
- Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread
- Ham and Cheese Pull-Apart Sandwiches
- Dutch Oven Brookies
- Dutch Oven Chili and Cornbread
- Mountain Man Breakfast Dutch Oven
Dutch Oven Chili and Cornbread
- dutch oven
- mixing bowl
- 50-60 chracoal briquets
- 1 recipe chili I included my recipe in this post. If you want to use your own or buy it, I plan on about 1-2 cups of chili per person
- 1 cornbread mix You can use a mix, or I included my recipe in this post as well.
- 1 cup grated cheese
- Heat your charcoal and wood, and have it hot and ready to go. If you are doing charcoal briquets, make sure and heat about 50. This will give you plenty for heating and cooking.
- Place your chili in the dutch oven.
- lay about 20 coals on the ground and set the dutch oven on top.
- cook your chili for about 5-10 minutes to heat it up.
- mix your cornbread mix or recipe and pour it over the chili. Top with your cheese if you are using it.
- Place the lid on the dutch oven.
- Put at least 20 briquets on top.
- Let this cook for about 20 minutes, then remove the lid and check.
- If it still needs to cook longer, replace the lid and continue baking.
- Once it is done, remove from the fire and remove the lid.
- Sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
Simple Chili Recipe
- 2 pounds ground beef- I used 85/15
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper use less if you aren't into spice.
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt you may need more
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans or other beans of choice
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Add beef and seasonings to your pan. Cook over medium heat until no pink remains.
- Add in your black beans, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and beef broth.
- Continue to cook on medium heat at least another 30 minutes until it has reduced and thickened slightly.
- If you are using this for a camping meal, cool completely and store in the fridge in a large ziplock or other airtight container.
- That is it! The simplest chili recipe ever!
Spicy Texas Red Chili
- 2 pounds ground beef I also love to use a ground chuck
- 1 cup chopped onions we like a rough chop, as we like chunks in the chili. You can cut them to whatever size you prefer.
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers we like a rough chop, as we like chunks in the chili. You can cut them to whatever size you prefer.
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes you can also use 1 cup crushed or diced tomatoes if you prefer canned
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2-1 cup chili paste if you want to make your own, I have included the recipe on the post
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup masa or fine ground cornmeal
- Cook ground beef, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains in the ground beef. Stir in the chili paste ( I would start with about 1/2 cup to begin with), paprika, cumin and oregano. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add water and about 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper. Let this simmer on medium until about half the liquid is gone. Mine took about 25 minutes to get to this point. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. I added more chili paste as it wasn't quite hot enough, but if you don't love that burning heat, lay off now. Now, masa or cornmeal is used as a thickener for chilis and is very popular down South. Add in your masa and stir. Continue to cook at least another 5 minutes to cook the masa and allow the chili to thicken.Serve the chili immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. You can also freeze the chili if you prefer. It can be held for up to 1-2 months in the frezzer. We love to serve ours with a good helping of grated cheese, onions, fresh tomatoes and corn chips. It is also amazing served over a baked potato. How about a chili dog? Yes, it is amazing there as well. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
Jalapeno Cheddar Skillet Cornbread
- 10 inch diameter cast iron skillet
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal you can also use white if you prefer
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour I prefer a whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar you can also use honey if you prefer, but I like the texture of the granulated sugar better.
- 1 cup fresh corn I used frozen, but thawed it in warm water and drained it well.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup oil I used canola, but you can use any other neutral oil of choice
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2-3/4 cup chopped jalapenos
- butter for pan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.One thing to note before you start mixing, your cast iron will need to go in the oven at least 5 minutes before you are ready to bake. You want it to be good and hot before the batters goes in, so keep that in mind when you are prepping your ingredients. It is important to make sure everything is ready to go before you start mixing. It should come together really quickly. So, cut up your jalapenos and grate your cheese. Then mix together the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, mix your eggs, milk, oil, and butter. Combine the wet and dry, remember to only mix to combine. You don't need to overdo this! Add in your cheddar and jalapenos. Mix to combine. Remove your hot cast iron from the oven and grease generously with butter. Pour in the batter and place immediately in the oven.Bake for 15-25 minutes. This will depend on the actual heat of your oven. I check for a few things when baking- one is color. You are looking for that beautiful golden brown color, the edges will be slightly darker. I also check by touch. If you press gently in the center of the cornbread you will be able to tell whether or not it is too underbaked. The last way to check is with a toothpick. Just remember, you want it to be SLIGHTLY underbaked, so you don't want the toothpick to come out completely clean. Just mostly. When it is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool about 5-10 minutes before serving. You want it to finish baking to perfection. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!!