If you are looking for a dutch oven recipe for your next camping trip, you will want to try these Dutch Oven Hot Ham Sandwiches. Not only do they come together quickly, but they are also a meal everyone will love!
Why Make These Dutch Oven Hot Ham Sandwiches For Your Next Campout?
There are so many things to love about this recipe. For starters, it is really simple to make. This recipe is a pull-apart recipe, so all the sandwiches are cooked together. A simple meal gives you more time to enjoy the great outdoors.
Who doesn't love a ham and cheese sandwich? It seems to be a universally liked sandwich, but if you want to switch up the ingredients, I will give recommendations below.
They can be lunch, dinner, or even breakfast!
I also love that these are pull-apart sandwiches. It keeps things simple for prep, but also keeps the sandwiches really soft, which my kids love.
Cleanup is minimal. This is cooked in the Dutch oven, but it is lined in tin foil. Want to know how easy? Crumple up the tin foil and throw it away. Yes, it is that easy.
What Is A Dutch Oven And Why Use Them For Cooking Over A Fire?
Cast iron Dutch ovens are almost the only type of cookware I use over the campfire. I do have some thinner pots and kettles I use for heating liquids, but for cooking, it is always cast iron.
Here is something to keep in mind when it comes to cooking Dutch oven style- this isn't the fastest method of outdoor cooking. It is my favorite, but it does take a bit of time.
There are 2 types of Dutch ovens- bare and enameled. Keep reading to learn about both.
Bare is made for campfire cooking and is bare metal, just as the name implies. It is an excellent conductor of heat and can withstand really high temps. It does require a little more care, but it is worth it.
If you take care of your cast iron, it will take care of you. Many of my cast iron pans I have had for at least 15 years and they still have plenty of life left in them.
Enameled dutch ovens are made with ceramic or metal. They require no special cleaning. But they are also not suited for campfire cooking. In fact, many of them cannot hold up to high temps at all, even in your indoor oven. I learned this the hard way.
How Do I Use A Dutch Oven?
Dutch ovens are really versatile. In this case, we are using it just like your indoor oven. We place the food inside and heat it on the bottom and top with coals. This heats the inside of the Dutch oven, as you would heat your regular oven.
If you want to use coals for cooking, they provide stable, consistent heat. There are a few options for fuel, you can use the coals from the woodfire you are using, or briquets like I used.
I mostly like to use wood coals, but briquets are pretty simple and relatively quick.
For this recipe, the heat inside isn't as crucial as baking a cake or something like that. All we are doing with this recipe is heating the ham and cheese.
If you are using briquets, use about 15-20 on the bottom and the same across the top.
To do this, spread the briquets out in the fire pit the size of your Dutch oven. Set the Dutch oven directly on top of the coals. Spread the coals across the lid of your Dutch oven so that you have heat on the top and the bottom.
A lid lifter is really helpful with Dutch oven cooking. This keeps your hands at a safe distance from that hot heat. You might think flames are the hottest part of the fire, but let me tell you, the coals are really hot too.
- Italian Loaf
- Sliced Ham
- Cheese of choice
- Condiments of choice
Making The Dutch Oven Hot Ham Sandwiches
- Start your fire early for building coals. Even if you are using charcoal, it still takes about 15 minutes to get them ready to cook. If you are interested in learning how to start charcoal in a chimney, read below.
- Slice your bread for the sandwiches. My slices were about ¾ inch thick. Just remember to barely leave them connected at the bottom. These are pull-apart sandwiches.
- In every other slice, add in your ham, cheese, and whatever condiments you might like to add.
- Wrap the bottom half of the loaf in tinfoil. This is just to make for easy cleanup.
- Place it in the Dutch oven and put the lid on top.
- Once your charcoal or wood is ready, set coals in the bottom of your fire pit. If you are using briquets, it is about 15-20 on the bottom.
- Place your Dutch oven over the coal.
- Add the remaining coals on top.
- Depending on how hot your coals are, this will take between 10-25 minutes. They will heat up quickly. Using your lid lifter, check the sandwiches and see if they are heated through.
- Just be careful, know that the lid, pan, and sandwiches are going to be pretty hot!
- When they are done, remove them from the heat and enjoy!
- I will give some variation ideas below if you are interested.
If you are looking for some variations on these sandwiches, let me give you a few ideas.
On the meat, anything goes really. If you want another lunch meat- turkey, roast beef, etc, go for it. Or maybe you want to use a grilled chicken breast or pork tenderloin. Those are great too. Just remember to thinly slice.
Looking for a different cheese? The possibilities are endless. How about cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, etc? If you are into it, give it a go!
I made our sandwiches plain and boring, but let me tell you, there are so many options here. You can any type of mustard or another condiment you want. Grilled zucchini, asparagus, etc would also be really good. When the sandwiches are finished, you could also slide in some fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc.
I think you get the idea. The ham and cheese are just a start!
Notes For Making Dutch Oven Meals
This is a slower style of cooking. Although this is a very simple meal to make, it does take a bit of time. So, relax, visit with your family and friends, or just enjoy the peace and quiet.
Heat-proof gloves are really helpful. You can use them to grab the handle and lift it out of the fire. I think these are so nice to use when you are cooking outdoors!
I like to move my charcoal around with a set of large tongs or even a small shovel. If you forget, which I have done many times, just be creative with a couple of sticks.
Don't forget to check the sandwiches every 7-10 minutes. They will heat up pretty quickly, depending on how hot your charcoal is.
The last thing to note is, do not jump the gun with the charcoal briquets. Make sure they are heated all the way before using them to cook.
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 quarts. 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 14-inch classic in Camp Chef.
Using A Chimney For Starting Charcoal
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, 30-40). Then, put the chimney on the side of the fire so it will start to heat up, and if you need to stick matches through the vents to help the charcoal catch. In about 5 minutes the briquets should be hot enough to cook with.
Other Dutch Oven Meals
- Campfire nachos
- Dutch oven breakfast hash
- Garlic pull-apart cheesy bread
- Dutch Oven Brookies
- Dutch Oven Chili and Cornbread
- Mountain Man Breakfast Dutch Oven
Dutch Oven Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
- dutch oven
- cutting board
- 1 Italian Loaf
- ½-1 pound sliced ham
- ½-1 pound sliced cheese of choice
- condiments or additions of choice
- Heat your charcoal or wood to prepare the coals. This will take a while, so much sure you give yourself time to do this. You need about 40 briquets for this recipe.
- Slice your bread into 1-inch slices, remember not to slice all the way through, this is a pull-apart bread
- In every other slice, stuff in your ham and cheese and whatever else you want to add.
- wrap with tinfoil and place in your dutch oven. Put the lid on top of the dutch oven.
- Add 20 coals to the bottom of the fire pit. Spread them evenly to the size of your dutch oven.
- Place the dutch oven directly on the coals.
- Then add the remaining 20 coals on top.
- Let this cook for about 20 minutes and check.
- You just need the bread heated and cheese melted.
- Once it is cooked, remove it from the heat.
- Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!