Dutch Oven Cooking and Lime Pickles

I have been asked recently for recipes for my pickles and my Dutch oven feast of which I did two this summer, one in June and the other in August. Here’s a how-to. All you need are a half dozen Dutch-ovens, an ice cream maker, a bunch of cucumbers, a few other things, and a fair bit of time on your hands (and let’s hope your hands are clean!)….

Dutch Oven Dinner

Chicken cooked in a dutch oven

10 pounds chicken legs and thighs
Bread crumbs
Fine bread crumbs
12 inch Dutch Oven pot

Wash and cut off excess fat on the chicken. If the thighs are still attached to the legs, cut them into two pieces (so they can pack better in the oven).

On griddle or in a cast iron skillet (I use a large camp stove with a griddle over the burner), heat oil. Dip chicken in milk, then roll in breadcrumbs and brown on the griddle in batches.

As you finish browning the chicken, pack the pieces tightly into a Dutch Oven. 

Place a dozen or more coals under the oven, and another dozen on the top (use more if it is windy!) 

Cook for 45-50 minutes (I use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is well over 175 degrees) 

If it is windy or to get a quicker start, heat the Dutch Oven on the gas grill before placing it on the coals. Once the cast iron is hot, it’ll be easier to keep hot. 

Barbecue Ribs

6 -8 pounds of spare ribs
Sauce (I make my own using mostly vinegar, hot sauce, pepper, salt, lemon squeezing. If you like it sweeter, add some ketchup).

Pack ribs in oven and pour sauce on top. Place of top of chicken and add another dozen or so coals on top. Cook 45 minutes to an hour. Test meat with the thermometer to make sure it’s north of 165 degrees. 

Dutch Oven cooking
Showing off the ribs
Western-styled Dutch Oven Potatoes
Serving dinner

8 pounds of potatoes
4 pounds of onions
Pound of bacon
spices of choice (basil, oregano, salt, pepper, chopped chives, etc)

Wash potatoes well (I leave the skins on) and then slice into ¼ thick slices

Slice onions into thin slices

Lay out ½ of the bacon on the bottom of a Dutch oven (I generally use a 12 inch deep one)

Place a layer of potatoes, onions, then sprinkle spices. Continue layers until the over is so full, you must push down on the ingredients to close. Then add the rest of the potatoes in strips. 

Cook about 45 minutes with coals above and below, until you can easily push a folk through ingredients.  

Sweet Potatoes

5 pounds of sweet potatoes
2 sticks of butter
Cup of brown sugar
¼ flour
Cup or more of chopped pecans
2 eggs
Deep 10-inch or a  regular 12-inch Dutch Oven

Cook potatoes in oven until they are well done. Take the pulp out of the skins and place in a bowl. Add whisked eggs, ½ cup brown sugar, cinnamon, a tablespoon of vanilla, and ¾ stick of butter. Mix well. Take ¼ stick of butter and coat the oven. Then add the potato mix.

Mix flour, pecans, ½ cup of brown sugar and butter (that’s been chopped into small pieces). Add to the top of the potatoes. Bake with a dozen coals under and above for 30-45 minutes. The potato mixture should bubble up into the nut topping. 


 (I’ve done a lot of cobblers over the years. This is the easiest, but my favorite is a cherry chocolate, but it’s too much if you’re also making ice cream). 

4-15 ounce cans of cherry pie filling
Box of yellow cake mix
2 sticks of butter 
12 inch shallow oven

Coat bottom of over with butter. Pour on the cans of pie filling. Sprinkle the yellow cake mix on top. Take a stick of butter and cut it into small pads and place them around the top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes (the pie filling will rise and give moisture to cake mix. 

Crowd ready to eat
The early crowd at Mayberry’s dinner in June (we ended up with around 38 people in attendance, but these folks were early so they could be first in line)
Homemade Ice Cream (Philly style—6 quart freezer) 

3 quarts half and half
1 pint whole cream
Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons Vanilla 
2 cups sugar 
20 pounds of ice
1/3 box of ice cream salt 

Mix all the ingredients together, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Pour into chilled freezer container. Turn on motor and make sure it’s running before you start to add ice around the freezer container. Add ice about 1/3 up, then a cup or so of salt. Do this again and again until the container is covered with ice.  Keep adding ice until container stops. If you have freezer room, I take the container out and put it in freezer. If not, pack ice around it and let it sit for an hour or so to harden.  Enjoy as it is so good. 

Eating under a picnic shelter
Enjoying the food at Bluemont in early August

Lime Pickles 

two cucumbers
Dasher II & Slicing Cakes

10 quart or 20 pint canning jars and rings and new lids
2 food grade plastic containers (4.5 gallon containers that look like what drywall mud comes in, but I would buy the food grade variety and not try to clean out a construction bucket) 
Cucumbers (I like them to be 1-2 inches thick. My garden includes Japanese Climbing, Slicing, and Dasher II Cucumbers)
2 cups pickling lime (not the green fruit, but the powdery kind that goes everywhere if not careful)
Pickling spices (either make your own or use Ms. Wagers, I’ve done both)
Cloves (I add more than are in the spices)
Non-ionized salt
1 1/2 Gallons of Vinegar
20 cups sugar Sugar

Cucumbers in a lime bath

Day 1: Wash and slice a half bushel of cucumbers. If you use a food processor, be careful to cut them as thick as possible-up to ¼ inch thick-or they may turn into mush!  Add two gallons of water to each plastic container along with a cup of line to each. Mix well and add pickles. Let sit for at least 12 hours (I normally let them sit for 24 hours).

Day 2:  Drain the cucumbers (I do this outside as I don’t want lime clogging my drain lines). Rise 3 times, pouring water outside. Then add ice water and let them sit for 3 hours. 

Mix up 2 gallons of vinegar with 16 cups of sugar and two tablespoons of salt. Drain cucumbers and add sugar vinegar to cucumbers. Let sit overnight. 

Day 3: Bring large canning pot of water to boil.  Put jars into pot, wash the rings and the lids in warm soapy water, making sure they are well rinsed. 

Drain sugar vinegar into a large pan. Add in cheesecloth pickling spices and a tablespoon of cloves and bring to a boil. Turn down and boil lightly for 30 minutes. 

Pack cucumbers tightly into hot jars. Add enough vinegar mixture that so that you have 3/8-to-1/2-inch gap from the top of the lid. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean paper towel. Place lids into rings and screw a ring tightly onto each jar. Place jar in boiling canning water and process (15 minutes for pints, 20 minutes for quarts) 

Remove from bath and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. When ready to eat, refrigerate to chill and enjoy. 


The author of this blog is not responsible for ingredients forgotten or left out. Nor his he responsible for your dirty hands contaminating the food. Nor is he responsible for any food you burn. And finally, he’s just not very responsible. 😉

Cooks showing off Dutch Oven cooking
Scott the fire keeper and me showing off what’s for dinner

11 Replies to “Dutch Oven Cooking and Lime Pickles”

  1. Good morning, and oh my what a great post, and love the apron! What a great gathering of fun and of course outdoors and cooking and lime pickles you couldn’t ask for more! This time of the year is wonderful, isn’t it?

  2. Your Dutch oven dishes look wonderful, Jeff. I had a friend in Cedar City a lifetime ago who used to prepare Dutch oven dinners. They were so delicious. I’ve bookmarked your post, even though I don’t have a Dutch oven. Those potatoes sound scrumptious! All the best to you

    1. Who was your friend in Cedar City? That’s where I really began using Dutch ovens (I was a pastor in Cedar City from 1993-2003). I loved the area and the people. I moved there with one Dutch Oven and left with five!

  3. There was a man in my area that was well-known for his Dutch oven cooking. I know he published at least one cookbook, maybe more.

  4. I looked at the canning section of our grocery store and didn’t find any lime pickle spicing by Ms. Wage. There were dill, bread and butter and sweet pickle spicing. But since you mention lime separately, I wonder if you are just using dill pickle spicing along with the lime.

    Our cucumbers are done now for the year but I have printed out your recipe and will put in the box for next year. I’ll have to see if I can find some pickling lime somewhere. I suspect I’ll have to order online as it is likely a regional thing.

    1. I get my from a Mennonite hardware/farm supply store. It’s not real common. The lime is very powdery and if you can mix it outside, it’s best. I have another batch of cakes in the brine as I write. The tomatoes are just starting to come in!

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