Sept 16, 2017
Cathedral Gorge State Park
Panaca, Nevada

This year’s Cathedral Gorge State Park Cook Off is the 3rd Saturday  of September 3pm – 7pm.

Last year several members of our local Las Vegas Dutch Oven group participated in the event and had a great time. This is a friendly non sanctioned event.

For those wishing to socialize with the Las Vegas group please contact us through:
Las Vegas Dutch Oven Enthusiasts
The Dutch Oven Cook

Official Contacts for the State Park or for Competition Rules and Sign up:
Cathedral Gorge Park Contact info:
Cathedral Gorge State Park Facebook Page

The actual cook-off is on Saturday. Many of us go up and start camping Thursday then leave Sunday mid-day. The Cook-off is in the group area in the campgrounds.

For those camping: Campsites do have power. But sites are limited and first come first served. You can not reserve sites. For this weekend the rangers normally work with everyone and allow overflow camping in the parking area’s near the “Group Area”. But if that is where you end up it is totally dry camping.  The camp sites and bathroom/showers have been the cleanest I have ever seen.

There is a centrally located Bath/Shower house. This is a small campground so expect to wait if you shower at a popular time of day.

Sites do have power but no sewer or water hook ups. Great for those needing power to run air conditioners and appliances. There is water located at faucets scattered around the campground but that means you have to have a container and carry it to your site. No hose connections allowed.

Sites are very clean. Gravel surface RV spots that are nice and level.

There is a dump station for draining your RV/Trailer Black/Gray tanks. But it is down the road within the park quite a ways on the entrance road. It is kind of inconvenient if you have to drive your RV/Trailer down there to dump while camping. Conserve and use the camp showers if need be. The dump station is even kind of far to tow a portable tank that doesn’t have a real heavy duty set of wheels and a hefty axle. You will trash it easily. So conserve if you are staying a few days. It is conveniently located for dumping when you first enter the park, or as you leave on departure day.

Most tent campers for this cooking event tend to group up around the west end of the Group picnic area. An area that normally is not used for camping.

Many sites are out in the open with no shade from tree’s. The sites with shade go first. Each site does have a picnic table that has a metal shade cover over it.

Each site has a lantern pole out away from the picnic table and shelter. If you want to hang a lantern under the shelter bring s section of light chain and some “S” hooks.

Each site has a metal fire pit, and a raised charcoal BBQ grill. Fires are normally allowed. It is wise if you bring your own shade/EZ up. The sun can still be hot in Nevada’s September weather.  Also walls or some type of wind break is advisable.

Firewood is normally available for purchase…and normally far more reasonable than buying it in Vegas at a grocery store. Buy it here and help support the park.

There is a small market within a short driving distance (Panaca). They are stocked really well with almost anything you might need, though it might be in smaller packages and a bit higher in price than you are used to.

If you are entering in the cook-off you will want your EZ up, prep & cook tables, water container, 3 station dish washing, and perhaps a wagon/cart of some sort to shuttle your gear to the cooking area.

There are endless hiking trails. I like taking my mountain bike and either trail ride, or ride the paved roads within the park. Just north of the campground is the caves area. Accessible by a trail from the campground or driving over on the road. Within the caves area there are enough eroded passageways to spend the weekend just exploring these. The early morning and evening sunsets are spectacular. The caves area’s could just as well be on another planet. The whole landscape transports your imagination into a science fiction tale.

We usually are sung to sleep by the coyote songs. So be sure to but your trash up at night. This also means keeping your pets close too you so they don’t wander off and become part of the food chain. They are lower in the chain out there. Coyotes are used to hunting as a group. They are quick and silent. Don’t let your small fido out for a morning run unleashed and unattended while you are distracted doing something else.

The cooking event is a fun day. But expect a long day too. Cooking, judging, eating, raffling, prize awards, and clean-up. Bring your cart/wagon and flashlight.

Much of the cooking space is in full sun. If you plan to participate be sure to bring your own shade, Prep tables, water containers, and dish washing pans.

The Park normally supplies cook tables and the charcoal. You may want to bring both of these for yourself though. Last year we starting prepping and cooking before they started handing out charcoal. If you have to start cooking early for long prep items, you might run into trouble if you rely on their charcoal.

They do not provide food prep tables. You also may want to bring tables to serve from? Or do double duty with your tables. You need to bring your own tables for these purposes. The picnic tables around the area normally fill up with people showing up to eat and are not to be used by those cooking. Don’t set up in such a way that you use the pavilion tables.

You will want to also have your own way of having hot water for cleaning hands etc. Plus any other requirements to practice safe food handling. You own trash container avoids having to run it to one of the parks receptacles that might not be handy while prepping and cooking.

The Cooking Competition area is enough of a distance from vehicle parking or drop off, that you might want to bring some type of wheeled device to shuttle your tables, gear, and food. Several of us use the folding type 4 wheeled wagons.

The judging, eating, raffle, and prize awards goes on until after dark. So be sure to bring lighting/flashlight/lanterns to aid in breaking down gear and cleaning up your cooking area.

As with all of our outings. You are responsible for you and your families Reservations, Payment, Security, Safety & Well being. In addition you are responsible for any damage you, family members, or invited guests, may cause. No other members, this group as a whole, nor trip organizers, accept any responsibility or liability other than for their own individual actions.


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DOG Spring Rendezvous Wolf Creek SP Illinois


May 20, 2017
Spring Rendezvous
Wolf Creek State Park
Windsor, Illinois

Gathering begins @ 9:00 AM, eating begins @ 12:00!

What to expect between 9 and noon
Before lunch, cookers and Spring Rendezvous participants will drift around the area asking questions, discussing recipes, tips and techniques, checking out all the neat ‘tools’ that other cookers use in their outdoor kitchens.  Cookers and visitors contribute the Dutch oven dish of their choice. ALL DUTCH OVEN COOKS ARE WELCOME!

If anyone wishes to offer a lecture or formal demonstration for the Spring Rendezvous participants during the DOG or later in the day, please contact Eric Davidson at

What should I bring?
Dutch oven cooking pots and cooking tools, the entrees, side dishes, and deserts you plan to prepare, non-alcoholic beverages, serving utensils/tools, table service for those in your party, copies of recipes, charcoal, charcoal tools, ice, etc.  The area the event will be held in is in a primitive group campsite area – there will be no electricity available.

Dutch Oven Competition
Later in the day the Spring Rendezvous Event will have a dutch oven cooking competition. We are in need of individuals to assist with judging.  DOG participants are encouraged to stay and either assist with judging or participate!  For more information, visit:

Where is Wolf Creek?
The address to the state park is 1837 N Wolf Creek Rd, Windsor, IL 45669.  The state park is located at Lake Shelbyville, east of Findlay, south of Sullivan, and north of Windsor.

What is Spring Rendezvous?
An annual camporee is held in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Links to the Future Youth Festival.  Scouts and the public have an opportunity to o learn about the great outdoors and the many hobbies available to the outdoorsman such as trap shooting, BB gun shooting, archery, and fishing. For more information visit:

Camping Accommodations
Those interested in staying at Wolf Creek for the weekend should visit to reserve a campsite within the regular campground.

Additional questions/RSVP’s should be directed to Eric Davidson at or 217/549-4354

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Chicken Enchilada Pinwheels
Recipe by Rick Beach: Award winning. Took First Place "Main Dish" in the Old Mormon Fort Dutch Oven Cook-off Competition (March 2016) This recipe is still under construction since ingredient quantities were not recorded as created. Photo shown is 3 layers of pinwheels being baked in a 16 inch Dutch Oven. Which is about a triple recipe of that which is shown. This single quantity recipe is sized for a 10 or 12 inch Dutch Oven.
Prep Time 30 Minutes
Cook Time 60 Minutes
Prep Time 30 Minutes
Cook Time 60 Minutes
  1. Saute Onions, Red Pepper, Garlic
  2. Make a sauce combining the Sauteed Onions, Red Pepper, Garlic to the Cream of Chicken Soup, Green Chili Enchilada Sauce, Tomato Soup, Sriracha Sauce, Ketchup, and Seasoning.
  3. Of the total sauce mixture reserve 3/4 for layering.
  4. Of the sauce mixture take the remaining 1/4 and combine with the cubed chicken, beans and fire roasted tomatoes.
  5. On the bottom of a well greased Dutch Oven spoon on a layer of the sauce without the chicken and beans.
  6. On the flour tortilla Pat on a thin layer of Spanish Rice Spread a layer of sour cream. Layer on the bean, tomato, and chicken sauce mixture Sprinkle on chopped Cilantro Sprinkle on Mex Cheese. Roll into a log Cut into 2 inch slices. Lay on their sides (Pinwheels) in the sauce on the bottom of the pot. Once the bottom is covered pour the sauce (without Chicken and beans) over the pinwheels. Sprinkle with cheese. (You can make multi layers using parchment paper)
  7. Bake covered at 350°F for 40-60 minutes, or until top lightly browns.
Recipe Notes

Go to link to make your pre-made "Spanish Rice"

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What wonderful weather for mid-March today (March 18, 2017).  Temps hit 90°F with clear blue skies in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I was happy to come away with a first place win in the “Main Dish” category.  Serving up BBQ Pulled Pork, to take home a trophy Plaque and a free annual pass to Nevada State Parks for the year.  That pass will certainly have some mileage put on it.


A group of us have competed in this annual cook-off for 3 or 4 years now.  We saw attendance go way up this year.  I came with 144 sandwich buns to serve the pulled pork on.  (12lbs of Pulled Pork).  I remember buying the buns and thinking I was practicing “over kill”.  When I saw the eating line start to form I started cutting buns in half.  Right before show time I started changing to 1/4 bun per serving.  I as well as many of the other cooks were wiped out.

The unofficial report I got this evening from someone connected with the fort put the headcount at 300.  A far cry from the 25-50 we had seen in previous years.

I had about 10lbs of coleslaw that never made it to the end.  It was just a bonus side dish to go with the BBQ.  Gone before the line finished passing the first time.

I also entered the dessert category with a double batch Cherry Chocolate Cake.  It didn’t even place with all the competition and great cooks.  Though it too was wiped out and only crumbs left.

I am hoping others that attended email me their photos for use on this site.  Also the winners for each category and the dish they served up.  Its tough when you cook, to find the time to take some photos or even sample all the great food.

I didn’t even have the time to enjoy the live music and fiddle players that were just out of ear shot.  Below is a portion of the cook set-ups.

Thanks goes out to Kathleen & Dave LeBlanc for serving up a Mountain Man breakfast for us early birds that were setting up at 7:30am.

Also thanks to those at the Fort that put this all together, then their task to get their park back to normal for the next business day.    There is lots of behind the scenes work and effort going into this event people never see.

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Quiche  (use individual sized Quiche cups)

These can be baked in your kitchen oven or
in a covered Dutch Oven with coals for 350°F

Uncooked Egg Whites scrambled with a fork (Or all white Egg Beater type)
Fresh Spinach Leaves/Heated wilted
Fresh Cilantro Leaves/Heated wilted
Sweet Onion sliced thin and slightly sauteed
Garlic Minced
Cooked Turkey or Deli Sliced/Cut in small cubes
Feta Cheese
Parmesan Cheese Fresh Grated (used as a topper only)
Salt & Pepper

Spray oil the quiche cups

Start by adding about a 1/4 inch of raw egg whites
Layer in a little of all ingredients except the Parmesan Cheese
Add a second layer of egg whites
Add another layer of all ingredients except the Parmesan Cheese
Continue until the quiche cup is full with about a 1/4 inch to spare
Sprinkle the top with Parmesan Cheese
Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
They should look rather puffed up like a cup cake when first off the heat
As they cool they will deflate and be about even with the top of the quiche cup
Serve with fresh salsa

Fresh Salsa (For 2)

1    Roma Tomato (Very Ripe)/Diced
1/4 Cup   Sweet Onion/Chopped
2 Tbsp.   Fresh Cilantro Leaves/Chopped
1 tsp.    Fresh Garlic/Minced
1 Tbsp.  Ketchup
1/2 tsp.  Sriracha Sauce
Salt & Pepper

Mix all ingredients together and serve


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I refer to “Finding Wild Cast Iron” as something the is not store bought.   At least not bought in a store by me.  Those precious finds at a Garage Sale, Estate Sale, Flea Market, etc.  Just like stumbling into wild succulent mushrooms while out hiking in the woods.

People that are new to using cast iron often ask “Where do I buy”, and What should I buy?  That is a difficult question to answer with no other input provided.

I collect cast iron and have way too many stacked away here and there.  But I really enjoy vintage cookware.   Much of the vintage pieces are far superior to modern day cast iron.  Modern day foundries tend to produce “rougher” finishes.  I assume it is to reduce production costs to remain competitive?  Lodge is one of the leaders of USA made, and currently a cookware producing modern day foundry.

If you are patient and look in the right places you can save lots of money.  If you are new to cooking with cast iron you may find the “In the Wild” option a better way to go in case you decide using cast iron is not for you.   Someone will always buy a used piece for what you paid for it…..if you find the bargains out there.

Today’s image in this article, is a garage sale find this morning.  I paid $15.  This is a Lodge 12 inch “Camp” or “Outdoor” Style Dutch Oven.  I say “Outdoor” because it has feet and the raised ridge lid for containing coals.   On the low cost end this would retail around $60 when new.  This Dutch Oven came in the original box, never used, never seasoned, even had the original paperwork.  It looks brand new.

Dutch Ovens made for use in your regular kitchen oven normally have no legs,  just a smooth bottom.  The kitchen version lid is more domed shaped with no raise ridge since retaining coals is not a requirement.

While you may not find “wild cast iron” with the original box, and in this condition, finding some of the older vintage cookware is an even more gratifying score.  Cast Iron Fever (Collecting) can develop into something hard to control.

For someone starting out I generally first recommend starting with a 10 inch “camp” style Dutch Oven.  My second recommendation would be for the same in the 12 inch size.  Most recipes work equally well in either of these two without adjustments to ingredients or temperature.  They are both great for Casseroles,  Meats, Chili, Cakes, Cobblers, Mountain Man Breakfasts, and so much more.


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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
  1. We suggest not substituting the Buttermilk, with regular milk, adding lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk, etc., until you have mastered producing fluffy biscuits with this real buttermilk recipe. If your baked biscuits seem dry or clunky increase the Buttermilk slightly until you know the perfect mix for your area and oven.
  2. There is a definite knack to baking light and fluffy biscuits. A couple of secrets to good biscuits is very cold Butter and Buttermilk, not mixing the dough much, and folding and patting the dough several times.
  3. Properly mixed biscuit dough almost looks like it hasn’t been mixed all the way. The other secret is a very moist mix.
  4. Never use an electric mixer or dough machine when mixing up biscuits. Use a fork, and use it as little as possible.
  5. Also old stale Baking Powder (opened and on the shelf for awhile) looses its ability to create the bubbles required to raise good light biscuits. Pitch the old stuff and use fresh.
  6. Mix your dry ingredients together with a wire whisk.
  7. Shave cold butter with a potato peeler or other type of cutter. Keep butter very cold until ready to mix in.
  8. Then stir in the cold shaved butter into the mixed dry ingredients. Alternatively if your chunks are big you can “cut it in" into the dry ingredients using a shortening cutting tool, made for that, or two knives. All pieces should be pea size or less. Mix in the first 1 1/2 cup of Buttermilk gently (Do not over mix) using a fork. If dry add more in small amounts until dough is almost too sticky to handle (flour your hands)
  9. The buttermilk in this recipe is part of the leavening (makes the bubbles) The acidity of the Buttermilk reacts with the Baking Powder & Soda. Don’t substitute the buttermilk with something else for this ingredient if you are new to making biscuits.
  10. The dough should be sticky. Probably more sticky than you think. Mixing the ingredients too much, or too dry is the killer of soft and fluffy biscuits. Plop the sticky dough out on an extremely well floured bread board.
  11. Flour your hands. Don’t roll dough out, but pat or gently flatten with your well floured hands (about 1 1/2 inch thick. Fold the dough in half over on itself and gently pat the dough to 1 1/2 inch thick. Repeat the fold and pat two more times.
  12. Preheat a regular oven to 400 degrees. (Dutch Oven Coals for 400°F-Don’t pre-heat the Dutch Oven)
  13. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter or top of a small drinking glass, can, etc.
  14. Place biscuit rounds on a cookie sheet or into the bottom of the Dutch Oven up against one another. Closely placed biscuits will also be much more moist when done. Biscuits placed next to each other will rise much higher than those placed with gaps between them. Cover with a towel and let the biscuits rest for 10 to 15 minutes before putting them in the oven, or putting the heat to the Dutch Oven.
  15. In a regular kitchen oven Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until golden brown on top. If Baking using charcoal in a covered Dutch Oven, it is also 14-18 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
  16. It is assumed you know proper coal/heat techniques for Dutch Oven baking
  17. Click this link below in Recipe Notes if you need help with Dutch Oven Coal counting? We prefer the 3 uppy-down rule!
  18. Serve hot with butter, jam, gravy, etc.
Recipe Notes

Additional Dutch Oven Baking Tips & Techniques   COAL COUNTING & HEAT MANAGEMENT

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Award winning recipe by Rick Beach. Took First Place "Main Dish" in the "Old Mormon Fort Dutch Oven Cook-off Competition", held in Las Vegas, Nevada (March 2017). If you have the means to smoke this. I often prepare and cook it as shown. Then using a smoker on about 250°F. Smoke the Meat mixture uncovered. I lay on smoke for an additional 2 hours. Stir once about mid way. Watch your moisture content so you don't dry it out. The taste will be incredible.
  1. Optional ingredients such as additional Sriracha Sauce, or various peppers, could be added to the basic sauce to spice this up. Add in very small amounts and cook at least 30 minutes then taste test before adding more. Hot spices tend to intensify as cooked. It is easy to overdo hot spices and ruin a batch for the majority of your guests. A double batch (about 7 lbs of meat can be done in a 14 inch Dutch Oven.
  2. The basic sauce has always been the most popular in large groups. Spicy is not. You can multiply this recipe based on the group you are serving. The BBQ can be made ahead and put in the freezer for later use. This is served on hamburger buns. A stack of coleslaw on the BBQ before adding the top bun makes for a killer BBQ sandwich. This recipe makes approximately 24 standard hamburger sized bun servings.
  3. Place the chunked up Meat, Bay Leaves, Onion, Celery, and Garlic, in a greased heavy pot with lid for baking. Preferably a Cast Iron Dutch oven is used. Meat is slow cooked with lid on. If using a Dutch Oven, and coals, use coals for 325°F heat. If using your kitchen oven use 325°F also. Use a pot sized to be at least half filled to avoid burning.
  4. Bake for 2 hours then stir the meat chunks to rotate the bottom pieces to avoid burning. There should be plenty of liquid remaining at this point and the meat just starting to shred apart. If liquid is completely gone add 1 cup of very hot water, cover, and bake for 1 more hour. Stir again and check for liquid. If the meat is falling apart it should be ready to shred. If not, bake an additional hour but make sure there is some liquid. I have never had to go more than 4 hours baking. Remove lid and keep on heat or in kitchen oven just until all liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Check and stir often during this process…don’t burn it.
  5. Once the meat is falling apart easily, remove the bay leaves and discard the leaves. Use 2 forks to shred the meat. I like to use a potato masher to speed up the shredding. Break apart the meat until it is all completely shredded.
  6. In a large mixing bowl place the remaining ingredients. Add the Soup, Water, Worcestershire Sauce, Liquid Smoke, Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Mustard, and Ketchup. Whisk until combined. Then pour liquid mixture into the baked & shredded meat mixture. Then stir and fold to combine.
  7. Cover and bake for 1 more hour. Ideally the finished mixture is a Sloppy Joe consistency that doesn’t run. If you’re finished BBQ is too thin/watery, cook/bake with lid off, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Cook/Bake uncovered until it reaches your desired consistency.
  8. Optional: Additional smoking process. Leave the mixture slightly wet. Using a Smoker set on 250°F lay on smoke for an additional 2 hours with the meat mixture uncovered. Stirring once about mid way through the smoking process. Watch that the mixture does not dry out. The smoke enhanced flavoring is incredible.
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