We had such a wonderful time at Longhorn Council 2014 Mountain Man Rendezvous held at Sid Richardson Scout Camp near Bridgeport, Texas. Salty Forks Outpost was set up Wednesday afternoon, Jan 1st, with a beautiful tee-pee, a huge wall tent to hold all of our supplies, three seperate teaching areas, a dishwashing area, and of course a big fire ring topped with cast iron. Scouts visited our outpost on Thursday, January 2nd, and Friday, January 3rd, learning how to bake golden cornbread in 12″ Dutch ovens with charcoal. Almost all turned out beautifully (just a few were over-baked-not-burned). The hardest chore was breaking down and packing everything up on Saturday, January 4th. We were exhausted and sore but happy to have shared in this unique scouting experience.
This group of nine Dutch oven cooks gave four days of their time, invested in “period attire” (aka late 1800’s), and shared their Dutch ovens and cooking equipment, all to insure the Salty Fork’s Outpost was successful. In the back from left to right are Handy, Dutch, Crooked Stick, and Big Griz. In the middle from left to right are Slim, Cookie, and Lobo, and in the front are Trivet (me) and Smokie.
Our job was to teach scouts how to prepare cornbread batter so that it was light and fluffy, how to control the temperature to properly bake a golden cornbread without burning it, and how to clean up and take care of Dutch ovens. We set up our outpost to allow for a true “hands on” learning experience with the scouts doing as much of the baking as possible.
Here’s the process each scout troop experienced when the arrived at the Salty Forks Outpost. At stage one, we explained the art of preparing cornbread that would turn out light and fluffy, not hard like a hockey puck. The main teaching point was how to fold in the wet ingredients into the dry as directed in the recipe.
At the second station, the scouts learned how to preheat the 12″ camp Dutch oven to 425 degrees Farenheit using 21 charcoals on top and 10 underneath. The lessons on temperature control began at station two and continued to station three where they learned how to tell the cornbread was finished baking (golden brown on top, pulling away from the edge of the Dutch oven, and was firm to the touch), ready to be flipped out of the hot Dutch oven.
Seeing the look of joy on the scouts faces when the cornbread came out and then eating their golden cornbread was the best reward for the Salty Fork’s team!
In my next post, I will discuss the lessons learned from the largest and longest Dutch oven demonstration I’ve ever participated in. Please leave me a comment about Dutch oven demonstrations you’ve participated in, either as a student or teacher!