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Dutch Oven

Arkansas State Cooking Vessel

Dutch oven on campfire; photo by Jason Slemons (used by permission).

Arkansas State Historic Cooking Vessel

The Dutch oven was designated the state cooking vessel of Arkansas in 2001. Like the ax and rifle, the Dutch oven was a basic necessity for early American settlers. These cast iron pots were among the most cherished possessions of explorers, mountain men, settlers going west, and the cattle drive cowboys. Chuck wagon cooks used two or three Dutch ovens when preparing chow.

Dutch ovens are used for baking, roasting, boiling, braising, frying, simmering, steaming, and other campfire cooking methods to make dishes such as biscuits, cornbread, appetizers, entrees and desserts. Modern campers are still using the durable and flexible Dutch oven and cooking contests are held in Arkansas and other locations (the Dutch oven is also the state cooking pot of Utah).

Americans still gather around campfires after a meal from the same kind of Dutch ovens used by our pioneer forbears and tell stories of our history and ancestors.