Riding

Delicious Recipes for Horseback-Riding Trips

Dutch-oven cooking allows for fine dining on the trail.

From America’s Horse

With fall upon us, many horsemen are hitting the trail in a last effort to spend time with their horses before poor weather hits.

Many avid sportsmen are also out with their horses for outdoor recreation. Hunting, packing and long rides make our equine companions a necessary partner.

But spending days out on the trail or at camp doesn’t mean sacrificing great, home-cooked food.

Beef jerky. Trail mix. Maybe some canned sardines. That’s typical camping fare, right?

It doesn’t have to be that way, and with minimal equipment – such as a Dutch oven and its accessories – you can dine al fresco on some pretty amazing food.

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Bo Winslow, a longtime outdoor educator and AQHA life member, loves taking friends or clients up in the mountains near his Estes Park, Colorado, home and “whipping up a few things that people are wowed by.”

He says just about any food that can be baked at home can be cooked at the campsite in a Dutch oven. To get a taste of some of Bo’s tips, let’s go over his recipe for cobbler:

Peach Cobbler

Six 16-oz. cans peaches, completely drained
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
1 cup crushed pecans (optional)
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 cup butter (squeeze-type is easiest)
1 can of Sprite

A 12-inch Dutch oven is ideal for this recipe. Put the drained peaches in the Dutch oven and sprinkle about 1/8 cup of dry cake mix on top of peaches. Mix the Sprite, pecans and remaining cake mix in the cake-mix box. Don’t worry about a good mix on this, as a little dry powder is good. Pour this mixture over top of the peaches. Squeeze butter on top of the cake mix and sprinkle on the cinnamon.

Coals on top of the Dutch-oven lid and underneath it provide the heat for baking. When you’re baking, you want most of your heat to come from the top, as too much underneath will burn the bottom of your food. Charcoal briquettes are ideal, and Bo prefers the kind without lighter fluid. Let them burn down until they’re gray.

A good rule of thumb to get a 350-degree oven is to double the size of your Dutch oven, so you’d use 24 briquettes for a 12-inch oven. Put two-thirds of them (16) on top of the lid in two concentric circles, and the remaining third in a circle around the perimeter of the oven’s bottom.

Turn the Dutch oven clockwise about 90 degrees every 10-15 minutes, and rotate the lid counter-clockwise. This way, if you have any “hot spots,” they will even out. But refrain from looking in on the cobbler, as that will lose valuable heat.

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In 45 minutes to an hour, the cobbler should be browned and bubbling, and your fellow campers should be begging for their part of it.

Some other tidbits:
•    Seasoning your Dutch oven is crucial to success. This is a heating, oiling and cooling process that should be done a couple of times before you use your oven.
•    Make sure to pack all the accessories that will make Dutch-oven cooking a breeze. You’ll need thick gloves, something to set your lid on and a lid lifter. And be resourceful. Farriers can often forge these tools, or you may already have something that will serve the purpose, such as a pair of channel-lock pliers that would work to lift the lid.
•    Clean your Dutch oven with just a plastic scrubber. Metal scrubbers will damage the oven, as will soap.
•    If you’re not sure about how hot your oven needs to be or how many coals to use, err on the cooler side. You can always add heat, but you can’t fix burned food.