What You Need to Know About Dutch Oven Liners
I asked a friend of mine the other day if he liked to do Dutch oven cooking. His reply was very typical. He said he enjoys Dutch oven cooking and likes the convenience it brings to outdoor cooking, but one thing that makes it not so fun is the clean up. Some people use aluminum foil to try to eliminate some of the clean up, but it tends to tear and you end up getting bits of foil in your food. There is one accessory that can help out my friend and anyone else that doesn’t like to clean up their Dutch oven and that is a Dutch oven liner.There are two types of liners for your Dutch oven; parchment paper and aluminum foil. Both of them work well, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Parchment paper liners are made 20” in diameter and come in a small thin box packed in like tortillas. The pliability is nice since you can use it for any size oven and there is no need to worry about bending them out of shape or taking up too much room in your cooking supplies. The parchment paper liner can be formed to the inside of the oven, and can be folded over the top or cut at the top to still allow the lid to close in the heat. After you’re done serving up all of the food you simply fold the paper on top of itself and remove. These liners are bio-degradable as well so you can toss them in the fire when you’re done with them.You do need to be careful when dishing out the bottom of the pot that you don’t rip the paper and you don’t want to take the liner out with too much food left because it could tear out the bottom. There can be some condensation or liquid that seeps through especially with soups or sauces. Be careful not to let the sides cave in to the middle when putting food in or dishing it up because inevitably some of the food will get under the liner and get it dirty defeating the purpose of using the liner. Parchment liners start at around $6 for an 8 pack on Amazon
The aluminum foil liners come in specific sizes to fit different size Dutch ovens ranging from 10” to 16” and are very easy to use. You can put them in your oven to pack them in for your camp out, otherwise they will take up some room and get bent out of shape. The best part about these liners is that you can lift them out of the pot while they are still full of food and set them on your table to serve. This also means that you can use the already hot Dutch oven to cook another pot of grub. These liners are also less prone to breaking and letting your food through. There is some concern that the flap at the top of the liners catches ash which can fall into your food, but this can be remedied by folding it over the top edge of your Dutch oven. There is virtually no risk of the liners sides caving into your food since it is fitted to your oven and stands up on its own. If you happen to get the wrong size of liner you are pretty much out of luck since the liners are made to fit the specific sizes of Dutch ovens.
Aluminum liners are about $20 for a dozen so they are a little more expensive than the parchment liners. However, you can actually wash and re-use them several times if you’re trying to pinch pennies. The aluminum liners only come in one depth, though you can use them for a deep dutch oven if you straighten out the top and push it down into the dutch oven.
It may not look pretty, but it gets the job done, and you still get the seal of the cast iron lid on the cast iron pot without the aluminum liner in between. You can get aluminum liners on Amazon by clicking here
It is a good idea to keep both types of liners on hand so you don’t run out and always have the right size.
Some competitions strictly prohibit the use of liners probably because they want to judge the seasoning of your oven as well as the taste. Purists will probably tell you that you can’t get the same flavor by using them, but liners are a great alternative to cleaning and as for the flavor you can be the judge.