With my 4 piece system, I can make my dutch oven a grill, steamer, smoker, pizza maker… just by flipping the lid one way or another, or using the grill as a steamer rack! Instead of trying to explain it all, here’s a video that shows you what prompted me to sit on the edge of my seat, repeatedly saying “No way!” louder and louder as the possibilities of having this set up exploded in my imagination!
You saw the pizza, right? That was what did it for me. I went full on little-kid-camping-and-makin-pizza mode. It’s better than a couch fort! I really wanted to try making it and was budgeting to get at least the basic CampMaid Lid holder and tray because, honestly, that alone is worth having! The ease of taking the whole oven out of the coals and the lid being kept up off the ground while you’re stirring or serving food is fantastic. Not only does it stay clean, you don’t have to worry about burn rings! By a twist of fate, I was actually contacted by the company, asking if I would be interested in doing a review. I turn down things often because either I am not interested, the company wants too much for too little, or the product has nothing to do with the subject matter of the site. This one, I jumped all over with a very enthusiastic “Yes!”
The title picture above is of ours all set up. It was very easy, once you get the overall hang of it, to set up. The overall design is truly genius. Someone really put some time and thought into the functionality of it. The basic CampMaid lid holder has notches where the charcoal tray settles and locks into. You can move them up and down without having to worry about it deciding to slide down on its own. The materials used are strong, stout, and is easily felt while using it. It’s not going to fall apart anytime soon! Really well made.
SAFETY NOTE: Use heavy duty pot holders when using the CampMaid system or cooking with cast iron in general.
I only have one thing negative to say about the system overall:
- The little red rubber handles on the charcoal tray heat up to the point of easily sliding whichever way it can. It makes them slide around and off incredibly easy and I almost dropped the tray a couple times. I was going to say that opening the charcoal tray was also a little hard to do (I used to use both hands) but then I realized that’s a necessary part of the design. It has to be strong to hold the weight of charcoal and stay in place!
Since this was our first time using our CampMaid, or making a pizza while camping for that matter, there were a couple snafus that went along with it but I overcame. First, I forgot the rolling pin and used an unopened pop can instead. (No big deal and kind of humorous now that I think about it.) The second was that I forgot the flour to roll the dough out on. My only solution (other than driving home which I was not going to do) was to use some pancake mix I had for the next morning. It did change the flavor of the crust a little for certain bites but it worked in a pinch!
I put a good layer of olive oil on the lid while it was heating up to ensure it was well seasoned and that the crust wouldn’t stick. Getting it off the cutting board and onto the lid was a trick or two and required the help of Mr. Dreamer to make sure I didn’t botch the whole thing. We had pepperoni and bacon that was saved from breakfast that morning. Note the tray has been moved almost right up under the lid, too.
Once the pizza was in place, all we had to do was place the pot portion of the dutch oven on top and let it cook! As you can see, we had a roaring fire going that we enjoyed while we waited the 20-25 minutes it took for the pizza to be done. I checked it a couple times and realized that we had waited a little too long before we started cooking it and needed to add a couple briquettes to bring the heat up again. I prefer a crunchy crust. Because I was using a dutch oven (we use a Lodge 12 inch Dutch Oven), I didn’t have to worry about any lighter fluid smell or taste getting into the food.
Below is the final result of our first attempt at not only using the CampMaid cooking system, but also making pizza while camping. What a success! It was delicious and we are already talking about using our 4 piece cooking set in different ways that were shown in the video above. I very highly recommend this if you love to cook with cast iron in general but especially when camping, tailgating parties, a day trip for a picnic…there are SO MANY OPTIONS!
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