National Dutch Oven Gathering Slated for October 18-20 at DeGray Lake Resort State Park
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Fall is usually a quiet time at DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Arkansas’s resort state park, but one weekend in October will be bustling with hundreds of Dutch oven enthusiasts from around the U.S. The National Dutch Oven Gathering (NDOG) will be held October 18-20 at the park’s Caddo Bend Day Use area. This annual national gathering gives experts and amateurs opportunities to trade recipes, check out new equipment, and catch up with friends from across the nation. This is the first time the event will be held in Arkansas. To participate in the full weekend of events, registration, that includes a registration fee, is required. However, for those who just want a taste of Dutch oven cooking, the event will include a free open house for the public on Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eric McAllister of the Central Arkansas Dutch Oven group demonstrates how to stack Dutch ovens at a
Dutch oven dishes ready to serve at a previous Dutch oven gathering.
A variety of dishes cooking at a previous Dutch oven gathering at DeGray Lake Resort State Park.
A workshop participant learns how to safely handle charcoal at a previous workshop held at DeGray La
During the free open house there will be demonstrations on how to use a Dutch oven to make everything from biscuits to cheesecake. Other skills such as building an outdoor fire pit and cooking over wood, instead of charcoal, will also be discussed. Guests can learn how to roast a turkey outdoors using just a metal trash can and other simple supplies. At the cooking village, NDOG participants will show off their best dishes and the essential tools necessary to be a great iron pot cook. Many participants will offer samples of their dishes. A schedule of all demonstrations can be viewed at www.DeGray.com.
Following the open hours on Saturday, members of the Central Arkansas Dutch Oven Group will offer those who want in-depth, hands-on lessons in Dutch oven cooking an opportunity to “Adopt a Chef” from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This is an opportunity to get advice directly from an experienced chef. Each participating group will receive a commemorative 12-inch Dutch oven to take home, recipes to try, and admission to the evening Dutch oven pot luck supper. Participants will choose a recipe from a pre-determined list. Your chef will guide you step-by-step through the process of making a delicious Dutch oven dish. All ingredients will be provided. The cost per group is $50 for up to six. participants. Individuals are welcome to register, but the cost will be the same. To register, call a park interpreter at: 501-865-5813.
Many have discovered this historic cooking vessel and its many benefits. Need more iron in your diet? Try cast iron. If you can’t give up your non-stick cookwear, cast iron was the original non-stick surface. If a campfire flavor to a meal brings back fond memories, you can experience it all again when you learn to cook outdoors in a Dutch oven.
Area residents should note that the Caddo Bend day-use area will be closed to the public from October 17-20 for this event, with the exception of the open house for public on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The boat ramp parking lot at Caddo Bend will be closed only on the 19th.
For further details about the event, call the park visitor center at 501-865-5810 or go to the park’s website www.DeGray.com. At this time, there are no campsite vacancies in the park during this event; however, campsites are available at other campgrounds in the area. Guest rooms are still available at DeGray Lake Resort Lodge. Book online at DeGray.com or call toll-free at: 800-737-8355.
DeGray Lake Resort State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. The park is on Scenic Byway 7 between Arkadelphia and Hot Springs [six miles north of I-30 at Caddo Valley (Exit 78), or 21 miles south of Hot Springs].
For more information, contact: Jason Parrie, park interpreter, or Elizabeth Bittner, park interpreter, DeGray Lake Resort State Park, 2027 State Park Entrance Road, Bismarck, AR 71929. Phone: 501-865-5810.