When I was a kid, I watched my dad and my uncle make magic home out of a black cauldron…I mean Dutch oven. In middle school one class I was in had an end of the year cookout, and while most kids brought burgers or dogs to grill, I thought about knocking some socks off some cute girls by showcasing my families Chicken Teriyaki recipe in the Dutch oven. I learned it from my dad. Sadly I did not learn how to heat charcoal or use it right with a Dutch oven.
I got a bit better over the years but it was really a guessing game until I bought my first Dutch oven cookbook. I learned that I had been missing a tool just as important as the lid, a coal chart.
A coal chart shows you how many coals you need for a certain size oven to cook at a certain temperature range. With coals I say range because they will rise and drop in temperature over time, but for the most part you will be close enough to to cook just about anything.
An easy way to remember baking at 350 degrees is double your diameter plus one. For a ten inch, that is 21, for a twelve inch, 25. Put the number of coals for your diameter on top plus five and the rest on bottom. For a twelve inch that’s 17 on top and 8 below. Flip to 17 below and 8 on top for simmering. Or save the picture from the link below.