Utah company makes eating outdoors more enticing
Hyde Park • Utahns love to eat out and not just at restaurants.
Starting around Memorial Day, which is Monday, May 27, and continuing through Labor Day or until the snow flies Utahns will find any excuse to eat outdoors with family and friends.
Camp Chef, a Utah-based manufacturer of camping stoves, Dutch ovens, and other outdoor cooking equipment, has two new innovations for the summer of 2013 that will make dining out even more enticing The Italia Artisan Pizza Oven and a square Dutch oven.
"Cooking with the Italia Pizza Oven is comparable to cooking with a wood fire oven," said Jack Carlisle, the owner of Jack's Wood Fired Oven restaurant in Logan.
Carlisle and Ty Measom, Camp Chef owner and founder, worked together to come up with the new oven which costs $170. A newer, larger model also retails at $180.
A special heat diverter plate in the oven spreads the heat under the pizza stone for even cooking, said Measom.
"We spent about a year developing it; getting the heat and stone just right," he said. "You want enough heat on top without too much on the bottom."
The pizza oven much like Camp Chef's barbecue box is designed to sit on top of Camp Chef's three-burner stove, which costs between $300-$400. Measom said typical backyard barbecues do not produce enough heat to make the Italia Pizza Oven work properly. The company is working on a pizza oven that will fit on its two-burner models.
Before he started Camp Chef, Measom saw how difficult it was to prepare meals for large group whether it was scouts, a church group or a family reunion. He came up with an answer a two-burner free-standing propane stove with side shelves.
"We just wanted to find a way to cook better and easier in the outdoors," said Measom who started Camp Chef in 1990 to market the stove. "There needed to be something a little bigger with a little more power. Something needed to be added to the repertoire of outdoor cooking."
Today, the two-burner stove which costs between $170 and $250 remains one of the top-selling items for the company based in Cache County. That is saying a lot considering the multi-million dollar operation also sells Dutch ovens, griddles, barbecue boxes and patio fire rings.
Dale R. Smith, camping buyer at Sportsman's Warehouse, said people were already asking for something "more burly" than Coleman stoves when Measom visited the first store in Utah back in 1990.
"We started with a double burner stove and single burner stove," Smith said. "Twenty-three years later and a lot more items, Camp Chef continues to be very important vender in all 46 Sportsman's Warehouse stores."
The Camp Chef stove also helped change the way people cook in a Dutch oven no more messy charcoal briquettes. But for traditionalists, Camp Chef created a Dutch oven dome, which eliminates the need to place hot briquettes on the lid which helps avoid the ever-annoying and all-to-common "ashes in the cobbler" scenario.
This year Camp Chef has introduced a new square Dutch oven, "created it to better maximize the space on top of our stoves," said marketing director Steve McGrath. It costs $77.
"Anything you can bake in an oven or cook in a circular Dutch oven can be done with the square oven," said McGrath. "The raised lid will grill marks on the underside gives the user ultimate versatility, sear a roast on the inside of the lid then put the meat into the oven to slow roast to perfection."
Over the past two decades, Camp Chef has targeted scouts, outfitters, church groups and even canning enthusiasts, said Measom. But as more people turn their backyards into outdoor living spaces, the company has changed its focus. Besides the pizza oven, the company also sells the Patio Series fire pit a large table height propane fire box for keeping warm on chilly evenings. It sells for about $500.
"We see ourselves pushing more into backyard cooking and the backyard lifestyle," Measom said. "People are pushing their kitchens outside and we are helping them find options to do it."
3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour
Red pizza sauce
1 can crushed tomato (28 oz.)
1 can tomato paste (12 oz.)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
For the dough, place warm water in a large bowl. Add yeast, salt, and flour. Mix until all the flour is moist, the dough should be firm but sticky. Let rise until double, about 1 hour. Punch down, cover and put in the fridge until ready to use. Dough will last 3 days. The dough is much easier to handle after being chilled.
Meanwhile, make the red pizza sauce by combining all the ingredients and mixing well.
At least two hours before you want to eat, scrape dough out of the bowl and shape into 6 balls the size of a large orange. Let rise at room temperature for two hours.
Use flour to coat the dough balls so they are easy to handle. Stretch each ball into a 12-inch pizza, dust a pizza peel with flour, put the dough on it and top your pizza using the suggestions below.
Place in pizza oven and bake until dough is golden and top is bubbly.
Focaccia bread • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt evenly onto rolled out dough. Put a small amount of grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top. The cheese should be less than half of what it would be on a regular pizza.
Margherita pizza • Spread a thin amount of red sauce on rolled out dough. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella spaced evenly. Tear the basil leaves to desired size and put on top of mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan and olive oil.
Barbecue chicken pizza • Spread a thin layer of your favorite barbecue sauce onto rolled out dough and top with grated mozzarella cheese, just to cover. Put sliced red onion on top of cheese. Top with cooked chicken breast cut or shredded into bite-size pieces. Finish with a sprinkle of grated mozzarella cheese and olive oil (to keep chicken and vegetables from drying out during cooking). After cooking, sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.
Servings • Makes 6 (12-inch) pizzas
Source: Camp Chef