All About the Dutch Oven Gathering in Glenwood

If you suffer from FOMO, then I have three words of advice before heading to the Dutch Oven Gathering in Glenwood, New Mexico. Get. There. Early. Tickets for a four-dish meal – all cooked in cast iron Dutch ovens over either coals or wood – sell out in a matter of hours. The event has been a Glenwood fixture since the early 2000s and is now under the capable hands of Molly Bryan – a Glenwood resident for the past fifteen years.  

A Cooking Showdown

Each team – last year there were thirteen – makes at least twenty meals which include a main course, bread, side dish, and dessert (spoiler alert: cobblers are popular). Teams come from as far away as Arizona and even Texas (one team from Pecos, TX is renowned for their chicken fried steak). “We have a good variety,” Bryan says.   

Dutch oven cooking is in Bryan’s blood you might say. She and her friends (“a group of us older ladies”), their donkeys, mules, and some well-loved cast iron cookware go out camping almost once a month. “We used to ride pretty hard but we’re all getting a little older so we don’t ride quite as hard as we did then, but we still enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.”  

What to Enjoy

For the event – this year held on April 13 at the Community Park – Bryan teams up with Dave Wasmund, the husband of one of her camping buddies, to cook. They no longer compete (“We were able to win twice so we decided to go out on top”) but they’ll be serving up their own four-course meal for lucky ticket holders. Bryan handles the main while Wasmund does the sides and dessert. Expect his from-scratch bread and either Bread Pudding with Cherry Tequila Sauce or with his Nightmare Sauce. Nightmare Sauce? She laughs, “Well, it’s got some whisky in it…”  

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on the day. A team of judges hands out awards for ‘best of’ and then the local library runs a book sale.  

Beyond the Event

Plus, look forward to the sights all around you. You’re surrounded by the Gila National Forest. This is a dream spot for birdwatchers. You’ll see everything from bald and golden eagles, to blue herons, black hawks and cranes. There are even six species of hummingbirds. 

The Cosmic Campground is 12 miles north of Glenwood. It boasts one of the darkest natural night time skies on earth, with jaw-dropping 360 degree views. There is more star gazing than you can shake a telescope at. And you’ve got ghost towns, mining camps, outlaws and other suitably atmospheric chapters of history at your doorstep.   

Story by Julia Platt Leonard

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