Talking Camp Oven Cooking with Jamie Hazelden

G’day, I’m Mick the Camp Oven Cook and welcome to my camp oven cooking podcast, where we talk, all things camp oven cooking with special guests.

a photo of Jamie Hazelden and Mick recording the podcast
Jamie and Mick, recording the podcast.

So, let’s welcome today’s guest, the man behind the Australian Bushman Jamie Hazelden.

G’day Jamie, How are you?

Jamie: I’m good Mick, and yourself?

Mick: Doing well

Mick: I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m doing this recording at Jamie’s place on the Sunshine Coast, I bet you love coming here? It looks fantastic!

Jamie: Mate, you couldn’t get a better atmosphere, a better place to come. We’ve got all of it in one place.

Mick: Looks good to me, I wish I could stay here a bit longer.

Now Jamie, can people just come here?

Jamie: No, I’ve kept this as a private bush camp. it’s Bushman’s retreat we call it, it’s invite-only, and I only have who I want here and that’s to keep it as pristine as what it is.

So, for those who don’t know who you are, can you give me a little bit of information about yourself?

I can, where do you want me to start though, Crikey! so ahh people know me for 12 volts, I’ve been building four-wheel drives and camper power systems for many many years.

I started of i think 2010 -2011 in ahh videos and whatnot in 4wd Drive action and then we progressed through the years. I’ve gone to a TV show called the offroad adventure show.

And that’s what i film now, I think we are up to six or seven years doing that.

Mick: Yea, that’s a good show that one

Jamie: Oh, yea we sort of cover all the bases, of course, we are doing a little bit of bush cooking these days and all of the other bits and pieces.

How long have you been working in this industry?

So, If we talk on the 12volt side of things, it’s been 20 years and if we talk on the adventures of loving life and travelling the countryside.

Mick: All your life?

Jamie: Yep all my life.

Mick: Awesome!

Jamie: I love it!

Mick: Sounds like you do love it!

What’s your best place you’ve travelled to during filming?

Aww, Crikey!

Well, well I mean so many because you sort of pretty well get one in every place you go

but if i was going to go for just the atmosphere for sitting back, kicking back I’m going to say the Simpson dessert.

I love the night sky, i just love the sunsets, in the morning as that sun comes up over the duens, absolutely stunning!

Mick: I bet there would be a lot of stars?

Jamie: oh the stars, the only place to see the stars is in the country

Mick: Yeah, I’ve never been there yet.

Jamie Hazelden waving hello in his canter
Jamie Hazelden waving hello in his canter

What sort of camp cooking do you do?

I love to cook up a bit of grub any way i can, whether it’s on a shovel or in a camp oven or on a hot plate.

Mick: On a shovel?

Jamie: on a shovel, I’ve done that too.

Mick: I hope it was clean.

Jamie: Well, it was once we burnt it for a while.

Do you do much camp oven cooking?

Well, i don’t know what you call a lot because I mean, we cook up a camp oven probably once every week or every second week.

Mick: That’s a lot.

Jamie: Yeah it is a lot.

Mick: Yea, most people do it like only when they are camping or that they don’t do it a lot at home. Its something that i want to encourage mor off

Jamie: Oh look its the only atmosphere to have, We come up here for our Sunday afternoon roast and cook it on the campfire, it works a treat.

Mick: You really have a good set up here to do that though

Jamie: oh yeah, absolutely, hence why we built the place to what it is

Talking Camp Oven Cooking with Jamie Hazelden | The Camp Oven Cook
Jamie loves all styles of bush cooking

So Jamie Hazelden, How many camp ovens do you own?

well umm, i honestly don’t know, i think I’m going to say at least 20 to 30.

Mick: Would you see yourself as a collector or just?

Jamie: Oh, yeah, I’m a collector, but I’m not a collector in as a collector and sit it on the shelf I’m a collector as in we’ve got them all shapes and sizes for all different reasons. And when we have a cookout and a campout and I have a heap of mates and friends over. Well, we just bring out all the camp ovens and use them.

Mick: Yeah awesome that’s the best way!

Can you remember back to the first time you cooked in a camp oven can you remember what that was?

To be really honest, no but I would imagine it would have been an epic fail, Because i recon when i started doing it, It wasn’t because i knew somebody else doing it.

It would have been because i bought one and tried to use it!

Mick: And that’s where everyone starts, they get out there they shovel it full of coals and next thing you know ten minutes later they are burning it.

Mick: because they haven’t figured it out heat control yet or how much coals to put on top or on the bottom or where to even put the coals.

Mick: I’ve seen people put the camp oven inside of the fire, thinking that’s where they needed to put it.

Mick: So, for somebody that’s starting out, it’s tricky.

Mick: But its something that you learn after a while when you keep doing it over and over again.

What’s your go-to food to cook in the camp oven?

Look theres a few but i recon the most common one would have to be the simple lamb roast cooked in a camp oven.

Mick: Yea, Tell me a bit more about that like what do you put on your lamb?

Jamie: What ill do with that is that ill put it on the board, and ill just rub it all in with some olive oil.

I’ll put some cuts in it so i can put some garlic and rosemary into the cuts.

Drop it into the camp oven, and ill add a beer with it and a bit of water and drop it in there, and put the camp oven lid on.

And then put coals top and bottom and let that go for three-quarters of an hour and then ill add the veggies.

Generally, an hour and a half and we are done.

Mick: Yeah that’s nice and simple and i bet its tasty!

Jamie: Oh it is bloody beautiful.

So tell me, Have you ever had any fails?

I haven’t really had fails, you know there are the times when you can’t get the fire going.

Mick: Yep, and we had that trouble last night. when we were cooking our baked silverside. but we got there, didn’t we.

Jamie: Oh, we did it and it was a great thing that you thought of when it pelted down, was to put some tin over the fire to hold that heat back in so it didn’t get all washed out and wet.

Mick: yep, it worked really well.

Talking Camp Oven Cooking with Jamie Hazelden | The Camp Oven Cook
It rained while cooking dinner so we put some tin over the fire.

What’s your preferred heat method, Coals, Heat Beads or even gas, what would you go for?

Oh, I’m always hardwood and umm, it depends on what we are cooking and where we are cooking.

You know its always great to get an old old bit of grey dead bit of wood.

Mick: Yea.

Jamie: That makes the ultimate coals It was better.

Have you ever had an experience with using Heat Beads?

Jamie: Yeah yeah absolutely, I’ve used Heat Beads.

Jamie: Another mate of mine Boogie, he uses heat beads a lot. And it could be because he’s from NSW and it is always cold and wet down there.

Mick: Can never find the right wood, hey?

Jamie: Yea, so yeah, we’ve had a go at the heat beads when needed.

Do you have any tips for others out there that are managing heat?

I think the most important part of managing heat, is to just be mindful of what wood you are burning. because if it is green you know it is going to take you a while before you get things happening.

Mick: Yeah

And it runs really cold, and really old wood well it burs through and gets really hot, especially red hardwood and stuff like that.

Mick: Yeah, So my recommendation for heat control is always starting off with less heat and then, given the 10 minutes, and then you would check it, and then if you don’t think it’s hot enough, you can add a bit more heat.

Mick: But if you go all out and layer it coals and come back in 10 minutes and you already have got charcoal on top and then you can’t get rid of that.

Mick: So, you start with less and then build-up to the temperature and then just maintain that.

Jamie: Absolutely, i couldn’t agree with you more.

How would you clean your camp oven to make sure its clean afterwards?

Well, I’ve heard a lot of little stories about different ways of doing it.

Honestly, the only way I do it, and because again i use it regularly, I’m not just a weekend warrior doing it here and there, i do it a lot.

I’ll cook up our feed, we eat our feed and ill always put a little bit of water in the bottom, a spot of oil. and put it back on the fire and let it get to a little bit of a boil and then just bring it back off, empty it and give it a wipeout with a bit of paper towel, throw th paper towel in the fire and burn it.

then ill do that process once more and that completely cleans it out and seal it up with a splash of oil and wipe it around with a paper towel and we are done.

Mick: Perfect, sounds pretty easy.

How do you store your camp ovens so they don’t get broken?

So I when on my travels I generally only carry two camp ovens of two different sizes for whether we are doing meat or vegetables or a dish all in one go.

Mick: Yeah like a bit of stew.

Jamie: You but i actually have a hessian sack on the bottom, and a hessian sack between the lid and the base and then i just have it packed in with everything else, like gloves and stuff, that works for me.

Mick: Well, for myself I just use a camp oven bag, and I use a strap and strap it up so that the lid and the base stay together.

Jamie: Yeah.

Mick: And I then just zip the bag up and away i go so that it’s not rattling around the lid and the base.

Jamie: That’s perfect, a perfect way to do it.

Have you had any meals on the road by anybody famous ?

Yeah, I’ve had plenty.

Mick: And how did they go?

Jamie: Ahh they have been great.

Have you got any fails or a tragic story you want to tell?

Ah, well i had a tragic fail myself.

A mate of mine, he called me up to his place I actually went up there to take a house down this one that’s sitting next to me.

Well anyway, he said you come up there’s a heap of us here and you cook us a feed for the night.

I’ll supply everything, you cook it up, No worries i replied.

Anyway, so I go up there, and I prepare it all I cook it up and then he had, I can’t remember what it was but he had but it was some sort of lifter to pull the camp oven up out of the fire and I dropped the whole lot.

Mick: ooooh.

Jamie: The whole lot went all over the ground, they were a good bunch of fellas, they said don’t worry well brush it all off, it was a little crunchy.

Mick: some people love a little bit of flavour.

Jamie: True, And they do it when you’re a beginner at camp oven cooking. That’s a solid problem that’s for sure.

Do you have a bucket list of food that you really want to cook in a camp oven??

I haven’t really, my daughter does a lot of pastries and bread and stuff like that and she loves it. And I have never tried have never got into the cakes and stuff like that myself.

I keep saying, I’m going to do that, I’m going to do it, but I just don’t. because I’m always just cooking the main meal.

Yeah, that would be something i would like to do.

Mick: When I first started camp oven cooking and I did an interview with that’s life magazine. Just over the phone, the guy asked me all these questions to do this written article on article on me and Nick, when we first started cast iron boys and said to me, have you ever cooked camel in a camp oven?

I said no but its something that I want to try. And the first line of the article reads, “mick loves cooking camel stew in the camp oven” and so I’ve always wanted to do a bit of camel stew because apparently, I do it.

Jamie: Hahahahah, That’s Gold.

Mick: That’s a writer for you.

Jamie: Yeah that’s it.

We have the billy boiling on this really awesome apparatus. Can you tell me a bit more about all it?

Ah thats the Aussie campfire kitchen gear.

Now, I have got a story on that actually, and it started many, many years ago but that gear is just dynamite. It lasts forever and I’ve got it on a lot of my little areas here and because it just works a treat.

I’ll tell you a little story.

it was about 2010/2011 and i was out at lorella springs and this fella comes over to the fire pit that we where sitting around and he knocks in his pole puts on his frypan and grill on it, you got to check these things out.

Anyway he knocks it into the ground and starts cooking up his feed anyway all i could say was ” WOW how good is that”.

And i said to him, Where did you get that from? he said oh, I just knocked it up my self, he made it.

Anyway, the funny thing is I said if you ever make them up I really want to get a hold of one. and a couple of years later they popped up making and selling Australian made products from up in wonga beach, up in far north Queensland, and they send them all over Australia.

They are a little Aussie family that make it in house and send it around the country.

Mick: I’ve often seen them around online but never in person yet, they do look like a great bit of kit.

Jamie: Oh yeah they are making different stuff for the all of the time.


Talking Camp Oven Cooking with Jamie Hazelden | The Camp Oven Cook
Jamie Hazledns fire pit area with the Aussie Camp Fire Cooking Gear.

Jamie, do you have any questions for me?

Questions for you, well look you cover alot of stuff,and ive followed you for many years on all your cooking, but i never get to see as much as i travel aroiund alot, i go to alot of places.

I never get to see many second-hand old ovens, and these ones you brought here and your cooking up with are just awesome, i love them!

Now I’ve got a lot of older ones but I’ve got a lot of cheap Chinese ones but they are all doing the same trick but I really would like to get my hands on some of the old cookers.

Mick: so umm there are a lot of people out there trying to get those and which has driven the price up on them, they are pretty crazy.

Mick: you need to keep an eye out on places like Gumtree, eBay, and local market places like Facebook. and even put a call out yourself saying, wanted camp ovens on gum tree. A lot of people do that, and someone might see that and say hey Jamie I’ve got an oven for you.

Mick: Hopefully one day you can get a nice old vintage oven like mine, as it would really suit being here in this environment you have created.

And now we are up to the recipe part of the segment

Last night Jamie, We cooked up baked silverside and you have told me you’ve never had that before. So what do you think of it?

Jamie: No Mick, I’ve never had a baked silverside before um beac use traditionally you boil it to cook it up, thats how I’ve always done it.

But I’ll tell you what, I’ll be trying that recipe. I’ll be doing that again as it was absolutely beautiful!

Mick: Make sure you invite me as i wanna see how you get on.

Jamie: hahahaha, i will.

Mick: And don’t bring the rain this time!

Talking Camp Oven Cooking with Jamie Hazelden | The Camp Oven Cook
Camp Oven Baked silverside

Just to let everyone at home listening , how easy it was to make this baked silverside

Basically, all you do is get your brown sugar, rub it all over your meat and let that sit for a couple of hours, bang it into your camp oven place it on a trivet.

Add some brown vinegar, some water your mixed herbs your cloves, put your lid on and get it hot and basically what’s happening is that you have got the bottom simmering away creating steam from the liquid.

And you have got the top heat on top baking it, and just let that go for a couple of hours and bobs your uncle.

Mick: It comes out pretty good hey?

Jamie: Absolutely superb.

Mick: For the full recipe make sure you check it out here –

Jamie you have told me about a lot of what you have been doing, have you got any wish list for the future?

Well, the future holds quite a few things, this year 2021, I will be actually putting my tv show onto the tv, something I’ve talked about for many years just hasn’t been able to do it because I’ve been tied up working in the shop with the 12volt side of things.

but im actually going to be putting that on-air, keep an eye out for that.

Mick: And that’s for the Australian bushman?

Jamie: Yeah that’s for the Australian bushman.

Jamie: So that’s where I’m going to go out around the countryside and meet and greet a lot of real Aussie bushmen and women, indigenous and white fellas and tell a story.


Mick: Anything else?

Yes so ahh at the same time I’ve just got my approval through from national parks and ht plantations to create a tag along throughout the bush here and it will be about a three-day tag along where they come camping with me we tell stories around the fire we have a cook up and I can’t wait for that to start.


Mick: Make sure you invite me.

Jamie: No worries.

Mick: ill like to do a bit of silverside for your guests.

Jamie: we can do it!

Talking Camp Oven Cooking with Jamie Hazelden | The Camp Oven Cook