Here are a few of the things we've learned over the years:
1. Be sure to season your Dutch oven before you use it the first time. To do this coat it generously with shortening and place in a 200° oven for several hours (until it stops smoking). Then wipe it out and keep it in a dry storage place.
2. To determine how many charcoal briquettes you'll need, you need to know the diameter of your Dutch oven. Then prepare twice that many coals. When it's time to cook, place a few more on the lid than there are below. For example, if you have a 12" pan, put 10 below (12-2) and 14 above (12+2) for a total of 24 (12x2). This is supposed to create the equivalent of a 350° oven. If you use more it will be hotter.
3. Don't use soap when cleaning, otherwise you'll have to re-season your pan. Just wash with water, and use salt if it needs scrubbing. When it's dry, re-coat very lightly with vegetable oil and it will be ready to use the next time you want.
4. We love our Dutch oven stand, but it's absolutely not necessary. Before we got it, we'd use the fire pits at our campgrounds, or just place a piece of aluminum foil on the dirt. We also love our lid holders, but a rock works just as well. Just don't put a hot lid on a plastic tablecloth. And if you don't have a special Dutch-oven-lid-lifter, that's okay. You can use pliers or a hammer, just make sure you are using oven mitts as well.