Campfire cooking tips for your next outdoor adventure
These simple tips and tricks will have you cooking gourmet grub in the great outdoors in no time.
Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Campfire cooking isn't difficult — and it can be very tasty. (Photo: suc/iStockphoto)
You may be sleeping beneath the stars and have no way to check your email, but camping doesn't have to be all about "roughing it."
When it comes to gourmet meals on the go, we've got you covered from breakfast until dinner — and we've even got delicious ideas for dessert.
If you're new to the art of campfire cooking, don't worry. Follow the tips below and you'll be cooking up delicious camp cuisine in no time.
If you're going to be camping in one location and don't have a long trek from the car, don't worry about packing light. Bring an outdoor Dutch oven or a cast iron skillet.
Freeze any food you plan to bring and pack the cooler full — the fuller it is, the colder it will stay. If you're bringing meat, add spices or sauces and it'll marinate while it thaws.
If any of your dishes require prep work, do it ahead of time. Chop veggies, mix up batter and pre-season certain items.
Build a campfire that's ideal for cooking.
If your campsite doesn't have an established fire pit, find a flat area and clear it of any leaves or branches that could catch fire. Round up a few hand-sized rocks and arrange them in a U-shape, so you can cook inside it or place a grate over it to cook atop it.
Pick the right wood.
Build your fire with dry wood that's already fallen from trees. Avoid green wood, which will smoke instead of burn.
Cook on the coals.
Cooking over an open flame will likely just burn your food on the outside and leave the inside uncooked because the heat isn't consistent. Instead, cook over the glowing embers. If you need fire for warmth, keep the fire going on one side of your fire pit, and cook food on the other side.
If you're cooking a hobo dinner or roasting a root vegetable like potatoes, you can cook them in foil and place them right atop the coals. Corn can even be steamed inside its husk and placed on top of the coals too.
Check food regularly.
Unlike your oven at home, it's difficult to maintain a consistent temperature when cooking with fire. Some foods you can simply unwrap or poke with a fork to see if they're done, but if you’re going to be cooking meat, it's a good idea to toss a meat thermometer into your backpack.
You don't have to cook in a skillet. Wrap vegetables, s'mores and other food in foil and toss them onto the coals. Cook an omelet in a plastic bag. Save your orange peel and cook an egg or even bake an individual cake.
If you know your way around the forest, you can also wrap fish and other foods in leaves. There are a variety of wild leaves you can use, including cattail leaves, walnut leaves and maple leaves.
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