There is nothing quite like a meal cooked over the campfire. The smokey and chargrilled taste is prized among campers and cooking enthusiasts alike. Plus, cooking over an open flame is one of the most coveted activities while venturing into the wilderness. Whether you are a seasoned cook or just getting started, it is important to know these campfire cooking essentials to get you feasting in the great outdoors.
You will want to have some basic campfire cooking essentials to get you started. Be sure to have dry hardwood firewood purchased from a local shop. Matches or a lighter. Newspaper for crumbling. A metal grill grate to place on top of your fire. Metal skewers and metal tongs. A metal dutch oven or a thick pot with a lid. Don’t forget to bring plates and utensils if your recipes aren’t handheld. A safety mitt comes in handy, especially when working with extremely hot temperatures. Cast iron works best for skillets and pots, do not use anything wooden.
Scout for areas that are rocky and flat without any bushes or low hanging trees nearby. Be sure to use dry hardwood for your fire. It’s time consuming collecting firewood in the area and it’s helpful to purchase firewood from a local shop but do not bring firewood from home. Some firewood differs from trees in the area which could negatively impact the tree population by your campsite from the insects that could be in it. You will want to collect smaller twigs for kindling.
If there is already a firepit established, use it! If not, collect medium-sized rocks and organize them into a U-shape. Use crumbled pieces of paper at the base of your pit as tinder. Add a layer of twigs on top of it. Light the paper on fire. Allow the twigs to catch fire. Next, add the larger pieces of wood. Structure and space them evenly. Use a stick to shift the twigs and paper around. You have to wait for the fire to die down before cooking on it. Place a grill on top of the fire to begin cooking.
Unlike cooking on a stovetop or inside of an oven, campfire cooking varies in temperature depending on the fire. Experience will be the best teacher in this department but there are a few tips for not overcooking or undercooking your meals. You want to have a consistent heat source to thoroughly cook your food, not just burn the outside of it. Do not simply place your food into the raging flame. Those nice grayish white coals that were burnt down will work perfectly under the grill grate. They can look deceiving at first, but trust these are very hot and they will get the job done. Be sure to turn and rotate your food more frequently so as to not burn one side of it.
Prepare all of your food beforehand. It just makes things go smoother and easier! It is very helpful to have ingredients already measured out in separate containers. One of the most efficient ways to campfire cook is having premade recipes already inside of a wrapped up piece of aluminum foil. They are called foil packet meals. Many of which you can just place right on the grill when ready to cook. Use skewers for roasted marshmallows or hot dogs. Remember, perishables only last so long inside of a cooler. Cook any food that needs to be refrigerated by the first or second day.
Now that you know the campfire cooking essentials, bon appetit! Campfire cooking is a mastery of its own. Start with the basics and you will find yourself a campfire cooking extraordinaire in no time!