Camping Life: Campfire Cooking
If you and your family enjoy the camping life, chances are that you enjoy camp cooking or barbecue cooking over the campfire. Camp cooking is a bit different from charcoal cooking on your deck or patio at home. It’s not difficult, however, if you do a bit of planning in advance, before you ever leave for your camping trip.
For one thing, you’ll need some special campfire cooking equipment and campfire cookware, depending on the types of foods you plan on cooking. You’ll also need a bit of camp cooking know-how.
Campfire cooking equipment and campfire cookware
Some of the campfire cooking equipment and campfire cookware you might consider are a spit, a grill top, a portable charcoal grill, a black iron skillet, a metal spatula, long tongs, a metal percolator coffee pot, a small camp shovel, oven mitts, and a barbecue fork.
For Dutch oven campfire cooking, of course, you’ll need a black iron Dutch oven, along with a large metal spoon with a long handle.
This is the kind of campfire cooking you always see on TV and in the movies. It consists of a metal rod suspended over the fire by two metal supports. It’s generally used for small game like birds, squirrels, and rabbits. It can also be used for other meats that have been cut into smaller pieces and threaded onto the rod or onto metal skewers. Think: shish kebobs!
You have to be very careful when cooking on a spit. The food has to be rotated frequently to ensure even cooking. You can speed up the process by parboiling the meat first.
Many campers enjoy cooking on a grill, and when your campfire provides perfect coals for cooking, why waste money on charcoal? Just take a round or square grill top along with you when you go camping. Make an oblong fire pit and surround it with large rocks. Build your fire at one end of the pit, and once you have some good coals, drag them to the other end of the fire pit with your camp shovel. Place the grill over the pit by resting it on top of the surrounding rocks. Feed the coals slowly with small twigs.
Note: Use this cooking method only if your fire is made of oak or other hardwoods that are suitable for grilling! I don’t think you’d like pine-flavored steaks or chicken.
Black iron skillet
You can use a black iron skillet on the grill for frying things like eggs, sausage, and bacon. Deep frying isn’t a good idea because the heat probably won’t be consistent enough to get good results. You can, however, use this method for pan-broiling fish.
Portable charcoal grill
A portable charcoal grill is a great addition to your campfire cooking equipment, especially if you’re a beginner in the world of camping life. If you’re not used to cooking over a fire, this is a good method of cooking for those more comfortable with charcoal cooking and barbecue cooking on a traditional grill.
The great thing about using a portable charcoal grill on your camping trip is that you won’t have to lug along a big bag of charcoal on your trip. You can use coals straight from your campfire instead. Just line the grill with several layers of heavy aluminum foil, then scoop up some coals from the fire and place them in the portable charcoal grill. You’ll use the same cooking techniques here that you use on your grill at home for barbecue cooking.
Another advantage of the portable charcoal grill is that it can be used on top of a concrete picnic table, freeing up the campfire for other cooking.
If, in the rare event that you don't plan on having a campfire, a portable charcoal grill is a must. You can take your own charcoal on your trip and enjoy some traditional charcoal cooking, sans open fire.
Some foods can be cooked by placing them directly into the coals. To use this method, separate some of the coals from the fire. Wrap the items in heavy duty aluminum foil, being sure to seal the ends to keep in moisture and to keep out ash. This cooking method works well for potatoes, vegetables, and poached fish.
Dutch oven camp cooking
Do you know what a Dutch oven is? It’s a large cast iron pot with a lid and a wire bail. It can be used to cook just about anything, including breads. It’s especially good for cooking biscuits.
For Dutch oven camp cooking, you need to set the pot on top of several coals to preheat it. Then add the food, place the lid on, and place more hot coals on top of the lid. The Dutch oven can be used for simmering, stewing, or baking.
Another way to use the Dutch oven is to suspend it over the fire or coals from a heavy metal frame or from a tripod. Lots of campers enjoy a pot of pork and beans cooked this way.
These are square metal flat baskets that open up to accept food. Once the food is placed inside, the basket door is closed. Then it’s held over the fire by a long handle.
This works best for fish fillets, toast, and other items that don’t require much cooking.
No camping trip would be complete without some good ol’ stick cooking – you know, where you place something on the end of a stick and hold it over the coals or over a low fire. Of course, this is the traditional method for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, but other items can be cooked this way, too.
Cooking in the great outdoors is a big part of camping life. It’s fun, and the entire family can get involved in the process. By having the proper campfire cooking equipment and the right campfire cookware, you’ll be able to cook just about anything you want without the use of electricity or propane. You can cook entire meals by utilizing the various cooking methods, including vegetables, starches, legumes, eggs, breads, and meats, fish, and poultry.
Get specific tips and shortcuts for camp cooking by clicking the link below the camping products:
pocket rocket stove
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