So you’re headed out for a family vacation or a weekend alone in the woods. But how do you make food? We’ve been camping for over 15 years and these are my best camp fire cooking tips.
Location, Location, Location
When you’re setting up your fire you need to select the best location for the area you’re in.
If you’re in a campground or camping area that provides fire pits or fire rings be sure to utilize them.
If you’re on the trail or in a primitive camping area look for flat ground covered with gravel or dirt. Clear away any flammable material from around the area where you’ll cook.
If you’re in a grassy area you can lay down aluminum foil to prevent the grass from burning. Make the foil area larger than the rock circle you create to cook in. This prevents the fire from spreading to the grass.
Low and Slow is the Way to Go
Campfire cooking is best done on indirect heat. Resist the temptation to cook over the flames of a newly created fire. Unless you’re looking for burnt marshmallows, cook over red hot coals rather than flames.
Foil Can Be Your Friend
In the most primitive of wood fires (where no cooking grate is present), tinfoil can be your best friend. A nice sized potato double or triple wrapped and buried in the coals will yield excellent results. You can generally tell by the squeeze of the potato when it is soft to your likeness. The thing to avoid is overcooking and burning, so check them frequently and make a note of the approximate time. You can always re-wrap and put it back in the fire if it is undercooked.
Foil packet cooking can be a simple way to make meals over a primitive wood fire (one with no cooking grate). One of my favorites is Campfire Banana Boats as come call them.
And, here are some other great foil packing cooking recipes.
The simple ideas are of course, a stick whittled down for hot dogs or marshmallows. Bring along Graham Crackers and chocolate for traditional S’mores. We love these homemade marshmallows with our S’mores.
Cast Iron Cooking
We can’t talk about campfire cooking tips without talking about cast iron. Cast iron is one of my favorites both outdoors and in. In fact, most of my cookware is cast iron. It’s easy to care for, easy to clean (when well seasoned) and non-stick without chemical coatings.
If you’re not a fan of aluminum foil touching your food I recommend investing in a dutch oven for campfire cooking.
Campfire Cooking Must-Haves
When you’re packing for your outdoor cooking you’ll want to have the right supplies. Here’s a list of some things you’ll need:
- Matches, waterproof or in a waterproof container
- Various sizes of wood (be sure to ask or know the rules for foraging for wood in the forest)
- Tinder (dry newspaper, cardboard, firestarters)
- Cast iron cookware (optional)
- Campfire sticks (optional)
If you’re looking for more tips and great recipes for campfire cooking check out the Cooking Outdoors ebook and video package which is on sale now.