What comes to mind when you hear the word camping? A tent pitched in a forest with crackling orange campfire in front sounds about right. The campfire, central to the camping experience, can do more than just provide heat on a chilly evening. Score some major DIY satisfaction by cooking sticky sweets and smoky meats over a campfire during your next camping trip. The following tips will help you get started cooking confidently over flames.
Use these tips to improve your campfire cooking skills
1. Confirm Your Destination’s Campfire Setup
It’s important to remember that campfire setups can vary depending on where and when you camp. Campgrounds in high fire danger areas might not allow campfires at all or during certain times of year. Some locations may only have BBQ grills available depending on local restrictions. We know, BBQ grills aren’t the best for telling campfire stories, but you can cook delicious meals on them.
If your campground does provide fire rings or campfire pits for cooking, confirm if an over fire grill is included (you’ll get a yes in most cases). If not, bring a grill to set over the flames. The grill will make cooking with pots and pans easier.
2. Bring Only What You Need
Avoid bringing everything but the kitchen-sink on your camping trip. Think minimal and multi-use when deciding what food prep utensils to bring along. Group and use recipes that require the same simple food prep items. For example bring one pan that you’ll cook in, and use its flat surface for cutting up ingredients.
This super simple No Mess, No Fuss Pancakes recipe does an awesome job of minimizing prep items. It cuts out having to pack a mixing bowl and spoon!
3. Pack Gear for Cooking Over Hot Flames
When you’re cooking over flames, you’ll need some protective items to stay safe. Have a bucket of water nearby to douse flames if necessary. Use heat-resistant gloves when handling pots and pans that have been over the fire. Have a set of tongs to reach into embers and ash to turn cooking food over.
4. Plan Meals Ahead
Pick out simple meals to cook over a campfire. Create a shopping list and buy ingredients before you head out. If you’re going on a longer trip, you can replenish your food suppl at the campground store or at spots close to camp.
5. Campfire Cooking Methods
Take advantage of different campfire cooking methods while you’re preparing meals. Bake, grill, and sear all at a single campfire.
Use aluminum foil to create baking packets to set in or near the hot ash around the campfire. Try this easy baking packet recipe for Baby Red Potatoes.
Get the family involved with cooking by using roasting sticks. We recommend metal versions instead of wood to avoid burning. You can toast more than marshmallows over campfire flames try “Brown bears,” hot dogs, and corn on the cob.
Cook directly on the grill over the campfire pit. Skewer sausages together, so they don’t roll into the flames, weaving in onions and bell peppers for extra flavor.
Set pot, pan, or skillet on the grill to cook liquid-based food like stew, eggs or water for coffee.
Cooking over a campfire will add extra tasty flavor to your camping experience.
Eva Barrows is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance writer. Eva writes about local places, people and events on her website www.evabarrows.com. She founded the online literary journal Imitation Fruit in 2007 and has enjoyed promoting fellow writers and artists ever since.