Camping is a very tiring activity and after a long day of hiking through trails and bringing in wood, many would want to sit down to a nice hot meal. Food is one of the most important things any camper has to bring with them, especially considering that the average camping trip lasts approximately 2.7 nights.
Although you can entirely subsist on packed food and shelf-stable ingredients during your stay, you’re missing out on one of the joys of camping if you don’t do a little outdoor cooking.
Learn a few important tips when cooking outdoors and well as some simple but delicious recipes you should try over your campfire.
Outdoor Cooking Considerations
Considering that approximately 70 percent of campers do so with their significant other and 47 percent bring their children along with them, you will need some skills when you are cooking while camping if you want to feed everyone safely.
Cooking over a campfire and without appliances is unlike cooking in a proper kitchen. Unless you’re camping in an RV with a minikitchen, here are some considerations you need to keep in mind when you are whipping up a meal over an open fire outdoors.
Watch the Fire
A campfire isn’t as regulated as a stovetop and you should watch that it doesn’t go too high or burn too low. Be prepared to toss a handful of kindling or a log should the fire get too hot. You should also be ready to take your meal off and on the fire as needed to prevent burning. Be careful with your fingers and hands as well so you don’t injure yourself while cooking.
Unless you have extensive training in it, don’t attempt to forage your own food and ingredients. There are many dangers to foraging, from running into a venomous snake to picking the wrong kind berries. Avoid eating or touching any mushroom unless you are extremely good at foraging already. Only use ingredients you already have and trust to avoid accidents.
Eat Fresh First
Ideally, you should bring a combination of fresh and packaged foodstuffs with you when you go camping. Fresh milk, eggs and vegetables are great, but you should also have items like jerky, canned beans and the like. When you are planning your meals, cook and consume the fresh food first to prevent them from spoiling.
Bring the Right Tools
Cooking outdoors requires specialized equipment and tools. Aside from cutlery, you will need a cast iron skillet, a spatula and a knife, at the bare minimum. Some people bring other specialized tools like a Dutch oven for baking and grills for roasting hotdogs and other meats. Be sure to tailor fit your tools for your menu so you only bring the things you need.
Simple Recipes for Camping
If you are going to try cooking outdoors while camping, here are a few simple but delicious recipes you can try over your campfire.
For this recipe you’ll need a few tablespoons of butter, some salt and pepper as well as 1 egg per person you intend on feeding.
Put a cast iron skillet or pot near but not over the fire. After a minute, drop in the butter and stir it around.
When the butter is melted and bubbling, crack the eggs directly into the pan. Use a fork or a spatula to constantly stir the eggs, breaking the yolk after a few seconds. Periodically remove the pot from the fire and stir to encourage fluffiness.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve up hot.
A variation to a classic campfire dessert, you will need graham cracker, a chocolate bar and some marshmallows.
Layer the chocolate bar at the bottom of a cast iron pot. Put marshmallows on top of the chocolate, making sure they are packed tightly.
Cover the pot with the lid. Hang the pot close to the fire but not over it, rotating it every minute to ensure even heating.
Once the marshmallows are melted and browned, take it off the fire. Use graham crackers to dip into the melted mallows and chocolate.
Beef and Bacon Casserole
This recipe for a hearty lunch uses both packed and fresh ingredients. You’ll need half a rasher of bacon, 1 can of baked beans, a bottle of barbecue sauce, half a pound of ground beef and banned biscuit dough.
In a large skillet over a fire, fry up the bacon to extract fat. Remove the bacon and chop. Cook the beef in the bacon fat and add the beans, barbecue sauce and chopped bacon.
Stir occasionally until it begins boiling.
Remove the skillet from the fire and shingle biscuit dough over the meat and beans. Cover with the lid and cook for 10 more minutes until the biscuits are golden brown.
Perfect if you are camping and doing some fishing at a nearby body of water, you will need a large fish, lemons or limes, onions, tortillas and some greens like spinach or kale.
Clean and fillet the fish and set aside. Chop the onions and greens into bite-sized pieces.
Cut the lemons or limes into quarters. Put the fish in a skillet and roast until white and well-done.
Flake the fish with a fork and stack on top of tortillas along with a tablespoon of onions, a handful of greens and a squirt of the citrus.
Camping will make you hungry and these recipes will be perfect for satiating your appetites after a long day. Be sure to bring ample food and the right tools so you can whip up meals whenever you need them.