Campfire cooking can be an exciting and satisfying way to cook in the outdoors, as long as you follow a few simple rules. First, you should build your fire in the right area for safety purposes and to keep it manageable. Next, you need to bank up embers so that your fire stays a steady temperature and provides a consistent supply of heat for cooking. Finally, you need to be prepared with the right cookware and utensils for your food.
Start by laying down a bed of tinder, which is simply dry grass, wood chips, or other materials that will burn easily. Then, pile thin twigs and branches on top of the tinder until they catch alight. After a few minutes, you should have a small but roaring fire with glowing embers.
Add wood as needed to maintain a steady fire and a consistent supply of hot coals for cooking. It may take 45 minutes to an hour for a fire to produce sufficient embers for cooking, but it’s important that you never overdo it, as this can result in charring or burning foods.
It’s also best to use wood that is safe to cook with and has been properly dried before using it for campfire cooking. It’s also a good idea to avoid scrap wood or any firewood that has been painted or varnished because it can contain chemicals that could cause health problems.
For your cooking equipment, you can either bring a pot or pan that goes directly over the open flames or a cast iron grilling dish. Alternatively, you can use a stove, which is usually equipped with a lid, so that your cooking surface is protected from the intense heat of the coals.
Pre-cook all of your ingredients at home before you head out on the road for campfire cooking so that there are no last minute surprises. This will help to keep things organized and stress-free and will ensure that everything is ready to go when you’re ready to cook.
Make sure you have all your utensils in reach and that they’re clean before you begin to cook. For example, you’ll want to have a spatula, knife, and spoon in one hand, a long handled tongs and an aluminum camp kettle on the other.
Be sure to wear the proper gear, which can include a pair of sturdy close-toed shoes that are designed for the outdoors and heavy duty gloves, as these can protect you from the heat. You’ll also want to have a long sleeve shirt and pants, as these will shield you from stray embers and coals.
You’ll need to use metal utensils when cooking over a campfire, as plastic can melt when exposed to the heat of the coals and can also rust when immersed in water. Stainless steel is a safer option, and be sure to only use non-corrosive metal for cooking on the fire.
For the best results, you should prepare your campfire meals an hour before you’re hungry, and ideally start them an hour before sunset. This is because the temperature of the fire will rise faster after dark, which can burn your food.