Whether you are grilling, roasting or baking, campfire cooking is a skill that can serve your camping adventures well. The right fire and utensils, along with a few simple recipes, can turn any meal into a campfire cuisine that your friends will rave about. From burgers and hot dogs to baked potatoes and pies, a little planning and proper technique can make your camping food tasty.
The first step in any campfire meal is to build a good fire. A great cooking fire is comprised of a layer of glowing embers, with a smaller flame underneath. This provides plenty of heat for cooking, and is much safer to use than a full flame. Make sure to keep feeding your fire, and never let it go out. For the best results, you should try to start your cooking at least an hour before your meal is ready. This will give the coals time to cool down, and cook your food thoroughly.
When building a fire, always choose quality hardwood that is seasoned. Seasoned wood has had all of the moisture removed, making it ideal for burning and creating clean flames. Also, choose a variety of graded sizes, and be sure to include some larger pieces in your stack. This will create a nice, balanced fire that will burn for a long time and create a steady supply of embers.
A metal grate over your campfire is ideal for many kinds of foods, and it will help you avoid any unpleasant charring. You can also buy handy, specialized tools for campfire cooking, such as grill baskets that are perfect for fish or chicken. These tools are often insulated, to prevent burning your hands while you are removing your food. Skewers are another essential tool for campfire cooking, and you can find several types on the market, from plastic to stainless steel. However, wooden skewers are usually preferable as they don’t burn and can be used for longer periods of time.
You can also use flat rocks to create a grate for your campfire. The rocks will help you avoid burning your fingers when removing your food, and they will also hold the grate in place. This is an especially helpful trick when you’re cooking over a raging fire.
Other tools for campfire cooking include a metal pie iron, which can be used to bake pies and more. A skillet or cast iron is useful for frying foods and boiling water. A set of long metal tongs can be very helpful for grabbing pans and pots from the fire without burning your fingers. Finally, a pair of oven mitts is also an excellent choice for handling hot pans and pots.
Some foods require more advanced techniques than others, such as grilled fish or seared steaks. In general, the more expensive cuts of meat are better reserved for a later date, when you are more skilled around the campfire.