Tips For Safe Campfire Cooking

Campfire cooking

Campfire cooking allows you to enjoy meals with friends and family while connecting with nature. It can be simple with a few foil packets of vegetables and fish, or more complex using dutch ovens for savory stews and roasts. Whatever you cook over a campfire, it is important to keep safety in mind and use the right equipment. Keep water and a fire extinguisher nearby to quickly douse flames or dampen them if they spread too quickly.

Keeping the cooking surface above the coals reduces risk of burns. If you are cooking directly over the flames, it is important to move the food around to prevent burning and to ensure that all parts of the meal are cooked evenly. It is also important to monitor the temperature of the fire. A good rule of thumb is that it is ready to begin cooking when a large portion of the coals are white hot.

For more controlled heat, it may be a better option to cook with aluminum foil rather than directly over the flames. Foil takes up very little space, is inexpensive and can protect food from direct heat. This method works well for foods that require a long cooking time, such as whole vegetables, fish and potatoes. It can also be useful for wrapping foods that drip and splatter, such as burgers or chicken.

It is recommended to bring a cooking surface such as a dutch oven or a grill grate to hold skillets and pans over the campfire. It is also a good idea to have a pair of tongs, a heat-proof glove and a thermometer for checking food temperatures. Having a bucket of water or sand nearby is also helpful for dousing any rogue flames caused by food drippings or from burning coals.

Before you start cooking, it is a good idea to get the fire started early in the day. This gives the coals a chance to warm up and provides enough time to cook your dinner before darkness falls. It is also important to select the right wood for the campfire. Avoid bringing emerald ash borer-infested wood, as it can destroy forests where it is introduced.

Start the fire with tinder, such as crumpled newspaper or dry grass, and then build a conical pile of thin twigs and smaller branches over it. As these begin to light, add larger logs and continue adding until the fire is mostly white coals. It may take 45 minutes to an hour to reach this point. Adding more firewood than this can cause the heat to become too high, which can burn your food.

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