Is there anything more enjoyable than cooking over an open campfire? The natural wood smoke imparts an incredible flavor to any dish, while the soft crackle of flames creates a relaxing ambience while you enjoy the great outdoors. To get the best out of your campfire cooking experience, there are a few tips and tricks to know when cooking food over an open flame.
Proper Camping Cookware
While s’mores and hot dogs probably come to mind when you think of campfire food, you can cook just about anything over a campfire with the right tools! Here are some great camping recipes.
Cast Iron Griddle
Cast-iron cooking equipment is a must-have for a camping trip, as the dense metal retains heat better and distributes it more evenly than other cookware. Invest in a cast iron BBQ griddle for whipping up pancakes and eggs in the morning, or grilling up some steaks for a hearty meal later on.
A grill grate is a simple and useful tool for cooking over an open fire. You can grill meat and vegetables directly on the grate or use it as a stand to hold pots and pans for boiling water, frying, or slow cooking.
Cooking over an open fire can be tough on the hands, which is why you want to use a pair of heat-resistant grill gloves. This way you can cook away while protecting your skin from the flames. Wear gloves that are flexible and allow you to get a good grip on utensils and cookware.
Prep at Home
Slicing and dicing meat and vegetables is best done at home when all your utensils are in easy reach; the less chopping and mixing that happens on site also reduces the risk for cross contamination or foodborne illness. Put your ingredients in storage containers and bring them along with you.
Store cold produce such as meat and dairy in a cooler packed with ice bricks to maintain freshness. This easy-to-grip, high performance cooler will keep ice for up to six days. Alternatively, vacuum seal your produce at home to keep it fresher for longer.
Build your Fire
If there’s one thing you need to get right for cooking with fire, it’s the fire itself. (It goes without saying that before you make a fire you should ensure it is safe to do so: selecting a site that has at least 10 feet of clearance on every side of the fire, including above. No power lines or trees overhead!)
Whether you’re building a campfire from scratch or cooking on a wood-burning stove or firepit, the principles of setting and starting your fire are broadly the same. As long as the kindling is dry, it should catch well without the need for artificial firelighters.
As hardwood burns, it creates embers—it is these embers that you want to cook over, not over the roaring flames. Spread out the embers with a long stick. After your fire has settled, add a few Mesquite wood chips to create a lovely BBQ aroma and provide extra flavor to your food. The goal is to get a healthy bed of glowing embers alongside a small but roaring fire to keep feeding it. Once you’ve got that, you’re ready for campfire cooking.