Grilling delicious campsite cuisine does take planning, but every minute spent organizing a culinary camping experience will pay off in hours of enjoyment. It starts with having the right equipment and finding a balance between bringing just enough to have you covered, but not weighing yourself down with more than you will need. With the help of our campsite grilling tips, we have you covered. From planning and preparing to packing and enjoying your camping adventure!
Plan Your Meals
Planning for the campsite feast is most important. If you’re camping with a group, get everyone’s input on the meal planning. You will want to include appetizers, sides, entrées, and even desserts. Once you decide on the menu and know how many meals you’ll be grilling, make a list of all the ingredients – right down to the spices and seasonings. Also include the cookware and utensils that will be needed.
Prep at Home
Once the menu is planned, go down the list and prepare what you can for each meal. Slicing and dicing meat and vegetables is best done at home when all your utensils are in easy reach. Pack them in labeled freezer bags or storage containers. Store cold produce, meat, and dairy in a cooler packed with ice to maintain freshness. Vacuum sealing produce at home will keep it fresher for longer. If you are cooking eggs, cracking them into a mason jar will keep them safer during transit. Don’t forget to pack the seasoning.
Freeze Meat & Other Foods
Prep and bag the meat before labeling and storing in the freezer. Trimming fat off chicken breasts before heading out to the camp will defiantly save time. You can cook and freeze things like soups, stews, chili, pasta sauces, and other dishes. Bag and label these items as well. Keep chilled with frozen bottles of water, then thaw at the campsite when it’s time for meal preparation.
Pack Meal Components Together
When loading your cooler, combine components from the same meal in their own plastic container or bag. Mark each set of ingredients such as: Dinner: Day 1, Breakfast: Day 1 – for example. At the campsite, it’s much easier to reach into your cooler for a full meal instead of rummaging around for individual ingredients. Store drinks in a separate ice chest from your meals. This keeps the food cooler from being opened as little as possible and preserves temperature.
Test Grill and Double-Check Fuel
Thoroughly inspect your camping grill for dirty spots or loose parts in advance. Fold or disassemble any parts for transport. If you’re using a propane camping grill, attach it to your propane tank and light it up for a few minutes to ensure everything is in working order. This will eliminate any unwanted surprises once you’re at the campsite. Also, whether it’s hardwood pellets, charcoal, or propane cylinders, make sure you’re well stocked for the duration of the trip.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
Meal-planning is important, but don’t lose sight of the minor essentials that could be overlooked and certainly missed at the campsite. Look around your kitchen and note what you use on a regular basis: aluminum foil, cooking oil, trash bags, storage bags, paper towels, etc. Make sure these items are packed, along with matches or lighters stored in waterproof containers.
Camp Cookware & Grilling Tools
If you planned meals down to the spices, then you’ll know exactly what outdoor cookware and camp cooking tools to take. In addition to the basic tongs, spatulas, grilling cloves, and meat thermometer, think about the cookware.
A Dutch oven would be perfect for making or reheating stew, soup, or chili. A cast iron griddle is a must-have for whipping up pancakes and eggs in the morning. 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.
Make Smart Use of Your Pots
In addition to using cooking pots over the fire, they can double as mixing bowls. Also, use them to begin boiling water for cleanup while you finish cooking and enjoying the campsite feast. You’ll be glad you got ahead of the game when the grilling’s done. Then it’s time to settle in and enjoy an evening under the stars.
Set up a Camp Kitchen
You don’t want to miss out on the efficiency and safety afforded by setting up a proper camping kitchen. With distinct cooking, prepping, and sanitation areas in place, you’ll be able to stay on task and remain organized through all the challenges of outdoor cooking. Prioritize safe and secure food storage, which will keep hungry animals from getting any ideas.