With football tailgating and camping season in full swing, there’s no better time to get your outdoor cooking game up to speed than now. Arguably, the most important question for tailgating, or camping, is what will you use for cooking your meals?
Ideally it needs to be portable, and as versatile as possible. Having one item, that can utilize a variety of cooking techniques and styles, means you can optimize your gear packing space, without having to bring excess equipment.
A good choice is the Aquaforno II outdoor cooking system. It can work as a grill, pizza oven, fire-pit, smoker, and oven. It can also heat your water for coffee or tea. It packs up to around 18” high and about 36” in diameter and comes with a handy carrying bag.
It’s personal preference what you use here, but we’d recommend very dry wood for pizzas and breads, lumpwood charcoal for quick high temperature grilling cooks, and briquettes if you are going for a longer slower cook, such as a rotisserie or smoker style cook. Of course, don’t forget something to light your fuel. Avoid chemical-based firelighters as these can taint your food, we recommend the wood wool type, or simply crumpled paper towels with a few drops of cooking oil on them.
A few simple accessories here will do the job. If you can get tools that fulfill more than one purpose, even better, such as tongs that work as flippers, or have a bottle opener in the handles. A nice sharp multi-purpose knife, a chopping board and an instant read thermometer are also required items. Finally, some heat proof gloves, foil, and a wire scourer for post cook clean ups. Alcohol hand-sanitizer and nitrile gloves minimize the need for washing your hands. Take a garbage bag as well and you’ll be prepared to leave your spot as clean as you found it.
Essential for keeping your food, beer, and other drinks cool. Conversely a cooler without ice can be used to keep food warm for several hours when wrapped in foil or covered with a clean towel.
Food and Drink
Here’s a few options that you could make to impress your friends that provide a change from the usual ribs, dogs and wings.
Sourdough Pizza Al Forno
Pizza dough recipe – Sourdough Pizza Al Forno. Simply add your choice of toppings, we like spiced pork meatballs, ham, olives, mushrooms, and Italian deli meats. Cook as per recipe above.
Hack: For the meatballs, simply buy a good quality pork sausage, remove the skin and mix in some fennel seeds, dried thyme and oregano, and some Old Bay Seasoning, or your preferred BBQ rub, fry in a skillet until they’re colored, and add to pizza prior to cooking.
Who doesn’t love this heady combination of seafood, fish and rice all served up in a spicy fragrant sauce, and who would have though you could cook this outside so easily? Simply follow the recipe we’ve set out here – Paella.
What meal is complete without dessert to finish it off? Once again this is a simple dish to cook outdoors, but not the most common thing to see rolled out at the end of a tailgating party, or after a day trekking through the woods or out on the lake. Check out our family favorite Apple Crumble Recipe here – Apple Crumble.
Spiced Rum Hard Cider
- Half gallon of Hard Cider (non-carbonated)
- 2 cups Spiced Rum
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 12 Cloves
- Brown sugar or honey (optional)
- 1 or 2 oranges, sliced
Add all your ingredients to a pan heat over a gentle heat, until hot but not boiling, then add a slice of orange to each cup and pour cider over the top. Take it steady, this is potent cocktail!
Hack: If using the Aquaforno II you can use the built-in water boiler to prepare this as a fitting end to the evening cookout as the fire cools down.