Cooking over a Campfire
Humans have been cooking over a fire since the beginning of time. It is in our DNA. Maybe that is why it draws so many of us to branch outside the kitchen and cook primitive style. In this article, I just wanted to share a few tips and techniques, along with a special recipe for cooking over a campfire. I am by no means a chef, I just love to cook. To me, the food is my favorite part about camp. Anyone can do this, try new things and experiment!
Freeze Dried Meal- Easy Prep & Cleanup! If you are going to cook over a fire, the first step is to have a good, safe fire. Please always follow all local rules and regulations about outdoor burning. In some cases, it takes a lot of work and prep to prepare a hearty camp meal. A good roaring fire for cooking in a Goulash Pot, or a nice hot bed of coals for cooking in a frying pan is a thing of art. In other cases, it is as simple as heating up some water and enjoying a freeze dried meal. When going on light pack trips, single package freeze dried meals are my go-to. All you need are three components. A fire, single packet freeze dried meal, and handy U.S. G.I. Stainless Steel Canteen Cup. Heat up a canteen cup full of water to boiling, follow the package instructions and voila! Instant meal. I will say these meals, such as Mountain House brand, have come a long way in the past decade and are quite delicious. If you are feeling more adventurous and have more room to pack, foil packet meals are another great option. You can read more about them in our canoe camping blog
Sausage in a skillet with Potatoes on the side. Another simple method of cooking over the fire is cooking with a griddle or skillet. We have a griddle that works very nice. The U.S. G.I. Aluminum camp griddle is the perfect size for most campfires. This single tool is so versatile and can be used for cooking a variety of foods. Bacon and eggs for breakfast or sausage for dinner. Old fashioned cast iron skillets are my personal favorite way to cook over a campfire. They hold the heat and distribute it evenly. You can pick up old cast iron pans at antique stores or flea markets with ease. Your fire ring will have to have a rack that lets the pan or griddle rest above the coals. One of the easiest meals to do over a fire in a griddle or a skillet is fried sausage and potatoes. Cut the sausage to desired lengths and serve with a heaping scoop of fried ‘taters. The best part is, the leftovers can be incorporated into breakfast! A more advanced and time consuming campfire cooking technique involves using our almost famous Goulash Pot. You will need a sturdy tripod in order to set this up. Or you can set it directly over a good cooking fire if you have a grate. Boy did we have fun taking this one for a test drive. In our initial photo shoot we simply heated up some chicken corn noodle soup that was prepared ahead of time. On our next outing, I made a fresh made batch of traditional Goulash. This was for a big camping outing and wow did the troops go wild for this one. Gear List: - 21 or 30 Quart Goulash Pot - Tripod
Goulash Pot over the FireIngredients list: - 6 lbs. Ground Lean Beef - 4 Large Onions, (chopped) - 6 cups elbow macaroni (uncooked) - 9 Cloves Garlic (chopped) - 9 Cups Water - 4.5oz Worcheshire sauce - 6 15oz cans tomato sauce - 6 15oz cans diced tomatoes - 6 tablespoons Italian seasoning - 1 tablespoon Salt & Pepper (more if you think it needs it) - Few good dashes of your favorite hot sauce if desired Directions: Cook ground beef in goulash pot while breaking it up, until done. Just like you would taco meat. Try to drain off as much grease as you can by spooning it out. BE CAREFUL! Remember grease is flammable! Push ground beef to the sides of the goulash pot. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add water, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, worcheshire sauce, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. When this wonderful concoction cooks for about 30 or 40 minutes and is good and hot (not boiling), add elbow macaroni. Cook with low for about 20 minutes or until macaroni reaches your desired tenderness. Let the goulash cool and rest for a couple of minutes off the fire. Serve and enjoy! Tip: To adjust your heat, simply move your goulash pot up and down closer or farther up from the fire. This is a two person operation, this pot will be very heavy! This serves at least 20 nice size bowls if I remember correctly. I am far from a trained chef so pardon me please if the instructions or ingredient list is not what you are used to. You may need to tweak it a bit depending on your fire or taste. I hope you enjoyed the article and it inspires you to try something new over the campfire!
Don't forget the bacon!