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Special thanks to Susan Conley from the blog cookthestone.com for this guest post.
Worried about your cooking in an upcoming camping trip? Learn five tips that come in handy when cooking over a campfire. Cooking at a camp be a completely different experience for a homemaker. After all, you are away from your kitchen where all your ingredients, cookware and utensils are stored. And adding to the pressure is the fact that you can’t dial a pizza delivery number in case everything goes awry. You will really have to deliver, so to speak, unless you want your family or friends who were so busy putting up the tent to go hungry.
Does this scenario all the more make you anxious?
Campfire cooking should be easy and safe if you follow these tips:
1. Build the right fire. The rule of thumb in building fire is to do so in a safe place. In case there’s no fire pit, find an area free of grass, debris and loose dirt. You can also look for tree roots as these can easily catch on fire. In starting a fire, you should look for dry wood. Avoid using wood without bark because the latter can inhibit fire. Break the wood into pieces about 12 inches long so that you will be able to control the bed of coals. Begin your fire with a small starter fire using kindling and small logs of wood. Let the fire burn for half an hour then put some large pieces of wood to give you a warm base
You should also bring a medium to large pot (we like this family cookware set), a pan and aluminum foil. And don’t forget a cooking grate that you can place over a fire pit. These supplies can be used in preparing just about anything.
3. Know which foods to cook and not to cook. As much as possible, avoid cooking foods that can create drippy fat as they cook. I am talking of duck breast and bacon among others because they can easily cause flare-ups even if you cook them in a pan. I would also advise you against cooking foods that have to be fried, or require any kind of oil. If you really want to fry, use a Dutch oven instead of a frying pan because it offers more reliable heat. A Dutch oven also provides added protection against splatters.
But which foods are ideal for cooking over a campfire?
The chicken will always be a campfire favorite. It is a very versatile source of protein which can be cooked in many ways. For example, you can make chicken tacos by grilling chicken over an open flame, then wrapping the sliced meat strips in a hard taco shell.
Or you can try to cook something new for your family and your friends in a campfire like Lemon Butter Salmon Foil Packs or Cheesesteak Foil Packs. It’s cleaner and helps your foods stay away from dust and ash.
Potatoes are also on the same level as chicken. It makes a very hearty meal and can go so well with almost any kind of meat. It can be enjoyed regardless of the time of the day.
You can make roasted potatoes by dicing and placing them in a tinfoil with butter. Then let the potatoes sit over the flame. After 35 minutes, when the potatoes are just about done, you can add garlic and cheese then wrap it back and put the pack over the fire.
And how can we not talk about canned beans? For many people, this is the perfect food for a campfire. It can serve as a side dish, or for bulking up a soup.
4. Become more conscious of the temperature. In the summertime when the outdoor temperature can easily reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, food that has been sitting out in room temperature can easily spoil. Thus you should make sure that leftovers are packed up promptly.
You should also keep the food well packed in ice before you grill it. Bacteria can easily grow on and spoil foods that are not properly stored. And since we’re talking about temperature, I suggest you use a meat thermometer when cooking with a campfire. It can be difficult to tell if food is cooked just by looking at it.
5. Food storing tips. You should measure the ingredients for each meal and pack them in ziplock bags. It also pays to prepare soups and stews ahead of time. Freeze them the night before your trip and then keep them in the color. You can reheat the said foods for a quick meal. Meat should be frozen too before being placed in the cooler. And once you are done with cooking and eating, store all food in airtight bags and
containers. Keep these in a latched cooler that is away from your sleep area, to prevent unwanted animal guests.
Cooking over a campfire is a very different experience than cooking in the kitchen.There’s a certain kind of thrill that you will feel. But I know that some people are afraid or anxious about it. If you keep in mind these tips, then I can assure you that you would surely find cooking outdoors a breeze.