Campfire cooking is fun and rustic. When out in the wilderness for backpacking or at your campsite, it is necessary. When learning how to cook on a campfire, it is important that you always practice fire safety, but also start with recipes designed to cook over an open flame. Some of your household favorites do not fare well when cooked at high temperatures, so coming with an arsenal of ingredients ready to tackle the smoke and heat is ideal.
Tips for Better Campfire Cooking
- Use the Right Wood: You want dry wood that does not have any bark. Some trees have bark that will inhibit fire, so you will not get an intense flame (if any flame) out of them. The wood should be 12 inches for each piece so that you can create a firm bed.
- Burn Until Ready: You do not use the campfire right away for cooking. In fact, when grilling or roasting food, your campfire should be 65 percent burned before you start making food. If the fire is too hot, your food will burn before it cooks through. Too little heat means you will not cook your food thoroughly. If you are cooking a soup or stew, make sure you have a lid so that ashes do not get inside the pot.
- Be Cautious of Your Surroundings: You want to practice fire safety when you are setting up a campfire. First, you want a cleared area where you do not have dry brush close by. Also, at a campsite, you should use the designated fire pits that are located throughout. If the winds are medium to strong, do not build a fire. These winds can quickly pick up embers that will ignite nearby brush and lead to a devastating fire.
- Come with Campfire Cooking Recipes: Not all food is designed to cook on an open flame, so bring along your favorite campfire cooking recipes, such as a shish kebab, campfire roasted potatoes, battered fish and chicken, fritters, and more. You can always cook one pocket meals too, which are meat and vegetables wrapped in aluminum foil and cooked right on top of the flames. For dessert, try making chocolate bananas with marshmallows or a fried pie over the open fire.
These campfire ideas apply to those camping, not hiking. When you are hiking, you need to keep the pack light, but still have food that will re-energize you for the trip down or to the end of the hiking trail. Therefore, you may need to rethink the food items and gear you bring.
A Few Campfire Hiking Food Ideas for a Light Pack and Energizing Meal
When you are hiking, you cannot bring along as many campfire food items as you do when you are camping. So, to keep your pack light, but still provide you with sustenance, here is are a few ideas for your hiking food list:
- Beans: Beans are easy to cook over an open flame, cheap to buy, and easy to carry. Just make sure you bring along something to pop open the can with, and a hiking-friendly pan for cooking them.
- Potatoes: Potatoes offer you the carbohydrates you need for energy, and they are easy to prepare and cook. Just pack along your unwashed potatoes with some olive oil and seasonings. You can roast them over an open flame with aluminum foil.
- Smores: Smores are one of the easier desserts to bring along if you are cooking over an open fire, but need to keep your pack light. Marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers will not take up much weight. However, you want to be sure you do not crush the graham crackers in your pack, so put them near the top and away from any heavy items.
- Cooked Fish: If you are fishing during your hiking trip, you can use your day’s catch over the open flame. Carrying other meat and refrigerated items is hard, so the best way to get fresh protein is to use what you can catch and cook that same day. This eliminates the need for carrying an ice pack or keeping food cool.