Campfire cooking is part art, part entertainment, part hobby, and part survival skill.. and probably other parts, too, but suffice to say that campfire cooking is fun and enjoyable for those who enjoy the outdoors.
With all the resources out there today, you can take your campfire foods from very basic to nearly elegant cuisine. It all depends on how far you want to go with it (and a bit on your ingredients and tools). Most people, though, just want to know some good, solid basics to get them started, and that is what we have here.
Temperature Control For Campfire Cooking
The first thing to know about campfire cooking is that your temperature control is all about managing the fire and its fuel. You’ll want to leave some preparation time ahead of time to get a good, clean fire burning. For most foods you’ll want a steady low to moderate flame that allows you to get close enough to cook but keep foods high enough above the flames so that they do not burn prematurely and leave insides raw.
There are various ways to keep foods at a good distance – you can use a spit, grilling rack atop rocks, or sticks. If using sticks or natural products, just burn the ends or areas foods will touch first to burn off anything unwelcome.
Cooking And Roasting In Coals
You also can roast directly in and on your campfire by starting it very early and letting it burn down low and creating a bed of strong, deep coals. With this you can wrap foods in foils and bury them to cook, or place on top of the coals in double-layers of foil, or set heavy pots and pans directly on them for roasting and baking. You can even soak corn on the cob in its husks and roast it directly in the bed of coals. The trick with this type of campfire cooking is to create a hot bed that does is not actually flaming.
Fuels For Campfire Cooking
You will have a variety of fuels available to you. You can choose to bring your own and be sure of it, using charcoal briquettes. You could bring your own type of wood so that you have the type and flavor you desire – fruit woods like apple, and cherry are good and lend their own unique flavor, as do hardwoods. The fuel you use really is up to you, but these are some suggestions.
A Few Campfire Favorite Tools
If you really want to rough it, you really do not need any cooking tools for the campfire, not even a pan if you so choose, but even a couple old stand-by’s can really open up your menu possibilities.
A dutch oven (usually a heavy cast iron large pot) is a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for boiling, cooking, stewing, or even baking and roasting. It takes the place of an oven when placed on or partially buried in coals, allowing you to bake biscuits, breads, or almost anything you would cook at home in an oven.. although more complicated or delicate fare can take some practice.
You might also want to bring along a versatile cast iron pan or two that can withstand the high heat well, a large roll of heavy aluminum foil, and metal forks or utensils that will not burn. Wooden utensils are usually best for cast iron and Dutch ovens, though. A spray bottle for water for dousing flare-ups is a good idea. You will also want something that you can use for moving and digging in wood and burning coals. It doesn’t have to take a lot to prepare you for campfire cooking and even some of these tools can be dispensed with and still enjoy great meals outdoors.