Essential Tools for Productive Campfire Cooking
Campfire cooking is sometimes thought of as one of the classic ways families and friends enjoy the outdoors. It’s hard to put into words the feeling of being outside with good company while surrounding the campfire and putting together meals that not only provide great tasting food but also great memories. With that said, it’s important that every camp site and every camp cook have the needed tools to productively and efficiently create meal masterpieces. Just because the food was made over a campfire doesn’t mean that it needs to taste like a charred piece of oak! Although this is not a complete list, the 4 essential tools below will allow a perfect meal to be delivered over every campfire!
1. Cooking Grate – The campfire cooking grate may be the most important campfire tool. There are literally hundreds of different styles of campfire cooking grates but they each do the same thing – a campfire cooking grate allows food to be cooked directly over the fire without coming into direct contact of the fire. This single tool allows you to cook food on the grate and also is a surface where you can place pots and pans on it for heating. A good camp cook will always make sure that a campfire cooking grate is available for every campfire!
2. Cast Iron Pot or Dutch Oven – The cast iron pot or Dutch oven (see previous blog post) is a single vessel that delivers any and all of your liquid heating and cooking while also doing so much more! Many think of this tool as the “all in one” piece of campfire cookware. The campfire cast iron pot or Dutch oven should be big. It should be really big! It doesn’t need to be “witch’s cauldron” big but it should be at least 7 quarts. A good camp cook knows how to use this essential tool to deliver any meal or snack that may be planned for the menu. When used properly, the cast iron pot or Dutch oven delivers knock out meals on a consistent basis.
3. Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil – Heavy duty aluminum foil should be included every time you are packing for your camping meals. Do try to save money and go with “regular” aluminum foil. The pennies saved normally equate to wasted meals and embarrassment! The main suggested use for heavy duty aluminum foil at the campfire would be foil meals. It doesn’t get much simpler than this – take a large sheet of aluminum foil (emphasis on LARGE sheet – this should be about 3 times as long as the length of food being cooked), spray it down with non-stick cooking spray, place your food in the middle, bring the ends of the aluminum foil together and roll/fold them down together until they roll/fold touches the food. Roll/fold both ends of the “packet” until they also meet the food. Trust me – it’s easy to do! Throw the foil packet onto hot coals and you have a full meal ready! One thing to always keep in mind when cooking this way is that any meat or protein should normally be placed on the bottom as they take the longest to cook. There are tons of other uses for aluminum foil when campfire cooking and it truly is essential to have on hand.
4. Grilling/Roasting Sticks or Forks – Here are where the memories are made! I think we all have a great memory of toasting marshmallows over a fire or cooking a hot dog on a stick to near perfection and then biting into something that only a campfire can deliver. If you don’t have a memory like that, I suggest you print this entire article and highlight this paragraph while planning a trip to the grocery store and starting a campfire! The campfire grilling/roasting sticks or forks don’t have to be fancy and if you plan on spending money on these, please don’t spend more than $5.00 on one! A whittled sturdy stick about 3 feet long is going to deliver the same results as the $20.00 “designer” fork! In fact, I firmly believe that the food tastes even better from a stick that you or the kids found and the memories seem to last longer.
Campfire cooking seems to be intimidating for many cooks but it actually provides a great environment to put together meals that will always be remembered. Using the essential tools outlined above, your next campfire meal will not only be successful but it very well may be remembered as the best outdoor meal you have ever had!
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