There is nothing better than being at one with nature. Out and about in the open, hiking, camping and having a great time with friends. There is something really special about spending time and bonding with close friends around an open fire at night. Cooking, laughing and enjoying the moment. Doesn’t that sound wonderful??? Sounds blissful to me!
Cooking and eating together really is a great part of the trip. Especially the evening meals. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your campfire for cooking.
Get a proper fire going
Getting the right heat source is key. First off though, please make sure that the area that you are camping in is safe to build a fire. You will be surprised at how quickly fires can spread!
I would suggest a standard tepee style fire this way it can be used for cooking and then topped up so that it can be kept going through the night.
For a tepee fire it is very simple, place your tinder in the middle of the spot where you want your fire and then start building logs around it in a pyramid shape. Start with smaller logs getting bigger and this will ensure that your fire does not get out of control and is well managed. You can add as little or as much wood as you like depending on how big you want your fire.
Choose the right utensils
Remember that plastic melts. We have all been there!
I would suggest metal cooking utensils to ensure that nothing gets damaged or melted. Metal gets very hot however so I would make sure that you take perhaps some pot grips and some gloves so that you can dish up safely.
Wooden spoons work well for stirring just keep them away from the fire!
You can buy specific pots, pans and utensils for outdoors however if you are on a budget you can use them from home I would just be very careful!
Knives, chopping boards, cool boxes and of course cutlery is a must too…
Choose your cooking method
This is another very important thing that you will need to decide before you leave for your trip. How exactly do you plan on cooking;
On sticks over the open fire – this would be foods such as sausages and marshmallows and anything else you can shove onto a stick. Although I am sure it will all be yummy and of course every camp fire should include toasted marshmallows, this method does not lend to nice and nutritious foods.
BBQ – swing a grill over the top of the fire at the level that you want and then cook away. You can have pretty much anything that you like then. Steaks, chicken, potatoes, vegetables and anything else that you fancy. Tasty and good for you. Beware that just like regular bbq cooking at home, if you are using fatty foods, keep a safe distance as the fats dripping into the fire will cause it to flare up and get hotter.
Cauldron – this method is perfect for lovely warming soups, stews and anything with some kind of liquid base, gravy or sauce. You can make so much if you have a cauldron – curries and chillies go down well with a crowd. Foods cooked in a cauldron usually take a little longer than the other options however, it sure does taste good!
Dirty Cooking – this is cooking straight on the embers of the fire or coals and is great for things such as corn on the cob, baked potatoes, meats and vegetables. Please only use this method if you have started the fire naturally and have not sued any lighter fluids of chemicals for assistance.
Clean up after yourself
Once you have had your wonderful meal make sure to clear up after yourself to ensure that 1) you leave the place tidy behind you and 2) make sure that you don’t attract any unwanted attention from pests and rodents.
Once you have all of the above and have decided what you are taking and how you will be cooking then all you need to do is decide what you are cooking.
Next week’s article will be on our favourite campfire foods and dinners.