Eating delicious food in the great outdoors is often one of the very best things about camping. It’s a simple truth that food just tastes better after a long day outside! But it’s easy to find yourself in a rut, making the same things over and over again. Hot dogs roasted over the campfire may be delicious the first couple times you eat them but if camping is a regular occurrence for you, it’s probably time to up your game!
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There’s a whole world of delicious camp fare out there that is easy to make and not so different from the things you eat at home. The truth is that with a little know how and perhaps some new equipment, many of the cooking techniques that we use in our home kitchens can easily be transferred to the great outdoors. Those meals that really hit the spot at home? They’ll blow your mind when you’re eating them surrounded by fresh air, friends, and the sounds of Mother Nature. Whether you’re an accomplished home chef or just starting to learn your way around a kitchen, mastering a few simple outdoor cooking techniques will make your campsite cuisine more delicious, more diverse, and way more satisfying!
Whether you’re in your kitchen at home our out at your favorite campsite, foil packets make cooking a breeze. The very same things that make cooking with foil packets at home so convenient are appreciated even more when you’re away from the comforts of your own kitchen! Foil packet cooking is clean, convenient, and super versatile. Simply load up a piece of foil with your chosen ingredients, seal it up into a tight packet, place it on a grill rack, crack open a beer, and wait for your dinner to be done. You can limit the time spent on meal prep at the campsite by preparing your foil packets at home and then simply plopping them onto the grill when it’s time to eat! And the best part about cooking with foil packets? There are no pots or pans to clean up afterwards! This could not be any easier. One of our favorite foil packets meals is this Honey-Sriracha Chicken Foil Packet – a great meal with a little kick!
Tip: Spray the inside of your foil packet with cooking spray before you load it up with ingredients. This will help keep your cooked food from sticking to the foil!
Cast-iron Dutch ovens may be classic kitchen tools but they are perfect for campfire cooking as well. The Dutch ovens used for camping are similar to the ones that you use at home but they have one major difference: legs. Three little legs on the bottom of your Dutch oven will keep it elevated and allow you to customize how much heat reaches your food. While you can certainly use the coals created by your campfire to cook your food, charcoal briquettes allow for much better control over heat levels. The range of delicious meals that these babies can cook makes them the perfect campfire companion! Use your Dutch oven to make cinnamon rolls or quiche for breakfast and then whip it out again at night to cook up a warm and hardy lasagna for dinner. Cast-iron Dutch ovens retain heat evenly, clean up well, and are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can have in your camp cooking arsenal!
Tip: The lid of your Dutch oven can be flipped over and used as a skillet to make eggs or pancakes!
Here is a technique for the campfire cook that wants to take their sandwich making to a whole new level. Few things in life are as delicious on a chilly night as a warm, melty sandwich. There’s something about melted cheese and toasty bread that just warms the soul. Fortunately for you, those melty sandwiches that you love to make at home can be easily whipped up at the campsite with the addition of just one simple piece of camping equipment: the pie iron. Made from cast iron, pie irons are a quick and easy way to make sandwiches, breakfast dishes, and yes, even pies! The possibilities for what you can do with your pie iron are only limited by your imagination. Make a simple grilled cheese or spruce your sandwich up with ham, veggies, or just about anything else you’d throw onto it! Whatever you decide to fill your pie iron with, you’ll love having warm, gooey comfort food cooked right there at your campsite.
Tip: If you can’t smell the deliciousness emanating from your pie iron, your food probably isn’t done! Keep cooking until everything is warm, melted, and mouth-watering.
Everyone knows that slow cookers make cooking at home super easy but many people forget that they can do a great job of simplifying the life of the campsite cook as well! Crock pots are great for their ability to slowly and easily transform a bunch of ingredients into something really special and that especially holds true when your kitchen is the great outdoors. Rather than fussing over your meal you can spend your time playing with your kids, and sitting by the fire. If you have electricity at your campsite you can just bring your slow cooker from home but if you find yourself in a more remote area without access to an electrical outlet, you may want to consider picking up a portable propane powered crock pot designed specifically for this purpose. Any regular crock pot recipe can be used at your campsite but we happen to love this recipe for Chicken Curry!
Tip: Crock pots are great for campers who tend to linger around their campsites. Never leave your slow cooker on and unattended in the woods!
Almost everyone uses a stove to cook at home and the techniques that you use in your kitchen transfer easily into the great outdoors. Propane camp stoves are economical, easy to use, and let you cook just like you would right in your own kitchen. Having the simple ability to easily boil water can open up a whole world of recipes to you and being able to cook in a skillet makes almost anything possible. While a cast iron skillet makes a great addition to any camper’s cooking quiver, regular old kitchen pans can work as well. Propane stoves are great for quickly heating up things like sauces and soups that don’t need a lot of time to simmer. Try a hearty stew or class it up a bit with this chorizo breakfast tacos. Pretty much anything you make on your stove at home can be easily transferred to the campsite with the addition of a camp stove so let your imagination run wild!
Tip: Many camp stoves can do double duty by having a burner on one side and a griddle on the other for the ultimate in camping convenience!
Just because your kitchen may be a campsite in the woods doesn’t mean that your meals have to be boring! It’s easy to take the things you’ve learned about cooking at home and put them to work for you out in Mother Nature’s kitchen as well. Bon appetit!