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The annual camping trip is around the corner! What could be more wonderful than sleeping under the stars and escaping the daily grind? Sitting around a flaming fire and enjoying yummy meals cooked over a campfire comes in a close second. Here are some of our best tips for cooking over a campfire.
5 Tips For Cooking Over a Campfire
1. Safety First!
Make sure the area surrounding you is safe before starting the fire. You need to clear away anything that might catch fire within 10 feet.
Never build the fire under windy conditions!
Of course, you need to have the necessary tools such as:
- a pair of leather gloves
2. Prepare the Wood
Keep in mind that only dry and seasoned wood is perfect for building a clean and hot campfire. Avoid stripping trees of greenwood. This wood burns poorly and creates unnecessary pollution.
You can also check whether the camping site has available dry wood or if you need to pack some.
3. Prepare the Site
Check again whether there are any overhang tree branches surrounding your campfire site. Then use large green logs or rocks to create a U-shaped border.
If you are using greenwood logs for the border, remember to wet them down every now and then. If it’s slightly windy, turn the closed part of the U-shape to the wind.
Later, lay the large rock at the edge of the firepit to work as a chimney. This chimney helps to direct the smoke up and away easily.
4. Set the Kindling
Fill the fire site with tinder or wrinkled paper. Make sure you set kindling over the paper in layers.
And remember to alternate direction with each layer by using small dead branches or thin splits of wood. Don’t forget to cover the kindling with the kindling stack?
Then, light the paper to start the fire.
5. Start the Fire
When the kindling is on fire, you need to add firewood and distribute it evenly over the fire bed. Continue adding the coals and level them according to your preference to get the cook settings as high, medium and low.
Best Campfire Cooking Methods
After building the campfire, it’s time to cook. Below are 5 basic methods for cooking with an open flame.
- Cook directly on the coals – this method requires the hot coals so that you can throw the food right on top of them and cook. Make sure you have a firm set of tongs to move the food around.
- Cook on a stick – If you think that the first method sounds quite crazy, you can try sliding the food on the stick, then cook it over the open flame. Since it’s extremely simple and easy to do, you are able to cook anything you want: hot dogs, corn, marshmallows, fish, etc.
- Cook in foil – Another super easy way is to use aluminum foil. Cover your food in the foil tightly. Wait until the flame goes back down so that you can see the coals (similar to the first method). Then leave the food on the coals and wait until it is done. Remember to use the tongs to turn it from time to time.
- Roast – For this method, you need to dig two separate 6-inch holes and then put two firm sticks with the “y” side of the stick upwards. Next, place rocks around the sticks to hold them stable. Just slide the food on another stick, place it into the “y” notches and rotate so that it is cooked evenly and thoroughly.
- Cook with a Dutch oven – Carrying the Dutch oven is quite inconvenient as it’s quite bulky. But, if you’re going to cook for a large group, it will be a good option. Just put it directly on the coals and you can cook whatever you want: stews, soups, baking, desserts, etc. Once the food is done, pull it off and serve hot.
Extra Tips for Campfire Cooking
- Bring along salt and pepper to season the food.
- Carrying propane canisters? Remember to keep them upright and in well-ventilated areas at all times. Put soap liquid on all connections to discover any leakage and remember to turn them off when not in use.
- Bring a cooler, if possible. Keeping the food cold will maintain its quality longer.
- Don’t forget to cover the pot to help the food cook quicker. It’ll keep insects and dirt out of the food too.
- To avoid smoke and fire damage, you should put liquid soap on the exterior of the pot before putting over the open fire. This also helps to clean up easily later.
- Remember to dip matches in wax to keep them dry and scrape off their tips before lighting.
- Prepare a bucket of water or sand nearby to stifle the fire. Then use a metal stick to spread the fiery remains. Continue adding more sand or water until the remains are wet.
Cooking over a campfire is fun and easy for anyone to try. If you camp with your family, don’t forget to involve your kids in gathering sticks, grass, preparing the site and even preparing the food for cooking on the fire. It will teach them basic survival skills while enjoying time outdoors with mom and dad.
Kevin Richard is the founder of Richard’s Pantry. He spends plenty of time in the kitchen every day because he loves cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives him a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.
Bonus: How to Make Pemmican, the Original Survival Food
Invented by the natives of North America pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
Native Americans spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration.
Pemmican is a portable, long-lasting, high-energy food. It's made of lean, dried meat that's crushed into powder and mixed with hot, rendered fat. This makes it one of the ultimate foods to have stockpiled for when SHTF or disaster strikes.
People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how folks 150 years ago did it.
These guys were the last generation to practice basic things, for a living, that we call "survival skills" now.