Campfire cooking suggestions

OK, so here’s the deal. I’ll be going on a camping trip with several friends, around 8 to 10 people total, in a couple of weeks. I plan on doing a lot of the cooking while we’re out there and was wanting some tips, tricks, advice about it. We’ll be doing copius amounts of fishing while there, so we should have fish. I know we’ll need a few staples like potatoes, eggs, bacon, onions, some biscuit mix and a few other things that folks might want to bring. I currently only have a basic set of campfire cookware which includes a medium sized pot, a 8 inch skillit, a coffee pot, and plates, bowls, and cups. I may have access to a larger cast iron skillit, and a dutch oven. The cookware I have is the enameled type. So teeming millions, I ask for your advice, tips, and favorite recipes. now…GO


Need more info. Are you packing all this stuff in on horseback, or car, or what? What type of heat source are we talking about? Coleman stoves? Campfires?

…potatoes, eggs, bacon, onions,

Don’t forget tortillas. The plate that you eat and don’t have to clean. WHat you said there there is pretty much my standard campfire breakfast burrito.

Mountain Pies - Go find a pie iron at Target or WalMart and you have some tasty cookin’ ahead of you.

Some mountain pie recipes

Some of the best memories of my childhood involve mountain pies cooked in a pie iron on a campfire…

Well, if you’re cooking for 8 to 10 people, you’re going to need a bigger vessel. Dutch oven would indeed be my recommendation, unless you’re backpacking.

Here’s my favorite instruction and tip site for Dutch ovens.

And here are more Dutch oven recipes than you can shake a firestick at.

But my biggest cooking-when-camping tip applies no matter what method you choose for the actual cooking: plan it out. Write down all your recipes (yes, even the ones you know without checking) and ingredients and use that as your checklist for packing. Don’t forget your spices! I use one of those pill organizers for my herbs and spices - each daily compartment disconnects, so I can take only as many as I need. Far cheaper than the spice containers they sell at the camping stores.

I try to plan meals so that leftovers, if any, get used later. Egg scrambles are a great way to use up bits and pieces so that you’re not packing up 3 ounces of this and that to take home. I’ve found very little that can’t be glued together with eggs for breakfast or a can of cream of something soup in a casserole for dinner.

I’ll admit, I’ve never done a fishing trip, so I wouldn’t *count *on having fish. I might plan some nice veggie heavy meals (say, a stir fry or a stew) which would be nicely augmented with some fish should we have some, but I wouldn’t rely on it to keep 10 people happy. But I have a pathological fear of people going hungry in my presence, so maybe that’s not such a big deal for you.

I’ve decided this year to give up on water for washing dishes. It’s going really well, and cutting down on bickering at the campsite. The procedure now is to scrape/wipe out all possible food, and then use antibacterial wipes to clean the dish. This leaves it mostly clean, with a thin film of antibacterial residue. That gets buffed off with a dry terrycloth towel. No odd taste, no gray water to deal with or water to lug. I don’t use antibacterials at home, but they’re great for camping!

Originally posted by Silenus

OK, we’ll have vehicles to transport, just your average campsite set up at a lake, nothing too off the beaten path. We have a propane stove we’ll be cooking on, and a campfire to make me feel manly. Will be there for 4 days/3 nights. Close enough to restaurants and grocery stores that there’s not really a fear of anyone going hungry. The campfire cooking is mainly to not spend too much eating out and because it’s just more fun that way.

Originally posted by jayjay

I’m going to have to buy a couple more of these. I used to have some, but I have absolutely no frickin idea where the went. I have a lot of fond memories about these things too, thanks a TON for reminding me of these.

Originally posted by Whynot

will you be my hero?

Sounds like a perfect setup for a Dutch oven and some pie irons.

Tip for firestarting when camping cushy: instead of chemical accelerants, set up your fire as normal, with lots of kindling and small wood. Stick a couple of tea lights (or we save candle wax drippings for this, but we camp a lot) into the wood pile, and then light with tinder as normal. Then grab your air mattress pump (what? Of course you have an air mattress - what kind of heathen campers are you?!) and blow it at the flame. The air will make the flame woosh up and catch the kindling and the wax, when melted, will keep the flames going long enough to catch the small stuff. No lighter fluid/kerosene/boy scout juice needed, even with damp wood.

Setting tea lights (unlit) on logs near the edge of the flames (within the firepit) is pretty, too. Bright fire for a few minutes.

Oh! And bring some powdered coffee creamer. I won’t drink the stuff, but you can impress your fellow campers by throwing a handful of it just over the flames, and it’ll make a neat fireball. Flour and sugar also work, but coffee creamer has a better crackle and sparkle to it. :smiley:

I’ll see if I can pencil you in. :wink:

For any cooking you do directly over the campfire, coat the outside of the pot with dish soap first. Then it will be possible to wash off all the soot later. Otherwise, those pots will be permanently blackened, and the soot will smear onto everything they touch.
Then again – blackened, sooty pots are manly …

My favorite camping food:
Chuck Wagon
Brown 1 lb ground beef, set aside. Make 1 package Kraft Mac + Cheese. Add ground beef, 1 can corn (drained), and a few Tbsp tomato paste. Mix well, salt + pepper to taste.

Mom used to make it on the coleman stove every time we went camping. I occasionally make it when I want comfort food, but it’s just not the same without the smell of coleman fuel.

I don’t have to mention S’mores, do I? Surely there are none out there that have not been introduced to this little slice of heaven?

Fake out Jambalaya:

Brown sliced sausage. Add rice, water and canned seasoned tomatos. Cook until rice is done.

This is good for camping becaise it has lots of flavor and bulk, but little meat which is hard to transport and store.

Excellent suggestions guys, keep em coming.

and masterofnone, no you don’t have to mention s’mores, I already have those supplies bought and waiting. Gods dessert right there.


Get a campfire Rotisserie . I went camping 2 weekends ago, and cooked a chicken and a pork roast each night. both were on the spit at the same time, and with some fiddling with the coals, cooked in the same time. I changed up the spices between nights. Both were checked for doneness with a meat thermometer, and came out perfectly! (Juicy and delicious)

We also made a proper pie. Premade pie crust, disposable aluminum pan, and a can of pie filling. I lined my dutch oven with some small pebbles, put the pie tin on top, then covered with the lid upside down. Put on a very light bed of coals (to keep the intense direct heat off the tin), and pile some coals on the upside down lid. Refresh coals every 15 minutes or so. ( I hung it from this contraption and rotated it every 10 minutes or so, over a medium/low fire. The crust came out perfect, both top and bottom.

Marinated Beef Tips and Veggies

Uber-simple and always a hit.

4 lbs. beef tips or tri-tip, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 packages Jack Daniels Marinade
bell peppers, onions, etc. cut into 1 inch square peices

Cut up the meat and veggies and seal each in several ziplock bags. On the morning of the day you plan to cook this, place the meat into the marinade pouches. Let stand all day. Skewer meat and veggies on seperate skewers and grill.

For dessert, grill pineapple wedges soaked in a rum/vanilla/sugar syrup.

Man, you guys are really roughing it. On my last camping trip, I made a big pot of sausages with fire-roasted bell peppers, onions and garlic in red wine with garlic bread for the “quick and simple” meal on Friday night. Saturday afternoon snack was a big tub of guacamole with a freshly made chopped tomato-serrano salsa. Saturday evening big dinner was skillet toasted corn cut from the cob, re-fried black beans and whole grilled pork tenderloins in peanut mole.

If you bring along enough wine and scotch, nobody will care what you make for dinner!

Awww, quityerbraggin…and can we visit your campsite this evening?

Ok, I learned campfire cooking where the main point was to be cheap, so you may turn your nose up at this, but, I highly recommend the pancake mixes where you add the water to the packaging, shake it up, and then pour the pancakes out onto the griddle. Now, my mother made pancakes from scratch more or less weekly for 30 years, and yes, those are better, but these are ok, and silly easy, and honestly, the difference is washed away by all the awesomeness added from sleeping outdoors and waking up to the smell of pancakes. If you are at altitude, you will also get mad fluffiness.

What about hobo packs? Toss meat, vegetables, cheese, spices, ketchup/barbecue sauce/soy sauce/any other sauce you want, and whatever else you feel like on some tin foil. Fold it in half and fold over the edges then place it on hot coals until the meat is done. It’s hot and yummy.

You can cook anything you could cook on your stovetop at home on a Coleman stove. I have cooked for my husband’s Cub Scout pack (he is the Cubmaster) and have found that spaghetti is easy and great for a large crowd. French toast is great for breakfast. Weenie roasts are fun and easy. I like red beans and rice mix…you can add a can of tomatoes (use less water than the package calls for unless you want soup), bell peppers, and precooked sausage pieces.

Tacos are good, too. Precook the meat at home and freeze it in a ziploc baggie. It will thaw in your cooler. Then, all you need to do is warm it up on the camp stove and set out the tortillas, veggies, cheese, salsa, etc.

Prepare as much as you can at home. Ziploc is your friend. Cut up the vegetables, premeasure ingredients, precook ground beef for use in things like spaghetti sauce, chili, tacos, etc. Label the bags. Sharpie is your other friend. This saves you time when you and the other campers are staaaaaaaaaaaaarving.

Any edible food tastes like gourmet cooking when you’re camping. Even Breakfast in a Paper Bag, which we tried out at a family campout. Thank goodness, because we did not have good luck with it, and there was a lot of burnt food, especially when the bag falls in the fire. What didn’t burn was good, though.

Here’s a breakfast recipe that works: Eggs in a Bag. I notice that this version tells you to leave air in the bag–I find it works better if you remove as much air as possible. Anything you like in an omelet/scrambled eggs would be good in these–ham, green peppers, green onions, etc. The cheese cooks inside the egg–so good! (If you are at high altitude, this will take longer to cook than this recipe says, so check first before digging in!)

Scoutorama has many great ideas and recipes.

Based on feedback from a disappointed Doper (Mangetout, I believe), make sure you use only name brand bags and make sure they’re freezer bags. The cheepies melt when up against hot cheese or chorizo.