Few things are more satisfying than cooking a meal over an open campfire. If you find yourself engaging in outdoor adventure sports, you’ll likely have the opportunity to master your outdoor cooking skills. There is an art to it, though, and there are a few best practices you should keep in mind before you start slicing, dicing and frying. Here are three cooking tips to help you get started with your outdoor cuisine.
Pick the right wood for your fire.
You can’t just pick up any piece of wood you come across and throw it on the fire. First off, you need dead wood. Put living, green wood on the fire, and you’ll smoke the entire campground out before you ever put your first piece of meat in the pan. Next, look for the driest, most dense wood you can find. It’ll burn hotter and help you cook more evenly.
Keep your fire manageable.
You don’t need a giant, rip-roaring blaze unless you’re roasting an entire pig. Keep your fire ring at about 24 inches or less. Also, keep in mind that most open fire cooking is actually done on hot coals as opposed to open flames. If you’re cooking in a pot with a lid, you can get away with cooking directly in the flames, but allowing your initial batch of wood to burn down to coals will give you a nice, hot platform to cook on. When you’re done cooking you can throw some new wood on the coals, give it a quick fanning, and you’ll have a flaming campfire again in no time.
Do your prep work at home.
If you plan your menu before you hit the campground, you can also prep your food before you leave. Chop all of your veggies and put them in Ziploc bags ahead of time. When it’s time to make your meal, you’ll just have to pop the bags out of the cooler and throw them in the pan. You can apply the same principles to backpacking meals, even if you’re not bringing a cooler. Things like pancakes and dehydrated meals can be placed in bags ahead of time. When you’re ready to cook, it’s as easy as throwing some water in a pan and boiling everything up.
Look for more campfire cooking and other camp life tips in future articles!