Since as far back as man can remember there has always been an interest in cooking around an open fire. We can’t have this luxury in our home or else we wouldn’t have a home after the meal was done. Over time the camp out included cold meat and bread, hot dogs, or an occasional hamburger but for the most part it was sandwiches. While open fires are the perfect place to fix meals the problem was carrying everything to the camp site and then roughing it when it came to preparing everything. It took a lot of preparing ahead of time so you could be ready for camping.
Camping around an open fire can be viewed in a totally different way. It’s not so much about dragging and lugging everything but the kitchen sink to the camp site and tons of water to help you rinse and keep up with the dishes. It’s about preparing all the food in bags and having it ready so that all you need to do is get it out and cook it. Here are some helpful hints and tips to make your next camping trip a success and leaving them wanting more of your gourmet meal.
When you are done preparing the meal everything should fit neatly inside a cooler so you can tote it around without making a mess. Make sure you count the number of meals that you need to prepare for so you won’t go hungry.
- Take the usual hamburger and hot dogs and spice them up. First, realize that aluminum foil is your friend. Press out hamburger patties and wrap each individual ones in an aluminum pouch. Don’t forget to add onion, carrots, celery, and your favorite spices and seasonings. You can also replace the beef and pork with chicken. Take the average hot dog and place it in the pouch with some potatoes and beans. Season to taste and then your family can enjoy it.
- For breakfast, you want everyone to enjoy the taste of a hot breakfast before you get your day started. Precook sausage patties and eggs before you leave and place them on a biscuit that has already baked. Individually wrap each one so that they can eat what they want. Purchase or make frozen potatoes which can also be put in aluminum pouches and season to taste before adding them to the fire. Everyone can enjoy a nice hot breakfast to get everyone started on the right foot.
- Snacks are going to be in demand because your family will burn more calories when they are outside. They can’t watch television or listen to music so they will be exploring more and becoming active. You will need to provide something that will hold them over until the next meal. Snack foods such as granola bars, trail mix, crackers, and popcorn are just some of the snack foods that you can have ready. These do not require too much preparation so you will be able to purchase them or fix them up before you leave. They will last during your trip without being refrigerated.
- Drinks are another thing you may want to consider. Everyone will probably drink water but they will want something different with their meals. Take advantage of the outdoors by brewing up some sun tea. This is easy to do and tastes so good. Your family will enjoy a tall glass of ice tea with their meals.
It’s not always easy to prepare for camping but this year the meal will be more enjoyable for you and your family.
In a previous article, I wrote primarily about box ovens. With this article, we will consider a couple of other ideas that can also make your camping meals fun and enjoyable.
The first is something called foil packs. Foil packs are quite simple. You spread out a large sheet of aluminum foil, add whatever ingredients you like, seal it up on the ends, and place it on a bed of hot charcoal.
Remember not to use too much charcoal. Each briquette adds about 25 degrees F. (The same rule applies to dutch ovens, box ovens, and even your barbeque grill at home.) Add too many and you will burn the food, possibly melt the aluminum foil, and maybe burn yourself in the process.
Sample ingredients might include potatoes, onions, carrots, hamburger, a couple spoonfuls of campbells soup (such as cream of mushroom), salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of water for moisture during cooking. If you want to add cheese, add it after the cooking process. Otherwise, it will probably burn to the inside of the foil pack.
Another fun way to cook outdoors is with dutch ovens. You can cook almost anything in a dutch oven and you can find lots of recipes on the internet.
It is often recommended that you line the inside of the oven with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Here is a sample recipe that we learned from some boy scouts at a recent webelos day camp.
Peach Dump Cake Recipe
2 boxes yellow cake mix;
2 cans peaches;
1 stick butter;
1 can 7up or Sprite;
Line dutch oven with foil. Dump cake mix into bottom. Dump peaches on top of cake mix. Slice the butter into hunks and add to the mixture. Add cinnamon to taste. Pour 7up or Sprite on top. Stir. Place lid on oven, and place about 20 hot coals on top. Cook approximately 45 minutes.
Personally, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to put the peaches on the bottom so you don’t have to put as much effort into stirring the cake mix. Some experimentation may be warranted. Get creative! After all, that’s one of the things that makes it fun.
Another thing that makes these recipes fun is that the whole family can get involved. The kids can help make foil packs, and even a small child could do most of the dump cake up to the point of adding the coals.