Food tastes different when it's cooked on a campfire. The flavor of the wood and the experience itself make it a unique way to prepare and enjoy food. Campfire cooking may seem daunting, but anyone can make great-tasting campfire food with these tips.
Campfire Cooking Requires You Get the Fire Right First
The first tip for campfire cooking is using the correct part of the fire. Many people assume that the flames from a fire are the best for campfire cooking. The open flames work well to provide a quick sear to the outside, but they won't provide high heat and even temperature.
Instead, you'll want to let the fire burn down to red hot coals. These coals are what you should cook over. You may want to designate one area in your campfire for cooking and move the coals to that area. This way, you can still enjoy the flames and utilize the coals for even heating. It also allows you to add new hot coals when needed, so you don't end up with a half-cooked meal.
Campfire Cooking Gear
Next, you'll need the right equipment for cooking over your campfire. Cast iron is popular because it holds heat well and can withstand very high temperatures often associated with cooking over a campfire. The basics include a cast-iron skillet, a dutch oven, and a large pot. You can cook many dishes over a campfire with these three items.
You'll also want a grill grate which you can use in a few ways in your campfire. You can place food directly on the fire grate, or you can put your skillet or pan directly on it. A fire grate keeps your food or cookware at the right distance from the fire, allowing air to flow and keeping food at the correct temperature.
Another great piece of cooking gear is a Blow Through Fire Pit Stoker Poker. If you've ever gotten tired from fanning the flames of your campfire, you'll love this tool. It allows you to blow through the tube to increase oxygen to the fire. It doubles as a poker, making it two tools in one. The Stoker Poker also has a one-way valve, so you never have to worry about inhaling smoke from the tube.
Aluminum Foil Makes Campfire Cooking Easier
Aluminum foil can make campfire cooking successfully much easier. You can place meat and veggies into an aluminum foil packet. It will allow the food to cook evenly at the same time and keep your meat moist.
You can also wrap fruits or vegetables and place them on the grate or directly in the coals. It's the best way to cook potatoes, corn, and even onions on the campfire.
Complete Food Prep Ahead of Time When Campfire Cooking
When it comes to cooking on an open flame, it's much easier if you have your food prep completed before you begin. If you plan to cook on a campfire, do all the prep work you can before you leave the house.
If you plan on cooking on a backyard fire pit, it's still best to prep ahead of time. You'll have all your utensils inside, and things can move fast when you are cooking with flames.
Make a Plan When Campfire Cooking
Campfire cooking requires planning, particularly if you will be cooking away from home. You'll need to decide what you want to cook ahead of time.
Decide what gear you'll need, and be sure you have all the needed ingredients on hand. If you simply plan to make hotdogs, you won't need a cast-iron pot. However, if you want to make a stew, a large pot is a must.
Make a list of everything you'll need (and leave behind the tools you don’t) so you don't forget anything.
Campfire Cooking and Maintaining Even Heat
If things get too hot, a spray bottle filled with water can quickly cool things down. Grease drips can cause flare-ups, which can scorch your food or cause it to cook unevenly. A quick spray will quickly tame flare-ups.
Ashes can also cool the fire down without extinguishing it. A light water spray is excellent for flare-ups, but if the overall temperature is too hot, add a shovelful of ash to chill things out.
Must-Have Ingredients For Campfire Cooking
The ingredients you will need will vary based on what you are cooking, but there are a few must-have items.
Olive oil is a great choice for cooking over a campfire. It offers a light flavor that makes it perfect to use in sauces or dressings. Olive oil can also withstand high-heat cooking.
Add a little olive oil to meat, vegetables, and even fruit to keep your food moist and tender.
You'll also need salt. Sea salt is versatile and great on nearly any dish. Use it to liven up hamburgers or add it to campfire chicken.