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Campfire Cooking

Campfire cooking is one of the best parts of camping! There's something about building a fire and using it to  cook your food that feels very satisfying.


campfire


There are lots of different ways to prepare food over a fire - and none of them is difficult. Read on to learn about all of them.

For a complete camping menu, click here.




In a Dutch oven

A cast-iron Dutch oven is a fabulous piece of cooking equipment.



It operates on the same principle as a slow cooker: you prepare your ingredients and put them in the pot. Put on the lid, turn on the heat (or, in this case, place the cooker in the fire) and wait for a long time. Your meal will cook slowly and evenly, the flavors will mingle, and the finished product will be delicious!

You can cook all sorts of things in a camp Dutch oven: casseroles, meats, dessert, soups, stews - even bread and cake!

I'm starting to compile a list of the Dutch oven recipes I've enjoyed. Here it is. (If you've never cooked in a Dutch oven, this is a good first recipe to try.)

It's important to take good care of a Dutch oven. Here's how.

Here are some important tips for successful camp Dutch oven cooking.




On a grill

Many campsites have a fire ring complete with a grill for cooking.


campfire ring with grate


It's a good idea to bring along your own grill just in case your campsite doesn't have one. An old oven rack works well; you can probably find an inexpensive one at the thrift store.

Here is the campfire cooking equipment that I recommend.

Once you have built a fire and let it burn down to hot coals, there are a couple of ways to cook on the grill:

In a pot or pan

This isn't practical for all of your cooking since making a fire takes time and effort. I recommend using a two burner camp stove for most of your camp cooking.

But cooking over the fire is fun, once in a while.

Don't use your usual pots. You'll never be able to get them clean again, no matter how hard you scrub. Invest in a pot and a pan that will be just for campfire cooking. The thrift store is a great place to look!


cast iron frying pan over fire


Before putting the pan on a fire, coat the outside with a generous layer of liquid dish soap. This will help you wash most of the soot off fairly easily.


Directly on the grill

burgers and hotdogs on a grill over a campfire


Burgers and hot dogs are delicious cooked directly over the fire. Be sure to cook over the coals, not over the flames.  If you cook over a direct flame, your food will burn.


In a foil packet

Tinfoil dinners are a favorite camping meal for many families. Foods that just need to be warmed, rather than cooked, can be placed right on the grill.


tinfoil dinner on grill


In the coals

Visit this page to learn to make perfect coals for campfire cooking.

Put foil-wrapped food right in the coals. Shovel some coals on top of the foil packets so that everything cooks evenly. Here are my favorite "cook in the coals" foods.

Potatoes

baked potato on a plate


A potato baked in the fire is one of my favorite foods in the world! Add some butter and some salt and pepper and you have a feast! Go here to learn exactly how to bake a potato in the coals.

Foil dinners

Tinfoil dinners are an ideal meal for the first or second night at camp. Do all of the prep work at home. At camp, all you need to do is make the fire and let it burn down. Put your premade packets in the coals, wait for a while, and a complete meal is ready!


Tinfoil Dinner with Chicken and Vegetables


Here is everything you need to know about making tinfoil dinners.

Click on the photo to see the recipe for Tin Foil Dinners with Chicken and Vegetables.

Baked apples

Core an apple. Fill the cavity with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Wrap the apple in foil and place it in the coals.

Every once in a while, rake the packet out of the coals. Using oven mitts, pick it up and give it a squeeze. If it is soft, it's ready to eat!

Unwrap the foil carefully, being aware of the escaping steam.

Use a spoon and eat the apple right out of the foil packet. It's delicious!

Banana Boats

A Banana Boat is a delicious, gooey dessert that is even somewhat nutritious! This is one of our favorite campfire cooking treats.


banana boat


You can add chocolate chips, nuts, berries, or whatever treats you can imagine. Click on the photo for full instructions.




On a stick

Hot dogs

You can cook any type of hot dog over a campfire: beef dogs, chicken dogs, tofu dogs, smokies or your own favorite.


family roasting hot dogs around the campfire


The fattier varieties work better than tofu dogs, but since you are going to smother them with ketchup and mustard anyway, that doesn't really matter!

Marshmallows

Roasted marshmallows are the classic campfire cooking snack. They almost a requirement of a family camping trip! Since they have no nutritional value whatsoever, we limit them to an occasional treat.



You can eat your marshmallow "as-is", or use it to make Smores. Here is everything you need to know to make perfect roasted marshmallows.

Crescent rolls

For a quick and easy campfire cooking snack, wrap packaged crescent rolls around your marshmallow roasting stick and toast the dough over the fire.



For a gooey treat, put a dollop of Nutella inside the dough!

I got that idea from an article called "41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius". I decided to try all 41 ideas. You can read about my adventures here.

Other goodies

How about a caramel inside a marshmallow? A piece of Starburst candy? If you can put it on a marshmallow roasting stick, you can probably cook it! Please let me know if you have any original campfire cooking ideas.




Supper is over, the campfire cooking is done for tonight and the fire is burning down...

Now what? Don't douse that fire! The fun is just beginning!


Sing campfire songs.

Singing around the campfire is one of my very favorite things about a camping trip! It's the perfect way to end the day.

Here are the words for some favorite songs to sing around the campfire.

This songbook has hundreds more classic campfire songs.


Tell stories.

Telling stories around the campfire might become one of your family's treasured traditions. There are several ways to tell campfire stories:

Bring a spooky storybook and read it aloud. Here is one of our favorites.

Learn a campfire story and tell it in your own words. Here are some funny short campfire ghost stories to get you started.

Make up a campfire story and tell it to your family.

Create campfire stories together. I think that this is the most fun of all! Click here to learn some easy techniques for creating your own funny campfire stories.


Play campfire games.

Campfire games don't have to be complicated. Just looking for pictures in the coals can be fun. Here are a few more good campfire games.

The werewolf game is a great one for older children. It might get a bit intense for younger and more sensitive kids.

The telephone game is an easy-to-play game for all ages. It will get everyone giggling - guaranteed!



Now that you've learned about campfire cooking, check out more of my camping food ideas.

Be sure to visit The Camping Family home page before you set out on your next camping vacation. You'll find links to all sorts of useful information for making your trip a success!

               

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