Cooking in the great outdoors can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, whether you are camping, hiking, or just enjoying a barbecue with friends and family. There are many different ways to prepare and cook food in the wild, but the campfire method is definitely the most popular one.
There’s something special about the smell and taste of food cooked over an open flame, and the process of starting and maintaining a fire adds an extra element of challenge and enjoyment to the experience. Of course, like any cooking method, it also involves the use of specialised equipment and techniques in order to master it. That said, here are some tips for preparing delicious fire-cooked feasts.
Find the Right Camp Oven
If you’re planning on cooking over an open fire, you’ll need a way to contain and regulate the heat of the flames. A camp oven is a portable, insulated oven that sits on top of a fire or stove and can be used for baking, roasting, and boiling. There are several types of camp ovens to choose from, including cast iron, aluminium, and stainless steel.
Cast iron ovens are the most traditional and are prized for their durability and heat retention. They’re also very heavy, so they may not be the best choice if you’re planning on hiking to your campsite.
Aluminium ovens are lighter and more portable, but they don’t retain heat as well as cast iron and may not be as durable. Stainless steel ovens are lightweight and easy to clean, but they also don’t retain heat as well as the other two options.
When selecting an oven for camping, consider the type of cooking you’ll be doing and the size of your group. A smaller oven may be sufficient for solo or two-person trips, while a larger oven will be necessary for larger groups. You’ll also want to consider the fuel source you’ll be using. Some camp ovens are designed to only be used with wood or charcoal, while others can also be put on a stovetop or with a propane burner.
If you’ll be hiking to your campsite, you’ll want an oven that is lightweight and easy to carry. On the other hand, if you’ll be driving to your campsite, you may be able to afford a heavier, more durable option.
Camp ovens can vary widely in price, so it’s important to set a budget and choose an oven that fits your needs and your budget. Consider purchasing a camp oven from a reputable brand with good customer reviews. This will ensure that you’re getting a quality product that is built to last.
Start a Fire for Camp Oven Cooking
Building a fire can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. But with a little practice and some basic knowledge, it’s a skill that anyone can learn.
The first step in starting a fire is to gather your materials. You’ll need dry kindling (small sticks and twigs), firewood (larger pieces of wood), and a firestarter (such as newspaper, dry grass, or a firestarter stick). You’ll also need a safe place to build your fire, such as a designated fire pit or a clear area with no overhanging branches.
To start your fire, lay a layer of kindling in the centre of your fire pit. Arrange the kindling in a tepee shape, with the sticks pointing upwards. Place your firestarter in the centre of the kindling and light it. Once the kindling is burning, gradually add larger pieces of firewood, making sure to leave enough space between the logs for air to circulate.
It’s important to keep an eye on your fire and tend to it as needed. Use a fire poker or stick to move the logs around and adjust the flame, and add more wood as needed to keep the fire going. It’s also a good idea to keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies.
Have a Good Set of Cooking Tools on Hand
When it comes to campfire cooking, there are a few key utensils that you’ll want to have on hand.
- Tongs: Tongs are essential for flipping and handling food without burning your hands.
- Spatula: A spatula can be helpful for flipping and handling hot food.
- Oven mitts: Oven mitts can protect your hands from heat and burns while cooking over a fire.
- Grill grate or griddle: A grill grate or griddle can be placed over the fire to cook items such as burgers, steaks, and vegetables.
- Skewers: Skewers can be used to cook items such as kebabs, marshmallows, and hot dogs.
- Dutch oven: A Dutch oven is a large, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid that can be used for baking, boiling, and roasting over a fire.
- Grill brush: A grill brush can be used to clean the grate or griddle before and after cooking.
- Fire poker or stick: A fire poker or stick can be used to adjust the logs and control the flame of the fire.
- Water bucket or fire extinguisher: It’s always a good idea to have a water bucket or fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies.
- Cutting board and knife: A cutting board and knife can be useful for preparing ingredients before cooking.
It’s also a good idea to bring along some basic kitchen essentials such as a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and aluminium foil.