I was one of those naughty Girl Scouts who only joined the troop when it was about to go on the camping trip. I knew I would get some good food cooked over an open wood fire. I think we made some sort of hamburger stew in a tin can that was so yummy!
Now that I’m a grown-up, I’ve got my own campfire pit at my house, complete with an iron cooking grate I bought at Cabela’s. What I love about cooking over a campfire is that you can really only focus on the fire and the food, so there’s a good amount of sitting, with family and kids coming over to hang out. It’s actually quite relaxing, if slightly strenuous. We are heading into prime campfire-cooking season, so here are my five favorite things to cook:
1. Organic hot dogs on a stick. Not just any brand, but Applegate Farms’ The Great Organic Uncured Hot Dog, made from grass-fed beef. They’re not fancy, but they’re primal and so yummy. Plus, anyone can cook one.
2. Trout and potatoes and greens. Or any fresh-caught fish you can catch. But we all love trout here. I take my big roasting pan, lay down some olive oil, and place the trout on top of it. Then I boil some potatoes and put them in among the fish (they’re already mostly cooked, so they just get crispy over the fire). I also add chard, spinach, or kale, chopped finely. Then I add BUTTER. And salt and pepper, of course. There is no need for turning, just let everything cook until the trout is crispy on the bottom and the greens are wilted (and crispy where they met the butter). Double yum!
3. Buffalo Burgers. Sure, you can make regular burgers or steaks. But a good thick buffalo burger makes you feel like a true American. Don’t forget to heat up the buns over the flame, as well. Serve with all your favorite fixins, but try not to eat more than two.
4. S’mores. I know, I know, so predictable. But I have figured out how to make them ALMOST all-organic. Most organic marshmallows don’t melt quite right, so you still need to buy the air-puffed kind. Then get the Newman’s Own organic chocolate bar of your choice, add some organic graham or cinnamon graham crackers, and voilà! See, I learned something at that Girl Scout camp.
5. Fruit, sugar, and butter in a cast-iron pan. Basically, take a cast-iron pan like the kind you can find in my store. Cut up any kind of fruit you like—cherries, peaches, apples, or bananas work best. Sprinkle with sugar and butter, and leave it alone on the fire till it’s all bubbly and browned. When the fruit is all caramelized, take it off the fire, and serve with some vanilla ice cream. Super yum!
One piece of advice, in addition to the usual fire safety tips (don’t leave a fire unattended, clear the brush around it, have water handy, don’t let kids near it, and so forth): If your campfire is not very bright, it’s best to cook while there’s still some daylight left. It can be hard to see whether the food is done or not when it’s dark out and the fire is underneath the pan.
Happy campfire cooking! If you have any other good suggestions, I’d love to try them.
Thanks for the great ideas. I’m a Girl Scouts leader and I just learned that it is OK to be a Girl Scout only to go camping. Good for you!
I used to take my son and his friends camping and I found something that they really liked and ate a lot of at night.
Ingredients Pita bread
Pizza sauce or make your own
1 bag of shredded mozza cheese
1 pepperoni sliced
Hamburger pre cooked, in a baggie.Add spices you like.
Required Roll of tin foil
Iron frying pan
Take a piece of tin foil and roll it about as thick as a pencil. Line the inside of the frying pan so that the tin foil which you rolled makes a circle around the pan. Then roll 2 or 3 more pieces of tinfoil and stretch them across the middle of the frying pan so that when you put the pita bread in, it sits on the foil and cannot touch the pan. Make your pizza on the pita bread. Put a few tablespoons of water in the pan.Put the pizza on the foil. cover the pan with tin foil so the steam cannot escape. Put the pan on the fire. When the steam starts rising, wait a few minutes for the cheese to melt.Remove from heat and uncover. Your pizza will be hot, the cheese melted and the pita bread softened up. Pizza in the woods. Can’t do better than that.
my son who is an avid boy scout leader and youth leader loves out door cooking and teaches it at summer camp. makes cobblers and full meals. I usually ( on camping trips) have marinated chicken that has been frozen so when frozen it helps with the cold in the cooler as it defrosts till the night we need it. Also have prepped veggies if they are firmer ie zucchini which grills great. Other campers always wonder what smells so good. Lol. Love to do fish and veggies and if you take fresh green beans, use a little season salt and butter – wrap in foil and lay on the grill they are delicious. ( only takes about `15-20 min lower heat) then there is always turtles. hamburger ball ( Buffalo would work) then add veggies like thin slices carrots and onions, some diced potatoes and some seasoning, wrap in foil and place in kettle. it will bake in there and everyone has their own serving ‘in the shell” . We have an outdoor camp fire- one of the perks of living in the country and it is nice to cook outdoors and not heat up the house. plus Maria is so right, it is so relaxing. love it.