Spending a weekend in the woods can be a highlight of the summer, but getting back to basics doesn’t mean you have to sustain yourself on hot dogs. Rough it like a professional this season with these simple methods for campfire cuisine. No gas stove required!
With a clean stick and a package of crescent roll dough, you can make campfire breadsticks to add to any meal. Roll the dough into a long, thin strip and wrap it around the stick (tucking it at the ends so it doesn’t fall off), then cook it over the fire’s coals until browned. Enjoy with garlic and cheese or jam.
Foil Packet Dinners
Doing the dishes at a campsite is tedious, but you can skip the cleanup by cooking a full meal in foil. The possible combinations of meats and veggies are endless. Use heavy-duty foil, fold up the sides and top to keep the moisture inside, and place the packets on burning coals for 20-30 minutes (or until your meat is cooked through). Try Tex Mex White Bean Chicken or Pineapple and Shrimp for gourmet fare by the fire.
With metal skewers, there’s no need to soak them beforehand or worry about catching them on fire. For crispy, juicy bacon over an open campfire, weave your strips onto the skewer two-deep and place them on your grill grate over the embers for about 30 minutes, turning often. Make a hearty breakfast or BLTs without fussing with a skillet.
You don’t have to settle for instant coffee out-of-doors. Caffeine lovers can still get their fix with these low-tech (and low-cost) brewing gadgets:
Pour-over — A simple plastic funnel with a disposable paper insert sits atop your mug, allowing a slow drip of joe. Heat the water with a metal kettle and pour carefully for one cup at a time.
French press — Make coffee for the whole crew at once, but be careful camping with glass. Alternatively, try a sturdier camping French press.
Aeropress — For campers who can’t go without their espresso, the Aeropress is an easy, quick way to make a strong brew. The plastic parts and reusable metal filter make for a quick cleanup and a perfect camping coffee companion.
Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread
With a Dutch oven atop campfire coals, you can make your chili and cornbread in one pot. Just sauté onions and garlic in oil before adding beans, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, tomato paste, and spices. Prepare the cornbread mix while your chili is simmering, and add the batter to the top of the chili when you’re ready. Place coals on top of the lid, and before long you’ll have a hearty two-in-one dinner.
It doesn’t get much easier than frying up potatoes, veggies, and meat in a skillet and cracking some eggs over it. Skillet hash is a camping go-to, but you can always mix things up with sweet potatoes, turnips, chickpeas, pancetta, chorizo, and any spices you can imagine.
Another skillet dish that can be as simple or as complex as you like are Mexican chilaquiles. Start by reducing a fresh salsa, store-bought or homemade, on the skillet. Add tortilla chips and stir to make a sort of stovetop casserole. Finally, crack some eggs over the top, and add your favorite Mexican cheese, chives, avocado, cilantro, and anything else you’d like.
Chocolate Orange Cakes
Maybe you never thought you’d bake a cake while camping. As it turns out, a whole, empty orange peel is perfect for baking a personal-sized chocolate dessert with a citrusy zing. Pour in the batter, wrap it up with heavy-duty foil, and set it on hot coals for 20-30 minutes.
Cast Iron Pies
With a pie iron, you can make all sorts of sweet and savory sandwich creations. You put bread or dough with a filling into the iron container, close it up, and heat it in campfire coals for around 5 minutes. Try a Croque Monsieur or Blueberry Cheese-Stuffed French Toast.
What is your favorite food to prepare on a camping trip? Leave some ideas in the comments!