Everything You Need to Know About Campfire Cookouts
June 16, 2016
From building the perfect fire to the ultimate variations on classic s’mores, this fulfills all your campfire cooking needs
Everything You Need to Know About Campfire Cookouts
Take at least one weekend this summer to spend miles away from home, in the great outdoors. Pack your tent, your sleeping bag, and plenty of food, and head off to the wild countryside or the breezy beach. Pitch your tent, build a campfire, and enjoy a magical evening of flickering flames, charred hot dogs, melted marshmallows, and stargazing. Follow this guide to make sure you’re up to speed with all the campfire cookout essentials, like how to build the fire, what equipment you’ll need to take, the best cooking methods, and our absolute favorite campfire recipes.
Building the Campfire
There are a few key tips that will help you build a successful, long-lasting, and stable campfire. Firstly, make sure you wood is dry. If it’s not, not only will it be harder to light, but it will also smoke too much. You’ll need to build your campfire in a pyramid shape to ensure that there’s plenty of space for air to circulate between the logs. Lastly, use a range of wood: Mix together small kindling to get the fire lit and larger logs to burn sustainably.
Campfire Steaming and Boiling
To steam or boil your food, hang a heavy pan full of water over the flames (not in the direct heat of the flames), and either drop your food straight into the water to boil it, or place it in a metal bowl in the water to steam it. Steaming works well for puddings or cakes, as the bowl is insulated from the intense heat of the fire’s embers, just as a cake pan insulates the batter from the oven’s heat when you’re baking at home.
Cooking on a Stick
Coffee Can Cooking
To make a hearty campfire stew, the coffee can cooking technique is your best option. Take a coffee can, layer your food into it, seal the top of it with aluminum foil, and place the can into the fire’s coals. Cook your food for 30-45 minutes, before carefully removing the can from the fire (you’ll need sturdy gloves to do this), and eating immediately.
Also known as hobo cooking, or silver turtle cooking, this is one of the most versatile campfire cooking methods. Place all the ingredients for your meal in the foil, wrap it up tightly, crimping the edges of the foil together, and cook slowly on the wood or coals, until bubbling, smoky, and ready to eat.
Essential Campfire Cooking Equipment
Before you set out on your adventure, make sure you’re well equipped with the essential cooking equipment. The most important items you’ll need are a cast iron skillet, a grill sheet, plenty of heavy-duty aluminum foil, long-handled forks, sturdy gloves, tongs, a heatproof pan or pot (preferably with a lid), a food thermometer, and a Thermos flask, for keeping boiled water warm.
Campfire Corn on the Cob
Eating butter-covered corn on the cob is an essential campfire cookout experience. This corn is cooked wrapped in foil with salt, sugar, and butter, before being eaten with your hands.
Wrap popcorn kernels, oil, and salt or sugar (to your own taste) in a large piece of tinfoil. Crimp the edges of the foil together, making sure it’s not tight around the kernels they need room to pop. Poke a campfire fork through the crimped edge of the foil packet, and hold it above the flames, shaking gently every now and again. Remove from the flames once the popping sound has stopped.
Campfire Roasted Caramel Peaches With Pecans
Expand your campfire dessert repertoire beyond everybody’s favorite s’mores by making these super simple, sticky, sweet, roasted caramel peaches.
DIY Instant Oatmeal With Nut Butter
Start your day in the great outdoors with a warm, healthy bowl of homemade instant oatmeal. Filled with seeds and dried fruit and topped with nut butter and fresh fruit, this breakfast is both nutritious and delicious.
Fire-Roasted Salmon With Herbs and Lemon
Camping food doesn’t have to be all about meat and potatoes. Wrap up some salmon in foil, cover them in extravagant amounts of fresh herbs, butter, and lemon, and cook in the campfire until done to your liking.
Loaded Campfire Potatoes
Mixed Mushroom Hobo Pack
Enhance the mushrooms’ naturally deep flavor, by cooking them in the smoky campfire flames, topped with olive oil, herbs, and garlic.
S’mores and Their Best Variations
There’s no such thing as a campfire cookout without s’mores. Whether you opt to follow a traditional recipe of graham crackers, a chunk of chocolate, and plain marshmallows, or decide to make them fancier by using different cookies, swapping the chocolate for Nutella or peanut butter cups, or adding fun-flavored marshmallows: We’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Toasty Bacon Fluffernutters
No one will be able to turn down these nostalgic fluffernutter sandwiches. The classic combination of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff has been improved by adding slices of bacon, toasting the bread in the bacon fat, and swapping the jarred fluff for molten, charred marshmallows.
Ultimate Campfire Breakfast
Wake up with the birds and treat yourself to the ultimate campfire breakfast. Starting the day with eggs, bacon, and pancakes while the sun rises and the coffee brews is sure to set you up for a perfect morning.