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 Cooking at Camp  Cooking On A Campfire   How To Cook Over A Campfire 

Dutch ovens are specially designed for camping    baking of food in foil packets    Clean up after yourself

Camping and outdoor cooking go hand in hand. 
 Whipping up a meal at camp can be quick and easy.
Always bring aluminum foil.

When cooking at your campsite, make your meal menu simple and filling.

Write down the menu for all meals for your trip. This will help you pack all the ingredients you will need without forgetting a key ingredient.

Measure and combine dry ingredients into Ziploc bags prior to packing. Make sure you label the bag for the appropriate meal.

Do not assume that every campsite still has their grill or that it will suit your cooking needs.
Plan to bring a grate to put over the fire.

Purchase a separate set of camping dishes and silverware, dishpan, washrag, towels, and soap.
Store them in a plastic container that can be pulled out and ready to go for each camping trip.

Purchase a quality camp stove

Meals that can be cooked ahead of time at home and travel well in a cooler will save a lot of time especially on the first night of your trip.

Bring small amounts of cooking supplies instead of large quantities. It will save quite a bit of packing space.

DO NOT FORGET aluminum foil and marshmallows

Cooking On A Campfire

Campfires can be used for cooking food by a number of techniques. Cooking food using a campfire can be tricky. Cooking over a campfire is more difficult than cooking with charcoal and many campers prefer to use a portable stove instead. The techniques for cooking on a campfire are no different than those used for everyday cooking before the invention of stoves or where stoves are still not available. Individuals who are backpacking in an area that allows the gathering of firewood may decide to cook on a campfire to avoid the need to carry extra equipment; however, most campfire cooking is done in front-country campgrounds.

A pot hanging over the fire, although picturesque, may spill, and the rigging may be difficult to construct from found wood.
Generally this is done with metal rigging, much of it identical to that used in home fireplaces before the invention of stoves. Two vertical iron bars with an iron cross-piece allow pots to be hung at various heights or over different temperatures of fire. Gridles, grills and skewers can also be hung over the fire.

However the best way to approach this technique would be to use a tripod bought from your local camping supply store.

How To Cook Over A Campfire 

1. The Fire

Use hard wood. 
If you cook over a fire made from pine, fir, cedar, spruce or any of the other conifers, your cooked meat will taste like pitch. If you don't know how pitch tastes, bite a pine tree.
 Most hardwoods - 
oak, maple, alder, laurel, manzanita, mesquite, etc. will work fine. 
Avoid using poison oak brush or known poisons such as oleanders. If you have a choice, the wood of the vine maple is the best there is. The theory is that the wood imparts a flavor to the meat. I suspect there are few tasters who could distinguish meat roasted over oak from meat roasted over maple.
I will assure you, however, that you can identify meat cooked over a pine fire.

2. The Meat

The better the piece of meat, the better the results. 

If you are faced with barbecuing a tough piece of meat and the required ingredients are at hand, you should marinate the meat for as long as you can. Only certain ingredients will act to tenderize meat. Red wine, lemon or lime juice and soy sauce are three of them. A cup of red wine, a cup of soy sauce and the juice of one lemon makes a good marinade.
And whatever spices strike your fancy. 
Go easy on the salt as the soy sauce is near pure salt. 

You can roast about any kind of meat there is over an open fire as long as the chunk of meat is big enough to stay on your roasting stick or barbecue grill.
Meat for barbecuing should have the fat trimmed off it. 
If you don't trim the fat off, it will render grease which will drip on your cooking coals, burst into flame and burn your meat while giving it a strong flavor of burning grease.

3. The Cooking Process

The cooking process will vary according to the kind and shape of meat you are cooking. To tell whether the fire is the right temperature, hold your hand over the coals at the height your meat will be when cooking. Count: One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand threeeee - and if it is too hot for you to say "one thousand four" before moving your hand, the coals are just right. Cook the meat without turning it until it begins to look shiny on the top. It will still be cool to the touch but is probably ready to turn. Look at the cooked side. It should be brown all over, a little crusty looking, but not burnt. After turning, continue cooking until the red juices come through the top of the meat. If you like your meat medium rare, it's done providing it was steak thickness to begin with.

Dutch ovens are specially designed for camping. 

The oven is placed in a bed of hot coals, often from a keyhole fire with additional coals placed on top of the lid, which usually has a raised rim to keep the coals from falling off. Dutch ovens are made of cast iron, and are not suitable for backpacking. Dutch ovens are also convenient for cooking dishes that take a long time. They are the not the only option for baking on a campout as devices for baking on portable stoves exist and clay ovens can be constructed at longer encampments.

Learn More about Cooking with a DUTCH OVEN.

Another technique is the baking of food in foil packets.

 Food is wrapped inside a durable packet of tin or aluminum foil, crimped to seal, and placed on or under hot coals. Baked potatoes are a common food cooked this way.

Learn More about Cooking with Aluminum foil . . .

Clean up after yourself

Start dishwater heating when you start preparing the meal. Heat the water in a large pan with a lid. The lid will keep the heat in and help the water to heat faster. If at all possible, heat your water on a propane stove rather than a charcoal or wood fire. It is better for the environment.

Scrape all dishes, pots, etc. before putting them in your dishwaster. Use a rubber spatula to get as much off your dishes as you can. This will increase the amount of time your water stays clean enough to use.

Set up a three dish pan cleaning station. The first pan gets hot soapy water. The hotter this water, the better the greasy dishes will come clean. The second pan gets warm to hot rinse water. Try to keep it free of suds so that you can use it longer. The third pan gets cool water and a disinfecting ingredient such as bleach. This eliminates any germs that were missed by the water not being hot enough. Air dry your dishes to eliminate the most germs - towels carry germs like you wouldn't believe!

As the wash water gets dirty, dump it through a strainer or a piece of cheesecloth to remove the solid waste. Throw away the waste and dump the water away from any campsite or trail. If you are camping where there are large animals, do not dispose of your water near your campsite.

I recommend doing the clean up of your cooking dishes while the food is cooking when possible. This saves overall cleanup time and gives campers something to do while waiting for the food to finish cooking.

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