Editor’s Note: A guest contribution from Scott Huntington to The Prepper Journal.
Before we had ovens, cooktops and microwaves, there was only one way to cook up some grub — over the fire. You have to admire fire’s staying power. How many other old-world methods remain relevant thousands of years after they were invented?
Cooking over an open flame isn’t just fun, it’s popular for a good reason. The flavor you get from a flame-cooked meal is difficult to match on even the finest bar-b-queue. Plus, sometimes it’s the only cooking method you have. From surviving and camping to just getting creative, here are 10 things to try next time you’re around the fire.
Blueberry Orange Muffins
Let them try and tell you that baking on a camping trip is a bad idea! This environmentally-conscious muffin recipe makes your pack lighter by re-using the peels of oranges that you can eat on the trail. When it’s time for dessert, mix water and muffin mix as directed and then spoon the result into the empty orange halves. Wrap the mini muffin trays in a double layer of tinfoil and set them in a warm — but not flaming — section of coals. Allow eight to ten minutes of cook time. Boom, a sweet treat that you wouldn’t expect around a campfire.
While they’re simpler to do over the backyard fire pit than on the trail, kebabs can be packed and made in the wilderness with little hassle. The beauty of these simple-but-tasty creations is they allow you to create a multitude of flavor combinations and can customize for meat-eaters, vegetarians or omnivores. As your skill in combining flavors improves, you can play around with mixing things that cook faster or slower, like meat and fruit, and using the thickness of each slice to help the entire skewer cook evenly.
Everyone loves pizza, right? But you might not think to cook it over a fire. With a simple pizza stone, you can make it on your backyard grill or beside a babbling brook. Fresh pizza dough can easily pack into camp for a first-night-out feast, and of course, it transports well from your fridge to the bar-b-queue. Similarly to Kebabs, you can enjoy a number of flavor combinations and you might be surprised how much you enjoy the nuance of a crispy-yet-chewy grilled pizza crust. It’s not unlike a gourmet wood-fired pie.
We’re not surprising anyone by including steak on a list of things you can cook over a fire. A steak traditionalist might even argue this is the only way meat should ever cook. Choose a flavorful piece such as New York Strip or Rib Eye to make over the open flame and the fat on the meat will nearly cook it for you. We recommend a good coating of butter or olive oil, complemented by some salt, pepper and rosemary, but you’re welcome to get more creative with your steak seasonings. Another great thing about this fire-cooked meal is there are several sides you can make over a fire as well.
Corn on the Cobb
Sure you could boil your corn, something we’ve probably all had. But flame-grilled corn-on-the-cob is without question the better way to have it. Plus, it’s so simple. Pick up some good fresh corn, shuck it and wrap in tinfoil, and place in hot embers for 20-30 minutes.
You can also do it with a campfire grill to reduce the mess. Throw a nice chunk of butter and some salt and pepper inside the tinfoil wrapper to add the perfect finishing touch to this sweet and healthy side.
Similar to corn, baked potatoes can be made easily around a campfire by taking advantage of the wonders of tinfoil. However, as a heartier dish, baked potatoes can serve as a main dish when stuffed with the right ingredients. Do some meal prep before hitting the trail by splitting your spuds and packing them with bacon, chives, butter and seasoning. When you arrive at camp, everything will have melted together in the foil — you can finish it off by cooking it over the fire.
Egg and Sausage Taquitos
We tend to focus on dinner when the idea of making things over a fire comes up. But what about breakfast? For the most important meal of the day, breakfast can get neglected on camping trips, but these simple breakfast taquitos will give you a morning boost whether you make them for the kids at home or cook them up after a night on the trail. Meal prep is fairly simple — you make some sausage links and eggs, season them up and then wrap in a tortilla and add seasoning. Make sure you have a good means of keeping these cold if you plan to make them at camp.
Campfire Griddle Cakes
Your camp-mates will be thrilled to wake up to the smell of hot, fresh pancakes on the trail. If you’re used to cooking on a cast-iron skillet, these are about as straightforward as making pancakes at home. You can whip up a batch of batter in 15 minutes at home and jar it or bring with you on the trail using a Tupperware container. Make sure you bring along the necessary flatware. These aren’t as easy to eat with your hands as a kebab, hot dog or s’more. Extra points if you remember syrup and fresh berries.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Similar to the baked potatoes we mentioned earlier, these stuffed veggies can easily serve as a main course. The recipe we chose uses a combination of rice, veggies and ground beef for a well-rounded and nutritious dinner that helps get all your food groups in while you’re out on the trail. The stuffed peppers are cooked in a Dutch oven and take about 30-45 minutes, which should be enough time to prepare additional sides if needed. They look pretty gourmet when done — proof you don’t have to be at home to enjoy something special.
What would a list of fire-cooked goodies be without s’mores? These old-timely favorites will bring a smile to anyone’s face, whether on the trail or in the backyard. Did you know, s’mores have gone upscale? Try them with fruit, peanut butter and other wild combinations.
Cooking over an open flame is a wonderful social experience and a way to make plain-old good food. It brings the family together and gives you an excuse to try some truly special recipes that you otherwise might not. So try out some ours, or let us know in the comments below what your favorite flame-cooked eats are!