Campfire Cooking Recipes:
What can you cook over a campfire?

If you are trying to figure out some good campfire cooking recipes to plan for your next camping trip, there are a number of things to consider. For starters, remember that a campfire is not that different from any other type of open fire cooking. Whether cooking in a skillet on your stovetop, on a grill or over a fire pit, there are a number of the same types of recipes that can be used. In fact, if you have the appropriate equipment, there isn't much that you can't cook over a campfire.

So why do you need this page? Why not just open any old recipe book and use that? Well, there are a few important things to consider when planning campfire cooking recipes, both in terms of the types of cooking you can perform with your equipment (or lack thereof) and in terms of what types of ingredients will be available to you.

Here are some of my thoughts and tips on planning great eats for your next camping trip!

  1. Ingredients: One of the most important considerations when planning campfire cooking recipes is the ingredients that you will have available to you. Obviously, unless you are going on a very brief camping trip or staying in a fancy cabin or something like that, you won't be able to bring very perishable foods. If your trip is brief, from 1 to a few days, you can potentially bring perishables with ice packs or dry ice in an insulated container. If you can't carry this with you or will be staying longer, then you need to plan differently and may need to primarily stock up on dried and preserved foods. Some dried and preserved foods can be eaten without cooking (trail mix, nuts, beef jerky, etc.). But some can be reconstituted or included as a flavoring agent in cooked dishes. For example, crumbled up beef jerky can be a nice flavor and protein enhancer in stews, soups, over rice and other campfire cooking recipes. Whatever your base ingredients you decide on for your type of trip, the seasonings are what makes the difference between bland campfire cooking and great campfire cooking recipes. So don't forget to bring a good supply of salt and pepper!
  2. Equipment: What types of campfire cooking recipes you can execute also depends heavily on what types of campfire cooking equipment you will bring with you or will have access to. Just a simple skillet, dutch oven or pot can allow you to cook a number of different things without much else. Even without a grill grate or tripod, you can simply lie these directly on or near the open fire (carefully and with gloves of course) and sauté, boil, braise, or stew just about anything. If you have a campfire skewers, you can roast small items (sausages, hot dogs, marshmallows, etc.) by simply holding them near the fire. If you bring aluminum foil, you can wrap foods in foil and place them right near hot embers to cook. This foil cooking is nice for everything from chopped vegetables to roasts. Just be careful you keep close track of the cooking so that it doesn't overcook without you realizing it! If you have a campfire tripod, spit or grill grate you can expand your repertoire even further, allowing you to roast, grill or hang things over the fire which work well for all sorts of food, from individual cuts of meat and vegetables to large roasts that can be hung or rotisserie'd over your fire. The types of campfire cooking recipes you can prepare by these means is basically limitless. Finally, there are a number of types of portable grills that can be brought with you to make set up easier at the camp site.
  3. Living Off The Wild: Obviously, one option when camping is to find your own food out in the wild, either animals you trap or hunt or fruits, nuts and vegetables you collect. This is a whole other topic and one I cannot properly address here. Always use caution when eating anything you find in the wild. While the number of poisonous plants and such are relatively small, I would not recommend you plan to eat food from the wild unless you know what you are doing and have experience identifying edible plants. For example, there are very poisonous mushrooms (called Amanita or the "death cap" mushroom) that kill many people every year because they pick them wild and don't know what they are. If you do have experience with this or you are an experienced hunter, more power to you. Just be sure to pack coarse salt and pepper (and ideally a little olive oil!) to season your food before you cook it and you are good to go!
  4. A few other suggestions: I've already recommended being sure to bring enough seasoning to flavor whatever your base ingredients are. In addition, there are some good things to have with you that can be used in a number of ways. Obviously, dried foods are ideally suited for long trips. Nuts, trail mix, beef jerky and dried fruits can all be either eaten plain or can be used as flavoring agents in salads, soups, stews and more. Other ingredients that keep well on moderate length trips are onions and garlic, thicker skinned and drier fruits and vegetables (winter squashes, root vegetables, etc.). A foil packet or dutch oven filled with seasoned chopped squash, onion, garlic, and potatoes makes a simple but hearty meal or side. Canned foods also last but are a bit harder to carry with you. A few cans of good whole or chopped tomatoes is really useful to add depth and complexity to stews, soups and more. Things that are dried and require boiling (like pasta, rice and such) are good options too, but only consider these if you will have a big enough pot to boil in and you will have an abundant access to water for boiling.

    Fire Pit

    One of the best places I know to buy supplies for cooking with fire is SpitJack.com. Besides being one of the best options for fireplace cooking supplies (fireplace grills, rotisseries, cranes, long-handled roasters, etc.), they have a uniquely chosen stock of other great accessories. Their own fire pit rotisseries for pig and lamb roasting are top notch and sturdy. They also have fire pits, firewood storage and splitting supplies and more! Ceramic grill options they carry include the stunning Primo Grill as well as the Kamado Joe. Check them out!



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Pictures of some of my cooking:
Both grilled and not