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BUILDING YOUR FIRE, COOKING TIPS & RECIPES

No matter how beautiful the weather, how breathtaking the scenery, or how much fun you have fishing and hiking, the best part of camping is always the food cooked over the open fire. Whether it be something as simple as roasted hot dogs or an entire meal, nothing seems to taste better than the flavor of wood-fired foods prepared in the great outdoors. This page offers campfire cooking tips as well as some of our favorite open fire recipes. Here's a collection of camp cookbooks, open fire recipes, pie iron cooking tips, and plenty of useful information on how to set up your camp's kitchen area.



 
 
Campfire Cooking Achieved With Ease
Author Brad Probst has spent many nights under the stars, around the flickering glow of the campfire. If this book is evidence of his experience, most of those nights were also spent cooking classic campfire cuisine and telling jokes and stories to anyone within shouting distance. Here's a book that presents outdoor cooking in a witty, fun style with recipes that reflect the author's western heritage. Includes recipes such as "Trapper Jim's Goulash", "Bandito Burritos", and "Mountain Fried Macaroni". 64 Pages.
 
Campfire Cooking ~ $6.95


 
 
Pioneer Camp Cooking ~ Time Tested Recipes
Another book by the author of the Pie Iron Recipe Book, Pioneer Camp Cooking offers hints, tips, recipes, and advice on how to cook over a campfire. Chapters cover cooking with traditional griddles as well as unique tools and open fire cookware such as grilling baskets and getting the most out of using the extra-long hot dog forks. Each recipe uses basic ingredients with limited prep work to make satisfying meals without involving too much effort that would take all of the fun out of campfire cooking. SOme of the recipes included in this 64 page book by Richard O'Russa are Tamale Corn Pie, Breakfast Pizza, and Skillet Fried Cookies!
 
Pioneer Cooking ~ $6.95


 
 
Camp Recipes For Kids
One of the best things about going camping is cooking and sharing a meal with family and friends. Camp Recipes For Kids by Richard O'Russa serves as an easy introduction for kids to participate and help out wiht the meal preparations. Written in a simple, casual manner, kids have no problem understanding the recipes as they impress parents and others with their outdoor culinary skills. Recipes are made to be not only simple, but safe as well. Some recipes included in the 64 pages are Baloney Maloney, Snake Dough, Yum-Yum Mix, and Pita Pizza.
 
Recipes For Kids ~ $6.95


 
 
Pie Iron Recipes Cookbook
In this book, Richard O'Russa explores the world of Pie Iron cooking, with recipes covering all makes and models from round to square to doubles. From homemade Tuna Burgers to Cuban Sandwiches, if you can fit it between two slices of bread, you can bet that Richard has tried it! Beyond just sandwiches and pies, the author uses these 64 pages of this handy little book to show the incredibe versatility of pie iron cooking with unique recipes such as Falafel and Pesto Calzone.
 
Pie Iron Recipes ~ $6.95

 


 
Preparing And Setting Up Your Camp Kitchen

Seasoned campers know all too well the importance of having the right tools, cooking equipment, spices, work space, and everything else that is needed to be a successful camp cook. When you are out in the middle of nowhere in the middle of fixing dinner, it isn't a good time to realize that you should have brought certain items along to make the job easier. Just think about all of the stuff you use at home when preparing a meal to eat around the dining room table. It's no different in the woods, except for one thing....your kitchen cupboard could be a hundred miles away, and the nearest store might be too far to be worth the trip. Being prepared ahead of time takes the hassle out of camp cooking and ensures that everyone will enjoy great meals.

The first thing you should do is put together a "Chuck Box" (also known as a grub box or patrol box) that you keep all of your camp kitchen equipment in. The only requirement for a chuck box or grub box is that it store the items you need for your camp kitchen. This saves you from scrounging around your home kitchen for place settings, cooking utensils, spices, and everthing else you'll need every time you want to go camping. In the strictest sense a sturdy cardboard box could be used as a chuck box. Also nowadays there are many large, varied and inexpensive plastic containers that can serve the same function and have the added features of seal, easy stacking and they are water proof.

If you go camping much at all, you soon learn that it's not enough just to have everything. You also need work surfaces for cooking cleaning and food preparation. Camping table space is at a premium when you are doing outdoor cooking. Some hard-core campers prefer to build a chuck box from wood that can provide an actual portable kitchen with many features found in the home kitchen. A well made chuck box will setup to give you work surfaces and utility features for your camp kitchen.

What all this really means is that once you have a well outfitted chuck box, whether it be a simple box full of utensils, spices, & other necessities, or a more elaborate design, your once lengthy camping checklist turns into only a few items with the grub box being one of them, so the getting ready to go camping hassle is gone forever. And you won't forget any key items anymore because things are always there in your grub box just waiting for you. Once in the field you find the work surfaces and utility features are an absolute delight. So the real bottom line is you go camping more often!!!!

The Cooking Fire

When cooking in camp, it is always best to have a separate fire for cooking. That way you can control the way the heat flows best for cooking and the pyromaniacs in the camp can have their own fire to play with. To prepare a good cooking fire, get it started at least an hour or so before you want to actually start cooking so that the wood can burn down into a bed of nice coals. You can use a coal bucket and shovel to transfer more hot coals into the cooking fire from the larger fire.

The cooking fire can be built in a portable charcoal grill, a fire ring, or in a pit that is dug in the ground. Whichever method you choose, have a sturdy grill grate to support your cooking vessels, and be sure that you allow sufficient room to move things around from hot spots to cooler spots as needed. Some foods require lots of heat and others need to simmer or slow-cook, just as if you were cooking at home. If it is your first time cooking out in the wild, expect things to be a lot different and much more challenging. But don't worry...practice makes perfect, and soon you'll become quite good at it!

Camp Kitchen Checklist

When preparing your camp kitchen, there are many things you'll want to include. As you become more familiar with cooking in camp, you'll be able to adjust your gear to your personal needs. At first, you'll probably take along things that you'll never use, and forget things you wish you would have brought along. Have a pen and paper handy to jot down the items you don't use and those that you needed, and make your adjustments accordingly. Here is a checklist of items that most camp chefs will nearly always need:

  • Lighter or Matches
  • Campfire Kindling (Kindle Magic works best and is safe to use for cooking food)
  • Long Tongs for Hot Charcoal
  • Lid Hook/Lifter
  • Wisk Broom
  • Oven Mitts
  • Hot Coal/Ash Shovel
  • Hot Coal/Ash Bucket (fire proof)
  • Cookware (Pots, Pans, Pie Irons, Dutch Oven, etc.)
  • Wooden Stirring Paddles
  • Long Handled Solid Spoon
  • Long Handled Slotted Spoon
  • Long Handled Meat Fork
  • Long Tongs
  • Ladle
  • Long Handled Spatula
  • Wire Whip
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Can Opener (Manual, Not Electric!)
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Paring Knife
  • Large Butcher Knife
  • Basting Brush
  • Cutting Board
 
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Metal or plastic mixing bowls
  • Coffee Pot or Kettle
  • Plastic Dutch Oven Scraper
  • Paper Towels
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Dish Pan
  • Dish Detergent
  • Dish Rag
  • Nylon Scrubbing Pads
  • Dish Towels
  • Garbage Bags
  • Wash Basin
  • Fresh Water Container
  • Hand Soap
  • Wash Rag
  • Hand Towels
  • Fresh Water Container
  • Tableware
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Cups or Glasses
  • Eating Utensils
  • Table Cloth
  • Napkins


Campfire Recipes

Here are a few recipes for you to try at your next camping trip. If you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share, please send it to us and we'll include it here on our site in a future update.

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Campfire Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is one that will certainly become a favorite for breakfast or dinner. It takes a little time to prepare and cook, but is well worth the effort!

Equipment Needed:
Small to medium fire with hot coals
Cast iron dutch oven
3 disposable aluminum loaf or pie pans - sturdy enough to cook in
Spatula, tongs, and cooking spoon
Oven mitts (for handling dutch oven & cooking pans)

Ingredients:
1# ground breakfast sausage (bulk or patties)
2-3# raw potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
6 large eggs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1# grated cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper

Preparation:
Prepare the fire, leaving hot coals in which to set the dutch oven for cooking. Allow for room to access the dutch oven safely without danger of being burned.

Cook the ground sausage in the dutch oven over hot coals, stirring frequently to break up meat and prevent sticking & burning. When cooked, drain the sausage grease into an aluminum loaf pan (do this away from fire to prevent a flare up from dripping grease). Place the cooked sausage into another aluminum pan and set it aside. Pour about half of the grease back into the dutch oven and put the potatoes in it. Put the dutch oven back onto the fire to cook the potatoes. When the potatoes start to become tender, add the chopped onion and bell pepper to them and continue to cook until potatoes are done.

In the third aluminum pan, scramble the eggs. When the potatoes are tender, add the remaining sausage grease, eggs, sausage, and about half of the grated cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mixture well and cover. Let cook in the coals for 30-45 minutes. Open the dutch oven and sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese across the top. Cover again and let cook another 15 minutes. Serve it up and enjoy~!

NOTE: Disposable aluminum pans are recommended for size & weight considerations and for easier cleanup. Do not dispose of aluminum pans if they can be recycled or re-used. If it does become necessary to throw them away, please do so considerately and don't be a litter bug. **************************************************************************************************

Garbage Can Stew

A long time favorite of Boy Scout campouts, this recipe will not only delight the tastebuds, but will feed a lot of hungry campers. It is rather inexpensive, simple to prepare, and just gets better and better the longer it cooks. If you are planning to do this as a meal for a Scouting outing, have everyone be responsible for bringing something for the stew.

Equipment:
Medium campfire, with sufficient coals to cook for several hours
Large stock pot, with lid
A sturdy, long handle steel cooking spoon
A coal shovel and metal bucket
Sharp cook's knife
Cutting board
Disposable aluminum loaf pans (at least three)
Oven mitts (for handling stew pot and hot coals bucket)
Serving ladle
Plenty of disposable soup bowls & spoons

Ingredients: (Amounts vary according to size of batch)
Water, several gallons (depending on desired batch size - at least five gallons)
Stewing meat, approximately one pound per five servings
Onions, cut into bite size pieces
Fresh garden vegetables, cut into bite size pieces (don't forget the tomatoes!)
Potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Fresh garlic (can substitute with powder)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper

Preparation:
When the fire has plenty of hot cooking coals, place the stock pot over the hottest part of the coals on a sturdy grill grate. Fill the pot about halfway with water. Since the stew will have to cook for a while, it is best to have a second fire going for heat or light, giving you a source for more hot coals to place under the stew while it cooks. If necessary, be sure to have a clear spot on the ground in safe area where you can set the stew pot momentarily while replenishing the hot coals.

Add the stew meat and worcestershire sauce to the water. Cover and let the meat/water mixture get hot. As the water mixture heats up, begin preparing the vegetables for cooking, using the aluminum loaf pans to rinse and hold the cut veggies. Be sure and keep the potatoes covered with water after they are cut. Add the cut vegetables and potatoes to the meat/water mixture. Add garlic. Salt and pepper to taste, adding a little at a time to prevent ruining a good pot of stew with too much of either. Use a plastic spoon to taste the broth, using a clean spoon each time you taste it from the stew pot.

Let the stew cook down for a few hours, stirring occasionally. You'll know when it's ready to eat. Enjoy!

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