Everything You Need To Know On How To Cook Over A Campfire
One of my personal favorites about camping is cooking over a campfire. However, if you asked me years ago when I just started camping, I would've said the opposite. You see, if you don't have the right stuff, it'll be more of a hassle than a pleasure to do. Here, I will go over the steps on how to cook over a campfire.
Table of Contents
What You Will Need
For The Fire
For the fire, you will need your firewood for fuel. You’ll also need tinder and kindling to build it easier. And of course, you’ll need a lighter or matches. Most campsites should have a fire pit you can use, but if it doesn’t and if it is permitted, you can make your own. Some places might not allow open fires, so before you go on your camping trip, always make sure to ask about that.
What you need depends exactly on what you're cooking as well as the cooking method. So first, decide on your meal plan. Then, you can decide on what pots, pans, and other kitchenware you'll need. For instance, if you're going to barbecue, then you'll want a grill or long skewers. If you want to boil something, you'll need a pot or a deep container.
While cooking in a pot or pan is ideal, it's not the only way you can cook outdoors. You can cook with skewers (or sticks if you're feeling resourceful), foil packs, or straight on the grill. You can also make your own rotisserie if you're up for it. There are tons of ways you can cook - you just need to be resourceful and creative.
Whatever method you decide on, it's important that you take measures to keep safe. You'll want good hand protection; so if possible, have oven mitts or leather gloves with you. If you're using kitchen utensils like spatulas and tongs, make sure they should have long handles. That way, you can keep a safe distance from the fire.
How To Cook Over A Campfire
Step 1: Build The Fire
Most campsites will have a fire ring, so make sure you use that. Some places might not have one, but you may be able to build one if you have a permit. Make sure you check with your campground if you are even allowed to build a campfire. There are general rules and regulations when it comes to making a fire, but each place may have more specific ones. Once that is settled, you can proceed with the following steps.
- Clear the area where your campfire will be. Make sure the site is not below some low-hanging branches. Embers can easily start a wildfire, if you're in unfavorable conditions.
- Collect your firewood. If allowed, you can find it in your surroundings. In some campsites, there are there are even stores where sell firewood.
- Have your matches/lighter ready.
- Assemble your kindling and firewood. There are different ways to do so, including the teepee, log cabin, and a pyramid.
- Light your tinder then blow the base of your firewood assembly to keep the fire burning.
Step 2: Set Your Cooking Top/tripod
Once you have the fire ready, you can put the grill on top of it. Some fire rings have a grill you can attach, or you can bring your own. If you don't have, you can use 3-4 for rocks as a tripod for your cooking pan or pot to sit on. In this case, you will need to set the rocks first before building the fire. Then, it'll be easier to put your pot or pan over the fire.
Another way to put cook your food over the fire is by hanging the pots over the fire. You'll need to set up some sorts of stand where you can hang the pots over the fire. This mechanism is great for boiling - so for soups, hot water, stews, etc.
Step 3: Start Cooking
While you’re cooking, you can adjust the heat using a stick to poke on the firewood/coal. If you see that the fire is dying down, you can add more wood to it. Be very careful - make sure you’re not too close to the fire. Make sure you’re also not wearing anything that might catch the flames.
Cooking with a skewer
If you want to cook with a skewer, just pierce through the food with your skewer. Then hold it over the heat. You can also set it on a grill (if there is), so you don't have to keep holding it. Once one side is cooked, flip to the next side.
Dutch oven cooking is pretty popular in camping. You'll need a decent cast iron oven/pot and campfire or coal. Technically, dutch oven cooking puts the oven/pot on top of red glowing coal. You also put coal on the cover so you’re getting heat all around.
Though typically, you should be cooking on glowing coal, you can also put it over a flame. The difference is the type of heat you are getting. It will also depend on the recipe you are using. You can also add heat (pieces of coal) on top of the cover of the oven.
Tin foil cooking is similar to the dutch oven, except you’re using foil. You wrap your food in the foil and place it on the heat.
Step 4: Remove From Heat
Lastly, when you're food is ready, remove it from the heat. Set it on the side away from the fire, so it doesn't overcook or burn.
Step 5: Put Out The Fire
If you’re not using the fire anymore, make sure you put it out. You can also leave it in place of a propane heater so you can keep warm. Just make sure you put it out before you leave it.
There you have it, everything you need to know about how to cook over a campfire. Remember, make sure you check with your campground first about what’s allowed or not. Also, make sure that you are taking safety measures when cooking over a fire. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to use the comment section below.