Campfire cooking is the best. There’s nothing quite like preparing a meal surrounded by the beauty of the great outdoors. To make this experience even better, we’ve compiled some uncommon campfire cooking tips that will boost the flavor of your dishes and even make your cooking experience less of a hassle!
Smoking Your Food
There are a lot of herbs and different types of wood that give off a great smokey flavor that will enhance the taste of your food. Because smoke contains particles from what's burning, it deposits those particles onto the food and gives it a fantastic flavor you can’t get any other way.
Many recipes call for adding rosemary for flavor, but you can also add it to the fire for a more infused and unique flavor. It’s also much less work to do it this way as you can throw the entire plant in the fire. Not only does this add flavor to your food, but the smell of it repels bugs!
When you’re fishing for dinner, grab some seaweed that you see floating by. Let it dry and then add it to the fire once you get it going. This gives your seafood a very unique flavor.
Bay leaves can be a great addition to a campfire to help add flavor! And unlike with stews and soups, you don't have to pick them out before you eat your food. Bay leaves add a little bit of spice and are great for any meats and vegetables, like these Campfire Scalloped Potatoes. This herb would be a perfect additive if you’re making kabobs!
Another thing you can add to the fire for flavor is apple wood. With a fruity, mild flavor, this is great for smoking poultry or pork, like this Campfire Bacon. This is another wood that will not only give your food a great flavor, but it will make your campsite smell great too!
This one is great for any type of meat. If you burn pecan wood in your fire, you’re going to get a sweet and spicy flavor. Use this with any dish, especially if you're going to be using BBQ sauce on it later. It will compliment the sweetness and spiciness of the sauce perfectly.
Before you throw your catch of the day on the fire, add some alder wood to your campfire. This will give your fish, like this Great Trout Recipe, a sweet, delicate flavor. Combine this with wrapping the fish in fresh leaves before cooking and you’ll have an amazing mixture of flavor that is sure to wow your fellow campers and your taste buds.
Aside from adding things to the fire to help enhance the flavor of your food, there are some other things you can do both before and after cooking to make the best out of your food that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Using Wild Leaves
You can wrap things like fish and other meats in wild leaves before cooking to improve the flavor. Some wild leaves to look for are walnut, palm, cornhusks, garlic, and potato beans! The possibilities are endless and you can choose the leaves based on the flavor you’re looking to add. Some will give off a sweet flavor while others will give off more of a pine or nutty flavor. You can plan ahead and pick some up, or just see what you can find around the campsite. Just make sure you know what you’re using. You don’t want to wrap your dinner in poison oak!
If you have a delay from the time that dinner is done cooking until it’s time to eat, build a warming box to help preserve your freshly cooked food. If food is just left sitting out, it will get cold, lose it's freshness, and will be a great landing spot for flies and other bugs. Wrap a box inside and out with tin foil. Place your food inside and point the open end at the fire. The tin foil will help trap and conduct the heat from the fire and keep your food warm!
You may want some coffee in the morning, or maybe the kiddos want a cup of hot chocolate. You may just want to boil some water to help make sure it’s clean and safe to drink. You can do this with a paper cup and your campfire! Paper has to be around 500 degrees to burn, yet water boils at 212! All you have to do is set the paper cup full of water into the fire and the water will boil before the paper begins to burn! The water inside the cup helps to act as a heat stabilizer as it keeps the temp of the paper low enough not to burn.
These tips should make your meals and your trip much easier and tastier! Pack your supplies, herbs, and wood before you leave to ensure you'll have plenty of options to spice up your campfire and your food! For smart campfire safety tips, click here!