If your typical campfire dinner is a charred hot dog cooked on a stick over flames, we have good news–it doesn’t have to be that way! Campfire cooking can produce some delicious, gourmet meals, even in the most low-tech circumstances. Read on to learn how to become the chef who’s the talk of the campground!
Tips for Cooking Amazing Campfire Dinners
By following a few simple tips, you can dramatically up your campfire dinner game. Here’s what we recommend:
Use Proper Campfire Cookware
Cooking with the direct heat of a campfire can be an adjustment, especially for those used to cooking on electric stoves or who don’t have much experience grilling. One of the most important parts is having the right equipment, so you’re not damaging regular cookware. It also makes your life a whole lot easier while cooking!
Invest in some basics like a cast iron skillet and dutch oven, a campfire tripod, a grill grate, and a rotisserie spit. These relatively inexpensive items are built to last, so if you take care of them, they’ll keep you happy for many camping trips to come.
Have Proper Utensils Handy
What good is having the right equipment if it’s not ready when you need it? Campfire cooking is generally somewhat forgiving when done correctly, but you never want to be searching for tongs or a spatula when your food’s about to burn! Take a few minutes before you start cooking to set up the utensils you’ll need where you can reach them.
Other Campfire Cooking Accessories
Once you’ve assembled the basics of your campfire cooking kit, add any extras that can make life a lot easier. Specialized grill gloves give you a better grip on hot items than normal potholders, while dutch oven lid lifters also help you avoid burns.
Any of these accessories can make your cooking experience so much better.
Start the Fire Early
It may seem like a no-brainer, but you can’t start cooking until your fire is hot enough. You’re better off starting the fire as soon as possible and adding more fuel rather than standing around waiting when you’re hungry and ready to start.
Coals Provide the Most Consistent Heat
TV shows and movies may feature lovely scenes of campers roasting their food over a roaring fire. But in reality, this is a great way to get a charred-on-the-outside, raw-on-the-inside disappointment. Experienced campfire cooks prepare their meals using coals, which provide a consistent and powerful heat source that’ll roast your food without burning it.
Do the Prep Work at Home
Once you’re sitting around the fire, you’ll have limited prep space. It’ll slow you down and take away from your relaxing getaway!
If possible, do your prep work before leaving home. It’ll be a lot easier to slice up those veggies, marinate meat, and portion out spice mixes from the comfort of your kitchen table. Even if you’re a full-time RVer, doing advance prep work is still wise. Some recipes move quickly, and it’s good to have everything ready when your fire is.
5 Best Campfire Dinner Recipes
Are you hungry yet? Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of campfire dinners, here are a few of our favorite recipes for your next campsite cookout.
1. Seared Cod With Potato and Chorizo Hobo Packs
This flavor-packed fish recipe relies on two tried and true campfire cooking techniques–cast iron and foil packet cooking.
First, you’ll create foil packets filled with chopped chorizo and potatoes drizzled in oil. You’ll nestle these near the coals to cook.
Meanwhile, saute your cod fillets in a cast-iron skillet or griddle over the fire. Add some pumpkin seed and lime butter (make this ahead of time!), and serve. This sophisticated meal will win over even the most skeptical gourmet on your camping trip.
2. Campsite Jambalaya
This one-pot dinner is delicious and a perfect choice when cooking for a larger group. Plus, you can leave it alone for most of the cooking time, which means more relaxation for you.
You’ll build this jambalaya in a large cast-iron skillet or dutch oven over the fire, starting with browning your chicken and sausage. Add your vegetables, seasonings, and rice, and then cover and cook until the liquid absorbs. Toss in your shrimp, and within a few minutes, you can dig in.
This is another recipe that you can significantly simplify by prepping your ingredients ahead of time. You can even pre-mix and bag your spices and measure out your rice. Once that’s done, it’s only a matter of adding the right ingredients at the right time.
3. Grilled Sausages With Summer Veggies
Here’s another simple, low-stress, and delicious campfire dinner loaded with veggies. Some advanced prep makes this recipe extremely easy once you set up your cooking grate and your coals are ready.
You’ll toss your pre-sliced peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and squash in your pre-made sauce and set them on the grill grate to cook. You’ll use this same grate for cooking your sausages once the veggies soften and toss it all together in the remaining sauce.
You can also customize this healthy spin on a camping classic with your favorite vegetables or other sausages like chicken sausage or bratwurst.
4. Surf n’ Turf Foil Packs
Who says you can’t have a five-star meal while sitting around the campfire? Inside these foil packs, toss together a delicious mixture of steak, shrimp, corn, tomatoes, and spices, and cook them on a grate over your campfire.
You can pre-mix and bag your servings and transfer them to the foil packets right before cooking. With just one flip and about 15 minutes of cooking time, you won’t find many recipes this simple that also taste this good.
You’ll be the envy of the entire campground when they see what’s on your plate!
5. Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Foil Packs
If you’re in the mood for some Mexican, this delicious and easy foil pack dinner is an excellent choice. Pre-soaked instant rice lets you cook your rice right in the packet! Marinate your chicken ahead of time, and build your packets with rice and beans, then chicken and cheese topping. Cook these for about 20 minutes on a grill grate over your campfire, and dig in!
Overall, campfire cooking doesn’t have to mean one-ingredient recipes or extra hassle. At its best, it lets you and those you care about enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors without interrupting your time outside. With the right equipment and our tips, you’ll be chowing down on delicious campfire dinners before you know it!