There are few things more satisfying than a meal cooked over the glowing coals of a campfire after a day on the water or in the woods. Even if you’re only sliding a hot dog onto a freshly sharpened stick, something about eating with family and friends around the fire makes everything taste better.
Even better still, camping food can include almost anything you can imagine. As long as you use the proper preparation, you can explore campfire foods of all types, and eat as well as — or possibly even better than — you do at home.
To get you started, a few of our favorite easy recipes for camping are below. But first, here are a few tips.
Prep Before You Pack
When you’re out in the woods you can’t run to the store for that ingredient you forgot. Just like when you go hiking, you have to figure out what to bring in advance. Consider your cooler space and how your food will fare in that environment. If it’s a multi-day camping trip, for example, you’ll need to know what can more easily be kept on ice, and how to keep everything compact.
One way to utilize space is to bring foil meals for campfire cooking. Chop potatoes, peppers, and onions and double wrap them in foil before you leave home–or follow the meatball cacciatore recipe below — to create a ready-to-cook packet. When you’re ready to cook, all you have to is carefully set the foil on the coals.
Planning ahead also gives you more time to enjoy your trip, and it helps you figure out what tools to bring.
Cookware for Anywhere
Sticks and foil are as portable as it gets, but it’s wise to pack pots, pans, and other kitchenware. Just try to bring the bare minimum to conserve space. A sturdy cast iron skillet will do the trick for everything from eggs for breakfast to mac and cheese for dinner. You can also find grill grates on legs to suspend your food over the fire.
No camping trip is complete without a mountain pie maker. Bring a couple of these, bread and a handful of fillings like pizza sauce and cheese, s’mores ingredients, or pretty much anything else you might make a sandwich with and you’ll have classic, customizable camping food for all.
Last but not least, don’t forget the utensils. Long steel tongs and a spatula are musts for safely getting your food from over the fire.
Fire Up the Food
How to safely build and maintain a fire are the most important steps in campfire cooking. Once you master them, you can focus on getting the food just right with these tips.