Camping: Cooking Ideas Over A Wood Fire

A great beginning for your evening around the campfire is a hot supper--cooking over a wood fire is not only simple, but enjoyable too.

Cooking over an open fire doesn't have to be a harrowing experience. Although your menu options are somewhat limited, there are a number of dinners that anyone can make with just a few basic guidelines.

First, some essentials will need to be prepared and packed. Pots of a few sizes, preferably cast iron or with metal handles, are a good place to start. A frying pan or two of the medium variety are also good options. Bring several potholders and utensils such as skewers, spatulas and knives, and remember that completely metal cooking utensils are less likely to singe or melt than plastic-handled ones.

Unless you plan to hold the pot or pan aloft over the fire, you will need to bring a wire rack to support it, or craft your fire around something that can hold it, such as a triangle of rocks. Remember to keep the fire small, as large fires burn hotter and make it more difficult to cook over.

If you've partaken in other outdoor activities before setting up camp, you may have some fish to cook over the fire. Trout is quick and easy to fry, but other fish are equally acceptable. Catch or buy your fish and clean them before dipping them in flour. Bring butter or cooking oil along, and fry your fish for about 10 minutes in a medium-sized frying pan. You can also consider boiling your fish for 15-20 minutes in water with a little vinegar, removing the pot from heat often.

Hamburgers, like fish, can be fried with a bit of oil, and the buns warmed over the fire. Hot dogs are also a popular campfire food, and involve considerably less work than anything else. Simply affix your hot dog on a skewer or even a branch and hold it over the fire. 5 minutes or so should cook it thoroughly. This is, of course, also a popular way to eat marshmallows, so bring some along to roast.

A surprising number of things can be cooked by wrapping them in tinfoil and placing them at the base of the fire. Encase washed and buttered potatoes in foil and add pepper, salt or other seasonings, then place them in the fire for 20-25 minutes. Salmon or other fish with a dash of lemon juice and pepper or garlic will need to be cooked slightly longer with this method, so check it often. You can also fry sliced potatoes in a pan with butter or wrap food in tinfoil and leave it near the fire to keep it warm.

Always have a smaller pot available for boiling water. A cup of tea or hot chocolate with your roasted marshmallows will keep you warm and feeling satisfied all evening, and soup is great for in-between meals. If you have brought a large pot, stew is an excellent campfire dinner. Add water, soup stock, meat, fish and any vegetables you have handy. Season to taste and boil it for at least 30 minutes--the longer it simmers, the more tender it will be.

Fortunately, there is no limit to what can be cooked over a wood fire. These simple guidelines should be enough to start you experimenting next time you go camping, and finding new and interesting foods to make.

© High Speed Ventures 2011