Camping Tips: Easy Campfire Cooking

Listing of several different easy ways to cook food outdoors while camping. Also included are instructions on how to make foil pans and cook with sticks.

Foil is our friend when it comes to camping. No more limitations on what kinds of foods can go on camping trips; foil can help you cook anything, anywhere. And sticks. Sticks are friends of campers, too. Foil is impossible to find if you didn't think to pack it, but sticks - they're everywhere.

If you thought to bring the foil, you can wrap just about any food and cook it - potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, hamburger. The trick is to get a good, hot fire going, let it burn down to nothing but red-hot coals, then toss the food directly onto the coals. Use two layers of foil to keep the foods protected from the charcoal, and turn every few minutes to prevent burning. Wrap a hamburger patty or steak, sliced potatoes, sliced carrots and a couple of tomato slices in foil, cook, and there's your entire meal.

Form foil into pots, pans and skillets simply by shaping several layers into the design you want. Handles are fine to use for manipulating the pan on the fire, but don't try to pick the pan up by the foil handle. It won't hold the pot, and your food will be on the ground. But you can stack three long layers of foil on top of each other, then wrap the end of the foil around a small log. Do the same to the other end, then place the logs and foil over the fire. Poke holes in the foil to get the smokey taste of the charcoal.

Forgot the foil? Just use sticks. Find a forked stick and whittle the ends until sharp and clean. Place one of a steak or chop through one spear, then the other end through the other spear. Lay a rock in front of the campfire, balancing the stick with steak over the fire. Now set another rock on top of the stick end, on the ground, and you don't have to hold the stick while cooking.

Use a long, pliable branch to make a broiler. Fold the branch in half, placing both ends in one hand. Now put a stick through the middle of the loop. The stick should reach well above the top of the loop, and into the hand. Make a tie to hold the stick and the two handles together. (Don't use tape, it will melt during cooking. Try a strip of green branch.) Now use smaller sticks and "weave" them from under the side of the loop, across the top of the middle stick, then through to the other side of the loop. Place three or four of these sticks crossways. Place the steak on the broiler, then weave a couple more sticks over the top of the steak to hold.

Wedge two forked branches into the dirt, or surround the bottoms with stone to keep them standing. Build the fire between the sticks. Sharpen a long stick and make kabobs by placing onions, meat chunks, mushrooms and vegetables on the stick, then placing the stick on top of the two forked sticks. Turn the stick a half turn, every few minutes until food is done.

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