As Jack Frost throws the last of his winter tantrums, our thoughts turn to spring and the start of the camping season. While most of you fend off the winter blues with camping plans, we feel like it’s time to recap some vital thoughts on campfire cooking.
For starters, if you are cooking mac and cheese from a box, yes you know the tangerine-colored treat that forms that backbone of every Canadian camping trip, then you’re missing out. You should be eating like a king when you’re playing in the dirt, and we’re here to help.
Humans have been cooking on fires since time immemorial; it’s in your DNA and while I know you’ve got this, I thought I would go over a couple of pointers.
- Your shirt is not an oven glove. The very last thing you want out in the wild is a bad burn. On your hand. Which has to do stuff. Be smart – use your towel when taking hot pots and pans off the fire.
- Don’t use gas to light a fire. You’re better than that. Aside from the obvious risks to your eyebrows, gas residue can affect the taste of your food.
- Campfires should be made with dry wood; using wet or green wood will only result in smoky fires and ineffectual coals. If it’s too wet, rely on your camp stove instead.
- Want the mac daddy of campfire tips? Of course you do. Make your central fire pit, then make a channel off to one side with stones. This way you can cook on the side channel and use the fire pit to create coals so you never run out of fire before your dinner is done.
- Cooking kebabs or corn on the cob? Soak the skewers and the corn for about 20 minutes before tossing them on the fire so that they don’t burn.
- Pack out your trash and avoid burning plastic, polystyrene or other items that are likely to produce toxic gases.
- Done with the cooking? Fill one of the pots with water and place on the fire to heat while you are eating. This will make washing the dishes a breeze.
- Raining? Snowy? Use a knife to whittle down to the dry wood to start a small fire with kindling. You can also use chips or candles to start your fire in adverse conditions.
- Get yourself a quality campfire cookbook to broaden your repertoire. Being a great campfire cook will help you to make friends and influence people when you’re out in the wild.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, make fresh bread, stew up some hearty meals and make some memories this summer as you share your campfire with your favorite people.