How to Cook While Camping
Do you think that camping food consists only of granola bars, hot dogs, and beans? Check out these tips from Domestic CEO and Clever Cookstr on how to spice up your camping cuisine!
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My last few podcasts have been about camping; the dos and don’ts of camping and some handy tips to make your next camping experience pretty awesome. Well, I can’t talk about camping without talking about food, right? I mean, seriously, how can you go camping and not make a s’more? Isn’t there some international law that makes that a requirement?
Okay, all joking aside, did you know that camping food can be gourmet? Or at least home cooked? I remember the first time I saw someone cook a REAL breakfast while camping. It blew my mind!
I was under the assumption that camping food consisted of granola bars, hot dogs, and beans. Now, there’s nothing wrong with those foods, but why not enjoy an even bigger variety of foods while you’re dining in the great outdoors? I’ve heard many people say that food tastes even better when being consumed in the woods. I’m not sure about that, but I do know that with a little forethought and prep, you can enjoy amazing food on your next camping trip.
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If You Can Cook it at Home, You Can Eat it While Camping
You may think that camping food consists solely of "fast" items like hot dogs and ramen noodles, but in reality, with a few small adjustments, you can eat the exact same things while camping that you do at home. In fact, the dishes may even be better while camping, because you'll get that fire-cooked flavor.
Prepping at home is key, so plan on doing as much prep work as you can before you head out the door. Chopping, mixing, and even cooking ahead can make your camping meals so much easier. Focus on foods that can be heated, baked, or toasted while out in nature.
As an example, the salsa verde pork recipe that I posted last year (it’s a super easy crock pot “recipe" with just 2 ingredients) was AWESOME while camping. We used the shredded pork for tacos with corn tortillas roasted over the fire, and then also for breakfast tacos, with scrambled eggs and tortillas. It was so easy that I almost felt bad for our friends who brought cans of soup. (Yes, in the end, we did share our food with them!)
I prepared the pork recipe ahead of time, in my crockpot, and then divided it up into gallon-size zippered plastic bags. Now, here’s a great tip: freeze these bags of pork with the bag lying horizontally on a cookie sheet or plate. You’ll end up with these nice, flat squares of frozen food that fit easily into your cooler. In fact, they’ll even act as your "ice," keeping other perishable foods cold. You can fit a good amount of these bags into one cooler, so get creative and think of other easy-to-prepare foods that can be made ahead, frozen, and then thawed and heated at your campsite.
When Deciding What Foods to Serve, Consider Your Cooking Equipment
If you are backpacking and you’ve only got a one burner stove with you, maybe don’t bring five items that all need to be heated for one meal. A regular camping stove, though, offers the full abilities of a home gas stove. In this case, you would have more cooktop space, so you can plan on using multiple heated foods for one meal.
Cooking right over the campfire (if you are allowed to burn a campfire) is fun, too, especially if you’ve got kids along. Using a grate over the fire as your cooktop has a certain “back-to-your-roots” feel about it, and older kids can get in on the cooking--and probably fight over who gets to mind the pot.
Don’t forget your cooking utensils! Chances are, if it’s a utensil you use at home, you’ll probably want it along when camping. It’s a good idea to purchase less expensive utensils from the dollar store or the thrift store, and make these your designated camping gear. Inevitably, some utensil will get lost or left behind, and who wants to lose their favorite spatula from the high-end kitchen supply store?