Irresistible Camping Food Ideas
While you may be averse to eating from a can, it is next to impossible to lug around all the kitchen paraphernalia to prepare gourmet fare when the hunger pangs kick in. Taking that beloved cappuccino machine (you can’t live without coffee) or holiday waffle maker is really just too much to cram up the space with.
However, a good hearty meal is at the heart of camping. The next time you embark on a camping expedition, these genius hacks will make you a campfire chef extraordinaire!
- 1. A succulent grilled steak or hotdog lends an exquisite charm to camping nights.
No need to splurge on a barbecue grill if you don’t have one, or bear along a hefty hibachi when you can make do with make-shift gear. If you have an empty tin can, all you have to do is cut the edges into thin strips and spread those outwards, while keeping the bottom intact.
Line the inside with a sheet of Aluminum foil and tightly wrap it around the edges. Fill it with charcoal, light up, top it with a wire gauge and voila! Get grilling!
- 2. While on the topic of DIY projects, another great way to craft an outdoor oven is using cardboard.
Yes, you might be apprehensive about causing a fire or run the risk of saying adieu to your project before even biting in to your food but it’s reasonably safe. Securely cover the insides of a cardboard box with heavy duty tin foil.
Place smoldering coals in a tin box and place it at the bottom of the box. Suspend a grill grate using empty soda cans over it, throw in your food and close the box for a hot cozy temperature inside.
- 3. Are you a French toast person?
Camping might have taken it away from you but you never have to miss out on a delectable breakfast anymore. Pack all your bread inside aluminum foil and pour over whipped egg white and maple syrup.
Secure the edges, cook over slow fire and have some delicious French toast before a long morning hike!
- 4. Veterans or newbies, we all love our bacon and eggs to make the mornings bearable.
Here’s how you can make a scrumptious breakfast without a painful cleanup afterwards: line the bottom of a paper bag with neatly nested strips of bacon.
Crack in a couple of eggs and pinch the top of the bag closed. Poke a stick through the top of the bag and suspend it over hot coals for 10 minutes. Devour right out of the bag but be careful about spilling it all over your lap!
- 5. Want to cook with panache and throw in a scrumptious treat to make your company drool?
All you have to do is buy a canister of crescent rolls and pack it along. Wrap the dough around Y-shaped sticks and roast over the campfire.
How about sneaking in some chocolate chunks and marshmallow into the middle and put your culinary spin on the good old campfire classic!
- 6. Campers with a throbbing sweet tooth might cringe at the notion of no dessert after meals.
Why not pander to your yearning with a cinnamon roll? Make a gooey hot cinnamon roll by placing raw pastry inside hollowed out orange peels, and cook them over smoldering coals. The orange ‘shells’ not only prevent the dough from burning but also give a zesty tang to the treat!
- 7. While s’mores might be your camping staple or family tradition, these chocolate and marshmallow filled cones would be your new favorite.
Stuff waffle cones with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, peanut butter or any mouth-watering delicacy which strikes your fancy, and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Grill over fire until the inside gets soft and runny and dive in to the extreme decadence. Caution: you might have your mind blown!
- 8. Does your meat char over blazing flames?
The fire might be too hot or the sticks too near. Avoid burning meat by wrapping it in cabbage leaves before cooking. Before you turn up your nose at the idea, it is pretty palatable and the burned leaf renders a nice smoke to the meat! It’s not an innuendo: the moisture of the cabbage leaf is a real savior!
- 9. Looking for an innovative treat that is fun, whacky, festive and impressive all at the same time?
How about Jell-O® shots inside your favorite marshmallows? Mix together 3 ounces of flavored Jell-O® with 3 ounces of water and 6 ounces of vodka.
Hollow out the middle of the marshmallow and fill it with the gelatin mix using a dropper. Leave it to set, pierce through a stick and cook over campfire. Added craziness: Dip them in Bacardi 151 and set them ablaze!
- 10. Sitting around in the embrace of nature sure whets one’s appetite.
Give in to your hunger pangs with sizzling hot popcorn to enjoy with the sunset or while away the time. Mix together 2 tablespoons of popcorn kernels with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt. Sprinkle the mixture on a sheet of aluminum foil and tightly seal the edges to craft a pouch. Cook over a direct fire until popped!
- 11. Sipping cocktails on a camping excursion can be a heady combo (if mixed right)!
How about concocting a batch of scrumptious sangria at home and unveiling the goodness at the camp site. Your friends will want to hug you for taking it up a notch.
Mix together 1 bottle of red wine, 6 ounces Applejack Brandy, 8 ounces orange juice, 3 ounces orange Curacao, 1/3 cup sugar, some slices of apples and oranges, and a cinnamon stick. You can’t go wrong here!
- 12. Wood renders an amazing zest to even the most modest of spreads.
The type of wood you use can have a profound effect on your meal. While it is difficult to forage for air dried and seasoned wood, a local wood, like maple or oak, would be just right. Steer clear of pine, cedar and other coniferous woods with high sap content.
- 13. Roasting marshmallows over a fire is a great way to treat kids but what about adults?
Grownups can glean the uber goodness of marshmallows with this creative spin. Skewer your roasted marshmallows and dip in a cup of Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur for a mouthwatering delicacy. You will drool just thinking about it!
- 14. A modest dash of fresh herb sprigs can give a palatable aroma to your meat.
A better way is to brush the herbs over coals and let the meat be bathed in the fragrant smoke. A nice alternative to marinade is to put fresh rosemary leaves over coal before grilling your meat. Your company would marvel at your culinary éclat!
- 15. If you don’t have a grill or even a grill grate, grilling sausages for hot dogs can be a tad tricky and prolonged over sticks.
If you are short on time, you might want to cook all your sausages together. A great trick is to use a rake and pierce sausages on its prongs. Suspend over fire and let them simmer!
- 16. Instead of hauling along a plethora of cups and spoons for measurement, why not mix together your pancake batter at home and seal it inside a bottle.
Mix together 9 cups of flour, 1/3 cup baking powder, 4 teaspoons salt and 1 ¾ cups each of non-fat dry milk and shortening and fill it up in bottle at home. When you are ready to make pancakes at the campsite, just add an egg and some water to the bottle, shake and pour over the pan directly. It’s that easy!
- 17. Even better, to put your mind at ease, stop fretting over spoiled milk or bad eggs and prepare your liquid pancake batter at home.
Simply mix your batter, pour it inside individual bags in single portions and freeze them. They can double as ice packs in your cooler and can be thawed when needed. Poke a hole through a bag when making pancakes, and just pour the batter on the hot pan. No mess!
- 18. If you bring along a pie iron to the campsite, you can enjoy an appetizing pizza even out in the wilderness.
Layer the bottom of the pan with whatever bread you have and top it with pizza sauce, generous toppings, and shredded cheese. Close the lid and hold the iron over directly fire for a few minutes or until the cheese melts nicely.
- 19. When you are running low on fuel, elaborate cooking might be a rare luxury.
Forego pasta and rice and opt for quick-cook options, such as polenta and couscous. Polenta is quite versatile and can be shaped into patties and fried for a sweet and savory meal.
- 20. Instead of filling your cooler with ice, go for frozen gallon bottles of water and milk.
Not only will this keep your food cold, but you’ll have plenty of clean water to drink. Pasta sauce, chili and pesto should also be kept in the cooler so they don’t go bad.
- 21. Food doesn’t last long out of the freezer, especially in the sultry summers.
To keep your sauces and meat from rotting, be sure to vacuum seal every packet at home.
- 22. Many campers don’t know the best way to pack their coolers to utilize the cramped space and also make sure it stays cool for a long time.
Always begin with an unsoiled and chilled cooler. Freeze all foodstuff, especially perishable goods and adult beverages. Layer the bottom of the cooler with cans and bottles and add a layer of ice over and in any unfilled crevices.
All bagged items should be placed over the ice layer. Pack your cooler tight so no warm air can sneak in. It is prudent to store all fragile items in water-tight and reusable containers.
- 23. Need a place to hang and organize all your kitchen gear where it will stay clean?
Tie an old belt around a wide tree trunk and use hooks to hang all your pots, pans and spoons when camping.
- 24. Who doesn’t love a steaming cup of cowboy coffee?
Not so much for the taste, but for its resonance with the zealous backpacking ambience. No need for redundant coffee bags. Here’s how you can make your own: Bring one quart of water to a boil in a saucepan and add ¾ cup of ground coffee.
Return to boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover for 5 minutes, until the coffee grounds sink, and serve. What better way to invigorate your glorious mornings!
- 25. Create pockets of tin foil and fill with sliced potatoes, zucchini, onions, and other veggies, and then let them cook in the coals.
You can even throw in pieces of chicken. It’s best to use heavy duty foil to ensure that ashes don’t get into your meal. Each pocket is customizable and fun to eat without dirtying dishes!
- 26. Thinking of crafting a cooking fire?
You can make a ring of stones around the main fire and construct a channel with parallel rows of stones coming off one side of your stone fire circle.
This is your cooking area. Use a stick to scrape your coals over to the cooking channel. This ensures you can continue to generate hot coals in your fire and move them over to the cooking area when you need them. This helps you to regulate the temperature and you won’t get caught with a waning fire and an uncooked dinner!
- 27. If you don’t want to run out of food, why not grow your own?
Punch a few holes in the lid of a mason jar and add 1/3 cup organic lentils to 2 cups of water. Leave to soak for 24 hours before draining the water. In less than 48 hours, you’ll have uber fresh sprouts. Remind you of Jack and the bean stalk?