What is more exciting than setting up a tent and collecting wood for your campfire? Being in the outdoors and roughing it! The last thing you want is to bring the conveniences of modern living with you. It just takes away from the experience.
After all, camping is a way to escape the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. The question you may be pondering is:
What are some unique outdoor cooking methods when you don’t have the convenience of an electric stove?
Various outdoor cooking methods can cook food over an open flame. Some examples include using a tripod, a small rotisserie grill and spit, a dutch oven directly on open coals, sticks, pie irons, and placing food in foil directly on the coals or a grate. All options mentioned require the use of some type of heat source.
Unique Outdoor Cooking Methods
Whether you are stranded in the outdoors and looking for a way to cook your catch or on a planned camping trip, you don’t need to have an electrical outlet or gas stove at hand to be able to cook your meal. You are set to go, provided that you know how to create a fire.
These unique cooking methods can be applied in your backyard, provided that you are permitted to make an open fire on your property. Most states require a permit to create a fire on your property, outdoors in the forest, or in a National Park. Whatever the case, the most critical point is safety before, during, and after setting your fire.
Rules for a campfire
- The first and most important rule when making a campfire is never to leave the campfire unattended for whatever reason. If you cannot personally be present at the campfire and need to go somewhere like to use the lavatory, make sure someone is there that can keep an eye on the fire.
- Please do not make a bonfire to cook food on, because it’s too big and dangerous. Remember, when a fire gets out of control, it’s tough to bring it under control, especially in an area such as a forest where there are trees and dry leaves that can easily catch fire.
- Make sure that it is safe to start a fire. Check the wind speed and direction. Don’t make a fire on a windy day, and be prepared with a bucket of water should you need to extinguish the fire quickly.
- Only use heavy cookware that can stand up to the direct heat of an open flame, such as cast iron or stainless steel.
There is something so memorable and exciting about building your fire and cooking food in the rugged outdoors! Knowing how to do it is very important. It’s more than just cooking a meal outside, it’s about the experience you share with those around you. The conversations ensue around the fire while the food is being prepared and after, when the food is being enjoyed.
You will need a heat source to cook the food, like a campfire or coals.
You can prepare meals over an open fire using a tripod, a rotisserie grill and spit, a dutch oven, sticks, pie irons, foil, or a grate.
Coal owen sac peka
This method is very simple and great for large pieces of meat or vegetables. You can’t use this method if you julienne vegetables because you will end up with mushy vegetables.
What you have to do is very simple:
- Cover the bottom of pan with lard or vegetable oil, and place whole potatoes, carrots, celery, or other root or bulb vegetables on the bottom.
- Place beef shank, veal or pork ribs, entire octopus or whole chicken legs over the vegetables.
Make a spot in your campfire by moving the hot coals to the side. Place sac peka on this spot where you removed the coals. Surround sac peka with hot coals but don’t place them underneath. Place a small amount of hot coals on the top of sac peka and cook everything without opening the cover, for around 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes uncover and check the doneness of your meat (never mind the vegetables because they will be tenderly cooked anyways). Put the cover back on and place sac peka back on the same spot.
Now pick some hot coals with a shovel and place them under sack peka and again on the sac peka. Cook for another 30 minutes, and you are done.
Using a tripod
A tripod is an excellent way to cook food over an open fire. You have a few options here. If you are prepared, you can buy a tripod and pot to take with you on your next camping trip. Firstly, you can purchase only the steel poles and chain that make the tripod and buy a separate pot to go with it. Alternatively, you could buy a steel, portable over-the-fire grill that resembles a small tripod.
If you don’t have a tripod on hand, you can always make one using wood and a rope. If you have some rope on hand, you can make a makeshift tripod with three long pieces of wood. You will need a chain to attach the pot to the tripod. Alternatively, you can purchase a small tripod board that attaches to wood and allows you to hang your pot.
A few inexpensive options make a great investment if you are a camping enthusiast.
A grate is a little cheat option but still works great. It works on the same concept as a traditional grill that you place over an open fire. Simply stack a few stones on either side of the grate and cook your food over the hot coals. You can cook your meat or vegetables directly on the grate and can cook them, or you can place a cast iron pot on the grate and cook the food in the cast iron pot.
Remember, the heat and flames can be very unpredictable when you use open flames and a cast iron pot for cooking on a grate. Using long enough utensils is best to prevent you from burning your arms or hands while cooking.
Furthermore, if you plan to cook fatty types of meat, it’s best to use a cast iron skillet instead of placing the meat on the grate. The fat may drip into the fire or onto the coals and cause a lot of smoke.
This is my favorite method! I always use foil for cooking baked potatoes on the coals while grilling meat on the grate. But you can cook other types of food this way as well. Another type of food you can prepare in foil is fish. Place your fish in foil with butter, oil, spices, and seasonings. Wrap the fish tightly in the foil and place it in the coals to cook.
This is an excellent option if you are concerned about the health implications of cooking meat on an open fire. You can cook just about any type of meat and vegetable in the foil. Ensure you wear gloves as the foil will get extremely hot, and use tongs to remove the food from the hot coals.
If you are stuck out in the wild with no cookware or equipment but know how to make a fire, you can use sticks to prepare your food. This is an age-old cooking method over an open fire in the wild.
But it’s not as simple as picking up any stick and sticking it into your food. Some sticks are dangerous and may pose a serious health risk. It’s essential to have the ability to identify different kinds of trees and their branches to ensure you are making a safe selection. Some safer options include hazel, maple, birch, etc.
The right sticks can infuse a delicious smokey flavor into the food. Sticks are excellent for cooking bread, fish, vegetables, and chicken.
You’ve probably seen these in old western movies. They are quite a hit on the campfire, and for good reason, Pie irons can get pretty hot, so be very careful when using them over an open fire.
Open the pie iron and place a slice of bread on each side. Then, put your toppings on one of the two slices of bread, close up the pie iron and place it on the fire. Remember, the fire is very hot. You want to prevent the food from burning, so keep turning the pie iron and frequently check on the contents to ensure that it doesn’t form a charred exterior.
The only problem with pie irons is that you are somewhat limited in what you can make. Your options are toasted sandwiches with fillings, pies, or closed pizzas. You could try to cook meat in a pie iron, but you will be limited to how much you can cook at a time.
Rotisserie grill and spit
This may be a more expensive option, but when it comes to flavor, tenderness, and juiciness, you cannot beat the rotisserie grill and spit.
You can prepare various meat options on this little device, but chicken seems the best option. Your meat will infuse a rich, smokey flavor, and you’ll get the perfect roast on the meat’s exterior. This is a slower method of cooking but an excellent choice if you’re in a group and want to enjoy a beer and good conversation while you savor the savory aroma that permeates the air while you are cooking.
A cast iron dutch oven can be placed directly on hot coals or an open fire to prepare food. The equipment is strong enough to withstand the intense heat and deliver a delicious wood-fired meal.
The cast iron will get extremely hot during the cooking process. You may want to ensure that you have the proper gloves to pick up and move the dutch oven when the food is ready. The dutch oven is an excellent piece of cookware for the outdoors. There are so many different recipes that you will be able to prepare in this pot.
From cornbread and lasagna to pizza, stews, and rice. It’s a very versatile piece of cookware.