Campfire chef

Cooking by the camp fire requires a certain skill.

Why camping? Because Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend are the biggest camping weekends in the summer, so we are going to celebrate it camping style. We have something for breakfast and something for dinner. Lunch? Just put together some sandwiches, for you will be too busy enjoying nature. And with a hearty breakfast and a wonderful campfire dinner you are not going to need much more. We hope this will work for you.

Do try this on the grill at home.

Breakfast for the hungry camper

Rise and shine fellow campers, breakfast is served! But not just any breakfast of the wet scrambled egg and burnt bacon kind. We are campers on a mission, cooks with wild food rushing in our veins. We will be creative, as well as accommodating.

While most of the camp is still sleeping, it’s an ideal time to tiptoe out into the serene quiet and begin a masterpiece breakfast. French toast with the background music of wild birds is superb. While a comfort breakfast of lamb chops, scrambled eggs, creole sausage and hominy will prepare you for a long day of chasing children.

Lucky for you, you have an angler in the group. Send him out early to bring back several small trout for a hardy breakfast of fried trout, bacon and honey drizzled biscuits. The biscuits are simple, prepare your favorite biscuit recipe and place them in a heavy skillet, with a slightly smaller skillet to cover. Place in hot coals and cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 5 minutes. As coal temperatures will vary from fire to fire, be sure to check on them periodically. Cook cinnamon rolls in the same manner, and they go wonderfully with fried apples.

If you were wondering why I would say we, as the campfire breakfast chef, would be accommodating, I would suggest, on the last morning of your stay, to gather all your new friends around. Have them bring their leftovers. Reheat everything, set out buffet style, scramble some eggs and wrap in warm tortillas for a wonderful going away breakfast. Happy camping, and, um, your coffee is on fire.

Dinner campfire style

Mosquito bites, sun burns and poison ivy, nothing beats the fun of camping. Of course, all of those things are preventable and treatable, just as scorching hamburgers are. Summer camping means campfire foods, both the woes and the awes.

A barbecue, pre-made meals, and open fire cooking are typical of the experience. Whether your drag in your own grill, or use the Park Services provided pit, many different and unique foods can be prepared. Even a few quick work night meals taste excellent over a grill. The first that comes to mind are fajitas. Large cast iron skillets, I have found, work the best when cooking over an open fire.

Many people choose to go with the easy standby food, such as the hamburgers, hot dogs and brats. To save room in our coolers, we chop our onions, mushrooms and green pepper and mix it into the uncooked hamburger, as if you would a meatloaf, then freeze them in individual patties, a few days before our departure. Salsa can be incorporated as well. Hot dogs enjoy the simple life of being wrapped in croissant rolls, and slightly under cooked. Then wrap individually in foil to be tossed onto the fire or to grill later. For brats, I prefer Italian sausage for my fires. Soak them in your favorite sweet beer or spiced rum, close tightly in airtight, spill proof containers.

If you want to be the envy of your camp neighbors, a real crowd teaser is charcoal-grilled rib lamb chops with garlic-rosemary marinade. If lamb isn’t something you want on the menu grilled pork chops with a dry herb rub is hard to beat. Throw foil wrapped baking potatoes into the hot coals for a nice side dish.

With Memorial Day and Labor Day being the excuse for the biggest camping weekends of the year, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a nice patriotic dessert on hand. Blueberry and strawberry short cakes are easy to prepare and bring along. Just pre-make or buy the short cake, 1 pack blueberries, sliced and sugared to taste, 1 pint strawberries, sliced and sugared to taste and whipped cream. Assemble at camp.

Remember to get your coolers cold before you place your food into them. Place the coldest items on the bottom. Don’t forget the anti-itch cream and the suntan lotion, and enjoy your camp out.

Fried brook trout recipe | top

trout
cornmeal
butter or bacon fat

Clean the smallest freshest trout available. Dip them in cornmeal and saute in butter or bacon fat until crispy brown on both sides.

Fried apples recipe | top

This recipe doesn't have measurements, it is a you choose your taste recipe.

apples, cored and sliced 3/8 inch (5 mm) thick
brown sugar
cinnamon
nutmeg
butter

Melt butter on the skillet mix in all ingredients and fry until it starts to bubble.


Erin M. Phelan combines cooking, writing and talking about food with her love for the countryside. Erin has a modern homestead where she raises her own organic food.

Erin lives in a farm in Kansas, with her husband and young children. You can read about her adventures in her blog, A Homesteading Neophyte; her recipes are also published regularly at All Foods Natural.