There’s a lot to consider when you decide to go camping. Whether it’s your first or fortieth time heading for an overnighter out-of-doors, one important consideration for the weekend is what you’re going to eat. And if you’re a total noob to the camping scene, you likely don’t have a reservoir of easy-to-cook recipes that work over an open flame. Never fear. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to get through a weekend camping trip with nothing but a campfire as your cookstove.
Next to s’mores, hot dogs are probably the most popular thing to cook over a campfire. Why? They’re crazy-easy! All you have to do is skewer your hot dog on a long cooking stick, hold it over the fire, and rotate until done. You can pack some chips or potato salad to go on the side, and if you’re feeling really fancy, you can wrap your hot dogs in crescent rolls. Delish!
Sure, you can pack Pop Tarts or cereal for your camping trip, but if you’re planning to be out and about during the day, you’ll want something hearty that will last until lunch. Enter the camping breakfast sandwich, a quick and easy, protein-packed meal that’s great for outdoor adventurers everywhere. All you need to do to make breakfast sandwiches campfire friendly is pack a fireplace grate and a cast iron skillet. Then you can cook these basically the same way you would at home.
Chicken and Vegetable Foil Packets
Foil packets are a staple for campers everywhere. Basically, you cut up your favorite meat and some fresh root vegetables, you wrap them in foil, and you cook them on the coals in your fire, flipping with tongs halfway through. For chicken, you usually need to cook for 10-12 minutes. Onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and potatoes all taste great when cooked in foil over a campfire. If you want to jazz it up, add BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce to give it a little pop of flavor.
Want nachos on your next camping trip? Pack a cast-iron Dutch oven and you can have them easily. The key to making Nachos in a Dutch oven is to make sure that something in your nachos is giving them a little moisture, whether it be a salsa layer or beans with the sauce still in them. This will create steam inside the Dutch oven and ensure that your cheese gets perfectly melted. Pack your Dutch oven full of plenty of layers and cook for about 10 minutes for an easy campfire recipe everyone in your group will enjoy.
You probably didn’t know that you could make French toast on a campfire, but it’s actually pretty easy. Grab a full loaf of your favorite bread. Wrap it in parchment paper and then foil, leaving the top of the bread open. Then pour over the top a mixture of eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon—the same stuff you’d dip the bread in if you were making French toast at home. You can add in fruit like strawberries or blueberries if you like. Finally, top with a last layer of tin foil and cook on a grill over the campfire for 40 minutes – 1 hour, depending on how crispy you like your French toast. This is great served with sausage cooked over the open fire and some fruit salad, packed ahead, and can be either a breakfast option or—even better—a breakfast-for-dinner option.
Dutch ovens were made for camping, and chili was made for Dutch ovens. Whether you’re strictly a beans-and-spices chili eater or you prefer a meatier variety, you can slow cook chili in the camp fire all day using a Dutch oven. Be sure to brown any meat you’re using in the Dutch oven first. Then add beans, tomatoes, and spices, put a lid on it, and cover it in hot coals in the campfire. Throughout the day, you’ll want to add a water to the pot—a little every hour—and move the coals around, but otherwise it’s a low-key meal that will taste amazing come dinner time.
Just because you’re planning to be eating outside for a couple of days doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to cereal and sandwiches. There’s a vast array of food that can be enjoyed while you’re camping. The trick is to stick to recipes that you don’t have to babysit too much: You want to be able to leave food in the heat and pull it out again once it’s all done. These quick and easy campfire meals are just the tip of the iceberg.