Have you mastered campfire cooking?
There's nothing quite as satisfying as cooking a meal outdoors by yourself, but there are a lot of ways to get it wrong.
Here are 8 ways you can work towards mastering your campfire cooking technique.
1. Start Campfire Cooking the Right Way
Lay stones in a circle about 20 inches across. Find plenty of wood, and choose one long stick to drive upright into the middle of your circle. It helps if it has a fork on top.
The wood you choose should be as dry as possible, not green if you can help it. Sticks which are still green in the middle have recently fallen and have a much higher water content, so they're harder to burn.
Lay other thin sticks against the middle stick, creating a 'teepee' structure for your fire. Leave gaps for air and have larger firewood ready to put in place once the flame is burning bright.
Once you've got the big logs going, the fire will need a little while until it's ready for you to cook on. Factor in around an hour for this whole process - that's an hour extra before you can start cooking.
If you cook directly on the flame, you'll just burn the outside of your food and the inside will remain raw.
2. Construct a Grill
If you can find stones which are tall enough - or that are stable enough to stack, make the stone circle relatively tall.
With this in place, you can lay a metal grill over the top of the stones. This will help to spread the heat, and means you don't have to manually toast everything.
Which leaves you with a hand free for a cold drink!
Whichever method you choose, always keep the fire out in the open - never inside a tent. Fires produce carbon monoxide, which is a lethal gas. Sadly, people do make this terrible mistake. Don't be one of them.
3. Keep Everything Simple
If you're campfire cooking, that means you won't have all the utensils, pots or pans you have at home. So keep your food choices simple, and make sure you pack plenty of snacks to munch on while the fire is burning down.
Tin foil is your ally when cooking out in the woods. You can wrap up meat, sweetcorn, and much more - then simply throw it on the grill.
Just take one or two small pots if you want to heat up soup or chili, and perhaps a frying pan for bacon in the morning. But you really want to keep it to a minimum.
Keeping things simple means less stress, and more time having a conversation with your friends and family.
4. Marinade at Home
You don't want to be messing around with marinading out in the woods.
Get some sealable containers, like Tupperware. The night before your camping trip, cut your meat into strips. Marinade it inside the containers using your favorite recipe. Store in the fridge.
Don't forget to take these containers out of the fridge before leaving! Use a coolbox to keep them cold until you're ready to cook.
Doing it the night before means that the flavor has time to really sink into the meat. This always produces more satisfying campfire cooking experience.
5. Never Forget About Hygiene
There's nothing worse than slapping that first burger onto a hot grill and realizing there's nothing to wash your hands with.
Bring a few gallons of water along with you, for drinking and cleaning. And don't forget soap. Or try alcohol rub for cleaning your hands - the only trouble with this is that it can make your hands feel very dry afterward.
You don't want the raw meat to contaminate your salad or other food. Being ill in the forest could cause serious suffering.
It's also wise to have a meat thermometer to hand so that you can check whether things are ready to eat or not. Food needs to be cooked to between 140 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill any lingering bacteria.
6. Don't Overdo the Drink
While your fire is heating up, we know many of you would like to enjoy a beer or something else cold. That's fine.
Just don't get too into it while you're still cooking. A handmade grill can be a little wobbly, and you always need your wits about you when cooking on an open fire.
Just be careful - and perhaps save that next beer for when the food is ready.
7. Next-Day Jacket Potatoes
Here's a great 'secret' campfire cooking tip. If you've built a large fire, it won't be completely cool by the next morning.
Roll up some potatoes in a tight tin foil coat, and push them right into the base of the fire. They need to be fully covered.
The coals will cook them through, and this can take one or two hours depending on the size of your potatoes. The result is an amazing smokey flavor.
Chop up some bacon and tomatoes and squeeze them inside the potatoes to serve. Add cheese if you like.
8. Never Forget About S'mores
What's the point in campfire cooking without a few s'mores?
Sandwich marshmallows and chocolate between two graham crackers and wrap that in tin foil. Then place it over the fire for a couple of minutes until the center is soft and gooey.
Mind your mouth. The cooked sugar is really hot, so don't burn your tongue.
Try mixing up this classic s'mores recipe by adding fruit, peanut butter or loads of other additional ingredients.
How to Keep Warm After the Fire Dies
When you're outdoors, it's important to keep warm during the night.
Our collections also make excellent gifts for an outdoorsy partner's birthday or anniversary!