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11 Camping Foods You Have To Try
I hate to admit it but my favorite part of camping isn’t getting into the great outdoors and enjoying nature. I go for the food! I love camping food and will endure the most horrid weather conditions just for the opportunity to cook my favorite ones. I’m like the mailman – neither rain nor sleet nor wind or wet firewood will keep me from making food outside while camping.
1) S’Mores/Roasted Marshmallows – There isn’t a more perfect sweet treat than a campfire roasted marshmallow that’s been toasted to crunchy golden brown deliciousness on the outside but still gooey and sticky on the inside. And some people consider it a crime to go on a camping trip without the marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey’s milk chocolate bars needed to make s’mores.
2) Dutch Oven Lasagna, Dutch Oven Beef Roast, and Dutch Oven Cobbler – Cooking in Dutch Ovens was standard procedure for early settlers in America, especially those making the trek to great and vast “Wild West” and I have to say they really knew how to cook.
If you have never had food cooked in a Dutch Oven, you’re missing out. It’s not as hard as most people think and the food is super delicious. Plus there are literally thousands of free recipes and Dutch Oven cooking tips on the Internet - just type “Dutch Oven Cooking” or “Dutch Oven Recipes” into Google.
3) Pizza Cooked Over the Campfire – The best pizzeria pizzas are those cooked in wood fire oven. But, you don’t need to spend mega money on your own wood fire oven to get delicious pizza. Instead use your campfire (it’s useful for more than getting your feet toasty warm).
Lay out a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, oil it with olive oil, spread out the crust (we use the pre-made dough in the blue cardboard tube found in the dairy section of the grocery store), add pizza sauce and your favorite toppings. Carefully transfer the pizza to a cooking grate over the fire (2 people doing this job works best). The trick to get the cheese to melt and the toppings to heat through before the crust burns is to make a foil tent for the top of the pizza.
Even people who are ambivalent about a meal of pizza will fight over the last piece.
4) Roasted Starbursts – Yeah, I thought the same thing you are. You’re thinking “You can’t possibly be talking about those little squares of candy called Starbursts, can you?” Yes I am. And don’t knock them until you’ve tried them. Cook them on a stick the same way you cook a marshmallow but avoid using wood sticks because the candy won’t want to come off.
And have a teeny bit of patience after toasting it to a golden brown on the outside. The hot candy is kind of like liquid napalm – meaning it’s really hot and will burn your fingers! Try to wait 30 seconds before taking it off the marshmallow fork and lick your fingers first to help prevent burning them and keeping the candy from sticking to them (don’t be grossed out – you probably put your fingers in your mouth at least once a day anyway).
5) Pudgie Pies/Pie Iron Sandwiches –These are also called pie iron sandwiches and are made with a handy little tool called a pie iron, hence the catchy name “pie iron sandwich.” Pie irons can be found in the camping supply section of your favorite store. The procedure is simple. Butter one side each of 2 slices of bread. Put the bread, butter side down, into the pie iron. Put your favorite sandwich fillings in the middle, close the pie iron, and cook in the campfire until the bread is golden brown and the filling is warm.
My fave pudgie pies: Reuben (Pumpernickel bread, corned beef, thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese), Dessert (apple, cherry, peach or lemon pie filling in between the two slices of buttered bread), and chili cheese hot dog (sliced hot dog that’s been cooked over the fire, a couple spoonfuls of Hormel canned chili without beans and a Velveeta cheese slice between the two slices of bread).
6) Foil Packets – Not the foil itself which isn’t a tasty or nutritious treat, but the delicious and nearly endless possibilities that can be cooked inside a foil packet over a fire.
Prep is easy. Lay out a piece of foil, layer in your favorite foods, add some liquid or butter to prevent burning and drying out, wrap up securely, and place on a cooking grate over the fire or directly in coals and cook.
The best part? The easy cleanup. After eating, ball up the foil and throw it away. The only thing to wash should be the fork you used to eat the food and the knife you used to cut it up during prep.
My favorite foil packets meals: sliced potatoes and onions with salt, pepper and butter; ground beef, sliced potatoes, sliced carrots, and sliced onions with beef broth, salt, pepper, and meat seasoning; and fish packets with haddock, sliced carrots, sliced potatoes, Penzey’s northwoods seasoning and a couple pats of butter.
7) Italian Sausages with Hungarian Peppers and Onions – This is a pretty straightforward thing to cook. Get some Italian sausages and cook them in a skillet (cast iron is best) over the fire or on your camp stove with some sliced onions and Hungarian peppers and a little bit of fajita seasoning. It’s simple but is tongue tingling good!
8) Hot dogs cooked on a stick over the campfire – Doesn’t any food cooked on a stick taste better? Hot dogs skewered on a stick and held over the fire until they are bubbly brown and hot are probably the single best and easiest camping food. And, if you use a wood stick from a nearby tree there is absolutely no clean up!
9) Kabobs – Like hot dogs, kabobs just taste better because it’s food cooked on a stick. If you want to get kids to eat vegetables or try something new, make it into a kabob. My kabobs while camping are different every time except for one thing – marinating. I always marinate the meat for extra flavor and to keep it from drying out while cooking. Mushrooms also taste better if marinated first but other vegetables can just be cut into bite size pieces, poked on a skewer and cooked. Bottled marinades from the store are easy and work great. Or make your own if you like. For dessert, try grilled pineapple. Grilling it enhances its sweetness and makes a person think they’re indulging in a high calorie dessert – but they’re not!
10) Spam and Pork ‘n Beans – I think if you look in the dictionary under the word “unappetizing” you’ll probably find the word “Spam.” It is one ugly looking food, but if you can get past the look of it (close your eyes when eating it), it’s some pretty tasty grub. My husband absolutely loves it. Cook it in a foil packet with some pork ‘n beans for a cheap and filling meal.
11) Popcorn – Not microwave popcorn (and I hope you don’t have your microwave with you when you’re camping) but popcorn cooked in a popper over the fire. I won’t lie. It’s a hot job but worth the effort. Popcorn cooked over the fire is so good it doesn’t need butter – just a little salt.
To keep it from burning, take the popcorn popper off the fire when the kernels are at the height of popping. The residual heat in the popper will finish the job.
There you have it – my list of must try camping foods. And just because you’re eating well while camping doesn’t mean you have to pack on the pounds. Make use of that bicycle sitting at your campsite and go for a nice long bike ride or lace up those hiking shoes and hit the trails!
Happy Camping and Happy Eating!