Whether you are cooking for two people or 20, food for your camping trip doesn’t have to be complicated, if you pack the right supplies and have your meals planned in advance. Understanding a few simple concepts will make preparation a snap!
What you’ll need depends on what type of camping you plan on doing. If you are going to be truly roughing it, then you’ll need to pack cooking supplies that are appropriate for use over an open flame. In addition to food, you’ll also need the following:
- Pans. Cast iron is the most efficient material for open-flame cooking because it heats quickly and evenly. You’ll need at least one large skillet, one medium skillet, along with a Dutch oven, griddle pan and a medium boiling pot.
- A simple grate to lay across your fire that will serve as a base for your cookware.
- Tin foil, non-stick spray and oven mitts.
Camp stoves and percolators are fantastic if you have them. You can find them along with other essentials at campmor.com. You can also check local thrift stores if you don’t want to take your everyday cookware with you.
The easiest recipes for camping are one-pot meals. Canned, pre-made, corned beef hash is an old favorite that is easily done in the skillet and has endless options for canned add-ins: diced tomatoes, ham, jalapenos, for example. If you have the ability to carry refrigerated options, eggs are also a nice addition to this meal.
Meats that need little or no refrigeration are the best for hiking and camping, so look for anything salt-cured. Bacon and ham can both be purchased this way. A classic breakfast of bacon, eggs and sliced tomatoes is quick and can be made using one skillet. Pair it with your favorite coffee and powdered creamer, and you’re good to go.
Lunch and Dinner
Stews take a little longer, but will feed a larger group with less effort. Vegetable stew can be made with the following canned ingredients: tomatoes, corn, okra, potatoes, green beans, carrots, cabbage, navy beans or whatever vegetables you prefer. Create a base for the stew using water and either bouillon cubes (chicken, ham, beef or vegetable), or a jarred “Better than Bouillon” soup base. Then add the vegetables and let it simmer over a medium flame, stirring often for no less than an hour. A beef/chicken version of this can be made by browning your meat before adding the soup base.
Canned ham and beans, with quick-cook skillet corn bread, is also great for lunch or dinner. The corn bread will take the longest, so follow the instructions on the back of the box and use your medium cast iron skillet for baking, making sure to coat it well with non-stick spray. Then, when the corn bread is close to being ready, cook your ham beans using the large skillet.
In the kitchen, tin foil can be a camper’s best friend. You can virtually take any combination of foods you like and wrap them up. Some examples include onions, potatoes, smoked sausage and green peppers. Coarsely chop the onions and peppers, add either whole red potatoes or quartered baking potatoes, along with the sausage. Add a little water, salt and pepper, wrap it tightly in the foil and toss into the coals. Check it every 10 minutes and remove once the potatoes are cooked through.
If you were able to bring perishables, then pot roast is a great meal for chilly fall nights. Use your Dutch oven to brown the roast. Then add water, carrots, onions, potatoes and powdered French onion soup mix as seasoning. Let it cook for three to four hours and enjoy! Afterward, you can chop up the leftovers and make stew for the next day.