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Oct 5, 2007 11:10 PM

Gourmet camping trip food suggestions?

This is not a camping trip where typical camping fare will be eaten. It's a semi-annual gourmet food extravaganza where people bring food to impress. The goal is to bring food that can be carried in relatively easily, be cooked (or reheated) in an outdoor camping setting, and be phenominally tasty. Last year there was sushi (kind of cheating since one expectation is that food will actually be cooked on the trip), chicken tikka masala, ratatouille, thai spring rolls, lemon pancakes, and creme brulee. You haven't been camping until you've cooked your dessert with a blow torch.

Any suggestions for a dinner meal that would satisfy the above requirements?

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  1. Most or all of the greatest cuisines have had poor people who have had to cook under your "camping trip" conditions. Making traditional sushi at a campgound might be a bit difficult; but sukiyaki was suposedly a dish of poor farmers cooking their stuff on the back of a large hoe-like implement. Give me a Coleman two burner and I can give you the world.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Mr. Fujisaka:
      while i agree there is a lot of good food that doesnt require sous vide
      technology, a lot of "peasant food" uses a lot of fuel, which is often not an
      option, or would be politically incorrect in environmental terms [burning
      scrounged wood].

      like rice is not a good option typically for a high altitude *small* backpacking
      trip in the US. although might be ok for a good sized himalayan expedition
      with porters etc.

      for many years [and they may still do this] the uc berkeley hiking club did a gourmet
      trip which saw some impressive meals. especually given that was NOT car camping
      but backpacking. thai soups, desserts encased in dry ice, mimosas ...

      but it is true, car camping at low altitude with coolers, large propane tanks, the allclad
      cookware, bags of charcoal, easy waste disposal does allow for some impressive
      stuff to be served in beautiful places. in yosemite we've had roasted squash
      soup, lamb brochettes, frittatas with pancetta, fancy burgers on foccacia, kalbi etc.

      1. re: psb

        This IS the UC Berkeley hiking club gourmet trip that I'm planning for!! When did you go? What did you bring. Do you want to come this year?

        1. re: manga

          >This IS the UC Berkeley hiking club gourmet trip that I'm planning for!!
          hmm, small world.

          >When did you go? What did you bring. Do you want to come this year?
          er, let's just say i did my part carrying the car radiator and a giant coleman
          stove part of the way to wildcat ...

          anyway, appropos my other comment, on a trip like this, i think you have
          to factor in not having that much fuel and not having large coolers. also,
          a few of the CHAOS Gourmet Trips had a dress code ... dinner
          was semi-formal, so you also had to budget jacket and tie and spats
          and such into your pack weight [i carried ~60% of my body weight
          on some of the gourmet trips].

          BTW, you can procure either the marinated or naked kalbi
          at the KOREANA MARKET way down Telegraph @24th in oakland.
          [i assume you are somewhere around berkeley]. the kitchenware store
          that shares the parking lot with the KOREANA MKT would be a good
          place to get sealed containers for a trip like this.

          N.B.: the KOLEANA MKT doesnt have the best PANCHAN selection
          but you should be able to get some basic stuff.
          do any Oakland Korean Mkts have a good panchan bar? or is the
          nearest option KUKJE SUPER KOREAN MKT in Daly City?

          ok tnx.

        2. re: psb

          Mr psb, I grew up in Fresno and worked in Yosemite for a couple of summers and then for the Forest Service in the high Sierras. Along the way I was able to hike most of the Sierras with a single burner cartridge stove, cooking up a reasonable storm. The OP mentioned "in an outdoor camping situation" and did not seem to imply any backpacking. I assumed that a two burner would be appropriate. I did not advocate excessive car camping gear as you imply.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            well i had better indian food at +15,000 feet in the himalaya than at
            any indian resto in sf, but we were running around with a pressure cooker
            and 5gal of kerosene ... but that kind of travel is typically not an option here.
            i was just suggesting there is a sharp dividing line in what is feasible
            "in the woods" depending on the fuel and refrigeration situation ...
            often that trumps the quality of the "kitchen".

      2. I like what Sam said about traditional cooking. Check out some *peasant food* traditions (the Hub and I argue over the term "peasant food," which he sees as derogatory and I see as exalted - make your own determination!). I can think of two that I have made and loved on an open campfire. One is paella, and the other boeuf bourginon on a traditional Dutch oven in the coals.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cayjohan

          I like the idea of using a Dutch oven. Any other thoughts or ideas that would be unusual and crowd pleasing?

        2. I'd cook a good or premium slab of meat (probably tri-tip), butterflied chickens or a whole salmon over a decent wood fire or mesquite. All of these have a lower failure rate but still come out great. Not necessarily gourmet in the high-prep sense but hard to beat the smoke aroma and flavor outdoors. I'd probably make sides that link up well, perhaps a mushroom rice, grill asparagus (earthy stuff) and finish with a cobbler or something fruit.

          Hey while I was typing this I looked over at the margin and saw this:

          1. A great camping dish in our repetoire are ribs. We've parboiled and seasoned them, tucked them into freezer bags and then slow roasted them over the camp fire. Delicious. Alton Brown has a good recipe that we've tweaked a bit:


            We've used "farmer's style" ribs with this so we don't need to deal with bones while camping.

            In the morning, some faves are bagels toasted over the fire, rubbed with fresh garlic, topped with cheese, smoked salmon, capers and whatever else you want. Also porridge with fresh apple, raisons, banana and cream.

            1. DH's specialty, made on many a camping/cottage trip: grill meat of choice till done and slice into strips. In a large frying pan (on campstove or grill), saute onion, garlic, zucchini and/or summer squash, cumin, chipotle sauce (NOT a can of chipotle chiles, as someone substituted once!), some cilantro to taste, and a jar of nopalitos (cactus strips). Any veggies or spices you like can go into this. Add the meat when the veggies are done.

              Don't make it too soupy, as you serve it with (we prefer flour) tortillas and sour cream, shredded cheese, etc. It can either be rolled up into the tortilla or eaten with a fork, tortilla on the side.

              This inevitably gets raves.