Campfire Menu Suggestions!
I'm going camping with some friends for a couple days this weekend and would love some tried and true menu recommendations. I'm pretty new to camping, so other than hot dogs and canned beans/canned chili etc, what is great to cook over a campfire? We'll be bringing pots and pans.
We'll be leaving Friday during the day and returning Sun. I had good luck once with fish in tin foil with lemon and onions and then garlicky vegetables and potatoes in another tin foil parcel.
I'm guessing eggs and bacon/sausage for breakfast, I've had someone make pancakes which was kind of a nice treat. I'm also not particularly outdoorsy, so I'd be happy to spend time alone prepping a bit while people go wander into wasp's nests or whatever it is they do outdoors! ;)
I'd love to surprise everyone with some cool ideas, ideally. Thanks!!!
<< I'm also not particularly outdoorsy, so I'd be happy to spend time alone prepping a bit while people go wander into wasp's nests or whatever it is they do outdoors! >> -- thanks for the chuckle, mia.
I can't help you with menu suggestions although the foil packets sounds like a good way to go to me.
This is what we do for a snack around the bonfire. We slice up some really good fresh kielbasa from the German butcher near our cottage and stick them on these cool campfire forks from Lee Valley -
then we toast 'em them over the fire and eat 'em. Usually along with copious amounts of beer and/or wine. Tasty! (but sometimes people have to be careful not to burn their mouths.)
S'mores!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The classic campfire dessert. Marshmallows toasted over the fire, squished between 2 graham cracker squares, one of which has a Hershey (flat) 4 square piece of chocolate (they might be 6 these days - inflation!)
People try to improve it with jellies and jams......but the classic is a classic
Last but not least......a Day one (only) goodie.......take Frozen Shrimp-biggies, Pineapple chunks, peppers cut into 1" squares, and big chunks of Onion.
Throw it all in a Baggie and add 3 TBS soy sauce, tsp ginger, TBS minced garlic, and 3 TBS sherry, Marsala or other sweet-ish wine. Add Hot sauce if adventurous.
Thread on skewers or sticks and just heat until hot. Makes a memorable appetizer. Note.......must be eaten the first night or the shrimp will be gone. If necessrry due to climate or time, add a few ice cubes to the baggy before you take off
I remember one time we went camping and another couple brought potatoes to cook for breakfast on the propane stove and it took forever. Since then I bring the Simply Potatoes precooked hash browns or diced potatoes and just cook them long enough to brown them up. Saves a ton of time.
Thanks for all of the suggestions!! I am very excited by the Boozy Campfire cheese! Thank you for that link Tarheel, I am definitely going to buy some brie this week, drill holes, add brandy and pack for the trip. It sounds divine!
FriedClam, all of your ideas are very good! S'mores are a must, i think sausage, cheese, chutneys etc would make for a great snack and the shrimp skewers too.
Has anyone made a stew or anything like that while camping? We were going to bring some braised beef to heat up on the fire for our first meal...
It's bad, I'm more interested in the food and wine than anything else!
(from an old boy scout cooking with a bunch of other idiots) it's the camaraderie not the food. think extended cook-out. very extended.
burnt beans, crappy salad, crispy french toast at breakfast? - who cares.
only take cast iron cookware - campfires and grills aren't plastic handle friendly (duh). a griddle, a pan and a dutch oven will cover any non-direct-grill needs. a pain to clean, but with cast iron it just seasons the metal.
Don't forget to stop at farmers' stands if you get the opportunity for fresh local produce. Right now you can get fabulous corn and blueberries as well as new potatoes and green/yellow beans.
You can cook a batch of potatoes using the foil method. Quarter them (or halve them if using the small ones), place them in the middle of a large sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. We also add chopped chives, purple onion or garlic or whatever else is around. If you place the package over a really hot grill or fire, the potatoes come out browned and crispy.
IMPORTANT -- use extra strength aluminum foil or if you have only the regular, double-wrap (or even triple-wrap). If not, the package will tear and leak, trust me. Remember to pack extra-strength foil and long tongs.
not for the grill but we love packing a huge muffelatta or two, they do well in this situation because the flavors meld together (no mayo). Make before you leave, Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, cut into wedges for lunch. If you havn't had a muffaletta - here's a link but no need to make the olive mix from scratch, there are short cuts.
We love camping, we do mostly good steak on the grill or marinade some chix/shrimp, etc. You can marinade then freeze, it will be thawed by the time you cook. And fresh vegies for a nice salad.
One of my fondest outdoor cooking memories is from summer camp in Ohio, back in the 50s. The camp kitchen prepared bread dough ahead of time. All campers were instructed to find a fairly hefty green branch (thicker and stronger than you'd need for roasting marshmallows) and strip it of leaves and bark. We were each given a hunk of the bread dough to mold around the the cleaned end of the stick and shape it sort of like a hot dog bun - long, rather than round. The trick was to then hold and rotate it above the embers, letting it bake completely, then slide it off the stick, shove butter (and/or jam) into the resulting cavity and have at it. Most of us, of course, were in too much of a hurry and ended up with blackened lumps of slightly raw bread dough (the same kids who also insisted on setting our marshmallows aflame, rather than slowly toasting them to caramel-colored perfection), but we still loved it! Wonder if this would work with the frozen bread or pizza dough you can get in the supermarket?
Ahhh.. Deenso....you are remembering the treasured "Doughboy". It is the classic breadstuff of campfire cooking. No pots, no pans. Just caveman style on a green thick stick. Actually, a perfectly done Doughboy is the mark of a good campfire cook.
Recipes range from using Bisquick (if on the hiking trail) to refrigerated canned biscuits and certainly frozen doughs would work. The main thing is to get a stick and wrap some dough and keep from burning it.
* 2 c. biscuit mix
* butter or margarine
* jam or honey
* Add .5 c. cold water too 2 c. mix. Do not add more water than this or the doughboy will fall of the stick.
* Mix and pat the dough around the ends of 4 sticks. Make each doughboy about 4 in. long by .5 in. thick.
* Hold the doughboy over the fire to toast them slowly for about 10 min. or until the inside is done. Turn them as you would a marshmallow you were roasting to perfection, and occasionally pat the dough to keep it evenly distributed. (If it gets lopsided, it will tend to crack and fall
) * Pull the doughboys off the sticks gently and fill their cavities with butter, jam, or honey; add other ingredients according to whim.
pics and other treatments:
Thanks, FoodFuser! I've salivated over the memory of this campfire bread for 50 years and absolutely nobody I ever mentioned it to had heard of it. I was beginning to wonder if I'd made it up. Living in Manhattan, I'm not likely to be anywhere near a campfire any time soon, so the memories will just have to do.
(With gentle chiding from one who has alternated twixt Urbanite and Okie):
Improvise over a charcoal grill, or even place the base of the dough laden sticks in the open front of a gas and lean against the open lid.
Psychological prep: rent a copy of Tom Hanks Castaway and fast forward to where he beats his chest and grunts "I have made fire!!!"
Physical prep: Several surreptitious snips of pinky-sized stems from one of those many urban Sycamores will suffice for sticks.
Afterthought on dough: canned crescent rolls, taking two triangles and place them base to base and thumb press to join them into one square, ready for wrapping onto the sticks.
While cooking, guard the developing doughboys against errant peregrine falcons.
I'm going camping next week and my favorite part has to be planning the food.
Baked potatoes: the trick is to bake them in advance; no need to wrap just toss them in the cooler. While camping they can go right on the grill, no foil needed. Even if they look waterlogged from sitting in melted ice, they cook off beautifully. Obviously don't forget to bring butter.
We bring snacks like smoked salmon, smoked trout, pub cheese, nutella. And plenty of crackers. Weird how how you can't seem to get enough of these at 3am. Deviled eggs are also good, with the yolk mix in a separate ziploc, dispensed by snipping off corner.
Bring condiments and chopped herbs & veg in ziplocked bags: sour cream, premixed dijon/mayo/lemon juice/s&P for the smoked fish. Chopped herbs, red onion, s&p packets.
Black bean soup is easy to heat up; add sour cream and herbs from your baggies, chopped tomatoes (altho see note below about my experience w/fresh veg).
Coffee: totally key. We bring a french press and much, much coffee. Parmalat milk to save room in cooler until after it's opened. Packs of sugar.
One caution: fresh veg can lose its taste if not consumed quickly. Last summer we spent a week at Assateague, MD with wild horses roaming the campgrounds. On final night we were running low on food so decided to use up the farmers mkt cuke that had been sitting for a week in the now-warm cooler water. It had no flavor, so we abandoned it on the picnic table inside the enclosed "eating tent". We had kept the food super-tight all week so as not to tempt animals, but on final night we missed the cuke. The next morning we saw evidence that horse had ripped through the screen, taken a bite of the cuke, and spit it out!
Fruits like tomatoes and plums also get mushy which is unpleasant when you're fishing around for items in a cooler, and makes a mess if you happen to pierce the skin. So eat these early, and probably best to keep out of the cooler.
I like to bring a few apples along, slice them thinly and tin foil package them, layering with some nubs of butter and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. They "bake" to a nice soft goodness and are awesome alone or on top of a slice of pound cake. My friends and I always do breakfast tacos in the morning with the usual chorizo & eggs, bacon & egg and potato/egg/cheese varieties. I can't go camping without someone asking me to bring beer dip, either. It's addictive, apparently. It's a firm dip so I serve it with mini pretzels instead of regular chips.
2 bunches green onions
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
2 packages cream cheese, at room temp
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dip seasoning mix
6 oz. beer (after much experimentation I found Bud Light works best)
Slice the green onion tops, using only a little of the white parts (reserve for other recipe). Combine all ingredients, mix well. Refrigerate until firm again.
Genius! I'm so making dough boys, what a novel idea! I'm probably just going to bring pillsbury dough or bring a box of biscuit mix.... the biscuit mix might yield more if we want to carb-load around the fire.
Roasted potatoes also seem de rigeur, thanks for the suggestions Jamiek.
Foodfuser, I feel like I need some sort of mental preparation to head into the dark forest, so I'm all for watching Cast Away. If I end up mumbling in my tent to a soccer ball, it's your fault though. If peregrine falcons attack, they will form the filling of my dough boy, I swear it!
Lexpatti, the muffaletta sounds like a brilliant idea. What's a shortcut for the olive salad? It seems like such an important part of the sandwich. Also, do you find the olive mixture makes the bread soggy at all?
Thanks everyone! I googled campfire recipes and found a grotesque/amazing recipe where you take a banana in its peel, slice along it's length horizontally to make an opening, stuff with chocolate and marshmallows. You then reseal, cover in foil and eat after everything has gone gooey. I think my pancreas would never forgive me for that one.
The stuffed banana thing? Not nearly as grotesque as you might imagine. In fact, that was another highlight of those summer camp weekends of my long-ago youth. Just scoop out a bit of the banana, lengthwise, to make room for the torn-apart bits of marshmallow and tiles of chocolate from the Hershey bar. And, believe me, don't knock it....
Muffelatta short cut (and yes, it is the most important part of the muffelatta)- go to your local groc with an olive bar and mix green olives (w/pimento) & black and some giardinera pickles (usually includes onions, celery, zucchini, carrots and cauliflower). chop altogether, drain most of the liquid. And no, the olive mix doesn't soggy it up, it does seep into the bread a little but that's what makes it awesome by the second day. (or 3rd or........). Key is also to wrap it tightly with saran wrap. Find good size bread that will fit into a big ziplock, even if it means making two to fit in seperate bags (each gets half of a smaller one). But definately wrap tightly before putting it in the ziplock. Yum!!! I'm do to do another one myself.
i'm obsessed with the muffelatta, that sounds so good.
Okay, so as of today (we leave today), here are the sure-fire recipes I will be making:
1) Boozy campfire cheese
2) Dough boys
3) Sausages roasted over fire
4) Braised beef (we braised it and are making a sauce for it now and will just throw it on the grill)
6) Banana Slugs
7) Muffelattas if we can hustle and get organized today, but if not, it's going to go into rotation as a dinner/lunch!
8) Tin foil prepared potatoes/onions with fish
Thank you everyone! I will report back and let you know how everything turned out.
well too late, work and all -
doughboys can be a little tricky, they take time to cook right (low and slow heat) and peregrine falcon is NOT recommended. trust me. I'd rather have squirrel.
besides aren't most raptors protected species? (not like they'd return the favor - mind your eyes if you wake up lying on the desert salt flats after a three day bender in a dehydrated and motionless state with birds of prey and carrion just looking for a quick and easy nosh)
oh, the wingspread, what majestic creatures.
vicious little scavengers of convenience if you ask me. this is why a regular oil change is really important, also distilled water can be consumed or added to the radiator and anti-freeze/glycol will also get you ripped in a truly righteous way.
wandering slathered in zinc oxide at 3 AM will make you look like a zombie freak, but it is your friend indeed, trust me come daybreak.
Just got back this evening!
The mosquitoes were most vicious and I have a lovely bite right in between my eyes, just in time for an important job interview tomorrow. Grrr. The weather was lovely though, and we got to do some lazing on the beach which was wonderful.
But most importantly, here's reporting back about the recipes:
Boozy Campfire Cheese= MASSIVE hit. One camper said it was the best brie he'd ever had. Whoo! I used brandy, but part of me was left wondering if perhaps calvados or white wine and garlic would have been better...
Banana Slugs- Brought everyone to weird swooning esctazy. Stuffed the bananas with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, torn bits of marshmallows, crushed almonds and a bit of brandy. I found myself scraping the banana peel and getting weird stares. Whatever!
Roasted Potatoes in tin foil: Divine! We sliced them into very, very thin slices with thin slices of onion, some garlic and bacon and roasted it on the fire. We made two big batches, one for dinner with sausages and some fish we cooked and then the rest with eggs in the morning
Also on the menu:
Braised brisket (in a beautiful classic beef and veal sauce)
Cabbage salad (with eggs, assorted pickles, tomatoes, lemon juice)
Many sausages roasted on sticks
Eggs fried with chili flakes and tomatoes served with sausage
All in all, a WONDERFUL chow weekend! Next time I'm going to pre-prepare some skewers/kebabs of sort, that was a great idea I didn't get to take advantage of. I also didn't get to do the dough boys sadly, we had some low carb people on board, so it didn't seem worthwhile. Hence all the sausage!
Thanks everyone so much for the recommendations!