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Camping Chowhound Style

The weathers cooler in Texas and me and the ChowChick will be doing a little camping this weekend (getting ready for Terlingua!) I am thinking a pecan crusted chicken and a baby spinach and grilled tomato salad.

What do you do for grub when camping?

See you at the biggest chili cook off in the world in November? http://www.abowlofred.com/

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  1. I bring some fresh herbs and a fishing pole.

    1. I like playing with the "Outback Oven". A light weight way to bake while camping! I make pizza.

      1. I rock a dutch oven. I've made pot pies, casseroles, pasta, roasted chicken and fish, crusty bread, and fantastic biscuits and gravy. I can't wait to try pizza in it now (thanks, scuzzo!) The very best part is the delicious seasoning that builds up over time on the iron. Like reliving meals past every time you use it.

        1. We pitch the tent and put away the gear and look for chowish places to eat in the area.

          1. I look for the best food shops (bakeries, fish shops-esp. smoked, canned goods, farmers' markets) in the area and return back to the campsite to cook a divine meal on my single propane burner. Although I do miss my kitchen, I don't miss the food at home!

            1. The week end before last, we put lobsters, clams, potatoes and corn on the cob on top of a layer of seaweed on top of the Cobbscook St. Park camp site grill, added another layer of seaweed, let her steam, while drinkin' beer, for 1/2 hr. and had a Downeast shore dinner. That's about as close to you as I am to Cooper's or Smitty's for brisket, but I will be down Austin way in Feb and plan to do it up right at Perdinales St Pk. To hell w/ Luckenbock and Shiner Bock, drink me some Live Oak Ale and chow on some Elgin Jalapeno sausages hot off the grill and enjoy the night sky. Winter is fast approaching here.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Passadumkeg

                Tough life: lobster,clams, potatoes and corn. What could bet any better? x,c

              2. Pressure cooker. Good for all kinds of stews, curries, barbecued beef etc in 20 minutes.

                1. Since you mention chili, a big batch of red cooked in embers is always a winner.

                  Boti kebab and naan (both prepped ahead of time) are better over a campfire than any other way. Frankly, you just can't go wrong with meat on a stick.

                  For some reason, tom yam soup (made with jarred paste) really hits the spot for breakfast.

                  +1 on the fishing rod, especially when you're at high altitude and the brookies have gotten all big-headed because they've outreproduced the food supply. Nothing like helping return nature to its balance and getting lunch in the bargain.

                  Three days into a backpacking trip, instant ramen noodles (the good ones, with a separate packet of spiced sesame oil) are strangely satisfying.

                  +1 on the pressure cooker. If you've got limited fuel and/or are at high elevation, it's a must.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      We used to do those, but someone introduced me to what we do now-split a banana lenghtwise, pack with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, squeeze the halves together and wrap in foil. Place upright on the fire or grill for a few minutes, open up and HEAVEN.

                        1. re: mtngirlnv

                          Ah yes, in our camp, those are called "banana slugs".

                          1. re: kmr

                            We call 'em banana boats -- a scouting favorite.

                            1. re: eamcd

                              oh! banana boats...the first time I had one was at least 35 yearsago, heaven! The girl scouts had lots of chow worthy recipies!

                      1. I really like to do nice easy dishes that look like they cannot be made on a grill or over fire while camping. For weekend adventures, which most of my camping is, I like to prep as much as possible at home. I seal everything up seperately in little zip bags and with very little effort and hardly any prep I have this wondereful meal.

                        As to the pizza in a portable oven, I have waxed on enough about grilled pizza and its delightful virtues.

                        Enjoying this camp talk immensely. mmmmm... s'mores.

                        1. I like to immerse myself in the rustic experience and will cook accordingly. I enjoy such dishes as catfish pancakes and racoon fajitas.

                          1. Twice a year we camp with a bunch of friends at a music festival. We are all very chowish. Some of our regular menu items are fish tacos (everyone brings their own fish and we potluck the rest of the ingredients - my brother the guacamole king makes the guac), pasta with red sauce (sauce homemade and carried up in a cooler), lots of salads of all kinds, big pancake and bacon breakfast with fresh fruit, lettuce wraps, and big pots of homemade soup (we usually freeze a big batch and use it keep the cooler cold until we're ready to eat it). We also like grilled vegetable and cheese sandwiches, polenta with mushroom sauce, and we have to have chocolate chip cookies.

                            1. Nothing makes a homemade sausage more satisfying than eating it while camping. Look into Francis Mallman's book "Seven Fires" It's a terrific source of inspiration for camping food.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jecolicious

                                Yes that's a great book!
                                My personal favorite is fresh caught pan fried fish. AB described it perfectly. I can almost hear the pan sizzle. Steak ranks pretty high on my list as well.
                                I recall back packing Isle Royal with my dad after high school and the latest greatest thing was freeze dried ice cream. It was like sucking on styrofoam peanuts....LOL

                              2. While it's not exactly "camping", our annual weekend at Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, KY is coming up, and I've been designated Saturday Breakfast Cook. This is all done over an open fire, though there are such things as electric skillets available as well. I'm thinking in terms of massive amounts of scrambled egg, hash browns or cottage fries with peppers and onion, country sausage patties and fruit. There's almost always a large amount of foil-baked salmon left over from the previous night for the few who don't do pork. What I'm choking on is the bread; I don't want to buy biscuits, but baking an adequate number of them with a reflector oven seems to me more trouble than I care to take on. What I'm trying to do here is to make most of the process mindless enough so I can concentrate on making the eggs NOT be the dry, partly-scorched mass that is too common in these cases. I do have one dedicated helper, last year's chef. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Hey, WO. What about halving LONG baguettes, smearing with butter,wrapping in foil, throw on the fire, then unwrap for some crisping up? How many are you cooking for?

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Cooking for maybe 30 people, including (nowadays) a bunch of teenagers. That baguette idea is a damn good one - gives me another excuse to go to Bread & Co. in Nashville, which I do anyway. That also avoids needing another cooking vessel. Helper is bringing a pot, which suggests grits, so I'll need to buy a skillet (for sausage) and one of those good 5-qt. nonstick sauté pots from Bad Breath & Beyond (for eggs). Okay, I'm feeling much better now... Thanks!

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      Wow! I just helped YOU???? My life is complete:) After all you do for me....

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Help is arriving right and left - someone's cooking a mess of their homegrown potatoes and stuff ("homegrown", well, they have an organic truck farm!), my sidekick is gonna fry not only bacon but bologna as well (big Southern favorite) AND make hotcakes. and I get to do eggs, sausage and that bread. Hey, we really are all in this together - life and eating and stuff, I mean.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          You said it, my friend. I'm reminded of that regularly. Wish I were there but have a great time nonetheless.

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            Wow, sounds awesome, Mr. O, you're Psyched & Set!

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              The reality was borderline stupid. Saturday morning I appeared to have left the eggs and everything else but the pan, cartons of egg product and the butter at home, but then another attendee announced he had two dozen farm-fresh eggs. So I whipped up the first batch of eggs, set the pan to heating with a big gob of butter, and then started cooking. There were NO coals appropriate for doing the bread yet, and I'd ditched the sausage plans since the sidekick had about 5 lbs. each of bacon and bologna cooking. After an a w f u l l y l o n g time the eggs were finally a coherent mass, and I was one ravenous dude, so I rustled me a plate and a modest amount of food and sucked it down. When next I turned around, Mr. Sidekick had unceremoniously dumped the rest of the egg stuff into the pan without bothering to clean, heat or re-grease it, and was making short work of what I'd taken half the weekend at. Well, it came up dry rubbery curds, but nobody minded, so I did not complain nor even wish to. I will say, however, that those eggs that took all morning were the best scrambled eggs I've ever had...

                                              Then, upon returning to my lodging, I decided to put some stuff into the closet in the corner, and upon opening its door found the missing eggs and all the other stuff.

                                              That bread never did get toasted in the coals. For supper that night, I fired up one of the charcoal grills provided on the grounds and toasted the foil-wrapped bread that way. Since at least three of the contributed dishes were soups or stews, it was a welcome addition.

                                      2. re: Will Owen

                                        drop biscuits in a cast iron over the fire?

                                      3. I do a bit of camping and the usual menu items are chili, tacos (skirt steak from a carniceria) and easily grilled items like salmon, veggies and an occasional tri-tip or burgers.

                                        The latest more CH-ish additions have been, Russian sausages (a friend discovered them from a Russian deli), pre-made Thai sauce for salmon (no way you're going to be able do that at a camp site) and frozen XLBs (soup dumpings) which another friend figured out.

                                        The Russian sausages and Thai sauces have been great and a big plus but the XLBs outdoors were really great and yet simple - just steam. Even as they were pre-made/ frozen and not as delicate as in a restaurant, they were excellent esp on the CA coast where it gets chilly even during summer.

                                        The things I'd like to do in the future, grilled lamb chops and hobo stew (hamburger, onions, veggies in a foil pack tossed in the fire) but updated a bit.

                                        1. When the kids were little they of course always wanted a wienie roast but that got old fast, at least for me ;-}. So I started prepping lots of things to be cooked over the fire that wouldn't kill them if it only got a flash firing like sausage chunks, veggies, sashimi grade tuna chunks, presteamed pot stickers , and shrimp because they can tell when its done. Also several sauces to dip or drizzle. DD favorite still is the Heidi (from the movie) a slice of crusty bread toasted on the fork then smeared with goat cheese, amazing what a then 3 year old will try if its got a movie tie in. We've also done fondue in cast iron, as well as shabu shabu/sukiyaki with the dutch oven. Keeps the kids busy, easy, good for grazing and delicious.

                                          For our last night I usually do carnitas in the dutch oven or asada on the coals. My son likes to roast the avocado over the fire before making the guacamole (sensing a theme here?). Everything else is prepped ahead including the margaritas which have been dethawing in the ice chest in place of ice, so, so good!

                                          I almost forgot the kids crowning glory! They stuff a marshmallow with peanutbutter and mini chocolate chips before toasting, eaten between cookies or as is fantabulous!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: just_M

                                            We just got back from our first fall camp exoursion, and although we had high hopes of a Chowesque meal outdoors, it was rainy and annoying. We did nice filet mignons and roasted zucchini. . We did breakfast burritos in the morning.

                                            In a few weeks we will be off to Terlingua. Getting extremely excited about that. Not just a chili cook off anymore, they do ribs, brisket, margarita, beans, black eyed pea and other cook offs as well. But the true treat is all the Chow-Types that camp and do their own cooking. A couple of pulls off a good bottle of tequila can get an invite to a fab massive meal. We will have to come up with a wild meal ourselves. I am thinking a vat of a unique ceviche for tostadas, and roasted quail with mole.

                                          2. Too late for you, but this is a great recipe for camping:

                                            Boozy Campfire Cheese

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              There will be plenty more camping trips this season, including the Terlingua trip. Looks tasty and I will defintely add that to my list.

                                            2. I love cooking in coffee cans. Fresh baked bread is very doable. Place a lb of your favorite bread dough in a heavily greased 1 lb can. Place that can in a 3 lb can, cover it and let it rise near your campfire. When it has risen place in the glowing ashes of the fire for approximately 40 minutes until baked. Serve with butter. Another favorite for my kids is ice cream. Place 2 c of half & half or cream, 1 1/2 t vanilla (or any flavoring), 1/3 c sugar in a 1 lb can. Place the covered can in a 3 lb can. Layer rock salt and ice chips inside the large can surrounding the smaller one. Place cover on larger can, securing with duct tape if available. Roll or kick the can for approximately 20 minutes, longer if necessary. Serve with toppings or whipped cream. If you don't want to go the can route and have a camp stove try a variation of Oxacan Grilled Shrimp. Lightly fry jumbo shrimp in olive oil or butter with some mushrooms and garlic. Add smoked paprika, chilli powder, cumin, salt, pepper, parsley (or cilantro) and red pepper (flakes or powder) and serve over rice or noodles. And last but not least, Dulce de Leche really can make your night. Use cans of sweetened condensed (not evaporated) millk. Pole 2 small holes in the top of the cans and place about 15 inches from main heat source rotating every 15 minutes or so for about 2 hours. Labor intensive I know, but completely worth the effort. The sugar will carmelize and thicken over time. Remove from heat source and allow it cool enough for handling. Remove the top and serve with whipped cream.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: SydneyH

                                                Ahh, you've reminded me of the Boston Brown Bread we used to cook on our Boy Scout canoe trips. We'd put a couple of coffee cans in the big Dutch oven we'd brought (half filled with water from the sparking lake), and steam it while frying eggs and shredded swine flesh. I used to love the way we'd cut it with a piece of string!

                                                But, as one of the Scouters put it, the very best thing about eating out when camping is all the work you need to do before hand (gathering wood, building the fire, the cookstand, breaking down the rest of the camp, etc.). When you've been up since 6 am, and don't get to eat until 8, that hard work makes even the worst meal taste fantastic!

                                              2. I season my prime rib eyes and ziploc them, freeze a couple of days, so they can be transported in the cooler and keep every thing else cold. Then I make baked stuffed potatoes to go with. Easy to transport the ingreds then nuke the pots in the rv, when we have a generator. (Camping to me is RV'ing. I know, spoiled city girl ;))

                                                We also marinate our chicken breasts and do the same thing for gourmet fajitas on the run. Those prepackages Tony Roma ribs are super easy to slap on the grill too, since they just need to be heated up. Also use cryo packs of Galbi (Korean short ribs, marinated) and bring those. They always smell awesome on the grill, and all the other campsites are looking at us like, what are U cookin'???!

                                                1. Are you kidding? Who are you trying to impress? What happened to the good old hot dogs and hamburgers and smores for a laid back camping experience? The other stuff tastes better when you're not traveling (tomatoes get smushed!).

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Jacey

                                                    I don't think we are trying to impress anyone..... it's just how we think and eat. We still have hamburgers and dogs, but it's not difficult to plan a little ahead, and end up with some gourmet grub instead of the same ol' same ol'.

                                                    And I disagree, I think our food tastes better when you've been outside, active all day, and looking forward to a night by the campfire.

                                                    1. re: Phurstluv

                                                      I couldn't agree more! Food does taste better after being outside all day. After a summer full of the same 'ol burgers and dogs, that gets boring, besides we weren't cooking for any kiddos.

                                                  2. I used to do something that was similar to Civil War re-enactment, but for a time period in the 1400s instead. We did events that were weekend-long outdoor camping sorts of things, open to the public during the day, where each different group of people for each time period would set up a little area with tents and demos of all sorts of things, including cooking. Some of these events were competitive, with judges for authenticity.

                                                    Our setup involved a separate kitchen tent full of tables and hidden coolers, food, utensils, etc. In front of the tent was a large fly, where we set up tables to serve food. All on-site cooking was done on an open fire, we would dig a trench about 3-4 feet long and 18-24 inches across. On one end, we would set up a tripod and hang at least two iron cauldron-ish pots. Next to that was a double set of adjustable iron grills, where the rungs of the grill could be flipped on and off of the fire as needed. Two large (17") cast iron skillets lived on the grill. On the far end of the pit were various forms of dutch oven and little cast iron pots with legs. Sometimes we would also use iron spits at the edge of the pit to roast rabbits or cuts of meat. One year, we made a clay beehive oven and brought it to bake pretzels. Cooking pretty much went on from 6 am until dark, with each following meal being started as soon as the previous meal was consumed.

                                                    Some food was precooked and brought along - usually a cold roast for lunch, or certain pies. But most all breakfast and dinner were cooked on-site, plus anything being done for competition. Breakfasts were mixed period food and modern, since it was usually before the site opened - some combination of bacon, sausage, period versions of french toast, porridge, pudding, and baked fruit. Lunch and snacks were nuts, cheese, aforementioned cold roast, with bread. But dinner and presentation meals could be as complicated as a ten+ course meal for 20-30 people.

                                                    We cooked, at various events, all from period recipes:
                                                    gilded roast pheasant
                                                    venison pies
                                                    any number of soups
                                                    grilled chicken
                                                    roasted rabbits, pork loin
                                                    fresh handmade noodles in broth
                                                    plus umpteen vegetable and grain dishes, and whatever else has disappeared from my memory.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                      1. re: morwen

                                                        Nope, although there was I think one group from the SCA who participated in these events.

                                                    1. I love the first response :)

                                                      I haven't been for a while, but I'd proper slum it with beans and sausages, eggs and bacon and crisps :))))

                                                      1. What about if your are out in the wilderness for longer periods of time..
                                                        I made a great dried mahi and shrimp stew this year

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: casa

                                                          I'd love a recipe or directions please, that sounds so intriguing. Do you dry the fish and shrimp yourself? Thanks M