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May 28, 2010 06:10 AM

Making pancakes while camping: campstove or charcoal BBQ???

I'm going camping with a bunch of friends for my birthday and our group campsite does not have electricity. On the Saturday morning, we want to make pancakes (because we were given 4 litres of maple syrup for FREE!)
There is going to be almost 20 of us (including the children), so that means LOTS of pancakes.

Should we get one of those flat griddle surfaces for BBQ's and use it on the charcoal BBQ we're going to rent, or should we cook them in a pan over a camp stove?

My husband and i don't have much experience with either method of cooking (we normally camp at a place that has electricity and just bring an electric skillet....cheating, i know)

PS>>> what else do you like to eat when you are camping?

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  1. Smoky pancakes sound iffy, and the heat from the grill might not be even. I'd go with a pan on the stove.

    1. coleman's camp stove, no doubt! a classic!

      two burners, controllable heat, no smoke, and .... instant light!

      oh, here's a three burner version:

      1. When you say "camp stove," are you talking about a little Coleman stove or one of the big standalone models? I have a standalone my back patio, and bought a restaurant-style flat-top griddle that covers the whole thing. We take it along anytime we're going camping with a bunch of people; it's got 600 square inches of cooking space, which is perfect for whipping up pancakes for a crowd.

        4 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          oh wow. that looks cool.

          Some of my friends say they have campstoves they intend to bring, but i don't think they are talking about anything like that!

          1. re: LukesBride

            That does look cool!

            I love pancakes when camping and, yes, as everyone says, campstove is the way to go. Just remember, everything you do cooking-wise will be a big production. Since you won't have a sink or normal prep area and your normal tools. And everything is in coolers and boxes.

            It's been a long time since I've been camping with a crowd the size you describe, but, I hate to say it, when I go camping, I like to go one of two ways with my meals: completely downscale (repeating what someone else has already said, everything tastes better cooked over a fire) with hot dogs, smores, and jiffy pop popcorn (even though they specifically warn you NOT to do it over the campfire) OR completely upscale as in steak and potatoes (potatoes--wrap in foil and toss in fire) or dutch oven cooking where you say "wow, I can't believe I could cook that outdoors."

            It just depends on how much of your time you want to spend around camp, cooking and prepping and cleaning up...

            My very most favorite food camping, though, is freshly-caught fish, so if you've got some fisherpeople along, don't forget to bring shorelunch mix or something along those lines so you can cook up any fish they catch.

            P.S. Happy Birthday! Also, how's your Bittman project coming along. I'm embarrassed to admit, I haven't been following the old HTCE COTM threads. Have you been posting to those?

            Here's a link to some camping threads:


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I think we are mostly going to keep things simple, except for one of the breakfasts (because we were blessed with all this maple syrup and would like to share it with our friends) and one dinner (my "birthday dinner" hubby is gonna cook steak and potatoes) the rest will be make ahead salads, breads bagels, hotdogs, simple stuff. Our friends are going to bring food to share too, we're not doing it all.
              Fish is probably a bad idea. We are camping with some vegetarians.... who although willing to watch the rest of us eat some meat, would probably rather not be present while fish are caught and prepped!

              The Bittman project is going good. Generally i'm finding that his baked goods suck and his vegetable dishes are incredible and everything else is somewhere in between. I think i might focus more on the vegetable each fruit and vegetable becomes available at my farmers market i'll try every recipe he has for it.

              1. re: LukesBride

                Uh, yeah, fish sounds like a bad idea under the circumstances! And, it sounds like you're being practical about keeping things simple.

                Also, I'm not sure if you're aware (I just learned this recently) if you want smores (and maybe you don't) the gelatin in marshmallows make them not vegetarian. You might have to buy a special veg-friendly brand.

                If you're looking to do salad prep ahead of time, the wild rice salad and the mushroom barley pilaf were both good chilled/at room temp (in the Gourmet Today vegetable thread). You'd have to sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock for your audience. These might not be kid-friendly, though, depending on the kids.

                Interesting about your Bittman experiences so far. I don't own HTCE, but I wonder if it's worth it just for the vegetables section! I wonder if HTCE Vegetarian is stellar because it's vegetarian or not necessarily so. Interesting indeed.

                Happy camping!


        2. Everything tastes better cooked over a fire, except when you're using charcoal briquettes. For that reason, and the number of people, AND you're (lack of) experience, cook stove all the way, as alkapal states. Good Luck, and pray the weather is good !

          1. On the stove. AND before you go, measure and mix dry ingredients in a large zip top bag. Whisk together milk, eggs, and oil in a big jar with lid. Keep this in a cooler. At the campsite, pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Plano Rose

              Grilled breakfast sausages are great. The kind with casings stand up to this better than the kind without.