Is there a great camping cookbook out there? We are just getting into car camping and are loving cooking with a coleman stove and over the fire with a cast-iron grate. However, I would really like some inspiration. My husband and I love to cook--so doing some good prep ahead of time is no problem. Any recommendations? Thanks!
Thank you for all of the great ideas! We haven't explored Dutch oven cooking on a campfire yet-- but I'm sure we are headed that direction, appreciate the tips. Usually less than a week with a well stocked cooler and two kids. I'm loving items/ingredients that can be used over multiple meals and anything with less clean-up is great! I'll start looking into all of these books. Looking forward to planing our next outdoor meal.
The biggest constraints with camp cooking are storage and cleanup. Most cookbooks aren't much help with those.
The storage issues depend on how long you are traveling, and how much space you have. A weekend a few hours from home with space for a couple of large coolers has fewer constraints than two weeks on the road with just a small cooler.
Especially for the longer trips I use a lot more dry and canned items than I do at home. I'll use, for example, single batch biscuit mixes rather than pack all the separate components. Powdered milk instead of fresh. Condiments in single serve packets rather than multiple jars. Small packages of locally bought meat rather than 3lb chunks of pork butt. Deli meats more than fresh. Salad vegetables that store well (fennel, bell peppers, cucumber) rather than light but bulk lettuces. Instant mashed rather than fresh potatoes that need 20 min cooking plus cream and butter for seasoning.
I also try not to have leftovers since I can't adequately chill and store them.
Most campgrounds that I use have few cleanup options. I have to carry water from a pump, or use water I brought in the car. There are few places to dispose of dirty dish water. I try to cleanup as much with paper towels before washing. I try to use fewer dishes during preparation.
What are your husband's and your favorite things to eat?
Do you have a camp Dutch oven or plan on getting one?
I love camp cooking and do it a lot. I don't use a cookbook, but rather just the same principles that are applied in the kitchen in the home - plus a few new, fun ones that can come into play out in the bush.
- Smoking meats is always fun and gets amazing feedback from those served.
- Steaks cooked directly on the coals of your fire is another huge hit. Super easy, super quick, and fantastic results.
- Cooking/baking in a Dutch oven opens up an almost unlimited number of possibilities. This is a skill I highly encourage you to learn and practice. It will serve you very well not only while camping, but back home in your kitchen. Regarding using a Dutch oven while camping, I'd encourage you to learn to use the coals from your fire as your source of heat rather than commercial briquettes all the cookbooks tell you to use. It makes your overall experience more in line with what you're out there for (to escape everyday technologies) and it streamlines your packing and execution: you won't have to buy and pack charcoal briquettes nor will you have to start a separate fire just to cook. It just makes more sense all the way around and cooking with coals from your fire is MUCH easier than a lot of the cookbooks who promote using charcoal would have you believe. I think it's actually easier to use than charcoal.
- Smoked fish on a stick requires a little prep with the stick and the fish, but the results are out of this world. Here's a video on how to do it: http://youtu.be/Hi_pgVlUC8Y?t=4m58s
This is a great little cast iron cookbook. It has a chapter dedicated to outdoor cooking.
cast iron chili
pan fried trout
arroz con pollo
And a desert section. Also, dutch baby recipe for breakfast.
Although, I haven't done any outdoor cooking I have made many of the recipes in this book with success.