QUICK GUIDE TO COOKING ON A CAMPFIRE
There are two types of people who cook on a campfire for the first time. There are the gung ho types who inevitably make a mess of it and often get burnt and then there are those who are intimidated by a campfire and don’t end up cooking properly. Which one are you?
In this Quick Guide, I take a quick look at some important points to cooking with finesse using a campfire.
BUILD THE RIGHT CAMPFIRE
You need the right fire to cook right. Start by building your fire in a safe place. You want at least 3m clear all around from any campfire. Check for tree roots too. They can catch on fire too. The best way is to a dig small pit so burning embers follow gravity and you stay safe. Don’t forget to look up either. You need to make sure there is 3 times the height of the fire of clear space (just in case you have trees).
The keyhole fire style is perfect for cooking and keeping your campsite warm.
HAVE THE RIGHT GEAR TO COOK ON A CAMPFIRE
Okay, we know this is obvious but it is worth stopping to take stock of the obvious sometime. Anything made of plastic melts. Handles that are not steel melt. Don’t use anything that can melt. You’ll need some solid gloves to protect your hands. Kitchen gloves are probably not enough. Camping cookware is worth buying because it is made for this type of cooking. A dutch oven is one of the best ways to cook on fire and get the most out of your fuel. Finally, don’t forget about your feet. Cooking with thongs on is asking for burnt or broken toes.
BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR COOKING METHOD
If you know they way you will cook, you will be better prepared. Good old fashioned cast iron pans for frying, a dutch oven or simply on skewers? We’ve just given you 3 ways to cook that cover the majority of recipe needs.
WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT COOK
Anything you cook that leads to hot dripping fat is asking for trouble with big open flames. Think about cooking safely.
KEEP FOODS OUT OF DANGER
Bacteria grows extremely fast when it is out of the esky. It can only take minutes on hot days and nights. Bacteria just love the warmth and go crazy if you get your foods out of ice too early. It’s always a good idea to use a thermometer when cooking meats because you need to cook thoroughly to kill pathogens. The simple rule is to overcook slightly when cooking on the fire. Apply this knowledge to your choice of recipes. Some recipes just don’t go down well for camping cuisine.
WAY TO PUT YOUR FIRE OUT
A bucket of water is a cheap fire extinguisher that you should have on hand. It is amazing how many people don’t think about having a way to put out a campfire until they want to put it out.
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