Campfire cooking 101
A camping pro shares the secrets of amazing campfire cooking.
You don’t have to live on cans of tuna and mountain bread while you’re enjoying the great outdoors – all you need to create delicious, easy meals is a good campfire. Jo Clews, author of Australian Camp Oven Cooking, shares her expert steps for firing up your camping oven.
- The secret to great campfire cooking is a good campfire with wood that will burn long and slow and create nice chunky coals to use for cooking.
- Find an area away from the main fire to have your cooking coals. It’s just easier to maintain and more comfortable to be around than a raging campfire.
- Place a sturdy mesh rack over your coals so your pan or camp oven sits just above the coals, this allows for airflow and the coals stay alive longer.
- Separate the coals from the ash when placing on the lid of a camp oven as the ash will create an insulating barrier that will not allow the heat to penetrate the metal to cook your food.
- If you intend to do some baking invest in a barbeque temperature gauge, which is placed inside your camp oven for about 5 minutes so you can see exactly what the temperature is inside.
Important: Before starting a campfire, be sure to check local fire restrictions and confirm there are no bans in place.
Essential food to bring
Jo always has the following ingredients in her rucksack:
- Unwashed potatoes in a dark box, small uncut pumpkins, carrots, onions and other root vegetables
- Pasta, rice, couscous and vacuum-sealed udon noodles
- Pre-packaged bread mix, cake and muffin mixes, casserole bases and canned tomatoes
- Vacuum-sealed meat as it helps to extend the time you can keep it refrigerated without having to freeze it
Campfire cooking equipment
- Pans and kettle – something to cook your meals in and boil water
- Cutlery, cups and plates – there are some great stackable varieties and a sharp knife for prepping meals is a must
- Washing up bowl and liquid – so handy yet so easily forgotten
- Citronella candles – Waxworks has some great windproof mosquito repellent candles to ward off the mozzies while you dine out under the stars
- Gas stove – if there is no access to a campfire or fire restrictions are in force