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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

 

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