Ah, the great outdoors. The place we really want to be. Food just tastes better cooked outside. We used to go camping for the weekend. Roughing it in the wilderness with just a tent, some kitchen tools and a fire pit.
Then we got campers.
Oh, the luxury of having a bed, small galley, and table that also makes into a bed. A stylish little unit that you could tow around behind your vehicle and park, somewhere outdoors.
Then came glamping. I understood when the big craze was glamping. Who wouldn’t love spending time in a nice clean comfortable bed with a wooden floor and beautiful cookstove in a wall tent with a nice outdoor shower and loo? Wall tents have been traditionally occupied by outfitters, guides, and hunters who sleep in cots on a dirt floor with a sometimes back smoking woodstove for heat. And what about their bathroom amenities? Ha!!! I do have to say however, the new lingo of the new campers in the field just makes me giggle a bit. Carry on bushcrafters, overlanders, and boondockers. It’s still just 4-wheeling and camping.
Some of it is just a bit more refined these days.
Getting Back to Cooking Basics
We’re getting back to old school practices, either because it is cool…or because we realize that knowing skills that don’t require much, if any, technology could be an asset in our lives.
With camping there is always some sort of cooking that has gone from the primitive live fire, to propane-fueled stoves and portable BBQ smokers…and back to live fire again. Trends usually make a full circle. Live fire cooking didn’t start out to be a trend, but it sure is making a comeback.
Cooking with a live fire is one of my preferred ways of cooking. I am not sure if it is because I find some sort of comfort and familiarity having been raised with a campfire and all that it has to bring to our lives, or because things just seem to taste better. Kind of like the way a hotdog you cook at home is never as good as the one from the ballpark, or the one you cook over an open flame.
Cooking Over a Fire
You can cook over the fire with a nice grate, griddle or other cast irons and dutch ovens to make some amazing dishes. There are many tutorials for these types of cooking. The key is to regulate your heat. I always try to make a place in my campfire that has some live, dancing flames and some nice coals from that flame pushed to a side with a grate over it. A shovel, leather gloves, and a nice fire poking stick are essential tools for keeping the heat where you need and want it.
There is something to be said about cooking a steak “Caveman Style” directly laid upon the coals and rigorously tending to the progression of the way this steak will finish off. This also brings out some ancestral primordial wonderings of how we even came about cooking things by any means, in the first place. Was it an accident, did part of the harvest fall onto the flames of their heat source and it just worked out to be a great thing? Did our ancestors become obsessed with wonder about what they could do next to make their other foods over a fire? I don’t care how it came to fruition, I am just glad it did.
Get out there and do it. Cook over a live fire in your backyard fire pit. Cook over your campfire, whether you are camping, glamping, bushcrafting, or boondocking. All you need is a good fire, a spot in the fire to push your coals to with your fire stick or shovel, some good hefty aluminum foil, a good piece of meat, some veggies, and some lively spices.