When sitting around a campfire, shooting the breeze, it is inevitable that people are going to get hungry. Everybody is familiar with the scene of people sitting around a campfire heating and lighting food on fire on sticks, but there are other methods to cook around a fire. There is a limit to how much food can be cooked using sticks, and knowing a few of these methods can open up a lot more food choices.
There is of course the obvious way of cooking around a fire of using some sort of griddle. Many griddles that resemble barbeque griddles can be purchased anywhere that camping equipment is sold. Some griddles are suspended from tripods, where others are simple made to be sat on rocks next to the fire. Today, some campgrounds have griddles that are built into a metal frame to create the actual fire pit. There are some advantages and disadvantages of the griddle method. You can easily cook things like burgers or chicken, but they can be cumbersome to lug around. The tripods give the advantage that they can be adjusted higher or lower to help control cooking temperature. Some adjust easier then others however and care is important to be taken when picking out your fire tripod. These are often the biggest so they also take up more room in a vehicle. If cooking on the built in ones or the low ones, it can be a problem to get an even heating source as often times the fire is not under the griddle but off to one side. In this case care should be taken to watch the food closely and rotate it. Also when cooking on these I recommend using tinfoil, one because you don’t know who cooked what on that built in griddle before you came, and also to prevent the dripping meats from causing to much flare up beneath your meat.
The tinfoil brings me to my next point. Its good to have tinfoil on hand because it is a compact way to cook vegetables, potatoes or other things. By taking a potato or vegetable and folding it in tinfoil, one can place the pack in the hot coals near the fire to help heat them up fully. Be careful when removing the tinfoil not to burn yourself, or tear the tinfoil to spill your veggies. One tasty treat you can make using this method is called a banana boat. Take a banana, split it up, and put mini marshmallows and chocolate chips in it and wrap the tinfoil around it. Heat only slightly, open the tinfoil and enjoy melted chocolate, marshmallow and softened banana. This one can get messy!
Another useful tool around the fire is called a pudgy pie maker. The pudgy pie maker is a set of irons that you can create sandwich like things sealed on the ends with. Using two pieces of bread (buttered on the outside) you can make such tasty treats as grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza pockets, or put in your favorite pie toppings. I also have another article on Associated Content devoted specifically to making pudgy pies.
Some people may want to bring along the kitchen and cook in pots. If cooking with a pot, I recommend you use an old one. The fire will build up a black carbon on the outside of your pot that usually cannot be completely washed off. It is helpful to soap the outside of the pot before you use it to help get more of the carbon off, but usually even that does not get all of it off. When using a pot, it is typical to set it on the side of the fire near the hot coals. Be aware this will create uneven heating, and extra care is required. Stir often and it is helpful rotate the pot using a potholder.
Using these methods expand what you can make at your campfire meals by far. It’s helpful to add at least one of these methods in addition to the stick method so that everyone can enjoy a greater array of foods at your next campfire.