Outdoor Cooking

Header photo: 

Know Before You Go

It’s a great idea to plan and shop for your meals before leaving home. Try not to purchase and pack more than you’ll need – eliminating bringing home unused ingredients. Be sure to pick up plenty of bottled water and juice boxes. To make things smooth and easy consider these useful ideas:

  • Measure dry goods for each meal, pack in zip-loc bags, and label.
  • Chop vegetables (onions, peppers, carrots, etc.) and pack in zip-locs.
  • Prepare snacks (veggie sticks, trail mix, energy bars, etc.) and pack in zip-locs.
  • Resealable boxes of broth (beef, chicken) store well and come in very handy.
  • Pre-cook noodles, rice, etc. for quick reheating at the campsite.
  • Block ice lasts longer in your cooler than cubes.

Here’s a handy checklist of Go Camping America Cooking supplies to make sure you don’t forget a thing. To download and print a PDF version of this checklist, click here:

  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • zip-loc freezer bags in several sizes
  • disposable plates/bowls/hot-cold cups/flatware
  • coffee/cocoa/tea cups
  • salt/pepper/sugar/dry spices
  • powdered milk/can of evaporated milk
  • coffee/filters/cocoa mix/tea bags
  • paper towels
  • trash bags
  • can/bottle opener/corkscrew
  • plastic flexible cutting board
  • metal cooking utensils – tongs/spatula/grill forks/serving spoons/hot dog-marshmallow sticks/knife
  • metal measuring cups/spoons
  • serving bowl(s)
  • plastic tablecloth/table cloth clips or weights
  • leftover food storage containers
  • pot-pan with lid/skillet
  • foil cooking tins
  • non stick cooking spray or spray bottle filled with oil
  • oven mitts/pot holders
  • dish pan/bio-degradable dish soap/dish towels/sponge-scrubby
  • strike anywhere matches
  • butane stick lighter
  • firestarters

And don’t forget the:

  • BBQ grill/smoker
  • propane/charcoal
  • firewood (in case none is available)
  • grill top for campfire ring
  • dutch oven
  • crockpot (use only if camping in a “wild animal safe” area)
  • propane stove

Now You’re Cooking

You’re prepared and ready to cook!! There are several methods of campsite cooking to choose from – try one or try several. Our Go Camping America Campsite Cooking recipe page offers great ideas using these methods.

Did you know…to barbecue those burgers evenly all the way through, poke a pinky size hole in the center of each burger. The hole will close as the burger cooks and everyone will enjoy a perfect patty!! Foil pouches are neat treats and time savers, too. On a large piece of heavy duty foil place your seasoned meat, veggie pieces (sliced, julienned, etc.), diced potatoes, and a pat of butter or oil. Add an ice cube or two, fold and seal all edges tightly, and place on the grill. The pouch contents retain their moisture and flavor. Serve pouch on plate and watch their eyes light up.

Check out the Reynolds Wrap “No Dish Dinner” ideas at Foil Pouch Recipes for more foil pouch ideas.

Dutch Oven – a dutch oven is a deep cast iron or aluminum pot with a tight fitting lid that doesn’t allow steam to escape – thus delivering a moist and flavorful dish. A fantastic website dedicated to dutch oven cooking is Byron’s Dutch Oven Cooking.

Crockpots offer set and forget, one pot style GoCamping campsite cooking. Simply assemble your recipe ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and go enjoy the day. When you return home you’ll be greeted by mouthwatering smells and a ready to go supper.

Before using the crockpot method outdoors, be sure to check with your camp hosts about hungry wild animals in the area. If it’s bear or other critter country crockpotting is not for this trip!!

Tips and Tricks

So now you’re an expert. Take along these general GoCamping kitchen tips:

  • Clean your grill by rubbing it with a fist size ball of aluminum foil.
  • All items in your cooler should be contained in watertight zip-loc bags.
  • Cover cooking pots – the contents will heat quicker and the lids will keep foreign objects out.
  • Use frozen slices of bread when preparing a “brown bag” lunch – when you’re ready to eat, the bread is defrosted and fresh.
  • Clean out your fridge or cooler by making omelets the last morning of your trip using all leftover meats and veggies.
  • Keep marshmallows from sticking together by adding some powdered sugar to the bag.
  • Swap Hershey’s chocolate with Peppermint Patties for a refreshing twist on the s’more.

Remember to leave the campsite and fire ring as clean or cleaner than when you arrived. Happy camping and bon appetit!!

Check out Evanne Schmarder and her RV Cooking Show for all kinds of ideas and tricks for cooking while in the outdoors.