We’re pretty much cave people now. Livin’ in the woods, not brushing our hair, makin’ jerky. Before we start picking bugs off each other to eat, I thought I’d share tips on my new favorite, cave (wo)man way to cook– AN OPEN FLAME!
The thought of a large open flame near my beautiful home still scares me a bit. I usually make George actually start the fire, but I’m not afraid to saute and grill like I’m Bobby Flay once the flame dies down.
Here’s some of the best tips I’ve learned from our campfire adventures.
1. You don’t have to go camping to cook over a fire. Building a fire in your backyard (if it’s permitted) is even more fun because you don’t have to lug all that stuff around. Plus, if you are cooking something a little stinky, like fish, it doesn’t smell up your house!
2. Build your fire with dry, untreated wood. You’ll never get a fire started with wet wood and you definitely don’t want to build a cooking fire with chemically treated wood. Umm, gross.
3. Learn how to correctly build a fire. We’re partial to the pyramid or tenting method.
4. Don’t limit yourself! Campfire cooking doesn’t have to be all hotdogs and hamburgers. I’m all for a good greasy burger and some Heb Natties, but campfire cooking can also be adventurous! If you have a cast iron skillet, you can cook almost anything on a fire! Which brings me to the next tip…
5. Have the right equipment. You don’t need a lot of stuff to cook on a fire. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Cave men cooked with sticks. A lighter, a cast iron skillet and an old oven or grill grate works great. (Get it?!) It’s what we use! You can make almost anything in a cast iron skillet. I should be their spokesperson, I love ’em so much. I’d also recommend a heat-proof oven mit, like the Ove Glove. I thought that thing was an infomercial joke, but, man it works!
6. Remember the oil and spices! Throw some olive oil, salt, pepper, your favorite spice and a potato or protein into a tin foil envelope. And voila! You’ve got a hobo packet. Really, that’s what they’re called and it’s delicious.
7. Be patient. Don’t try to cook when the flame is still high. Wait until the flame dies down, or wait until there are only coals or wood chips left. You can even cook directly on the coals or wood chips! (See photo above!)
8. Be safe. If you are ready to go to bed or leave the area, be sure to douse your fire with water. Fires can get out of control real quick and “only you can prevent forest fires.”
9. Keep it fun. Campfire cooking is all about fun. It always requires marshmallows and
maybe a few beers.
Have you been campfire cooking? Got any tips? Let me know in the comments.