You’ve heard all about the wonders of getting back to nature. How just being in the bush can refresh your soul, how many incredible adventures you can have, and how renewed you feel when you get home. Your friends have been telling camp stories for years. Now it’s time for you to try it.
You’ve borrowed or bought some sleeping bags, a tent, and some camp chairs. You have reservations at a campground that promises to be gorgeous. But what are you going to eat? And how are you going to make it? When it comes to cooking in the great outdoors, you have many options.
On a Grill
Your trusty BBQ grill can be your best friend on a camping trip. There is nothing quite like the flavor you get from grilling over charcoal or even a gas flame. Preparing marinaded meats or shish kebabs ahead of time to grill can be a great and straightforward option for a delicious fresh meal.
You may already have a portable BBQ for picnicking with friends. If not, check out this list of the best small BBQ grills. Don’t turn up your nose at a gas grill, though. They can be a little easier to work with, and bringing along some cans or a propane tank doesn’t cost much more space than a bag of charcoal briquettes.
Investigate the merits of charcoal vs. propane, and decide what is right for you. Ideally, borrow a grill from an experienced camping friend, and see how it works under field conditions.
The Camp Stove
One of the main advantages of the camp stove (and the propane grill, come to that) is that it is usually allowed under fire bans. You don’t want to find out when you get to your campsite that a fire ban is in effect and you have no way to cook your food. It is also the easiest way to cook up eggs, bacon, pancakes, stir fry, and heat water. It’s so important it is first on the list of this guide to essential camping kitchen equipment. Don’t forget to make sure your cookware will fit on the scaled-down burners.
Over the Fire
Cooking over the fire may sound like the simplest option to get you started. If you don’t have a lot of experience, think twice about that. Cooking over an open flame (or, more frequently, over the coals) is its own skill, and it can take practice to get it right. If you want to try it, check out this guide, and think about bringing along a back-up meal and maybe a back-up camp stove. Don’t forget to bring marshmallows for s’mores, though. Toasting them over the fire will give you a sense of what parts of a fire are the hottest.
Other Tips and Equipment
Planning your meals ahead of time and putting together a comprehensive shopping list is a must. Don’t forget that you will need things you usually have at home and don’t need to think about, like salt & pepper and condiments. Check out this guide for more tips on prepping food ahead of time and setting up your dishwashing operation. Don’t forget the paper towels, and don’t forget that cooking outdoors is an adventure in and of itself.