Being the camp cook on an outdoor camping trip can be a lot of work. The camping cookware is usually heavy cast iron, and can include: iron grills, a Dutch oven, heavy cast iron skillets, and the campfire tools you use for cooking your campfire meals. This can add-up to a lot of bilk and weight. But you can make the job easier with some forethought and planning. These campfire cooking tips can lighten the load for the camp cook. |
One of the biggest jobs for the camp cook, is getting the food and gear into camp, and then repacking it again when you're done. Organizing your camp kitchen and cooking your favorite campfire recipes can be fun, you get to show-off your ingenuity and talent. Even clean-up can be an enjoyable time with your camping buddies who help with the job. But nobody likes hauling a lot of heavy cast iron cookware in and out of camp. Take a look at your camping cookware sets, what will you really need?
Your camp cookware is probably the heavy stuff...cast iron cookware. The griddle and skillet, the heavy cast iron Dutch oven, and the assorted campfire tools you use, the iron cooking tripod, a campfire grill, and the folding camp tables... There must be a better way!
There is a better way, but first you need to think about what you will need. What is the menu for your camp food? What are the campfire recipes and meals you want to cook? Does your dinner camp recipe need two pots? If so, why take three? If you will be using a campfire ring that includes a grill, you won't need to bring your own cast iron grill. Think about these questions and think about what pieces of camp cookware you really need. After all cast iron cookware is heavy, don't take more than you need.
Think of being a bare-essentials campfire cook, only take the minimum number of cookware pieces needed to get the job done. If a recipe calls for a skillet, maybe you can use the griddle, the Dutch oven pot or even the Dutch oven lid for small quick jobs perhaps you can leave the heavy cast iron skillet home. The Dutch oven pot can also be used in place of pots and pans if you plan your campfire recipes to be casseroles or 1-pot campfire meals. You may be able to reduce your needs to one small pan that would fit inside the Dutch oven. Those extra pots and pans can stay home too.
Depending on your experience, you may not need to take a heavy cooking tripod or any campfire grills. You can lash together some sturdy tree limbs you find at the campsite for a tripod, and use cast iron griddles as campfire grills.
What about all those campfire cooking utensils? If you are a "cooking mechanic" and need dozens of specific campfire tools, that's your decision, but many experienced campfire cooks have discovered they only need: a good camping knife, a large serving spoon, and a spatula. And if you choose ones that have short handles they will pack inside the Dutch oven.
Now, review your choices and see what you have. The small pan, your leather camp gloves and the short-handled utensils should fit inside the cast iron Dutch oven. Now you have just the cast iron griddles and the Dutch oven to carry. (Just pack your camping cast iron cookware, not the fancy enameled cast iron cookware you see in the kitchen) And for cups, plates, and silverware, just tell your campers to bring their own coffee cups and eating utensils. Every thing else will be disposable paper stuff. This makes your job much easier with less to pack and haul in and out of camp.
If this is too minimalist for your menus of camp meals, or the campfire recipes, just make whatever adjustments are required, but still, only bring what you need. Keep these tips in mind when you put together your camping gear and campfire cookware and you will have a lot less to carry in and out of camp, leaving you more time to enjoy the outdoor camping activities you came for in the first place.
Here is a good illustrated article showing you how to build the perfect campfire layout, and another with tips for 1-pot campfire recipes. If you need to add to your camping cast iron cookware, this article reviews and prices some of Lodge's best cast iron pieces.
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