You don’t need to haul along a Coleman stove and half your kitchen to produce good camping meals, especially if you’re at a site with fire pits. Chowhound user krisrishere likes the challenge of cooking over an open fire without even the aid of a grill grate or pots and pans, and appealed to fellow ‘hounds for inspiration on eating well while roughing it.

Many foods can be cooked directly in the coals of the fire, rather than over the flame. Try roasting russet or sweet potatoes wrapped in foil in the coals, or unhusked ears of corn that have been soaked in cold water. A great way to cook an entire meal is to make foil hobo pouches, pilotgirl210 says. Place small chunks of meat, chicken, or sausage in the center of a double-layered square of foil and top with chopped vegetables and seasoned salt, granulated garlic, and onion powder. Seal the foil and place the pouches on hot coals for half an hour to 45 minutes. As the contents cook, their steam creates a sauce, and the results are “beyond delicious,” pilotgirl210 says.

For cooking over an open flame, you can’t beat food threaded on long metal skewers or clean sticks. Try chunks of meat or chicken (pack them in zipper bags with a marinade or dry rub), cut-up vegetables, or gourmet sausages. You can even wrap bread dough around a stick and cook it over the fire, melpy says. Or use the same method for a sweet treat like the CHOW Test Kitchen’s Shortcake on a Stick (pictured).

S’mores may be an obvious choice for dessert, but cleopatra999 recommends banana boats instead. Cut a lengthwise slit down the inner curve of an unpeeled banana and stuff chocolate chips and mini marshmallows into the slit, then wrap in foil and toss on the coals until the banana softens and the stuffing melts. Open the foil and dig in with a spoon. And porker coats apples with a half-inch-thick layer of mud, then buries them in the coals to cook for 15 minutes. Chip away the hardened mud to reveal “baked goodness” within.

For more ideas, check out CHOW’s camping recipes.

Discuss: Campfire Cooking

Photo by Chris Rochelle /

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