As summer reaches its peak and families across the country gather around their campfires to roast hotdogs and s’mores, many food-lovers find themselves just a little unfulfilled with the traditional campfire fare. However — with just a little creativity and planning — anyone can use a roasting fork, barbecue skewer, or a classic wooden stick to bring their campfire cuisine up a notch. Here, we’re doing to break down what ingredients and methods can make your campfire extraordinary this summer.
While hot dogs and sausages have always been campfire staples, consider roasting other types of meat on the open fire. Bacon, meatballs, and cut-up steak are just a few great options for roasting. Be sure to marinate and season the pieces before roasting them, but mind any dripping oil to avoid fires. Be wary of cross contamination any time handling raw meat — smaller pieces make thorough cooking easier as temperatures can be more unpredictable with an open flame.
For a delicious, sweet and healthy treat, use your sticks to roast some fruit. Strawberries, bananas, apples, pears, apricots, dates, and avocado all make excellent roasting options — without any concerns about undercooked food. Try sprinkling a bit of cinnamon, sugar or maple syrup onto the sweeter fruits for added flavor. For a more savory option, try tomatoes on a stick with a bit of mozzarella and spinach. Drizzle the product with a bit of oil and vinegar and suddenly your campfire meal is looking pretty high-brow. While fruits are less traditional, fire-roasted corn and carrots are two more age-old options for campfire cooking that make for a great snack.
On the topic of roasting mozzarella and tomatoes, kebabs are an excellent option for campfire cooking. Bell pepper, onion and a seasoned meat is my own preference — but kebabs offer a great opportunity for picky eaters to make their own unique combination. Consider using a sweet combination of fruit for a dessert kebab, or perhaps offering a kebab-making station. If using raw meat, be sure to mind cross contamination and internal temperatures.
From the simple grilled cheese, to a meat layered delicacy — sandwiches over the campfire make for a crispy, melty campfire treat. The key to sandwich success, despite laying on the layers, lies with the stickiest components of the meal. By making sure to place cheese and other sticky ingredients between layers of meat and veggies, it’s incredibly easy to just use two sticks to hold the bread together above the flame — toasting it to perfection. A splash of color from lettuce and tomato, with cheese holding the masterpiece together makes it look and taste artisan. With the right meat, cheese and vegetable options, everyone can make their sandwich the way they want and toast it to exactly to their own personal liking.
For some protein outside of the traditional campfire options of hot dogs or sausages, try roasting an egg. While it’s not the easiest task without the right type of “Y” shaped stick, an egg can be placed in an orange peel and roasted. Without the buffer of the orange peel, the egg will explode — so be careful. While it does take some practice, this is a great option for picky eaters and vegetarians.
Croissants and Biscuits
Another great option for those avoiding meat are croissants and biscuits. While homemade ones are delicious, a classic refrigerated cylindrical popping tin with a rolled up sheet of dough works perfectly for a campfire treat. Roll them up and stab them through the thickest parts with your roasting stick, and cook them over the fire until they become flakey and brown.
In general, a good rule of thumb is that if you can put a stick in it, it can be roasted over a fire. Consider using tin foil to protect your food from the flame as it roasts, as well as keeping it tucked safely together. While having the right ingredients is obviously a priority, your campfire cooking will only be as good as your roasting tool. Your poker needs to be chosen carefully: If you don’t have a stainless steel fork or rod available, be sure to pick a stick that can support the weight of the food and won’t get debris on your meal. A dry or brittle stick runs the risk of catching fire and breaking, but it does need to be small enough to puncture the item without destroying it. With the right stick and some grocery shopping, your crew’s campfire cuisine can make your trip this summer unforgettable. Just because your team doesn’t have a kitchen while camping doesn’t mean you should have to be wedded to the tradition of hot dogs and marshmallows — so get creative and start roasting.
Related Video: How to Make Steak Kebabs with Potatoes