Ah, camping. The fresh air, the eerie silence of nature, the smell of camp fire smoke intermingling with aromas of the food cooking on it. There are a lot of great reasons to go camping, but not least of all is the potential for some amazing campfire food. It is hard to mimic the flavor of food cooked over fresh wood on a backyard grill, so food flavored with earthy smoke is a real treat for the whole family. The best thing about camp fire recipes is the simplicity. Many only require a frying pan, a pot, some tin foil, or even just a stick.



Everyone knows the classic s'more. You know, two sections of graham crack sandwiching  a fire roasted (or burnt) marshmallow and a section of a Hershey's chocolate bar. A nice traditional camping dessert. However, why not try this reincarnation:

Two chocolate chip cookies
One fire roasted (or burnt) marshmallow
One Reese's Peanut Butter cup

Assemble them like a s'more. Sure, this recipe will kill you faster and make your kids fat, but a little decadence is okay sometimes, right?

steak on a stick

Steak on a Stick

This is another classic that merits attention. This is a recipe for those long days of hiking or fishing when you are too tired when you get back to camp to cook anything more complex. It is basically taking a nice hunt of chuck steak, cutting it into cubes, skewering it on a roasting spit or a stick cut from the woods stripped of bark at tips, and cooking it over the fire. The best part is everyone can cook their own. If they want their meat bloody, they can do that, if they want it charred to a crisp, easy-peasy.

campfire hash

Campfire Hash

Now we that they can't miss classics have been covered, it is time to discuss some of the more complex ones. Campfire hash can be made in a skillet over a roaring fire to give everything a good crisp or wrapped in tin foil and steamed in the coals or on the edge.

What you will need:

1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (drizzled over if you are making this in foil)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, or thinly sliced
1 pound of polish sausage, sliced
2 green chilies, deseeded and chopped finely
1 bag of whole kernel corn (canned, frozen or fresh)

For skillet cooking, heat the oil over the fire cook the onions until tender and add in the garlic. Add potatoes and cook for about half an hour. Make sure to stir on occasion. Add in the meat and chilies. Cook for an additional 5 minutes them add the corn. Cook until meat is hot.

Shepherd's Breakfast

This recipe is a simple, yet extremely filling and flavorful , breakfast dish. Great for a day of hiking when you will need all the energy you can get.

What you need:

1 package of bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 package of thawed hash browned potatoes
4 eggs
Salt and Pepper
About a cup of cheddar cheese

Start by cooking the bacons and the onions together until the bacon becomes crispy. Keep the excess oil in the pan, it adds a whole bunch of flavor.

Stir the hash browns into the bacon and onions and cook for about 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes and break four holes into them. Make sure you can see the bottom of the pan. Break the eggs into the holes. Sprinkle the whole dish with salt and pepper.

Cook, covered for about 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the fire and sprinkle on the cheese. let sit until the cheese melts.

cowboy beans

Range Beans

These beans aren't a side dish, for campers and cowboys alike, they are a whole meal. Also an energizing mix of protein and carbohydrates.

What you need:

1 pound of ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 pound of fatback, salt pork, or in a pinch bacon
1 can of pinto beans
1 can of baked beans
1 can of stewed diced tomatoes
Ketchup, Mustard, and Brown Sugar

In a large pot, cook the ground been and bacon (or pork product) until done. If you are using bacon, it does not have to be crispy. Drain the excess grease, but leave a little bit for flavor. Add in the onions, tomatoes, and green peppers, cook for about 5 minutes. Add the pinto and baked beans. Cook until the beans begin to boil. Stir in about 2 teaspoons of both ketchup and mustard. Add about a 1/2 cup of brown sugar. You can add more until the flavor is to your palate.

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Camp Cabbage

This fine meal is good for anytime of the day and can be prepared with a number of extra ingredients thrown in.

What you need:

1 package of bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 head of cabbage, shredded
Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Salt

In a skillet, fry up the bacon until crispy. Keep the excess oil and add in the onions. After the onions begin to turn translucent. Stir the cabbage in and continue stirring until it begins to wilt. Add seasoning to taste and cover. Cover and let steam, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is moist.

shish kabobs

Shish Kabobs

A nice, simple, and flexible dinner meal. Much like the other recipes, it is very much a "everything but the kitchen sink" type of food.

What you will need:

Skewers (either metal or wooden ones soaked in water for a day)
Meat (beef, pork, chicken)
Vegetables (zucchini, onion, peppers, mushrooms)
Apples (optional)

Take your ingredients and slide them onto the skewers. You can do all of one ingredient, but I find alternating meat, vegetables, and apples melds the flavors nicely and you also do not have to divide it up.

Place on a camp fire over a grill top, or just holding them if you have long skewers. Cook until the vegetables are moist and the meat is cooked. Slightly pink is alright for beef, but not chicken or pork. However, I find chicken and pork always end up cooking faster than beef anyway.