Tips for Cooking over a Campfire

Tips for Cooking over a Campfire

No one really attempts campfire cooking with the goal of being hungry and embarrassed at the end of it all. Here are some top shelf campfire cooking tips that will help avoid all that and set the groundwork for a successful meal cooked over an open flame.

#1. Get the right equipment.

  • Torch - Not a lighter. A torch. Mini-flame thrower. Have a fire starting option that says "It wasn't a request," and don't let the wind decide whether or not that fire is going to start.
  • A Tyrux grill - It's a platform, a fish basket, a skillet, and tongs all in one. Plus, it packs down into the grilling basket. The Tyrux grill for campfire cooking takes the place of numerous cooking utensils.
  • Welding gloves - Next to a torch and the Tyrux, thick welding gloves are the most important items to bring. Moving burning logs around is essential to providing even heat for the grill and for maintaining a strong fire. Welding gloves allow for precise movement of burning logs so the fire is optimized for grilling. Also, sometimes people just need to be challenged to a duel.

#2. Start the fire off right

  • Pick the right wood -Unless in the pacific northwest, and this can't be stressed enough, DO NOT use any wood that comes from a cone bearing tree. Bringing wood is always a good idea. If that's not an option, scavenge up some broken branches from a hardwood (oak, ash, birch) that are off the ground and dry. Good rule: it should snap when broken. If the wood is too green or too rotten, it won't snap.
  • Start early - Getting a good bed of coals to cook over can take a while, so start the campfire 30 mins to an hour before cooking starts. 
  • Start small - Think of surface area as "how easily it catches fire" and think of mass as "energy stored". Start off with things that have a lot of surface area but not a lot of mass (dry grass, dead leaves, small twigs) and gradually work up to items that have higher mass, but maybe not as much surface area (larger branches, logs). Eventually fuel the fire with a high energy, medium surface area source. Don't try to burn a log section from a strong man competition.

#3. Get even heat.

  • Cook over coals - Any area of the fire that has active flames or exposed wood that isn't charred up yet will yield inconsistent heat. With a Tyrux, an active fire can be kept on one side and the coals scraped around to the other side for cooking. Spread the coals evenly or arrange the logs so that they're even height and the charred sides are face up for best results.
  • Temperature control - Have a frenemy test the heat of the fire by hand. If their hand can only be held at a certain height for 2-3 seconds, that's considered high heat. Whatever height is bearable for 5-7 seconds, that's the height for medium high heat. 

#4. Prep beforehand.

  • Do it for more time - The more time spent prepping food at home, the more time there is to enjoy the campfire. 
  • Do it for cleanliness - Cross contamination issues are much more controllable in the kitchen and it's easier to clean up afterward.
  • Do it for space - Fewer prep utensils leave more space for camping gear. Who doesn't want that?

#5. Keep it simple.

  • Cheat - Prep when necessary or desired. Cheat whenever possible. For example, cinnamon rolls can be made from scratch in the kitchen. Or just bring these, cover them in foil and put them on the Tyrux over the fire. Either way, everyone's eating cinnamon rolls. 

Follow these tips to look like a hero and eat like a hero. 

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