Oct 06, 2016

What's the Single Best Meal You Can Cook on a Camping Trip?

Fall means many things: the return of wearing layers, trees a-changin', and that tenuous day when you have to make the decision to finally turn the furnace back on. But for me, it's not fall unless I'm getting away to spend weekends in the woods.

Not the ultra-light, no-other-human-around treks of summer, but some honest to goodness, old fashioned camping trip. I'm talking cast iron skillets, flannel shirts and wool blankets, ice-filled Coleman coolers, and all-night campfires.

And while I love the day hikes and card games and guitar-strumming, my no doubt favorite part of car camping is:  the food. The eat-as-much-as-you-want, roasted-on-sticks, how-are-we-gonna-wash-the-dishes meals that make the whole thing worth it. Whether cooked over an open fire or on that classic green propane stove makes no difference. It's a scientifically-proven fact that food tastes best when prepared and eaten outside. 

I have some staples - I make a killer batch of dutch oven biscuits in the fire pit, and have been perfecting my kitchen sink camp spaghetti recipe since the early 00s. But I want to know what you like to cook among the trees? What are your go-tos? How to you pack them? Do you use a stove or the fire coals to heat them? What's your preferred method for your morning coffee? And, since I brought it up, how do you wash the all those dishes?

If pushed to pick a favorite, I think I'd have to stick with a classic: bacon and eggs in a cast iron skillet, cooked over the fire. If camping were nothing but slow mornings, wearing every layer you have and talking about what animals you heard inside your tent last night around the fire, I'd say that's a weekend well spent. 

What's yours?




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bruno on Oct 14, 2016:

@Matt: yum. Can I come?

Matt on Oct 11, 2016:

Going this weekend. Wife and I have a routine nailed down. Kielbasas grilled over the fire for dinner one. Bacon and eggs, with a pie-tin baked blueberry muffin recipe from her family breakfast one. Cowboy coffee when car camping, Aeropress when backpacking. Usually steaks or chops and veggies grilled over the fire for dinner two. Brekkie two is pancakes and sausage for breakfast, which was the first thing I learned how to cook from Boy Scouts. Traditions pulled from both sides. Dishes are my one pot with water heated over the fire, and as LNT as possible. Next step for us is to purchase the camping dutch oven so I can do cobbler, another scout tradition in my troop.

Erik on Oct 08, 2016:

When i am out in the Swedish mountains with my kids we often cook food with our triangia kitchen. One favourite is a pasta. Mix pasta with pesto, baby spinach and fried smoked pork. A fresh and quick outdoor meal. Another favorite is to chop up and fry some precooked palt (a traditional potato ball stuffet with onion and porkbelly).

bruno on Oct 06, 2016:

We always do 'hobo' dinners (is 'hobo' not PC anymore? I'm not sure). Anyway, it's just a foil pouch stuffed with potatoes, carrots, onions, ground beef, cheese and spices. It always tastes delicious, but then, doesn't all camping food always taste delicious?

Seth on Oct 06, 2016:

I've been on backpacking trips where we'll do soft tacos. Basically, pre-cook and season ground beef and then freeze in a ziploc bag. Bring flour tortillas and whatever other toppings you like (lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, salsa, sour cream) in separate bags or mixed together. As you hike, the meat will thaw just a little, then you put it in a pot to finish thawing and heat it through. Satisfying and hearty. It's heavier than dehydrated meals, but worth the weight.