Adventures

Camp Cooking

Camp cooking is definitely different than how we do it at home, but that’s part of the fun of camping. I especially like it because in our family any outdoor cooking seems to have evolved into Lyle’s job! I’m not sure why that is, but I’m not complaining.

In addition to cooking, managing food storage can be a challenge when camping. The first rule is to always put the food away at night or when you leave your campsite so critters won’t get into it. And “away” doesn’t mean in a box on the picnic table or tent. It has to be stored in your vehicle or trailer. Some campgrounds have rules about that, but it’s just common sense.

Today I’m sharing how we organize to make it easy to stash away.

From Little Golden Book: Smokey Bear and the Campers, circa 1961

Food Storage and Organization

Before we had a trailer my meal planning included 3 coolers. One for canned and bottled drinks with loose ice on them. One for non-frozen perishables (milk, cheese, butter, eggs, veggies, fruit, condiments, etc.). And one for frozen foods, including meats. That way the frozen food cooler won’t be opened every time someone wants a cold drink. I freeze water in empty milk cartons (gallons or half-gallons) to put in the coolers to help keep things cold. I also had a box or two for non-perishable food. Here’s how I packed each one.

Cooler #1: Drinks

  • loose ice
  • canned pop
  • bottled water

Cooler #2: Cool Food

  • 2 frozen gallons water
  • milk
  • eggs
  • butter
  • condiments
  • fresh fruit
  • fresh vegetables
  • 1 package hot dogs
  • 1 package lunch meat
  • Hershey’s bars
  • summer sausage
  • canned biscuits

Cooler #3: Frozen Food

Freeze everything that goes in this cooler a day or two before you leave. It will thaw out while you’re camping, but keep longer if it’s frozen to start with.

  • 2 gallons water
  • 4 small waters
  • frozen bacon
  • sausage
  • stew packets (see recipes below)
  • chicken packets
  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs
  • lunch meat

Food Box

  • crackers
  • marshmallows
  • graham crackers
  • trail mix
  • granola bars
  • salt/pepper
  • hot dog buns
  • hamburger buns
  • loaf of bread
  • hot chocolate
  • coffee
  • sweetener
  • water flavor packets

Campfire Recipes

Some of our favorite camping meals involve foil packets cooked on rack over the fire or placed directly on the coals. Here are a few of our tried-and-true standbys. I prepare these a day or two before we leave for camping so they have time to freeze. That way they’ll keep longer in the cooler. If you’ll only be camping a day or two, freezing ahead of time is not necessary.

Campfire Stew Packets

Ingredients

  • stew meat, roast, or steak
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • onions
  • butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • heavy duty aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Cut up meat and vegetables. Make individual foil packets by placing meat and vegetables in center of square of foil.  Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a tablespoon of butter. 

  2. Wrap tightly and freeze. I usually double-wrap the packets.

  3. To cook, prepare a good bed of coals on the fire and place foil packets directly on coals. Cooking time will depend on how hot the coals are, so check frequently. Usually takes 20-30 minutes. Remove with tongs.

Campfire Chicken Fiesta

Ingredients

  • boneless chicken breasts
  • taco seasoning
  • salsa
  • butter
  • shredded cheese
  • heavy-duty aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Cut up chicken. Make individual foil packets by placing chicken pieces in center of square of foil. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Add salsa and 1 Tablespoon of butter to each packet.

  2. Wrap tightly and freeze. I usually double-wrap the packets.

  3. To cook, prepare a good bed of coals on the fire and place foil packets directly on coals. Cooking time will depend on how hot the coals are, so check frequently. Usually takes 20-30 minutes. Remove with tongs.

  4. When ready to serve, top with shredded cheese.

Campfire Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

  • boneless chicken breasts
  • tomato
  • zucchini
  • red onion
  • Italian seasoning
  • butter
  • shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut up chicken and vegetables. Make individual foil packets by placing chicken pieces and vegetables in center of square of foil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Add 1 tablespoon of butter.

  2. Wrap tightly and freeze. I usually double-wrap the packets.

  3. To cook, prepare a good bed of coals on the fire and place foil packets directly on coals. Cooking time will depend on how hot the coals are, so check frequently. Usually takes 20-30 minutes. Remove with tongs.

  4. When ready to serve, top with parmesan cheese.

Other Posts in This Series

How to Plan Your First Camping Trip

What to Pack for Camping

Camping Menu Plan

Camping with Kids

How to Build a Campfire

2 Comments

I look forward to reading your comments. Thanks for joining in the conversation! ~Karla

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