Something about camping makes us crave food prepared without all of the fuss associated with a modern kitchen, with its fancy gadgets, reliable heat sources, and pots and pans.
Time in the woods calls for raw meat, red coals, and a stick.
But there’s also a way to blend the two worlds. Here are five recipes that are more than simple hot dogs, but don’t require much beyond a fire and a skewer.
• sturdy, dense bread, like whole grain, sourdough, or rye (thin white bread won't hold up well)
• thickly sliced hard cheese: cheddar, Jack, Swiss, or aged Gouda work well
• thickly sliced deli meat: turkey, ham, pastrami, corned beef)
• thickly sliced pickle
• desired condiments (mayo, mustard, etc.)
Assemble your sandwich as desired. Cut it into quarters, and skewer or place each one on the end of a marshmallow roasting stick. Toast one quarter at a time over low coals until the cheese begins to melt and the bread is toasted. Our littlest campers were thrilled with grilled—well, toasted—cheese prepared this way.
Pizza Two Ways
Deconstructed Shish-Kebab Pizza
• your favorite pizza toppings: pepperoni, onions, pre-cooked sausage, olives, pineapple, bell peppers, fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, etc.
• 1 can of refrigerator biscuits
• mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
Skewer small balls of biscuit dough. Hold them over low coals until the dough is cooked through. Transfer to a bowl. On a second skewer, alternate your favorite pizza toppings. Cook these over low coals until hot. Add to your bowl. If using cubes of cheese, skewer them and cook until they begin to melt, then add them to the bowl. If using shredded cheese, sprinkle it on your toppings while they are hot so the cheese will melt. Drizzle pizza sauce over the combined ingredients and dig in.
Mini Pizza Pockets
Use the same ingredient choices as above. Gently press a refrigerator biscuit into a palm-sized circle. On half of this, place some cheese, sauce, and toppings. Fold in half and pinch to seal. Place pizza pocket onto a marshmallow roaster and hold over low coals until bread is cooked through.
(Secret bonus recipe: jalapeño poppers! Use the same pizza pocket methodology, but instead of pizza ingredients, fill a seeded jalapeño with mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, or goat cheese. Then encase it in biscuit or pretzel dough. Cook it through on a stick.)
• 1 or more orange peels to use as a cooking vessel
• 1 can of refrigerator biscuits
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 cup butter
Cut an orange in half and remove the fruit from the rind, keeping the peel intact. In a small bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, and butter. On a plate or cutting board, press refrigerator biscuits into a flat rectangle. Spread with a thick layer of butter mixture. Roll the biscuit and place it inside the prepared orange rind. Push a skewer through the top 1/2 inch of rind and cook over low coals. Top with cream cheese frosting or an icing made from powdered sugar and water or butter if desired.
• whole unpeeled banana
• dark chocolate pieces or chocolate sauce
• toasted coconut
• toasted nuts
• mini marshmallows
• whipped cream
Place the entire banana, peel and all, on a marshmallow roaster. Cook until the peel is dark and the banana feels soft to the touch. If you need to flip the banana for even roasting, skewer it through new holes; don't try to return it to the first set of holes, or the skin will fall apart. Place the heated banana on a plate or aluminum foil. Split it open with a knife and fill it with chocolate and marshmallows if desired. Close the banana (you can wrap it in foil) to let the chocolate and marshmallows melt. Open the banana and sprinkle with nuts and coconut. Top with whipped cream. This is so, so good.
• marinated protein of your choice (chicken, beef, pork, extra-firm tofu, shrimp)
• veggies of your choice (onion, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash)
• fresh herbs (basil, sage, mint)
• fruit (apples, pineapple, plums, peaches)
Cut protein to the same size or slightly smaller than the vegetables. Alternate protein, veggies, herbs, and fruit on a skewer. Heat on a grill over medium coals until the meat is cooked through. Alternately, make all protein skewers, all veggie skewers, and all fruit skewers for more uniform cooking times. If using wood skewers, soak then in water for an hour before adding food to keep them from burning in the heat.