But who says you need to put up with eating hotdogs and canned goods the entire trip? As long as you are ready to take on the challenge of cooking in the backcountry, you’ll be fine. We’ve compiled some tips on how you can enjoy hot meals even when you’re cooking over an open fire.
Plan your menu.
If you want to have hot meals, make sure to plan everything in advance. By having the dishes planned out, you can easily pack everything you need and don’t have to worry about throwing together random foods while in the woods.
Prepare in advance.
For shorter meal prep time, prepare what you can in advance. Chop vegetables and have condiments in small containers. Pack it all in separate containers. Food will last longer that way, and it will be easier for you to retrieve your ingredients. This way, you can just throw everything together when you need to.
Avoid complex meals.
Avoid them at all costs. It will only bring trouble. Stick with simple one-pot meals and avoid dishes that require culinary theatrics.
Plan for meals that are easy to prepare and won’t require much time. Also, make sure to pack cured meats, hard cheese, and crackers or bread for an easy picnic meal. Our happy hour hack? A box of wine! Much easier and lighter to transport than cans of beer or bottles of wine.
Bring multi-use kitchenware.
At home, we stock up on cookware and utensils for every situation. When cooking outdoors, think twice before bringing your entire kitchen. It’s best to stick with a single cast-iron skillet that can be used for many meals and is a cinch to clean. Bring sporks and multi-use containers that can serve as a bowl or plate.
Pack your coolers properly.
If you’re bringing raw meat, it’s best to freeze them before packing. They will be evenly thawed by the time you need to prep your food and act as an ice pack for the other items in the cooler. Also, pack enough ice to keep your meat and raw produce fresh.
Create a backup plan.
Have a backup plan in case something happens and you can’t make a fire or run out of time to make a meal. Have sandwich ingredients on hand, trail mix, jerky, and granola bars. It’s also a good idea to bring some extra fire starter and waterproof matches in case you’re having difficulty starting a fire.
Food prep in the backcountry shouldn’t be a problem if you plan ahead, are flexible, and have a fallback. Ample preparation, creativity, and enjoyment can help you ensure that you and your companions have a feast while under the stars.