Camping is a great way to enjoy spending time in nature, and you don’t want to be carrying lots of stuff with you. So why not take full advantage of your beautiful surroundings and let the natural world provide what you need to prepare your meals? Check out these 7 ways to use nature to cook your meals.
1. Plank Cooking
Plank cooking is a great way to cook meats over an open campfire any time of year. Using non-poisonous wood – optimally one that adds great flavor like cedar or oak – cut a sturdy plant and tie the fish or meat to the plank. Support the plank so it’s angled toward the hot coals just far enough away so the meat cooks thoroughly without burning.
2. Meat Wrap
Wrap fish or meat completely in non-poisonous leaves (you can bring them with you) and tie the bundles with twine or safe vines. Place them on hot coals and cover with more hot coals. Smaller fish should cook in about fifteen minutes.
3. Stone Cooking
Clean the surface of a heated flat, non-porous, thin rock and prop it up on several stones, making a sort of table. Place over a low flame and put fish or meat on top.
4. Stone Oven
Make a stone oven with rocks: build a three-walled square or rectangular open-centered form next to the fire using sod or packed dirt for the walls and top. Aim the opening toward the fire and cook food inside. Protect your hands from the heat when you remove the sod to take out your food.
5. Using a Stick
One simple way to cook freshly caught fish is to sharpen a sturdy stick, insert the point through the fish lengthwise, then prop the stick up near the campfire. When the backbone pulls away easily, the fish is done.
6. Spit-roasting your meal
You can make spit-roasted chicken by building a fire that will create a strong bed of hot coals. Using rebar or a sharpened, sturdy stick that will hold the chicken’s weight, skewer the chicken lengthwise and prop up about two feet over the coals. The coals should not be directly under the chicken (dripping fat can cause flare-ups), but rather spread around the chicken; the heat will cook the meat slowly in about two hours’ time.
7. Fire Pit Cooking
Dig a pit one foot wide and two feet deep (be sure the walls are solidly packed). Fill the bottom with stones and build a fire to heat up the rocks. When they’re nice and hot, shovel some of the dirt back on top of the rocks to form a surface, then place leaf-wrapped fish on top of the dirt and cover with more dirt. The fish will cook in a few hours.
Always use safety precautions and never use wet rocks, as they can explode. Make sure all campfires are completely extinguished before you leave the site.