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How to Prepare a Campfire Dinner

July 31, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu St. Louis 0 Comments

How to Prepare a Campfire Dinner

Summer is here, that means finally being able to get outdoors. Camping and hiking are popular activities in warmer weather and as you likely have experienced, being outdoors and getting physical exercise makes people hungry. Be ready with easy menu ideas for preparing a campfire dinner.

Wood and charcoal fires give a distinct flavor to food, one that is often recreated in culinary arts colleges and top restaurants. The aroma while the food cooks creates an enormous appetite. Have a lot of food available, the fresh air often causes guests to ask for second servings!

Food items must be kept at a safe temperature while transporting it to the campfire location. Use travel coolers containing ice to maintain a correct temperature for meat products, eggs, mayonnaise and other similar foods that easily spoil. There are very specific temperatures for each, which is often a class in itself at culinary art colleges. Food that may melt should be kept at a cool temperature too. If hiking into a remote location, backpacks can be used to carry food. Hikers can use bags of ice or frozen plastic ice packs to maintain correct food temperature. If safe drinking water is not available, water will have to be boiled at the campsite. Alternatively, water for drinking and cooking can be brought to the campfire area. 

Find out ahead of time if there will be wood available to create the campfire. It may be necessary to provide wood or other fuel from outside the camping area. If open fires are not allowed, then grills will need to be carried to the campfire site. Hikers may have to carry supplies, or the supplies can be transported using horses or trucks. The fire should be built in a safe area away from buildings and other combustible materials. Learning to build a wood or charcoal fire on the ground takes practice. Start with a small amount of sticks or pile of charcoal first. As the fire grows, add more wood or charcoal. 

Cooking utensils to cook the food will be required. Utensils such as metal skewers, tongs, cast-iron pans, portable stoves or grills and other supplies may be used. Using metal skewers to roast hotdogs or marshmallows is simple. First hotdogs are placed on the metal skewers, then slowly turned to heat and roast. Marshmallows are roasted the same way. Roasted marshmallows are often placed between graham crackers with a thin square of chocolate as a dessert. Great caution must be used by campers to stay away from the flames. Food can also be placed in pots and pans near or over the fire to cook. It takes a long time for food to bake or boil over a campfire, so begin cooking early. 
Foil is an easy lightweight material for cooking food at a campfire. It eliminates carrying heavy cast-iron pans for cooking meals. Campers can thinly slice potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage and other vegetables, then add slices of chicken, fish, pork or beef. These ingredients can be put into a foil bag or foil packet. Each camper can carry packets in a backpack, next to a plastic ice packet. Chopped apples, combined with brown sugar and cinnamon can also be prepared ahead of time and put into a foil packet. The foil packets can be placed near the fire to slowly cook. Both foil packets offer a main dish and dessert for the hiker or camper. The foil packets offer quick clean-up and are lightweight to remove from the campfire site. 

If you find that you enjoy food preparation and cooking, then you may want to take a look at culinary school in Missouri!

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in St. Louis. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in St. Louis offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the St. Louis, Missouri area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/St-Louis for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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