Cooking Over a Campfire, Family Style
Want to create a magical summer memory for your kids? Light a campfire, and let it do the work for you. Watch the embers glow and the flames dance in the darkness as you gather around to share stories and food with family and friends. It's a night your kids will remember long after they head off to college.
For adults and children alike, building a campfire is a way to escape from everyday hassles and stress. But if you've never built a campfire or cooked over an open flame, don't worry. With a few simple tools and tips, it's easy to make delicious food, and the kids will enjoy helping. CQ Products, which sells outdoor cookbooks online, offers the following advice to get you fired up.
1. Choose a relatively calm day. It's more difficult to maintain good heat for cooking on a windy day.
2. If you are headed to a campground or park, look for an available fire ring that has a picnic table nearby to hold your cooking supplies. If you are building a fire in your backyard, surround a flat, dirt-covered area with rocks to create your own fire pit. To make a portable fire ring, line a metal garbage can lid with sand or pebbles and set it on rocks or bricks to prevent the grass underneath from burning.
3. For safety, be sure to place your fire far away from buildings, trees or anything that could catch on fire. Fill a bucket with water and keep it handy at all times to control flare-ups. (Be sure to douse the fire thoroughly when you're finished.)
4. Build your cooking fire with charcoal briquettes or pieces of dry, split wood. To start it, you may use commercial fire-starters, but clumps of clothes dryer lint, dry leaves or grass, small twigs and wood shavings work equally well as tinder. Just pile items up in the fire ring and light with a match. When the tinder is burning, set small sticks on top, and as the fire burns stronger, add larger pieces of wood.
5. As the fire burns down, hot ash-covered coals remain and this is when cooking is best. Spread out the coals, making a 2" bed. To cook food on top of a grate, set a wire rack over the coals, propped up on four rocks or empty soup cans.
6. Many foods can be cooked without a grate, directly over hot coals. For stick cooking, slide food onto the sharpened end of a long green stick (or hot dog fork) and hold it over the coals. To make a foil pack, wrap food in heavy-duty foil and set the packs into the hot coals. Rotate food often for even cooking and use leather gloves or oven mitts to protect hands.
7. When the food is done, enjoy every bite! With stick and foil cooking, there isn't much clean-up, so after the meal, you have time to play some games or relax around the fire. Add more logs and watch the flames hop around. Listen to the fire crackle as you cozy up together to tell some slightly spooky stories or sing a few old-fashioned camp songs. Top off the night with roasted marshmallows or s'mores for warm memories that remain long after the embers are cold.
Ideas for Campfire Food & Fun
Grab your family, a stick and some foil to try these campfire foods and activities, compliments of CQ Products and their newest two-sided book called Over a Fire - Cooking with a Stick and Cooking Hobo Style.
Cooking with a Stick: Open a tube of large refrigerated biscuits, such as Grands. Separate and flatten each biscuit. Place a regular marshmallow in the center of each biscuit and fold biscuit around marshmallow, pressing seams to seal marshmallow inside. Insert a stick through the biscuit and marshmallow and cook over hot coals, turning often, until dough is golden brown.
Cooking Hobo Style (foil): To make quick-fix pocket pizza, fill pita bread halves with pizza sauce, pepperoni and shredded mozzarella cheese. Let each person add other fillings as desired. Wrap each pizza in heavy-duty foil and cook on hot coals for several minutes on each side until hot and bubbly. Let cool slightly before opening.
1 sturdy Y-shaped stick
1 thick rubber band
Trim the Y-shaped stick with shears so it measures 5" from top to bottom. From the trimmings, cut one piece that is shorter than the "arms" of the "Y". Attach each end of the rubber band to an arm and slip the short stick vertically through the center of the band. Hold the "Y" of the stick in one hand while holding the short stick and the rubber band together in the other hand. Turn the short stick end-over-end until the rubber band is wound tight. Set the Wiggle Stick on the ground, let go and watch it take off.
After eating, crunch up leftover (clean) foil into balls of various sizes and play games of catch, keep away or marbles. Or, create crazy foil creatures and use them to tell spooky stories to each other.