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Offline anne of oaktower

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Camp Cooking
« on: May 22, 2008, 10:47:56 PM »
Well, since no one else has had the chance yet, I figured I'd get some threads going here in the Camping section.  As I recall, there were a couple of good cooking and recipe threads in our former home, and hopefully we can get those revived.

So, on the topic of Camp Cooking...

I'm looking for good tips on the finer points of cooking over the fire, suggestions on cookware, and anything else that you think might fall under this heading.  (I'll be starting another thread for recipes, too.)

I was just given my first cast iron skillet and have no idea what to do with it.  I know I have to season it, and was told to start by cooking bacon in it.  Now, what?  I know I'm never supposed to scrub it clean (made that mistake years ago with one of mom's well-seasoned cookie sheets :-[), but what's the best way to clean it.  And what about the differences in cooking on the stove vs cooking on a fire?

aka: Oak-hearted Annie / Anne of Oak Barrel / Barefoot Annie

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Offline Zaubon

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 11:50:34 PM »
Since I only cook with cast iron, I guess I can answer some of your questions.
First, clean it any way you want to. A dishwasher is the best way I've found to remove seasoning though.
If you want to avoid the need to re-season, stick to light scrubbing. I prefer a plastic kitchen brush, it will easily scrape off any stuck on food and not hurt your seasoning.
Seasoning is easy, my preferred seasoning material is bacon grease followed by lard as a second choice. Start by washing and thoroughly drying your cookware. Then lightly coat the entire surface in grease. Now just pop it into a 400 degree oven for 90-120 minutes, and then allow it to cool for 2-4 hours. You will probably need to do this twice for pre-seasoned cookware and four or more times for new iron. You will know you're done when you have a hard black surface over the entire piece.
If you have completely removed your seasoning and the piece has started to rust, remove the rust with steel wool, then clean and dry as described above.
I cook on a gas field stove so I won’t even try to tell you how to deal with the vagaries of a wood campfire.

Offline anne of oaktower

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2008, 11:55:30 AM »
Thanks, Zaubon.  A handy way to season my skillet and a good excuse to eat more bacon...what could be better!  It was a bit rusty, so I did scrub it with steel wool.  Cooked some bacon in it yesterday morning.  Let the grease cool and got rid of most of it, but made sure to spread a good coat of it all around the inside.  I didn't think to put it in a hot oven, but will do that tomorrow morning after I make some more bacon.

I don't have to do anything with the outside of the skillet, do I?
aka: Oak-hearted Annie / Anne of Oak Barrel / Barefoot Annie

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

Offline Zaubon

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2008, 12:18:50 AM »
Yes, coat the entire surface, inside, outside, handle, everything. You are trying to build up a coat of cabon that will protect the iron surface from corrosion.

Offline Catherine DArtois

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2008, 12:50:07 PM »
My favorite camp cookery piece is my cast iron dutch oven with feet.  It can either hang over the fire for cooking my favorite camp dinner: venison chili -- or it can nestle in hot coals (with more placed on the lid) to bake biscuits or cornbread.  Make the biscuits from Pioneer Biscuit mix -- using water instead of the milk their recipe calls for.  They would go GREAT with Zaubon's camp breakfast...
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Offline Grov

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2008, 12:02:11 PM »
The seasoning is why food cooked in it tastes so good.  Ever wonder why the old "greasy spoon" type restaurants have such a following?  Their grills and flat-tops have the same seasoning. 
Paper plates are great because you can just burn them up in the campfire when done with them.  Plain is better because the various dyes in the colorful ones have unhealthy chemicals that are exposed when they are burned, although they can yeild those nifty colored flames....
If you prefer not to have to wsh as much afterwards, you can opt to use plastic utensils and cup and just bag them up afterwards.  Just a matter of storage of waste at that point.  Otherwise go with stainless and hot water/soap to clean it.  It's advisable not to dump the dishwater on the ground afterwards but a potalet is good for all kinds of safe, although stinky, disposal. 
I hope my life is an epic tale that ends well and everyone likes to read. --Grovdin Dokk

Offline beeboy

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2008, 03:12:22 AM »
hmm...camp fire cooking...especially if you have the bare necessesities...I've made many a meal using just the fire, a pot, and a spoon (and of course the food). 

typically we would try to make a lil nook in the edge of the fire where you can safely place your pot down, but close enough where the heat will do its work (good for pastas, boiling water, etc).  another idea is to have a flat log in that same general vicinity to where you can put the pot down on top of the log and have the heat licking up pretty close to it. 

I've made fettuchino alfredo over an open fire this way

if you have some sort of flat grill space, you can put the grill on the fire and grill burgers or steaks or whatnots

Offline Dinobabe

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 02:35:41 PM »
Open fire cooking is actually very easy and fun! 
I "clean" my cast iron by filling it with a bit of water (just to cover the stuck on food).  Let it boil for a minute, scrape with fork or spoon, dump water and food at edge of fire or in sink (that's a hand dug privy ;) ), wipe with paper towel (burn paper towel), repeat if necessary, turn upside down over a log that is at the edge of the fire or on a grill grate over the fire to dry.  Any food bits dry and left on after that can be scraped off easily.

I make soup, pasta, casseroles, baked goods, cobbler, pizza, you name it in my cast iron!  Biscuits are AWESOME in cast iron!  Especially if you churn some fresh butter to accompany.  :o
I did this once for an inner city kids group I was working with.  I made THEM churn the butter and then sent them home each with a cup of butter.  They didn't know what cast iron was and had definitely never eaten food made in one.  They so bragged to their parents!  It was so cool!

I cook for my Civil War Artillery Battery.  The spectators always ask, "Is that fire real?", "Is that food real?", "Are you really going to eat that?"  ::)
Natasha McCallister
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Offline Dinobabe

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2009, 02:38:21 PM »
P.S.  For much less expensive cast iron check your local small hardware store.  The pots are just as good as name brand (i.e. Lodge) and a LOT cheaper!  I use Harbor Freight.
http://www.harborfreight.com/
Natasha McCallister
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Offline MacLaren

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2009, 06:25:48 AM »
Yeah, Harbor freight rocks! But I officially hate you now Dinobbabe...you said the word biscuit....

Damn, now I need gravy!!! ;D
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Offline Richard de Graeme

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2009, 07:25:47 AM »
One pot meals are the way to go. The last camping trip we made a chicken corn chowder that was very tasty. If there are leftovers, get the fire going in the morning heat them up in the same pan (you may need to add a bit of liquid), when the mixture is hot crack a few eggs in it (don't break the yolks) and let them poach. Spoon it over a biscuit (there you go MacLaren) and enjoy your hearty breakfast and only one clean up.

About clean up, we use a NON-antibacterial soap, such as Dr. Bronners (plus you can wash and brush your teeth with it). We don't want to kill those beneficial bugs crawling around in the soil do we?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 07:27:59 AM by Richard de Graeme »
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Offline MacLaren

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2009, 10:48:39 AM »
One pot meals are the way to go. The last camping trip we made a chicken corn chowder that was very tasty. If there are leftovers, get the fire going in the morning heat them up in the same pan (you may need to add a bit of liquid), when the mixture is hot crack a few eggs in it (don't break the yolks) and let them poach. Spoon it over a biscuit (there you go MacLaren)

Oh, you are evil indeed!!! :'(
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Offline Sonata

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2009, 12:34:50 PM »
I don't really have a name for my favorite thing to make, but it's super easy and (I think) tastes amazing.

You'll need:
Heavy duty foil
those thin sliced 'breakfast' steaks
bacon
asparagus (canned works well, I haven't tried fresh yet)
jar of artichoke hearts in oil (2 small jars or one larger)

Tear off a LONG piece of foil from the roll. Really long - after you double it over you'll want to have 5-7 feet. Double it over once  :D
Take about 6 of your asparagus spears and wrap each one in a strip of bacon, arrange the wrapped spears on the first 6-8" of the doubled over foil. Fold the foil back over them, leaving a long tail, and lightly crimp the edges of the pocket full of asparagus.
On top of the pocket, arrange a couple of the steaks and a few of the artichoke hearts (you can add some of your bacon to this layer as well if you like). Fold the foil back over them in the other direction, again leaving a tail, and lightly crimp the edges of package together.

Continue until you run out of foil or ingredients. What you should have at the end of prep is a big lump of accordian-folded foil, with alternating layers of asparagus/bacon and steak/artichoke hearts. After all the layers are in place, crimp up the edges on the whole bundle firmly. I wouldn't make a bundle larger than about 4 layers, or you risk the middle not getting cooked enough.

Wrap the entire thing in one additional layer of foil, just to be sure you get no leaks. Trust me, you do NOT want a stream of bacon grease suddenly escaping into a live fire!

I suppose you could bury the lump in the coals, but I cook it over a charcoal grill/wood fire on a grate. Flip the bundle over carefully about every 10-15 minutes.

It's a little hard to describe how I tell when it's done. The top side tends to cool to the touch fairly quickly due to all the layers of foil, so when it stays too warm to lay your hand on comfortably about a minute after flipping, you know the whole bundle had been heated thoroughly.

Be very careful opening the cooked packet, it's full of steam and hot liquid grease!!

As for seasonings, that's to personal taste. IMO, the steaks don't need much aside from maybe some salt and pepper, since they soak up a lot of flavor from the liquid in the artichokes.

I love this stuff! It's one-pot cooking without the 'what kind of stew/casserole are we having this time' effect you can get sometimes. This year for TRF I plan to prepare a few bundles at home ahead of time and store them in a sealed cooler until fire time.

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Offline Dinobabe

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2009, 06:47:50 PM »
Yeah, Harbor freight rocks! But I officially hate you now Dinobbabe...you said the word biscuit....

Damn, now I need gravy!!! ;D

Yep, had biscuits and gravy for breakfast yesterday...  ;D
Natasha McCallister
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Offline hesslei

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Re: Camp Cooking
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2009, 02:58:52 AM »
Campfire cooking requires a clean-burning, hot fire. This is only achieved with dry, seasoned wood. Stripping trees of green wood is fruitless  your fire will be smoky, will burn poorly and create unnecessary pollution. If dry wood is not available, it will need to be packed in. Many public campgrounds supply firewood.

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hesslei...

Cooking

 

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