In this blog, I’ve talked about all things outdoors when it comes to cooking. I’m reminded today, of my teenage years—when cooking at scout camp meant burned food, poor cleanup, and starvation. If I only knew then, what I know now . . .
In scout camp, I learned a few vital lessons. One of them was; unless you’re roasting hotdogs, a roaring fire is not the place to cook your food. The heat of it drives you back, the smoke is hard to breathe, and you have to dodge the people standing around. I’ve since learned to trust the heat from coals.
When we are young, we tend to seek the flames. Have you ever watched a child roasting a marshmallow? The child isn’t content to leave it over the hot coals. They have to have it over the flame. Seconds later, the marshmallow bursts into flames and turns into soot.
Sooner or later, the child gets older and tastes a perfectly roasted, golden brown morsel that melts in their mouth. We get hooked by both roasting over coals, and by taking our time.
Getting back to the scout camp experience, A trick I learned, not only uses coals, it exploits them. It’s a quick and easy way to cook in camp for your family. It also gives you time to chat with your fellow campers. I’m talking about the tinfoil dinner.
You can prepare your dinner at home in minutes, pop it in the ice chest, and take it to camp. When the campfire has provided a healthy bed of hot coals, use a shovel to dig a hole in them, or take some coals out. Put your foil bundle on top, and cover it with coals. Sit down and relax. The dinner will be done in the same amount of time it takes at home in your kitchen. If the coals are real hot you might want to check it using your leather gloves.
All you need are two sheets of aluminum foil (double or triple the thickness. Protects against tearing. Some kind of meat (hamburger works best) potato chunks, and carrots. Surround the meat with the veggies and when the meat is done, the vegetables will be too. Wrap your dinner bundle and roll the seams to lock them closed. Roll the ends up the same way. See the picture I borrowed from the internet.
- Mark the spot where you put your bundle.
- Keep your spot away from the main fire.
- Use thick aluminum foil.
- Hamburger is good. Thick steak doesn’t work as well. Cook veggies separate since there is a shorter cooking time.
- Fish works great (leave the skin on while cooking).
- Always have some tongs to retrieve your bundle and gloves to open it.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Maybe use ketchup.
- Mix and match, try different things.