Cooking on a campfire
Cooking on a campfire can be very rewarding. Now I am not talking about cooking a hotdog over the fire, I mean actually cooking real food over the fire. So let’s start at the top. Make the fire, what I want a fire to be like depends on what I intend to do with it. But 80% of the time what I need from a fire is to cook for at least 6 people. So in order for me to do this, I need a bit of space In the fire. I want a fairly consistent coal that burns long enough that I dont have to feed it every2 minutes to keep it hot enough to cook. I also like a little bit of space because I am most often cooking multiple things at once, so 3 ft min diameter. I often build my fire rings out of larger rocks, 8 lb at least. I like them with some nice size , and at least one or 2 that are flat enough so that I can use them for setting things on. I generally like a fire stake with a griddle and grate pan. Cabelas sells them, called a “mountain man grill” I know other might as well, We made ours. Ok now that our fire is set up the way we ant it, and we have an idea of what we want for a fire, we are ready to cook!
Let’s start with breakfast! One of my families favorite things to have over the fire for breakfast is sausage biscuits and gravy!. So let's take it from the top I generally get the fire going good with 4-5 inch prices of wood. On a level place on the wood, or just on the mountain man grill,I place my 10 inch cast iron Dutch oven. Put the sausage in here and begin to Brown sausage, I prefer a spicy breakfast sausage like Tennessee pride but Jimmy Dean's hot will work, if that's not your thing and you want to use regular breakfast sausage or Maple go for it I usually need at least a pound and a half to feed my family of 6. While the sausage is Browning we're going to mix the biscuits. I generally make buttermilk biscuits from scratch but keep in mind in a pinch Pillsbury biscuits are sufficient. So I will take one of my larger mixing bowls from the dandy camp kitchen. IOften keep all of the pantry items i would need for Making biscuitsIn the dandy kitchen.This alleviates most of my concerns when packing food for camping. Butter is the only thing that doesn't regularly get stored in the dandy kitchen, I always put this in the cooler with the other dairy items when I pack food. So following the recipe below I mix the biscuit dough while the sausage is Browning and the fire is cooking down to Coals. I usually get all of the dry ingredients mixed and the butter ready to cut in when the sausage needs taken off and tended to. So once the sausage is all browned I'm hoping there's still some fat in the pan or we got the pan a little too hot. Assuming we did it right there will be some grease in the pan if not you need to add a little butter to the sausage, then we are going to sprinkle three to four tablespoons a flower over the sausage and stir vigorously.
Set this aside while we get the biscuits on the fire.
OK finish adding the wet ingredients and cutting in the butter to the biscuits. I rarely have a pastry blender with me you can grate the butter and then cut in using a fork this tends to work well enough. You can roll the biscuits out right on top of the dandy kitchen it's a little bit of flour on the work surface I have added a mini rolling pin to my dandy kitchen for this meal ;). Work quickly to roll the biscuits out about 3/4 of an inch thick at this point you can either cut them in squares or if you have a biscuit cutter or a tuna can that is large that works great. I like to butter the bottom of a 12 inch Dutch oven for this next part. Place the cut biscuits in the buttered Dutch oven put the lid on. Get your shovel move all of the flames to one side of the fire pit with your shovel, I use a chopping motion for this to make sure all of the usable coals and chunks will come off of the burning wood. Once all of the burning logs are to one side you should have a bed of coals left underneath make them flat, place your Dutch oven here take a large shovel of coals and place them on the lid of the Dutch oven. A general rule for cooking with Dutch ovens is the three up three down equals 325 formula this gets a little interesting when you're not using actual briquettes so you're going to have to guess coal size.The biscuits will take 12 to 15 minutes to bake at 4:25 I also recommend 3/4 of the coals be on top and at the 9 to 10 minute mark take the biscuits off the fire leaving only the coals on top to finish cooking.
While the coals are doing their magic on your biscuits, let’s finish up the gravy, put your sausage with flour back on the heat. Start pouring in milk, or unsweetened almond milk slowly while you stir, about half 1/3 to ½ gallon. Keep storing, don’t get distracted…. In a few min, it will thicken now salt and pepper is to take, I like a little more pepper than most ;). Pull the plates and the silver Ware out of your dandy kitchen, place both Dutch oven side by side on the dandy kitchen table remove lids and COALS and ring the dinner bell. Cut the Biscuits in half gravy on both sides enjoy.
After you’ve looked up the scraps I recommend making sure your fire stoked so you can get Dutch oven’s upside down in the fire to clean.
The Dutch ovens are cleaned and put away dishes are taken care of, it probably time for lunch! Let’s keep is simple, grilled pork belly sandwiches.! Get that fire going and you're better Kohl's ready you can put your 2 1/2 to 4 inches pieces of wood down while you get the sandwiches ready for grilling. I like to use a nice 9 grain or sometimes even Rye bread, as long as it's hardy whole grain large slices that'll be good. Pork belly in this recipe can certainly be changed out for ham or a sandwich meat of your choice. Pork belly I find to be juicy and satisfying and delicious while up in the mountains when cooked over the fire. For this you want to purchase a pound of fresh pork belly with the skin removed, I prefer center cut, because it has more meat. Slice the pork belly in quarter inch slices. Then you need to season them liberally on both sides and set them aside while your fire cooks down if the the fire is down and coals ready, then but a grill pan on some hot coals.. I really like Tajin or a nice porkbutt rub for this. Get your bread slices out for as many sandwiches are needed and get your cheese into medium and medium thick slices. I prefer doublinger or sometimes coastal cheese for these sandwiches. once the cheese is on one side of the bread I often slather the other side with a small amount of basil pesto when the pork belly is done fried nicely browned the edges and a little bit crisp put it on the sandwich. I’d like to use a nice aïoli or quality mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwich and then slap them back on the grill for grilling. On the side In a cast-iron skillet fix a vegetable if your choice possibly asparagus or I really like broccoli with a little bit of butter and a good dash of alpine touch seasoning. Brown a few minutes on each side lunch is ready.
Steak it’s what’s for dinner, let’s get that fire going good again for the stakes I want the fire pretty hot, needs to be coals though, so bigger pieces of wood 3-5 inches and shovels into low flamed coals is perfect. While your fire is getting there, let’s get the side dish prepared, Dutch oven faux-tatted. Yes tonight’s dish is keto! Take two medium large jicama‘s, peel them and then dice them into half inch squares. Throw them in the Dutch oven cover with water and boil for 10 minutes. Once this is done drain the water remove Jicimas. In a 10 or 12 inch Dutch oven fit third of a pound of bacon cut into 1 inch squares crisp the bacon. While it is Chris pink season the jicamas with grandpa Lynn’s seasoning, also great some sharp cheddar cheese. Once the bacon is crisp add the potatoes and put the lid on the Dutch oven put it in one corner of the fire on medium coals with hot coals on top. Your fire should be ready for the steaks at this point.Just addressed your grill to be on medium hot coals grill steaks to desired doneness flipping only once. A tip here would be the grease dripping off of the steaks can cause flare ups just like any other grill be cautious, pay attention. Check the potatoes. I like to use a Dutch oven lid hook if you have one available, if not I find a metal tent stake works well. We want the jicama browned and tender, the bacon will have rendered so delicious Grease in the pot that should be browning everything nicely it is time to add roughly 2 cups of that sharp cheddar cheese put the lid back on with the coals finish the steaks liberally salt and pepper superior jicama dinner is served. Oh wait you wanted Desert you say, and your tires of s’mores me too I do find roasting a marshmallow stress relieving but honestly I don’t like marshmallows. In fact I don’t really like Hershey‘s milk chocolate either. I do occasionally do it with dirty chocolate but honestly I have lots of other desserts I love over a fire besides s’mores. So how about upside down pineapple cake. Tou would want to put this on right after the jicama. And we can try to keep is healthier. Ok line the 12 inch Dutch oven with tinfoil, and grease with butter. Arrange as manny pineapple rings into the bottom of the pan , place a Maraschino cherry in each one. Sprinkle 1/4 Cup of coconut sugar or Brown sugar swerve into the bottom over the pan on top of the pineapple and cherries.Make one recipe for bobs magically moist almond flour cake making the liquid pineapple juice. Pour the batter over the pineapples place in the fire on medium hot coals lots of hot coals on the top for 10 minutes remove from the hot coals leaving the coals on top cook for an additional 10 minutes. You may flip it upside down on one of the plates or the cutting board in the dandy kitchen.