The Best Campfire Foods for Your Next Overnight in the Woods

Before you head out on your next overlanding, backpacking, or other camping adventure, think about what you're going to eat while you're out there. Food is always a high priority on the camping checklist, but what can you do to make sure you're choosing the best meals? Your primary considerations will depend on your method of travel and how much cooking gear you're able to bring along. We've compiled a list of the top campfire foods, and you should be able to adapt most of them to your situation.

1. Bacon (and Eggs)

This high-protein meal is always a big hit for campfire breakfast. It's high in protein, which will give you sustainable energy for whatever the day has in store. It's also delicious, and it's perfect for a cast iron pan because the bacon grease provides plenty of lubrication to keep the eggs from sticking. It also helps keep the cast iron seasoned. Add some toast or a wrap, and you're all set for breakfast. You can also add a few chopped veggies to the eggs before cooking. (Chop the vegetables at home and pack them in the cooler.) For this meal, you may want to add salt, pepper, cheese, or hot sauce.

2. Hot Dogs or Sausages

Another classic campfire food is the humble hot dog. Hot dogs, Polish sausages, and similar meats are perfect for open fire cooking because they are versatile and forgiving. A hot dog roasted on a stick over an open fire is hard to beat, but if you want something a little more substantial, cook and chop the dogs and combine them with something else. Try beans, pasta, eggs, or sauteed greens, which are all easy to cook in a pot over the campfire.

3. Fresh-caught fish

What camping trip would be complete without the catch of the day on the menu? The easiest way to cook fish over an open flame is to pan-fry it. You may want a little butter, salt, and lemon juice to go with it, or make a quick tartar sauce with mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, and lemon juice. Foil packets with chopped potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and a bit of bacon go well will campfire fish.

4. Soups and Stews

The easiest way to make stew when you're camping is to pack a dehydrated mix and add water when you're ready to eat. If you'd rather make stew from scratch, start with your trusty bacon grease in a Dutch oven. Use the grease to saute onions and garlic, and then add chopped meat to the hot pot. Brown the meat on all sides and season the mixture before carefully adding water or stock. Let the stew simmer, away from direct heat, for as long as it takes. The best way to speed up the stew-making process is to pre-chop the veggies before heading out on your camping trip.

5. Hot Sandwiches

Cold cuts are fine for a picnic or camping trip, but sometimes you want a hot pastrami on rye or a grilled cheese with tomatoes. If you have a pie iron, making these hot sandwiches is as easy as assembling them in the iron and leaving them in indirect heat. If all you have is a pan, that can work, too. First, toast the bread in the hot, dry pan, and then remove it and heat the meat. For grilled cheese, first, toast the bread, then butter it and cook the sandwich in the pan as you would at home.

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