Just because you’re ‘roughing it’ whether by tent, cabin, or RV, does not mean you have to skimp in the culinary department. Gone are the days when hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and of course, s’mores were about the only surefire camp meal.
With the advance in technology and people’s tastes becoming ever more sophisticated, you can make a fancy gourmet meal over the campfire without a lot of fuss. All it takes is a few pieces of equipment, a creative mind, and you will be able to whip up an amazing meal out in nature.
Sounds good, right? Here are our top tips to achieve just that.
Make Ahead & Freeze
This may sound like cheating, but hear us out. Do you want a nice pasta dish during your camping trip? You may be cringing at the thought of making a gourmet sauce over a campfire, and we don’t blame you. So skip the tough part and make that fancy sauce at home before your trip, then freeze it in a jar. When you arrive at camp, thaw it out, then simply heat it up over the open flame. This method also works for pesto and soups.
It’s All About the Cheese
Have you noticed that meals just taste better with cheese? Try tossing some truffle cheese over that spaghetti and you’ll turn ‘meh’ into ‘WOW.’ Voila! You have a gourmet meal. So be sure to bring along your favorite cheeses. Dare to splurge a little on the fancy cheese. You won’t regret it.
Hard cheeses are the best option when camping, as they don’t require much refrigeration. They are also great with crackers as a snack or a slice on a breakfast sandwich.
Keep It Fresh
It’s the number one rule of good gourmet cooking – fresh ingredients. It just makes everything taste better. If possible, wait until you get close to or arrive at your campsite and pick up fresh ingredients. Visit a farmer’s market if at all possible. Fresh fruits and veggies make a great snack, as well. Ditch all of that dried stuff. Not only do dried fruits and veggies cost more, but they lose some of their nutrients that way.
Ghee Over Butter
An absolute necessity when cooking most any meal is butter. But often times butter does not bode well for camping, or for adequate storage. Enter ghee. It is clarified butter (i.e. butter without the lactose). To put it another way, you don’t have to refrigerate it to keep it fresh. Ghee has a great flavor and makes a wonderful addition to your meal, as well as on toast. And you can also use it in place of oil for cooking. Heck, you may even start using ghee at home!
Get the Right Tools
It always helps to cook things properly when you enter gourmet into the mix. Having the right kitchen tools help you get there easily.
- Cast iron skillet. This is an absolute must on any camping packing list. Yes, it’s heavy, but it’s worth it for a great meal.
- Heat-proof silicone cooking utensils. These are a life-saver when cooking over an open fire. Think spatula, spoon, and tongs.
- Cutting board and knives. Get a good sturdy wood cutting board (or two) and a good set of kitchen knives. It is the backbone of gourmet cooking.
- Reusable plates, cups, and utensils. When you’ve put all that work into creating a gourmet meal, the last thing you want to do is serve it on paper plates. BPS-free plates are best and come in a world of colors and designs.
Upgrade Your S’Mores Game
For a fancier take on the classic s’more (that’s easier to eat, to boot!) here is a nice alternative s’more recipe:
- Crush graham crackers
- Melt chocolate in a cup
- Roast the marshmallow
- Dip marshmallow in chocolate
- Roll marshmallow in crushed graham crackers