Outdoor cooking

Outdoor cooking differs substantially from kitchen-based cooking, the most obvious difference being lack of an easily defined kitchen area. As a result, campers and backpackers have developed a significant body of techniques and specialized equipment for preparing food in the outdoors. Such technical-have-been traditionally associated with nomadic cultures Such As the Berbers of North Africa, the Arab Beduins , the Plains Indians and pioneers of North America, and-have-been the carried down to and refined in modern times for use outdoors During recreational pursuits.

Currently, much of the work of Maintaining and Developing outdoor cooking traditions in Westernized countries is done by the Scouting movement and by wilderness educators Such As the National Outdoor Leadership School and Outward Bound , as well as by writers and cooks étroitement associated with the outdoors community .

Food and recipes

The types of food common in outdoors settings is Somewhat different Compared To household foods, and aussi differs DEPENDING on the kind of cooking activity. While someone at a public campground May-have easy access to a grocery store and be reliable to prepare plenty of recipes with fresh meat and vegetables, someone is an extended trip into the backcountry will not be ble to carry off water equivalent of fresh food, due to the packaged dehydrated camping foods, and starches such as ramen , polenta, and dried potato flakes. Wilderness experts in the use of wild orchards, especially wild vegetables and wild game ; However, it is not unusual for camping food, especially backcountry food, to be partially or totally vegetarian .

Camping Often food is very high in fat and carbohydrates to Provide energy for long hikes, hikers and (much like soldiers ) must Rely Heavily on energy-packed snacks Such as trail mix , chocolate , energy bars , and sports drinks . Water can also be a premium, so important parts of a pantry include chlorine or iodine- based water disinfectants as well as drink to mask the flavor of the chemical treatment.

Recipes are often designed with significant planning and preparation in mind, with certain ingredients mixed at home and cooked on the trail; to that end, there are a number of providers of freeze-dried food, both ingredients and full meals, and just-add-water-instant meals (including hot cereals, pasta or rice in sauce, and instant soup) from the supermarket are popular as well. Alternatively, some wilderness experts advocate bulk rationing, in which each hiker is given a selection of raw ingredients and prepares a meal from scratch on the trail.


Most outdoor cooking is dictated by the foods that are to be cooked. The first five discussions below, of direct heat, boiling, frying, grilling, and roasting, will, perhaps, describe the cooking methods most often in outdoor cooking. These techniques will require only rudimentary, commonsensical tools. Additional methods described below can be described as ” foodies ” who carry their interests into the outdoors for gourmet meals. These advanced methods may require additional technical equipment.

Direct heat

The most traditional method for outdoor cooking (and indeed the oldest form of cooking) is by means of a campfire . Campfires can be used for cooking food by a number of techniques. The techniques for cooking are no longer used for stoves are not available. Individuals who are backpacking in an area that allows the gathering of firewoodmay decide to cook on a campfire to avoid the need to carry extra equipment; however, most campfire cooking is done in outside of wilderness areas. Cooking food using a campfire can be tricky for those not accustomed to it; Also, the campfires are illegal in many areas, so many campers prefer to use a portable stove instead.


In backpacking particularly, cooking is the most common cooking operation undertaken on the trail, used for cooking or reconstituting food, making hot beverages, cleaning up, and even sanitizing drinking water. Portable stoves are readily available in the form of water (or other appropriate size) of water; These are some of the best examples of such boiling, baking and baking being an afterthought.

Like camp frying pans, camp pots are made of very lightweight material (often aluminum gold, at a considerable price premium, titanium). But there is no need for heat, the camp cook must still take care of the food to burn.

Alternatively, a fireproof container (eg can mess , bamboo segment or improvised tree bark pot) is placed (or hung) above the fire.


Possibly the simplest method of cooking over a campfire and one of the most common is to roast food on long skewers that can be held above the flames. This is popular for cooking hot dogs or toasting marshmallows for making s’mores . Hungarians often roast slab bacon ( Szalonna ) over a campfire. Besides skewers and fireplace popcorn popper, pie will gocan be used (small iron molds with long handles), which can be used in some cases. When using meat, roasting can be the advantage over grilling that drips from the food can be reused. This can be done by placing a fireproof container under the food.


Grills are easy to use and food being white grilled tend to pick up flavors from the smoke . Grills over a campfire are used in the same way as ordinary charcoal barbecues . If the food is simply on the grill, it can catch fire so it requires constant attention. Hand-held grills, aka broiling that can be used for various tasks like warming food, grilling burgers or sausages or making toast . In cases where open fires are not allowed, lightweight charcoal grills (sometimes considered a type of hibachi ) are sometimes used for direct grilling of food.


Frying is not always necessary, but it is often used for fish or wild game , and some kinds of bread and desserts made on the trail. As a general rule, the frying medium used in cooking is usually vegetable oil or margarine . Normal (salted) butter may also be suitable for use, but may be used for short shelf life.

Camp frying panes often lack handles for easy packing, with the camp cook using a clamp-like device to pick up and move the pan. Camp frying pans are Generally made out of very thin metal (though Some campers do use cast iron pans for this purpose as well), so extra care must be taken to evenly cook the food, Especially over the small-diameter flame of a mobile stove . A “round the clock” technique, where the frying pan is moved repeatedly to expose its parts to the flame, is the most commonly recommended solution to the problem, though it is also possible to use a flame to achieve effect. For campfire use, on the other hand, some camp cooks prefer a cast-iron pan called a “spider”, which is elevated to allow a small fire directly beneath it.

Camp cooks making pancakes in a moderate-sized pan size by the size of the pan, and the size of the pan portions. Also, camp cooks often replicate toast using a fry pan: a bread slice (or more, or a combination of whole and cut portions), placed in a pan, pressed down with spatula, flipped, and pressed down again.

An improvised griddle can be made by putting a flat stone directly on the fire (or above it, on top of other stones). Food is then on the stone.


A baking sheet can be used for cooking , which is in turn derived from the concept of the masonry oven . This was common for centuries, used to make breads, pies, and other items, and is still popular today, particularly among campers who enjoy stuffing their meats. Ovens can be made from cast iron, sheet metal or aluminum foil covered cardboard box. Reflector ovens are metal containers designed to surround an article of food being baked over an open flame and reflect the heat back towards food.

Dutch ovens and other pots

Closely associated with the American Old West , the Dutch oven of tradition is a heavy cast iron pot, traditionally made with a concave cover for holding hot coals on top. While such pots are generally considered too heavy for backpackers, Dutch ovens are often used in group camp-outs and cookouts .

Dutch ovens were traditionally specially designed for camping, and such pots are often still available, though sometimes at a premium over flat-bottomed stove-top models. The oven is Placed in a bed of hot coals, Often from a keyhole firewith coals additional Placed on top of the lid, qui in camp ovens usually: has a raised rim to keep the coals from falling off. Dutch ovens are made of cast iron or aluminum , and are not considered suitable for backpackingdue to the heavy weight of the pot. Dutch ovens are convenient for cooking dishes that take a long time as stews, joints of meat and baked goods. They are not the only option for baking was campout as devices for baking is mobile stoves exist and clay ovens can be constructed at encampments along.

A pot hanging over the fire, the picturesque, may spill, and the rigging may be difficult to construct. Generally this is done with metal rigging, which is historically used in home fireplaces before the invention of stoves. Two vertical iron bars with an iron cross-piece. Griddles, grills and skewers can also be hung over the fire. When working with wood, one May use two tripods, lashed with tripod lashings , the purpose rope will be liable to burn melt gold. Dovetail joints are more secure, but difficult to carve.

A good alternative to cooking with a tripod is to cook directly on the fire itself. To do so, it is necessary to have a reasonable and safe environment where it is not a roaring fire. While the pot may be set directly upon the coals, this is not preferable since it tends to extinguish the coals. To lift the pot up the fire, often two small logs of similar size can be used on the side of the pot; Dutch-style camp-style have three legs built into the pot to perform this function. An alternative is the use of a metal thread or mesh fire basket. This allows airflow through the fire while providing optimal heat. This is one of the most important things you can do to get your hands dirty, so it can be difficult to scrub off. The ash and soot can be easily avoided (preferably biodegradable) to the outside of the pot before cooking. The ash and soot stick to the soap which is then easily rinsed off later.


Steaming is possible with plants such as bamboo . In this method, a piece of bamboo is set diagonally above a fire. The bamboo is perforated from within and is placed in the lowest bamboo segment. Food (eg rice) is placed in the top segment of the market. [1]

Other covered techniques

The original form of cooked-in-the- oven cooking is simply such a thing as polynesian umu / hangi , the Indian tandoori , and the Native American clambake .

Another commonly used technique is the baking of food in aluminum foil packets. Food is wrapped inside a durable package of tin foil foil, crimped to seal, and placed on or under hot coals. Baked potatoes are commonly cooked in this package. (Husk , ” Nelumbo nucifera ” lotus, “Dendrocalamus latiflorus Munro” bamboo aka bamboo oldhamii (麻 竹葉), phragmites , plantain , taro , etc.), husks (of corn, ” Phyllostachys makinoi” bamboo (桂竹 籜), etc.), and skins of fruit ( citrusetc.) are also frequently employed. Tree leaves such as those of the banana tree do not burn / ignite as they contain enough oil to resist the heat of the flames (at least until the frying is complete). The way to adapt recipes where food is wrapped in foil is to use a barrier such as baking or silicone paper between the food and the foil; the overall technique is similar to the technical foil developed in French cuisine , but uses a more robust container.

Other methods include single clay wrapping food (Such As in the kleftiko method used in Greek cooking ), leaf wrapping, and plank grilling, [2] Where food is cooked on a wooden plank above-the fire set. Hot-stone cooking, where food is placed next to a fire or a hot stone.

Long-distance truckers, automotive travelers and rally racers have occasionally resorted to cooking on accessible sections of the vehicle engine ; the book Manifold Destiny , although written to a certain extent as a humor book, is considered the authoritative reference on the subject. The food is usually wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil and secured to the engine or other parts of the engine.

In some areas where there is a significant amount of steady, less-hazardous volcanic activity , lava cooking (invented in Hawaii ) is sometimes practiced as a novelty. [3] The food does not come into direct contact with the molten rock, instead being wrapped in a moist barrier (usually wet tropical leaves such as banana foliage or ti leaves ). The wrapper is sacrificial , and is chipped or otherwise cleaned off with the cooled lava before serving.

Backwoods cooking, without utensils

Backwoods cooking is a method of cooking without the use of kitchen implements. [4] It usually takes place in the backwoods , often in combination with wild orchards . Some variants of backwoods cooking allow the use of items of cookware Such As a cooking pot; [5] however there are many recipes without any. Some alternative backwoods to cookware include: aluminum foil , [4] fruit skins [6] and heated stones. [7] Traditionally backwoods cooking takes place over a wood burning fire because wood is the most available source of fuel in the backwoods. [8]As a result, some recipes include information about the intensity of the fire to be used. [6]

Backwoods cooking is widely practiced within the Scouting movement . While it is most associated with scouting today, the term “cooking backwoods” pre-dates Scouting by at least 25 years. [9] Within scouting it may be known as “light cooking,” which may also have a focus on aluminum foil for cookware for much lighter weight cooking. [10]

Scouts around the world take part in different backwoods cooking competitions. [11] These competitions are often local in scope, group or district competitions, but some are held by national scout associations; such as that held by the Scout Association of Malta . [12]

Specialist equipment

Portable stoves are widely used in such areas where there is a significant amount of fire or environmental hazard to build a campfire. Such devices typically use a liquid fuel (usually a petroleum derivative or some kind of alcohol ), but gaseous fuels like propane , butane and solid fuels such as wood shavings and hexamine are also used on the stove design; while two-burner models are Commonly used for front-country campstoves and function much like residential gas stoves, backpacking stoves Generally put out a much more Concentrated Powerful and less flame and require lightweight cooking equipment ( ” billycans “) made of aluminum goldtitanium rather than more typical kitchen-type utensils.

In addition, there are many special techniques for the use of the equipment, including flipping over the (lidded) pan while on the heat and the “twiggy fire”, which mimics the use of charcoal on the lid of a Dutch oven using a small campfire on the lid of the pan. [13]

Reflector ovens are on the ground next to the fire, and gather thermal radiation from it.

Solar cookers are a type of equipment that is powered by the sun, and no other fuel is required, creating a positive environmental impact. There are many variations of design and functionality, where the temperature is higher, often more than 750 degrees F. SolSource solar stove is an example of a high-temperature solar stove.

Ceramic Grills come in many ways and have been around in simple format since ancient times. Many modern cooks sport ornate designs that can be quite beautiful. These grills cook well and evenly because they retain heat and seal in moisture. Most quality grills are weatherproof and can be used to grill, BBQ, smoke and bake. Other benefits include fast heating time and lack of hot-spots. They are fuel-efficient, using a minimum of charcoal, and may be safer for children due to lack of hot-spots.

Outdoor cooking elements can be of danger due to their high flammability and proximity to occupants. Use of highly flammable alcohols to refuel portable cookers, gas cookers, and cooks in a sheltered and stable setting. Most modern tents are made of lightweight synthetic materials that are not fire retardant. Fires and flames must be extinguished and not left unattended. Wind can carry hot embers, possibly igniting wildfires. In rare occasions portable camping canisters have been known to explode. These can be caused by leaks or overheating the compressed canister. Adequate air ventilation can prevent overheating during use. It is recommended to operate such portable cooking instruments in the open, despite the pull of luxury in having them operate inside a tent. A number of incidents involving camping and cooking have resulted in fatalities [14] and severe injuries. [15]

Special precautions are required for camping in bear country activities Because cooking and food storage Attract thesis Potentially dangerous animals. Food preparation and storage must be a safe distance from sleeping areas, so it can be used for cooking. [16] Food may need to be stored in a bear or a bear . Other animals may be attracted to food too; most notably raccoons , squirrels , skunks , and mice .

See also

  • Beverage-can stove
  • Barbecue
  • curanto
  • Damper (food)
  • Dutch oven
  • Grilling
  • hangi
  • Kalua
  • List of cooking techniques
  • Masonry oven
  • New England clam bake
  • Pachamanca


  1.  Jump up^ Documentary in which rice steaming in bamboo is demonstrated
  2. Jump up^ Backyard Provisions – Wood Plank GrillingArchivedJanuary 7, 2014 at theWayback Machine.
  3. Jump up^ How To Cook With Lava
  4. ^ Jump up to:b “Scouts celebrate 100 years of the Scouting movement” . Banbury Cake. July 15, 2010 . Retrieved 5 February 2012 .
  5. Jump up^ Harry Matthews (14 August 2010). “Woodland Wonder: Harry Matthews” . This is Bristol . Retrieved 5 February2012 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:b Scott Wiggins (July 1997). “Backwoods Cooking” . Retrieved 5 February 2012 .
  7. Jump up^ “Desert Island Cookery” . The Calgary Daily Herald . May 13, 1933 . Retrieved 5 February 2012 .
  8. Jump up^ Charles Stafford (1953). Backwoods Cooking . London: The Boy Scouts Association.
  9. Jump up^ “A SAILORS ‘HUNTING PARTY” . Detroit Free Press . May 28, 1880 . Retrieved 5 February 2012 .
  10. Jump up^ Gerald Baerlein Eric Colley (1961). Lightweight cooking . London: The Boy Scouts Association.
  11. Jump up^ “Scouts prepare for the big event” . The Observer of Sri Lanka. 19 February 2009 . Retrieved 5 February 2012 .
  12. Jump up^ “Scouts’ first ever Backwoods Cooking Competition” . The Sunday Times of Malta. April 25, 2004 . Retrieved 5 February2012 .
  13. Jump up^ Pearson, Claudia,The Nols Cookery, 4th and 5th. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1997 and 2004,ISBN 0-8117-3108-1.
  14. Jump up^ No survivors: Father, young daughter lose fight for life after his teen tent blast claims
  15. Jump up^ Tent catches fire in campsite gas blast
  16. Jump up^ Bear country precautions.