Tips for Northwoods Campfire Cooking

Nothing beats the warmth and comfort of sitting around a campfire at dusk, as the wilderness behind you slowly disappears and the flames bring a gentle and flickering light to the darkness. Whether you are enjoying this outdoor tradition with your closest friends or your dear family, the experience is sure to ignite childhood memories, warming you from the inside out. Where better to ponder the meaning of life or share old stories than around a campfire in the beautiful Northwoods?

And where else to enjoy a meal filled with smoky goodness and unbeatable flavor? Campfire cooking can be fun for all ages, and offers a lot more variety than your standard hot dogs and marshmallows. Why, you may be asking, would we be talking about campfire cooking on The Wilderness Blog? Sure, the cabins at The Wilderness have kitchens equipped with all the cookware and dishes you need. But why not enjoy a campfire meal to make the most out of your wilderness vacation? For that matter, use these tips right at home, in your own backyard, to bring a tiny bit of the wild into everyday life!

Building a Campfire for True Northwoods Cooking

Campfires are not all created equally, and when you are going to cook, it’s all about the coals! A proper campfire starts with selecting the right type of wood – stay away from green wood in favor of nice, dry hardwoods that will burn better. The trick is to build up the fire slowly, adding a log at a time, while brushing the coals to one side. Once you have a white hot bed of coals about 2 inches thick, it’s time to cook!

Campfire Cooking with a Stick

Campfire Cooking With StickTraditional campfire cooking requires the chef to venture out into the forest to find just the right branch for a cooking stick. If it’s too thin, you risk dropping your treats in the fire and too thick means a gaping hole in your dinner. Whittle the end of the chosen branch to a point, and get rid of any twigs or leaves. Make sure your stick is long enough that you aren’t risking burns, but not too long that you lose control of the exact placement over the fire of the food. Or you can choose to go the city slicker way and buy a metal cooking stick – we strongly recommend wood for the best flavor and true sportsman bragging rights!

Here are some of our stick campfire cooking favorites:

  • S’mores: Everyone loves a gooey marshmallow! But if you don’t know how to make a s’more, well, you probably shouldn’t be the campfire chef!
  • Hot dogs: ditto the above, there’s really no wrong way to do this unless you attempt to cook without the stick!
  • Pig on a stick: tasty upgrade to the hot dog; wrap a cooked sausage link in Pillsbury breadstick dough, place on the stick, and roast until the bread turns golden brown.
  • Kabobs: Fan favorite kabobs can be made with almost any meat and the vegetables of your choosing. Try cubed steak, pork, chicken or shrimp and mix with mushrooms, onions, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and potatoes. This easy roaster allows everyone to create their own to their personal liking. Pair with corn on the cob for a finger licking, no fork needed dinner.
  • Roasted banana: spear your banana with the stick and slowly roast over the coals. When it begins to toast and is heated through, roll it in crushed cereal, chopped nuts, or even sprinkles. For a sweet treat, dip in chocolate

Campfire Cooking with Foil Wrap

Wrapping your meals in tin foil allow you to place them right on the coals and capture the smoky flavor to the fullest. Pay attention to the tips for building your campfire discussed above, because you can’t just toss your food into the flames and hope it turns out edible. For any foil wrap campfire cooking, be sure to flip the packet over a few times and check doneness before eating. Double wrap is always best if you aren’t using a really sturdy foil. And wrapping in a way that leaves a little tinfoil ‘handle’ makes for easier control.

Campfire wrapped favorites:

    • Campfire baked potatoes: Please refer to Stick Campfire Cooking #1, above.
    • All-in-one campfire dinner: Make this wrapped dinner with ground beef or your choice of chopped meat. Simply dice up your favorite vegetables and place in the foil wrap with the meat. Top with seasonings and a sauce of your choosing (try butter, ketchup, BBQ sauce or even lemon juice), close the foil and toss on the coals. Cook time should be about 30 minutes.
      Bacon Wrapped Baked Fish: Clean and butterfly your fish and season with garlic, sage and pepper. Fold the fillet around sliced onion for moistness and flavor and wrap with bacon. Cover the fillet with foil and cook on campfire coals for roughly 20 minutes.
    • Campfire Breakfast: Place a hash brown patty or thinly sliced potatoes on the foil. Make sure your packet is crimped upwards, and pour a slightly beaten egg in. Top with sausage patties or bacon, close the wrap, and cook. If you are a cheese lover, try adding a slice when the other ingredients are close to done.

Campfire Muffin

  • Campfire Muffins: Who knew you could make bakery on a campfire? Cut an orange in half, and scoop out the fruit (bonus, serve finished dish with sliced orange). Pour muffin mix into the peel, carefully push halves together and wrap with foil. Cook 10-15 minutes on the coals, and you have fresh, great smelling muffins! Try this with cake batter for campfire cupcakes!

Did you know that you can wrap your chicken or filet in cabbage or lettuce leaves to cook directly on campfire coals, without foil? Extra flavor, extra moistness, extra easy!

Discover Northwoods Nature at The Wilderness Reserve!

When you book your family vacation at The Wilderness Reserve, you don’t just get a place to stay. You get a unique opportunity to enjoy all that nature and the great outdoors has to offer. Take a wilderness hike, try your luck fishing on your cabin’s private lake, and enjoy the timeless tradition of a campfire! Stretch each outdoor moment to the fullest! Ready to schedule your Northwoods family vacation at The Wilderness? Contact us today!

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