You can’t have enough camping tips when it comes to campfire cooking!
With these simple campfire cooking tips, your friends and family will think you secretly went to campfire culinary school when they were not looking!
Best Campfire Cooking Techniques
Start Your Fire Early
Start your campfire early so it has time to burn down.
I like using camping fire starters to get it going.
We have step-by-step instructions on how to start a campfire too!
Don’t Cook Over Flames
You want to cook over hot coals rather than large pieces of burning wood.
Cooking Vessel Placement In The Campfire
When you are cooking directly in your campfire ring, you want a “cooking area” and a separate “next-up area” for burning more wood for an ongoing supply of coals.
Split your campfire ring …
On one side place the coals under the grill grate or tripod for cooking …
On the other side have the wood to keep the campfire burning to “steal” coals from.
That way you can maintain ample heat throughout the cooking process like we did when we made our Muffin Tin Campfire Eggs.
Campfire Cooking Setup In Windy Conditions
Block wind to avoid heat loss when cooking with campfire Dutch ovens in breezy conditions.
Here we were cooking our Lemon Blueberry Topped Campfire Dutch Baby Recipe with coals on the ground and used pieces of our firewood to block the wind.
When we were making our Dutch Oven Beef Stroganoff Camping Recipe, we continued to cook in our camping fire pit but we used stacked firewood to block the wind as much as possible that day. WOW!
You can see how we did it … and HEAR how windy it was … in our video for this quick and easy campfire comfort food recipe! LOL
Brown Meat For Maximum Flavor
The entire surface area of meat must make contact with the Dutch oven to evenly brown it.
If your Dutch oven is not large enough to handle all of the meat at once, just brown it in smaller batches like we did when we cooked our AMAZINGLY delicious Dutch Oven Pork Chops!
Open Campfire Cooking Heat Control
In a Dutch oven, meat can be browned quickly over a hot campfire which is what we did when we made our award-winning Campfire Dutch Oven Chili Recipe!
For baking at precise temperatures, take your gear out of the firepit and use campfire coals or charcoal briquettes on the ground as the heat source for better temperature control.
Fall Off The Bone Tender Dutch Oven Campfire Cooking
Slow cooking in a liquid produces tender meat.
This is easily accomplished with deep Dutch ovens using charcoal briquettes or campfire coals as a heat source like we did with our Dutch Oven Ribs Camping Recipe.
Campfire Cooking Hacks
Makeshift Lids For Cooking Gear
If you are using cooking equipment that does not have a lid but needs to be covered to keep in the heat, just use some foil or a cookie sheet to do the job.
Cook Campfire Corn Right In The Husks!
You don’t need to boil corn on the cob on your camping trips.
You also don’t need to wrap it in foil to cook it.
Just leave the corn in the husks and place the ears directly over the hot coals of your campfire to make truly yummy Campfire Corn On The Cob!
No Cleanup Campfire Cooking
If you use foil packets to cook directly over a campfire, you’ll avoid big clean-up jobs!
That’s what we did when we made our Campfire Hobo Stew dinner.
Camp Fire Cooking Safety
Protect Your Hands And Arms From Heat
Use heat-resistant gloves when handling hot cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens like we did when we made our Campfire Dutch Oven Gumbo Recipe.
You actually want to protect your hands and arms from the heat of the campfire too.
Keep Your Distance From The Flames
Using a lid lifter, like we did when we made this Hot Italian Sausage Soup Campfire Recipe, allows you to stay a safe distance from the hot campfire when removing the lid from your Dutch oven.
Maintain Your Equipment’s Stability Over The Fire
Keep your Dutch oven stable when cooking over a campfire.
Use a grill grate or tripod for stability and point the handle away from the fire.
Best Wood For Campfire Cooking
We cook with all sorts of wood but that is not ideal … sometimes you just gotta use what you have, you know?
How to build a campfire for cooking.
In a perfect world, we would only use hardwood because it provides a nice long-lasting heat and bed of coals.
Many hardwoods also provide a great flavor to meat and veggies you grill directly over it.
Examples of hardwood:
Examples of softwood:
Campfire Cooking Equipment
I always say that any task is much easier if you have the right gear.
You are going to wonder how you ever survived without this awesome campfire cooking equipment!
Campfire Cooking Recipes
We love making entire meals over our fires.
Try some of these easy campfire recipes on your next trip.
If you are thinking you want to avoid after-dinner cleanup, no judging … I promise, you will love these campfire meals in foil.
Many of our Dutch oven camping recipes can be made over a campfire but can transition to a camp stove if you happen to be camping during a time of fire restrictions!
When you are preparing baked goods on your camping trip, the temperature inside your camp Dutch oven is much more critical.
You can use campfire coals but they are not as uniform when it comes to size, burn time and heat production as charcoal briquettes.
Whichever coals you decide to use, our Dutch oven temperature chart will help you determine how many coals you need to bake that cake!