Campfire Cooking: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I’m not exactly Daniel Boone when it comes to cooking over a fire. I much prefer to cook my family’s meals inside of our small but comfortable RV kitchen or outside on an electric skillet. After more than my share of unevenly cooked food, burns and borderline asphyxiation, I am determined to master campfire cooking this camping season.

Really… how hard can it be to cook over a campfire? Well… 
maybe I set the bar a little too high.  Mastering campfire cooking might be a bit of a stretch for someone who cooked like an inept caveman just a few short months ago.

The first article the Campfire Cooking series: Campfire Cooking:  What NOT To Do

Getting Ready (Cue the theme to “Rocky”)

One of my biggest challenges with cooking over a fire was the fact that I didn’t have utensils that we long enough to keep my arm away from the heat.  As a result, I lost lots of arm hair and had to wrap my arm and my hand in a dish towel when I was cooking. This year, I purchased a nice long-handled BBQ utensil kit and a fabulous grill mitt.  As I anxiously waited to use my new campfire cooking doo-dads, I felt like Rocky waiting in his locker room, all dressed and ready for his first fight with Apollo Creed. Yo Adrian!

When it finally came time to embark on our first RV Camping trip of the season, I gathered the utensils, my mitt, lots of Aluminum Foil, a few recipes and the Pie Iron that was a gifted to me by a generous camping neighbor last year when I expressed awe at her fabulous device.  We were pumped up for our campfire cooking extravaganza!

A side note, we decided against buying a Dutch Oven (for now) because we typically don’t have a fire going long enough to cook something in it.

We Started With A Bang: Hobo Wraps

I first learned of Hobo Wraps on FB and thought they’d be perfect for our first campfire recipe. I sliced the following ingredients and placed them into piles so the kids could build their own Hobo Wraps:

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Orange Peppers
  • Sliced uncooked potatoes
  • Ground Turkey Breast
  • Seasonings:  We used Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder
  • We wished we would have added: Celery and Mushroom

My kids created their own Hobo Wrap by piling their chosen ingredients into the center a large piece of oiled Aluminum Foil.

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We bundled up the package of deliciousness like a swaddled baby.

After doubling the Aluminum Foil (to prevent leaks), we placed the Hobo Wraps on the grill grates for about 25 mins per side. The cooking time could have probably been reduced if we pre-cooked the potato slices in the microwave.

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The moment of truth arrived when we peeled open the foil and discovered a perfectly cooked meal!

The contents were transferred to a plate, but we certainly could have eaten the meal directly from the foil.  It was delicious!

Hobo Wraps have officially been added to our list of things to eat when we are camping.  I’m one step closer to mastering Campfire Cooking.  Hooray!

Phase One of the meal was a huge success.  On to Phase Two… Dessert!  We purchased white bread, butter and apple pie filling with hopes of using our new Pie Iron to create Apple Dumplings.  Since it was the first time we were using the Pie Iron, we remembered that we needed to season it or else the food would stick to sides as you cook it.

I googled directions on how to season a Pie Iron and then we placed it in the fire for the required 10 minutes.  When we returned to the fire to remove the Pie Iron, we couldn’t believe our eyes.

But We Ended In A Fizzle: The Meltdown

It melted.  Literally.  Did you know that a Pie Iron can melt if you put it in the fire?  I didn’t.  Maybe I should have placed the Pie Iron on the grates to season it? Aren’t they exposed to open flame all of the time?  Why did it melt? It was a big head scratcher. Well, that was the beginning and end of my Pie Iron extravaganza.  TKO…Dang!

Though I am beaten for this round, like Rocky, I’ll come out swinging in the sequel.

Please comment and share how you seasoned your Pie Iron.  Also, weigh in on a potential name of this Campfire Cooking series or share  your favorite Pie Iron recipes.  Thank you!

More About Our Campfire Cooking Stumbles and Successes:

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply Marsha May 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Was it an aluminum pie iron? Our cast iron pie irons have taken the heat for quite a few years and are still going strong.

    • Reply Chris Hughes May 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      Hi Marsha!!! Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure what it was made of because it was a gift. But I will say that my neighbors traveled all the way to a factory in West Virginia to buy some high quality pie irons. My assumption is that it was cast iron, but it must have been aluminum.

  • Reply Sandi Thomas Preddy May 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Well, I confess my ignorance…. I am going to google Pie Iron and see what they are. We do love the hobo wraps, though, and that is a standard fix when we camp. Always enjoy your blog, Chris.

    • Reply Chris Hughes May 14, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Hi Sandi!!! Thank you for the kind words! Makes me feel better that you didn’t know what a Pie Iron was! I thought it was a marvelous new invention! 🙂

  • Reply rene kipp May 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    We call them Foil Dinners. That’s one of our favorites too. We’ve even made them a few times at home using the BBQ. I usually dice the potatoes. I find it cooks quicker than slices. As I write this, I wonder if frozen hash browns would work? Then I wouldn’t have all the cutting time…or you could have your kiddos help with the prepping.

  • Reply Robin Clute, President, Lone Star Dutch Oven Society May 21, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Hi – If you are ever really serious about learning to cook in a cast iron camp dutch oven, I recommend a blog written by my friend, Leslie Lovett, called Texas Iron Chef. She and her husband are long time dutch oven chefs, even competing with them at the World Championships for the last three years. Here’s the link: http://www.texasironchef.com She’s very thorough with her recipes, and her photography is excellent. Enjoy!

    • Reply Chris Hughes May 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Hi Robin, thanks for your comment. I’ll definately check that out!!!!

  • Reply Amy June 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    He Chris, loved your article. He make Hobo dinners when we go camping. They are a family favorite. We use ground beef, frozen diced potatoes, frozen corn, carrots (we buy julienned carrots from the salad area, we find they cook all the way through) and zucchini. We add cream of mushroom soup so there is a gravy. We season with garlic powder, pepper and seasoning salt.

    • Reply Chris Hughes June 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm

      Hi Amy!!! Brilliant to add cream of mushroom soup! I would think it would drip out, though. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing your recipe and for stopping by!

    Thoughts?