We love campfire cooking. The smell and warmth of the fire, the camaraderie of the shared cooking experience, and the simplicity of cooking outdoors with just what you have on hand—A hot meal shared around a campfire can be a beautiful thing.
And while we love hot dogs and s’mores, sometimes we crave a little more sophistication. With that in mind, we have become fans of cooking in foil pouches. This helps us create a more composed meal to cook on the fire in the backyard or campsite. Campfire foil cooking is one of the easiest methods, requiring no equipment except heavy-duty aluminum foil and some great recipes!
You can prepare your foil pouches before you leave home, which means you just place the pre-made pouches on the fire, use it as a bowl when the foil cools, and dispose of it after your meal—no fuss, no mess. Consider foods that layer well and will cook through by steaming in their own juices. Be sure also to prepare the food in a way to encourage even cooking. For instance, rather than chunks of carrots, consider thin slices to promote quick cooking. Use heavy-duty foil if possible or two layers of regular foil. If you have something that may be sticky, spray foil with cooking spray or line with a layer of parchment paper.
Lay out your foil and layer any combination of vegetable, meat or poultry. I like to start with the vegetables as a base. Add seasoning and herbs and add stock or drizzle with oil and a few pieces of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap up the sides of foil to make sure no liquid can escape and seal the top to create a bowl. Pack finished pouches with enough cool packs to keep them fresh. If you’re close to home, a sturdy prep station is a must for holding all your ingredients. The prep surface and extra storage is sure to come in handy outside. When we’re camping, though, I like to travel with my Suncast garden scooter. It has storage under the seat to protect from the elements, and is a comfortable place to sit near the campfire.
Some great combinations we’ve tried are leeks and thin sliced potatoes under a piece of fish with olive oil and herbs; peppers, onions and sausages; and ratatouille with peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, olive oil and fresh herbs. And don't forget dessert! You can make a delicious fruit crisp which can also double as breakfast. Or stick with a classic with a no fuss s’mores in a pouch!
When you are ready to cook, make sure you start your fire in a safe place. If you don’t have a fire pit, look for a location free of roots and clear away any debris. Make sure you have clearance around and above to avoid any unwanted issues. A safe rule of thumb is clearance three times the width and height of your flame. Place your pouch on or close to the fire and let it steam. Cooking time will vary depending on what you are cooking and how hot the fire is, but is generally 5-15 minutes. Use caution when opening as the steam will be released.