Car Camping Cuisine

written by: Odette Nassar

Before my son joined the Boy Scouts, my idea of campfire cooking brought visions of hot dogs skewered on sticks, blackened and blistering over an open fire, or packaged food that created entire meals (mostly stews) with the simple addition of boiling water, or daily trips into town for fresh or restaurant food brought back to the camp site (pizza, anyone?).

None of these options seemed particularly tasty or, to my mind, creative.

And then my son joined a troop with a Scoutmaster on a mission. His mission was to show the boys that camp cooking was more than boiling water for pasta or ramen and then opening a jar or can for sauce or chili.

My son started trying recipes that involved actual ingredients and tasted good! And that piqued my interest. So I started doing research and trying out different recipes on our family camping trips. And I have to admit that camp cooking, especially when you are car camping, is fun and creative and delicious!

With that in mind, here are three types of “cuisine” you can plan on when car camping. Some of them might also be useful for other types of camping. You will have to make the call since you will have to carry in your supplies and ingredients.

Cooking Style One: Regular style cooking over a camp stove.

God bless Coleman! You can cook on a camp stove just about anything that you can cook on your gas range at home. Just remember that if you are camping somewhere windy, it will take a billion years just to boil water. Also, you should always have extra fuel. You don’t want to be in the middle of cooking breakfast and run out of gas. Literally.

Best suited for car camping because the two-burner stove and tanks can be really heavy to carry long distances.

Cooking Style Two: Cooking over an open fire.

Think hot dogs and marshmallows.

No, not together. Ewwwww.

This is a basic camping style of cooking. However, there are many variations of the theme, such as kebabs using different ingredients with many different seasonings. This type of cooking also includes foil packet meals or anything cooked in foil, from baked potatoes to banana boats.

Best suited for all types of camping. Skewers and foil are lightweight and, depending on your ingredients, all aspects are easily portable.

Cooking Style Three: Dutch Oven Cooking.

This heavy, cast iron, behemoth of camp cooking is the equivalent of a camping oven. You can make items in a Dutch Oven that you could make in your oven at home. I have tried blueberry cobbler, brownies, monkey bread, and different casseroles.

All have been incredibly delicious, pretty easy to assemble, and, with the right preparation, not bad to clean up. The trick (or challenge) with Dutch Oven Cooking is managing the heat. There are a ton of gadgets on the market and many sites online about how to do this. And believe me, if a 13 year old scout can figure it out, so can you.

Best suited for car camping because, goodness gracious, this thing is HEAVY!

As you can see, camp cuisine does exist. There are so many great ideas online. And just bring up the topic with any parent when you are waiting for your Scout at the end of the meeting. You will get tons of ideas, tips, and quick recipes.

This summer, take the time to experiment with different camp recipes, either on a Scout or family camping trip or simply in your backyard! It’s fun. It’s creative. It’s easy. And to top it all off, it’s delicious!


(Coming Soon: Actual Camp Cuisine Recipes To Wow Your Scouts!)


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