Cooking while you’re camping is one of the greatest joys of being in the great outdoors. Most people associate meals like hot dogs and baked beans while camping, but the truth is you can cook a wide variety of meals over an open campfire. As long as you have the right cooking equipment and some knowledge about food safety and preparation, there’s no reason why your camping meals can’t be just as lavish as the meals you make at home.
If you’re camping with a group of people, whether it’s family and friends or you’re participating in a recreational group while camping, there are plenty of great options for meals. Sometimes coming up with a menu for a camping trip just requires a little creativity and a few good ideas.
Also, keep in mind that it’s possible to prepare some components of your meals at home and bring them along with you. This isn’t cheating! It saves time and can help you focus on preparing the foods at your campsite that truly taste better over an open flame and already have those other components pre-cooked from home. This can also save time, too, if you want to prepare a dish that needs to cook or bake for several hours.
Regardless of whether you want to rough it and prepare your entire meal as simple as possible by the campfire or you’re willing to make concessions and prep ahead, there are plenty of great recipe options for when you are camping.
What are Some of the Best Meals for Camping with a Group?
Kabobs and Skewer-Cooked Mains
Kabobs are made on skewers, which are one of the best tools available for cooking when camping. They are easy to use and make it convenient to cook large amounts of food for a large group all at once. They make it easy for people to help you prepare the food and allow for a lot of customization.
A few good ideas for skewer cooking include shrimp, beef, or chicken skewered with veggies and potatoes. You simple chunk all of the ingredients into bite-sized pieces and thread them onto the skewer. Put them over the open flame and turn throughout a few times until all of the ingredients are cooked.
Once they are done, you can simply eat them right off the skewer or pull them and put them over boiled rice or salad. Don’t forget to bring along some seasonings. This will allow you to change up the flavor, so it’s possible to have a different meal every night while camping with virtually the same ingredients.
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Most people don’t think of stir-fry when they are camping, but it’s actually one of the best meals you can prepare in the great outdoors. This is because proper stir-fry requires cooking the ingredients at a very high temperature over an open flame. That’s perfect for a campfire!
Like skewers, you can mix up the ingredients and make a different meal each night without changing anything about your cooking method. Just chop up everything into bite-sized pieces, toss them into a large, deep frying pan, and let them cook at a high temperature over the open flame, tossing or stirring on a regular basis. You can add seasonings or sauces, but if you want to keep things simple, just serve the ingredients naked.
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Sandwiches are one of the simplest meals you can have ever, and they are perfect for camping. They’re easy to clean up, don’t require any utensils or plates, and can be eaten quickly if you want to move onto the next activity. Sandwiches work for all three meals of the day by changing just a few ingredients. They can also be served hot or cold.
If you want to have sandwiches while camping but don’t want to lose the essence of camping and need to cook over the open flame, this is entirely possible. You can cook meat over the campfire and make the sandwiches from that. For instance, check breasts or beef can be placed on a spit and slow-roasted for several hours over the campfire. You can also roast veggies over the campfire for a great earthy sandwich. It’s even possible to bake bread over the campfire if you really want to enjoy a rustic meal while camping.
Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are perhaps the best options when it comes to cooking for a large group. All you need to do is toss the soup or stew ingredients into a huge pot, place it over the campfire, and let it all boil and come together. Ladle the finished product into everyone’s bowls, and you’ve got a meal for one to 100 people or more!
Another great thing about soups and stews is they can be as simple or complicated as you prefer. You can put nothing but water, carrots, and potatoes into a pot and boil them for hours, creating a very simple stock and veggie soup. Or you can make a complicated dish with a dozen or more exotic ingredients and seasonings. It really is one of the most versatile methods of cooking when you are camping.
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One of the most fun meals to cook while camping is breakfast. And it doesn’t need to be served only in the morning! Cooking pancakes, bacon, eggs, porridge, and other breakfast foods are easy over an open flame, and there are few things more enjoyable than waking up in the great outdoors to the aroma of breakfast being cooked just outside of your tent or cabin.
Finally, don’t forget all the fun you can have when cooking meals for large groups of campers. Nothing says camping like roasting marshmallows over the campfire and having s’mores for dessert. You can also bake cobblers and pies over an open flame while camping.
Snacks are another great thing to cook while camping. You can roast peanuts or potato slices for chips and have them as a side with your meals or just to snack on throughout your camping trip.