Words and Pictures by Paul Hwang
People love the outdoors! Who doesn’t? The wilderness provides the perfect escape from everyday metropolitan life and simply lets you enjoy nature; plus it reduces stress, boosts our moods and creates unforgettable adventure!
Do you know what makes the outdoors even better? FOOD! Food is an essential part of any adventure. There is nothing like taking the first bite of a hot meal, but there is no more satisfying meal than the one you make in the wilderness! Making food, especially in the outdoors can be difficult because you may not have the conventional and necessary kitchen supplies to make your favorite meals. Unless you have the option to haul a stove in the trunk of your car, you’re still left with the problem of finding an outlet so it’s probably best to bring a portable stove or a fryer screen to put over the fire. Nowadays, outdoor companies such as REI and YETI are creating easy-to-use products to make cooking outdoors easy and reliable.
Most of the great memories that are created and remembered on camping and rock climbing trips are always around the campfire. The campfire has a certain magical appeal that makes people want to huddle around, share stories and have a good time! Through personal experience, I have met some of the most important people in my life being huddled with them around the campfire and it was one of the most comfortable and profound moments in my life!
The next step is deciding what it is you want to bring to eat. One of the great things about camping, whether it’s car camping, trail camping or backpacking, is that there are always going to be ways to prepare your favorite foods. My friends and I love to go outdoor camping and climbing, but I will admit, a large chunk of the time goes to preparing and making our food. Our meals are made on a cast iron pan with a hodgepodge of different vegetables and LOTS of protein and devoured family-style.
Check out the pictures of our meals and how to make it your own!
You’re probably asking, “What did it take to make this amazing hodgepodge of food?” First, you need the basic kitchen materials to get started with your setup. My friends and I have a pre-packed Stanley container that carries: cast iron pan, cooking utensils, forks, spoons, knives, and all of the travel sized kitchen items you can think of. I know what you're thinking, "How does that fit with all of my camping material?" I recommend to compartmentalize and bring ONLY what you need so that you can make room for other things. For example, my friends and I always bring a 6-pack of beer on our trips and use the 6-pack carrier as a cutting board to eliminate the need to bring one.
Second, the FOOD! The pictures above show different camping trips but a similar theme with how we prepare it. In the cast iron, we have: applewood bacon, andouille sausage, eggs, bell peppers, baby potatoes, all with a side of cereal, toast, spread and coffee! Third, preparation! Expect the time for the conventional set up (setting up the campfire, cutting vegetables, etc.) should take 20 mins max.
Fourth, cooking! The expected time to cook the meals in the pictures above should be in the 20-30mins range. The first thing to put on the pan is what will take the longest to cook, which would be the meat (andouille sausage, applewood bacon, etc.). After the meat is 75% cooked through, I pile on the cut vegetables, potatoes and finish it off with cracking eggs on top. Fifth, EAT! This always feeds my friends and I (4 people) with the perfect amount to keep us satisfied!
I encourage you to make this on your next trip with your family or friends! Surround yourselves around the campfire and enjoy!