Outdoor Cooking Tips for the Average Joe
While outdoor cooking is more of a recreational activity, when disaster strikes and we’re all going to be out in the woods building shelter and making fire, we won’t have a choice but to do it every day. We might as well get good at it right now…
There are plenty of articles with tips and tricks on how to make fire even in the most adverse conditions (can you believe you can use an ice to make one?) but very few on how to cook on it. Outdoor cooking isn’t hard but one wrong move and the fire is out or the food gets burnt. It all depends on the cooking method and that’s the first thing I want to discuss.
The main ways to cook outdoors include:
· cooking on a rock next to an open fire (it can’t get simpler than this)
· cooking on open fire (as long as you have a fireproof container such as a camping pot)
· cooking on a grill placed on open fire
· cooking over coal by wrapping food in aluminum foil or even leaves
· using more advanced tools such as the volcano grill
The cooking method you use is dictated primarily by the type of food you have and by the cooking utensils you have at your disposal. And before we move on to the tips, the thing I want you to remember is that you can always find a way to cook something. Some of the cooking tips below might even surprise you…
Outdoor cooking tip #1: don’t cook over the flame. There are exceptions to this (such as when you want to fry something) but most foods need to be cooked on the coal, not on the flame. This is how most newbies manage to burn the food.
Let the fire settle down first until it burns down to coal, that’s when you get a more even heat that will better cook the food. When the coal starts to look brightly-red, that’s your queue to place your food on it.
Outdoor cooking tip #2: use tinfoil for open fire cooking
This is one of the easiest ways to cook on an open fire. You just wrap the food in tinfoil and place it on the burning coal. Make sure the fire has slowed down first, you don’t want the flame to burn down the foil.
Even so, you’re still gonna want to use heavy duty foil to make sure it holds through high temperatures. If ashes get inside your food, you’re not gonna like the taste so much. If you’re using regular tinfoil, you can just wrap the food twice to obtain the same result.
Outdoor cooking tip #3: use oil or grease on the grill to prevent the food from sticking
Outdoor cooking tip #4: use a paper bag
The reason I like this outdoor cooking method so much is because it doesn’t require a grill or any fancy cooking equipment. All you need is a brown paper bag which will be placed directly on the coal. The trick to making sure it doesn’t burn is you put inside something greasy, such as bacon. The fat in it is the one responsible for the bag not bursting into flames. (There’s a video showing how to do this on YouTube right here.)
Outdoor cooking tip #5: cooking AROUND an open fire
Rock frying is one of the easiest ways to cook something. You just make your fire, put a large flat rock next to it (to allow the heat to penetrate it) and you put your meat or whatever you want to cook on that rock when it’s hot enough.
That rock is going to be on one side of the fire so, if you have more stuff to cook you just need to put more rocks and more wooden planks around it. Of course, rock frying is something of a last resort in outdoor cooking due to the fact that you have to place your food directly on the rock, making it less than ideal.
Outdoor cooking tip #6: your food should not be thicker than 1.5 inches.
If it’s more than an inch and a half thick, you might end up with food that’s overcooked on the outside and raw on the inside.
Outdoor cooking tip #7: put liquid soap on the outside of the pots you use will make it easier for you to clean them afterwards.
Outdoor cooking tip #8: always keep your food hung in a tree somewhere as the smell may attract wildlife. Better yet, put it in sealed containers since it might even attract humans! Post-SHTF, of course.
Outdoor cooking tip #9:
There’re a couple of tricks to making fire in a way that won’t give away your location. The first one is to do it right below a tree; the branches will dissipate the smoke as it goes up. The second one is to continuously feed the fire with tinder. Obviously, making fire under a tree requires you to be ultra-careful even after you extinguish it.
Outdoor cooking tip #10: be patient
Just because the meat looks good on the outside, this doesn’t mean it’s fully cooked on the inside… unless you like it rare. Make sure you allow enough time for your food to cook and don’t be fooled by how it looks on the outside.
Outdoor cooking tip #11: if you happen to burn one of your fingers, grab with it one of your earlobes. The natural oils will block the air from coming into contact with the burnt skin.
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