10 Tips for Cooking on the Campfire

Planning a camping trip? There are some things you should know about cooking food on a campfire. Check out these 10 expert tips for cooking safely and efficiently on an outdoor fire and you’ll be making everything from drool-worthy eggs al fresco to the perfect ooey gooey s’mores in no time.


Keep the flames small.

Small fires are easier to make and manage, and they’re better to cook on.


Use appropriate cooking equipment. 

Avoid cooking your food on a direct flame since it will burn the outside of the food but leave the inside uncooked.


Plan ahead and practice patience.

Wait until the wood has burned down to embers to start cooking your food.


Mind your cooking temperature.

Increase the cooking heat by piling the coals closer together and reduce it by spreading them apart.


Use ash to your advantage.

A blanket of ash covering the coals acts as an insulator and controls the heat better for cooking, especially for potatoes, corn, or onions wrapped in foil.


Cut down on smoke.

To reduce smoke, try burning dried wood from a beaver lodge; it’s sun-dried with no resin or outer bark, which reduces smoke in a big way.


Choose your wood wisely.

Soft woods like pine and spruce may be good to get the fire started, but hard woods like maple or oak provide a far better heat for cooking.


Invest in a good grill.

Using a camp grill is far better than trying to balance pots on a stick hanging over the fire.


Keep wind at bay.

Build a windbreak with rocks around your fire.


Stick to a strategy.

Use the edge of the fire to keep items already cooked warm while you prepare the rest of the meal.


These tips were excerpted with permission from The New Trailside Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes for the Camp Chef by Kevin Callan and Margaret Howard (Firefly Books; $19.95).

new trailside cookbook


Also See:

A Guide to Hiking and Climbing with Kids in the NYC Area

3 Campfire Desserts That Are Better Than S’Mores