Camping food for most people means hot dogs and hamburgers. For most people that is. Don’t get me wrong, cooking smokies over the fire after a few beers are a camping favourite for me but I just can’t go camping and not cook something awesome. My family has gone camping every summer since I was a little girl and the on going joke in our family has been that we always eat “typical” camping food. My parents cooked for us steaks, fresh caught fish, prawns, and crab. Grilled vegetables and homemade salads as sides, still cooking from scratch while camping. This tradition has been passed down to my sister and myself…but I like to kick things up a notch. Evan and I searched before our trip for a grill to put over the fire for cooking and finally found the perfect one. We filled our coolers with food and some cooking essentials like steak seasoning, my travel spice kit (complete with 18 different herbs and spices), onions, garlic, olive oil and hit the road.
|Bloggin’ while campin’
We started our week in Port Alberni at my parents trailer. My awesome dad left me some salmon bellies (my favourite part of the fish) from the salmon he caught and we decided to make salmon burgers with them. It took some time to peel the skin off and mince the meat but when you’re camping and have nothing else on the agenda you can take some time to make an awesome dinner.
All of my burgers have the same basic foundation, regardless of which meat you decide to make it out of. Basically you need some ground meat of some sort, an egg for binding, onion, garlic, any kind of herbs and spices, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and breadcrumbs (when I don’t have any bread crumbs I crumble up crackers or toast some bread). Add more or less breadcrumbs depending on how moist the mixture is.
For the salmon burgers I made a lemon mayonnaise and grilled pineapple to top it off. You know, “typical” camping food.
We headed to Tofino after a couple relaxing days in Port Alberni. We bought pre-made burger patties to bring but they didn’t survive the trip and when we took the box out of the cooler we found that we basically had a bag of ground beef. Perfect for turning boring burgers into awesome burgers. I used the same burger foundation and topped them off with sauteed mushrooms and cheddar cheese. They were too good for camping.
When you cook any kind of burgers do not play with them and try to flip them a dozen times. They will fall apart. To keep them intact just LEAVE them on the grill. Don’t touch them! They will tell you when they are ready to flip and when they are ready, they will not stick to the grill. Usually leaving it for a good 6-8 minutes on the first side, then flip it and cook for about another 5-6 minutes. This goes for any kind of meat that you grill, be patient and leave it alone and let it cook. If it’s sticking to the grill, it’s probably not ready to flip yet.
I may know a thing or two about steaks and brought some up for everyone. I coated them with oil and lots of seasoning and cooked them right over the campfire. I felt like a cave man and it was awesome. I wish I could cook over a fire that I made myself every day. All they needed was about 3-4 minutes on each side to bring them up to a perfect medium rare. Obviously if you don’t like your steak still mooing then cook them a bit longer. Steak and potatoes is a must so I poked some holes into some potatoes and wrapped them in tin foil and threw them into the fire and left them for about 45 minutes. I brought some prawns that my dad caught in Port Alberni and cooked them over the fire too in a cast iron pan with steak seasoning (it goes great on everything) and pretty much a whole head of garlic. Surf and turf camping? Oh hell ya.
The last night called for something epic and I think I bit off a bit more than I can chew but it was still yummy. I decided to do a pork roast over the fire. Yah…a full on roast. Did I mention that I was camping? Sometimes I wish I could just do something simple and quick, but I like to do things the hard way.
I made an herb and spice mixture using steak seasoning, Italian herbs, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Big D was camping with us and I know his favourite ingredient is butter so in a small pot I put a whole block of butter, 2 oz of rum and about 8 cloves of garlic and melted it over the fire. I basted the roast with the butter mixture every 10 minutes or so, turning the roast over the fire. I thought it would take about 2 hours to cook…and 2 hours turned into 3 hours and meant eating at 11pm at night. But it was soooooooo good. I think the pound of butter had something to do with it. The leftovers became pork and eggs for breakfast the next day…yum!
I think all of the cooking and eating put a couple of pounds onto my butt but it was all worth it. I really enjoyed showing my friends and family that camping food doesn’t have to be hot dogs and store bought burgers and that you can really enjoy camping food