Simple tasty meals for the campfire?

Joined May 10, 2019
As a family, we usually just stick with oatmeal, fresh pasta, sausages etc etc ... and some diced veggies. Alot of Haloomi gets fried by the fire as well, but any light weight - campfire cooking compatible ideas?

Full disclosure, I am thinking about building a website that has all my favorite ideas in it (checklists, gear, food, how to cook etc) ... so please only share if you are comfortable with me sharing with others.
Joined Jan 9, 2019
Rarely, if ever, done the campfire thing..
We usually do the alpine "no fire" zones.. at some altitude.
A small single burner MSR can do wonders, if you're creative.
Never cared for the $$ pre-packaged "hiking food".
A dehydrator is always nice.
Yes, pizza!..warm water in the bag in the morning & knead, leave in the sun/warm place (away from critters)
Pan fry on both sides in a folding teflon pan & add toppings & flip..carefully..

Our backpack food list.. pick & choose ..depending on the duration/appetite;
Most things prepared/packaged in assorted sized ziplock bags or small poly bottles

O chocolate/granola bars
O nuts/trail mix
O Pringles
O wine (in hard nalgene bottle- re-use for water)
O scotch/liquor/(?) ;-) again, hard nalgene bottle
O bagels, cream cheese (in tube), dill
O pepperoni, landjaeger sausage, cheese, crisp/rusk bread
O Breakfast: instant oatmeal, dried milk, dried fruit, Granola, instant coffee (3-in-1?)
O Thai: instant rice, dried coconut milk, curry paste, dried meat, dried broccoli, basil, coriander, sugar, fish sauce
O Chinese: noodles, dried S&S mix, sugar, vinegar, dried meat, dried onion & pepper, dried tofu, soy sauce, sesame seed
O Pizza: flour mix in a large Ziploc (flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder), dried tomato sauce, dried mushrooms, dried pepper, sausage, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, basil, olive oil
O Indian: instant rice, curry powder, dried meat, dried potato, dried coconut milk chutney, pickles, Nan, papadums
O Mexican: dried hot sauce, dried refried beans, dried taco mix, burrito shells, soft corn shells, cheddar cheese, dried sour cream, onion
O Paella: instant rice, dried chicken, freeze dried shrimp, dried tomatoes, saffron, chicken Bovril, oregano, dried onion/garlic, sausage
O German: dried spaetzle, dried red cabbage, TVP & gravy mix, butter
O Misc: oil, salt, pepper, seasoning salt, sugar, garlic, ginger, onion

NOT the way I usually me..
But when you're carrying everything..
Last edited:
Joined Dec 23, 2004
I kind of like ready-to-eat foods for camping and hiking. For shorter trips that can mean jerky and power bars, figs, tinned meats (eg Vienna sausage), etc. I also will take stripped MREs or Mountain House freeze dried meals. Nothing wrong with taking a well wrapped frozen steak along; by the time it begins to thaw you toss it on a bed of coals.

Camping, hiking and bushcrafting is probably the old thing I'm as interested in as I am in cooking. But in the bush I mostly avoid 'real cooking', primarily because I do real cooking 50-65 hours a week. Not really feeling like taking an extra hour to make bannock.
Joined Jan 8, 2010
Potatoes and onions in the ashes
Anything goes as far as I am concerned.
I cooked at home on just 2 burners for years, so campfire cooking is not that difficult ;)
Joined Mar 1, 2017
I did quite a bit of camping back in the day. We would go deep into the heart of the Adirondack Mountains to places that few people knew about. Food, firewood and beer were the three main supplies that we would bring. Most of the food we ate was cooked over the fire.

We used three large coolers. One for beer. One for soda, water, milk etc. and one cooler for meat and fish. We almost never brought chicken and poultry for safety concerns, with the exception of the one time we roasted a turkey (I'll explain below). We also brought enough ice to start our own glacier and stored the ice that was not use in separate coolers to prevent it from melting.

We also brought contractor bags for trash and rope to hang the trash high in the air to prevent bears and critters from getting into it. Nothing attracts bears and critters like food on a campfire.

Here are some of the things we cooked while camping.

1. Trash can turkey. Prepare a bed of coals and place a metal rod in the center. Impale the turkey on the rod and cover it with a clean, metal (non galvanized) trash can. Pierce the bottom of the trash can with several holes. Replenish the coals as needed.

2. Steaks on the grill. This one is self explanatory.

3. Corn on the cob. There's two ways of doing this: a) place the corn, shucks and all, on the grill and roast with indirect heat; or b) wrap the corn, shucks and all, with some butter, salt and pepper, wrap in tinfoil and place directly on the coals. Turn ever 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Baked potatoes. Punch some holes in the potatoes, wrap in tinfoil and place them in the hot coals.

5. Fresh Rainbow and Brown trout. There was usually a stream near where we camped that had trout.

6. Ribs. Sear the ribs over direct flames. Remove, wrap with tinfoil and slow roast with indirect heat until done. Baste occasionally with BBQ sauce.

7. Hamburgs and hot dogs. Who goes camping without HB's and HD's?? :)

8. Bacon, eggs, pancakes, sausages etc. Cooked in cast iron over the coals.

9. Roast pork. Wrap in tinfoil with seasonings and oil, and bury in a hole with hot coals.

There are more, I'm sure. If I think of any that I missed, I'll list them in a new post. :)
Joined May 5, 2010
I'm glad there are other who think outside the box.
Why limit yourself to such a distinct small menu. Since you have a cooler, anything goes. I'm glad someone mentioned trout. I was going to suggest a filet of salmon with a pad of butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a thyme twig wrapped in foil and placed on the hot coals.
Joined Dec 13, 2018
If you're not going to be hiking for miles, bring your cast iron and then pretty much anything goes.
Joined May 29, 2013
When you ask about "camping", are you talking about car camping, bicycle camping, trail backpacking, off-trail trekking, or what?

It's been a few years since I've done any camping, but, in my camping experience (which included basic search & rescue training), the type of camping is going to be significantly affected by how much you are carrying on your person, including water, fuel, etc. Throwing several hundred pounds of food, gear and people into a motor vehicle and driving to a campsite is totally different than putting together a lightweight pack and taking off for a week of hiking through alpine terrain.

Joined Dec 23, 2004
I guess that's what I was missing; for real backwoods camping it really isn't practical to take a cooler. How are you gonna hump that in through 20 miles of wilderness? Of course there really isn't any wilderness at all in the eastern US. Plenty of beautiful places but there's no true, trackless wilderness like there is in Idaho, Montana, etc. If I'm just pulling into a campground then yeah, no reason not to have a bag of charcoal and a stove. That's just not how I tend to camp though.
Joined May 10, 2019
Wow ... thank you for all the info. When car camping, we sometimes take the ‘kitchen sink’ and nothing is off limits ... but as for the original question, it was for the backwoods camping ... hiking in, canoeing in etc where the weight of food and cooking materials is an issue.

Thanks again for all the suggestions,
Joined Mar 1, 2017
I guess that's what I was missing; for real backwoods camping it really isn't practical to take a cooler. How are you gonna hump that in through 20 miles of wilderness? Of course there really isn't any wilderness at all in the eastern US. Plenty of beautiful places but there's no true, trackless wilderness like there is in Idaho, Montana, etc. If I'm just pulling into a campground then yeah, no reason not to have a bag of charcoal and a stove. That's just not how I tend to camp though.
Have you ever been to the Adirondack Mountains?? There are plenty of places left in those mountains that are every bit as remote and isolated as any other part of the US.

We used ATV's to move our heavy gear. Otherwise, we humped our tents and other gear on our backs.
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Never been there, just looking on a map. The remotest spot in the Adirondacks doesn't really look to be very far from human settlements. Maybe I'm missing something of course. According to this article the most remote spot there isn't very remote at all. The bleakest most desolate spot there is just five miles from a road. Most of it seems to average less than a 1/4 mile from one.
Last edited:
Joined Oct 31, 2012
While remote in the ADK isn't as remote as places out west, remoteness isn't what gets people into trouble. I learned at an early age about the ten essentials needed when hiking/camping. Map, compass, fire starter, extra clothing like jacket or sweater, etc.
Many people start out with a day hike in mind but don't equip themselves properly or they fail to leave a hiking plan with a ranger or friend, or both, then get disoriented and lost.
Compared to the Western mountains, the ADK is much easier to traverse and so those lost tend to wander in circles over several miles. There are fewer high peaks to assist in orienting and as I stated, the woods can be deep and thick so regaining the trail, if there is one, can be challenging. Roads on a map are often old logging roads, not maintained and overgrown; sometimes not much more than a poor trail.
You may remember the jail break a couple of years ago at Dannemora prison. The escaped convicts were able to elude searchers quite well because of the forest density. At one point law enforcement walked right past one of them while they hid in a tree.
In the limited hiking I did in Washington state, we went up the mountain on a trail and then back down. Steep elevation gains limit wandering and assist in maintaining location, not to mention quickly wearing out hikers like me.
Comparatively, the western mountain ranges can be thought of as Hiking up a mountain while the ADK could be thought of as a strenuous, potentially dangerous walk in the woods.
As open cooking fires are not generally allowed in the ADK, camping stoves and dried foods are more the norm.
If you are allowed an open fire, an Emu?? (old Indian word) is a great meal. You dig a pit, line it with rocks, build a fire in it for a couple of hours until the rocks are quite hot. Remove the embers, cover the rocks with maple leaves, then the food wrapped in brown paper or foil, more leaves, then a burlap sack covering. Cover the whole thing with dirt and leave for several hours. Remove the dirt and the burlap, uncover the food and eat. For relatively quick cooking, I recommend cornish game hen.
Joined Dec 23, 2004
Yeah, lots of thing get people in trouble. Failing to leave word with a reliable person is probably the biggest mistake in every part of the country. Failing to plan for the weather and carry adequate supplies can bite you on the butt as well. When you get out west there are lots of fourteeners and bigger, plus some wide open spaces where you can get really lost. Then just the vastness can make a search difficult, especially if no one knows where to look. Plus the weather can be very unpredictable, especially this time of year. A few days ago I took a trip to the Crazy Mountains (nearest town is Big Timber, MT). By the time I hit maybe 6500 feet (can't remember the exact elevation) it had begun to really snow and it was blasting in at me sideways.

At least in my neck of the woods (no pun intended) you can generally have a fire although at the peak of summer heat it's not wise- lots of wildfires.
Joined Jun 10, 2019
It really depends wether you are car camping (can bring as much products as you like and maybe even enjoy a car fridge), or are doing a multi-day thru-hike where every gram counts.
For car camping, i’ve never tasted better english breakfast than cooked in a cast iron skillet on wood fire/coals. Potatoes in aluminium foil and skewered meat on coal is a classic (in Eastern Europe it is called Shashlik). My friend once made a huge pot of delicious Napoleon era French army onion soup (learned in reenactions). Cold borscht is aso a local hit during summer camping season. Beef and onion stew in Belgian dark ale cooked in a dutch oven on the egde of fireplace is a 100% hit.
For thru-hikes I personally prefer pasta, especially tagliatelle, as it is light, fast to cook, doesn’t take up much space and with a right set of herbs, spices and olive oil in a lightweight spray bottle - it is never boring and can provide you with those needed carbs. If you cut weight on other equipment, a few cans of tuna can make a multi day pasta experience a feast in a wilderness :)

Btw, really looking forward to subscribe to your website!
Last edited:
Joined Jul 31, 2020
I usually say that anything you can pack in your travel bag or backpack would be nice. And it doesn't matter whether you're planning to cook something with open fire or have a portable stove.

Latest posts

Top Bottom