After returning from my camping trip I wanted to write a post breaking down some of my favorite camp hacks from cooking, to essential camping items, to basic skills I have learned from being in the wilderness. No I have not lived out a tent extensively, but these tricks will be perfect for those who need that extra edge for that upcoming trip in the outdoors.
1. Prepping Camp fire ready meals - one of my favorite parts of camping is picking out and prepping food for the trip. Many people think bread plus peanut butter and jelly will suffice for days in the back country - as I do agree with PBJs it can't hurt to spoil yourself with some phenomenal camp fire meals. All it takes is a little prep and planning ahead - here are 3 of my favorite meals easy to make and ready to enjoy over any roaring camp fire:
Lamb Char'n // Beans and Weanies // Steak Kabobs
Recipe #1 Lamb Chuar'n - now let me take a moment to talk about my love for lamb meat... It most likely began because of my friends Scott and Roshni who have themselves traveled the world and brought back this delectable Chinese BBQ tradition. We made Lamb Chuar'n and took it camping with us to the coast of California in the summer of 2014 - this recipe has been on my mind since I visit them back in San Francisco. What is chuar'n? Here's a nice article from Wiki that breaks down where these tasty kebobs came from - Chanr learn more. With the perfect combination of cumin, red pepper and paprika select your favorite cut of lamb dice the lamb down into cube size pieces. Always soak the bamboo skewers the night before (otherwise they will burn right up over the camp fire) toss lamb pieces in to a bowl with the following ingredients (the combo is top secret you'll have to find out by experimenting on your own): oil, salt & pepper, lots of cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic powder. Allow this combo to sit for anywhere from 4-6hours so that the lamb picks up all the flavors from the rub - pack the skewers away on ice in tin foil or a ziplock to continue to marinade until you get to your camp fire and campground. Kick up a medium sized fire - either use the camp grate or bring something to set the lamb on - I usually wrap the grate in tin foil and create a nice grill - heat up the grill grate then place the lamb skewers over the fire. Depending on how hot your fire is these will cook fast! Be careful - don't go grabbing the bamboo stick you'll have some nicely burned finger tips - instead pack a pair of tongs and remove onto a plate once lamb is cooked medium or to your preference. Perfect side dish for these lamb skewers is some corn on the cob which can easily be prep'd in tin foil w/ butter+garlic salt and tossed over the fire - Enjoy eating like a king in the wilderness. Pair w/ Belgian beer or favorite red wine.
Recipe #2 Beans & Weanies - a classic, grab a nice big can of Baked Beans (i prefer the brown sugar flavor) and a pack of hot dogs (that can also be grilled on their own for lunch another day). The only prep really needed for this recipe is to be sure to bring a small cooking pot or otherwise you can take a can opener that you'll also have to remember to bring, punch holes in your can of baked beans and let them cook by the fire side. Be careful removing this can from the fireside - use those tongs again. Grill up a few hot dogs, cut the dogs down into bite size pieces toss into the bowl with the warmed baked beans - there you have it... Beans & Weanies.
Recipe #3 Steak Kebobs - another summertime favorite, grab a few sirloin or grilling steak cuts from your favorite grocery in addition to some yellow peppers, red peppers, orange peppers and whatever other veggies you like to kebob. Toss the steak in this rub here that I found on Emerils.com - the Rustic Rub - you'll thank me later. Chop the veggies for kebob size as well as the steak then begin adding ingredients to skewers (be sure again to soak the skewers in water the night before so they don't fry over the fire). Pack away on ice and in tin foil for enjoying over the camp fire!
2. My favorite camping tools
- Tongs - for cooking, and any other reason you may come up with.
- Small axe to chop fire wood down into smaller pieces as some campsites don't allow for collecting of wood from their property. Also can double as a hammer for getting those tent stakes in the ground.
- Head lamp for when its dark and you go on a star hike
- Citronella Candle - I personally hate bug spray but sometimes have to wear it in the bushy-bush... I prefer to pick up a citronella candle one for by the fire and one for the entrance to the tent to keeps bugs from getting in.
3. Be resourceful, not wasteful - bring your own firewood and chop the bundles down into smaller pieces to conserve firewood, research your camp ground, see how far you will be from the neighboring town, always plan ahead with plenty of gas in your car.
4. Tips for those camping alone - I'll save this for another post as this one has already become so dense.
5. Simple comforts that will set off any camp trip - spoil yourself with an air-mattress, bring glow sticks and get weird, make sure you assemble a crew of great friends to experience the outdoors with, a camera never hurts (for images like the one below), and an iPod / music device plus some mini portable speakers is never a bad idea for those 'down times' at your camp site.
Hope you enjoyed reading my camping hacks / tips! Now get out there - it's adventure time...more blog posts coming soon!