Tips that will make you a better outdoor chef

Cooking outdoors can be a very challenging and inspiring activity. Some people love it while others don’t (usually because it’s way more complicated than cooking back home). Despite the complications you may run into while cooking in the wild, it’s still a fun and creative thing to do, especially if you like experimenting and getting out of your comfort zone. For those of us who find it hard cooking away from the kitchen, here are some useful tips that will help you improve your outdoor chef skills and enjoy a healthy meal on your camping trip.

Pack wisely

The first and most important tip for outdoor cooking is to pack according to the type of camping you’re doing. If you’re backpacking, then forget about the biggest pan you have at home – you won’t be able to use it on a pocket stove. But if you’re going on a camping trip with your car, then you may consider bringing a bigger pan, as you won’t have to carry it around in your backpack. Traveling by car allows you to indulge in a little comfort and to take more stuff along with you.

Don’t forget to make a list

Make a list
Make a list

Plan all the meals that you want to make while camping. Go day by day and note down the ingredients for each meal separately. Be sure to have every meal written down, so you don’t forget any thing important. Imagine being out there and realizing that you forgot to bring pasta for the pasta dish you’re planning to make. Check each thing after you pack it in your cooler or backpack to be sure you don’t leave anything behind. Also, think about all the kitchen gadgets you’re going to need for cooking the different meals.

Prepare the ingredients at home

Prepare ahead as much as possible – later you’ll feel like a genius for it
Prepare ahead as much as possible – later you’ll feel like a genius for it

Even if chopping onions by the campfire is your favorite thing to do, it’s a lot easier if you cut and pack the onions in your kitchen. This rule applies to all veggies, meat, even the fruit for your fruit yogurt in the morning. Chop and clean everything at home, pack it in bags and store it in your cooler. When dinner time comes in the woods, you’ll just need to heat it up and serve it all together.

Use shortcuts

You’re maybe the master chef back home in the comfort of your kitchen, and you always use the freshest possible ingredients. But if you need to feed a bunch of hungry hikers after an exhausting day, they wouldn’t mind if you take some shortcuts. Canned foods like vegetables, beans, salsas, and even chicken are perfect for camping. Nobody will mind that it’s not the homemade recipe that you usually make. What’s important out there is to eat, and tasty food is what you’re going to provide. It’s cool to use fresh ingredients, but if you can save yourself from trouble when it decides to rain all of a sudden you’ll be glad you opted to prepare at home. So, be practical!

Practice at home

Practice back home
Practice back home

It’s easy to cook even the most complicated dishes on your kitchen stove where you can control the heat. However, a camping stove is a different thing altogether, and it can be useful to practice some recipes before you go. It would be a pity to realize that you can’t sear a steak in the woods. Boiling water for pasta will never be an issue, but you must check if you can cook more complex meals.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy cooking in the outdoors more than ever. It’s not cheating to add a few simple hacks that allow you to keep your chef performances at the same level as back home. People around you will be truly satisfied and ask for an extra plate. Good luck!

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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.  Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.


stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival