June 19, 2011

outdoor cooking - just try it!

i never understood why the average bushcrafter/camper/hiker is afraid of cooking... gorp, granola bars and dried fruits are good trail food, but you will get fed up with this diet in a couple of days. many live under the impression that they are cooking, but boiling water for re-hydrating food can not really be considered as such (funny thing, this never occured to me and it was pointed out by one of my youtube subscribers!).

so, why cooking outdoors? well, simply because there's no reason to eat strange things when you can eat good real food. now, please don't get it wrong: i am not questioning the "trail food" (which has it's place), i'm just saying that you can have better.

i think that the main reason for not cooking outdoors is the fear of "cooking process", which is nowadays looked upon as a more and more strange and complicated one (and that's why fast food and frozen food companies are prospering), even if it's not...

i posted several vids on bushcraft cooking on my youtube channel, and i will post some more... what i'm trying to achieve is to prove that anybody can do it and to inspire those who watch my vids to just try it.

many receipes are easy and quick to make, doesn't require special resources or exotic/perishable/heavy ingredients, are flexible enough to adapt to (almost) whatever situation/prefferences and provide you with a good, complete, nutritionally-ballanced dish.

there is a book to write on camp-cooking (as suggested by one of my youtube friends), and maybe one day i'll write it, but until then :) there are some ideas (i am assuming that you are familiar with the basic cooking, if you are not... well, you'll have to wait for my book! :D ):

- cornmeal, rice, cous-cous, packs light and compact, store well and are easy to transform in a variety of dishes, depending on what else you have with you or you can forage from the trail. beans are a good ideea, too, but it takes much longer to cook. pasta packs bulkyer and cooks slower than cous-cous, but not so much that you don't want to mess with it. regular flour is easy to transform in bread of some sort or pancakes. potatoes are great baked directly in the ashes, and you can use them for a variety of other dishes, too.

- dried or fresh vegetables are a good addition, and there are numerous plants that you can pick up from aroud the camp (obviously, only if you really know what you are doing!).

- onion and garlic are allways great tasting, high in calories food, no matter if you eat them as they are or you cook them.

- meat can be packed in many forms: jerky, pemmican, salami, sausages etc., but my personal favourite (for longer trips, as it requires some preparation) is this: cut one-bite-size different kinds of meat, deep-fry it, put it in plastic jars, pour melted, slightly salted lard to completely cover the meat and keep it for few hours in the fridge. in this form it will keep for several months even in summer temperature. also, you can get some fresh meat by fishing (don't forget about frogs!), trapping or hunting.

- fresh fruits are great, and you can cook them, too! a baked apple with honey and cinnamon is a real treat for the half-frozen winter hiker. you can bake other fruits too (bananas are great - don't forget to slit open the skin!), or you can add them to pancakes or bread. you can use dried/caned fruits, too.

- condiments are important, so don't forget about them! use whatever you like to add flavor to your food.

also, there is an important skill to master if you want to become a "bushcraft chef" - and that is how to make fire! the fine art of how to build the perfect fire for every dish is something that comes with the experience... and the only way to gain the experience is to do it! so... go out and start cooking!


  1. C'mon, i'm going (again) to fridge. :) It's impossibleto resist at those presentations like that. You must think seriously to write a book. I'll sell it for you.
    I cooked a squirrel once, like in your method written above. Surely the meat resist in the hotest days of summer if it's prepared this way.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. @shinobi: maybe i should put a disclaimer: do not read on an empty stomach! :D

  3. I filled it mine about two hours ago but.... the temptation is unbearable :))
    And yes, the frog legs are great with eggs. Salt them a litlle before cooking to see that funny tremble of nerves. That-s a good recipe also. And with plenty of nutrients.

  4. inteleg "internationalizarea" dar cred ca ar fi de preferat ca articolele sa apara si in limba romana pentru ca mai multi romani sa invete. Apreciez ceea ce scrii. :)

  5. Hi Mario!

    Freat to see you created a blog!

    All the best,

  6. @bogdan: nu-s multi romani care sa poata gasi paginile astea si totusi sa nu le inteleaga... iar daca sint, e-mail-ul meu e pe prima pagina si pot fi contactat in romana :).

  7. @bogdan: thank you!


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