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TexasDude's avatar

Cooking with cast iron and a campfire grill (A primer).

Asked by TexasDude (25229 points ) June 29th, 2011

My dear mum bought me a cast iron saucepan and skillet and an iron campfire grill like this one not too long ago, and I’m thinking about giving them a spin next Wednesday when I go camping.

What are some things I can good with these supplies, an open fire, and basic ingredients? Recipes are certainly welcome. Also, I have never cooked with cast iron before, so is there anything special I should know about it aside from the fact that cast iron gets really damn hot? My cookware is pre seasoned, if that matters.

Thanks in advance, lovelies.

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19 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

The big deal with cast iron (and any thick cookware) is the heat capacity. Get it hot and it maintains the heat with minimal input. You can finesse things. Keep the flame low. Don’t burn your bacon. Simmer your sauces, don’t boil them.

On a fire, it means keep the pan to the side. You can cook over coals, you don’t need an open flame.

Thoughts on camping food:
1)
My buddies and I used to go fishing with a cast iron pan, a bag of potatoes, a couple of onions, canned beans and bacon. Cook the bacon first, cook everything else in bacon grease.
2)
Eggs do not need refrigeration
3)
I like to take broccoli & asparagus & spinach, they travel well and they are good in every meal. And sauteed in a cast iron pan they make you a backwoods celebrity chef among your friends.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Pizza. Put a ton of olive oil in the pan, then just throw pizza dough in, followed by ingredients/toppings. When the fire gets down to coals, throw it on for a bit.

In terms of care, keep it oiled. Animal fat works best, but olive oil is pretty damn good, too.

KateTheGreat's avatar

When I camp, I like to grill corn and make shish kabobs. Usually I put a peppers, onions, tomatoes, and whatever fish I had caught that day on them.

Deliciousness.

TexasDude's avatar

@jaytkay awesome suggestions. I like the taters/onions/beans/bacon idea. I may have to try that. Thank you.

@incendiary_dan whoa, I never thought of that. I’ll definitely add that to my “to try” list. Thanks, sir.

@KatetheGreat that sounds pretty good, and relevant to what I’m looking for. I should have mentioned in my question that I’d like to cook as healthfully as possible. Thanks darlin’.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Note: pizza works best when your fire is in some sort of structure, like those cement and steel grills that parks departments sometimes build. That way the heat from the fire heats those thermal masses up, and your pizza therefore gets heat all around.

Last time I forgot how to do this, and ended up basically frying the bottom of my pizza, and having to rig it up to face the fire later without the stuff sliding off.

KateTheGreat's avatar

With your cast iron pan, you can always stir fry your favorite vegetables and your choice of a “healthful” meat. Put it over some rice and it’s even better!

I would also suggest that you catch some fish whenever you go camping. I love to catch fish and eat it straight off my grill.

If you like the whole Mexican food thing, you can grill tomatoes, kidney beans, corn, and other select vegetables and put them in tortillas. Also, you can make salsa over a campfire! I do it all of the time.

TexasDude's avatar

@incendiary_dan yeah that’s what I was wondering. I don’t have access to one of those at my campsite since it’s on private, unoccupied land. I may try to rig up some kind of dutch oven structure though. Any recommendations?

@KatetheGreat sadly, there are no bodies of water near this campground, so wild caught fish are pretty much out of the question. I really like your Mexican idea though. That was actually my first thought while pondering what I could possibly cook!

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Aww darn. Well I’m sure you have a store that sells fish somewhere around there. ;P

Mexican food is the best whenever cooked over a campfire. I’m the fucking campfire Iron Chef.

jaytkay's avatar

Tortillas are a lot easier to carry than bread, and you can make tacos or burritos out of anything.

We carry lunch meat and sliced cheese and tortillas during the day. Breakfast and dinner are campfire meals, but lunch is sandwiches and apples and oranges.

KateTheGreat's avatar

I just pulled out my recipe book and my favorite recipe is called calypso burritos. (Sounds like faggotry, but it’s delicious.)

Take zucchini, squash, tomatoes, kidney beans, onions, and diced potatoes and sautee them in a pan.

In another pan, take crushed red pepper, hot sauce, adobo sauce (in the Mexican section), and jalepenos and put it in a small pot. Add a little water and salt, and let it cook for a while.

Whenever the vegetables are done cooking all the way through, throw the sauce in it and stir it up. Put some cheese in it, throw it into a tortilla, and voila! It’s a mouthgasm.

TexasDude's avatar

@KatetheGreat I already have all the stuff needed to make calypso burritos. Looks like that’s what I’ll be making. Thanks dollface.

@jaytkay definitely what I’m gonna be doing.

Thanks guys.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Build a tall structure of stones around the fire pit shaped like a horseshoe. That will reflect lots of heat back in, increasing the efficiency of lots of types of cooking.

throssog's avatar

Lovely advice…I do wonder if you have, yet, ‘seasoned’ the pans? If not then you may have some sticking issues.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@throssog Most cast iron cookware comes pre-seasoned, which I believe @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard mentioned his is.

TexasDude's avatar

Yeah, mine is pre-seasoned. I read somewhere that pre-seasoned cookware is almost invariably seasoned inadequately or incorrectly, though. I’m not sure how much truth there is to that.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard My experience has been that it’s usually alright. But more oil couldn’t hurt, right?

If you really want to season a cast iron vessel, render fat in it.

TexasDude's avatar

@incendiary_dan ok, I’ll take your word for it over the word of the interwebz.

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