Mastering the Art of Outdoor Fire Cooking

For campers and outdoor , over a fire is an essential skill. From comfort foods like s’mores to slow cooked meats and smoke infused breads, open fire cooking offers a wide range of food options. It’s also a great way to enjoy the atmosphere and company of a campfire with friends or family.

While cooking over a fire is outdoor fire cooking from cooking in your home oven (there’s no set timer or precise temperature control), it’s not difficult to learn how to master the art of outdoor fire cooking. Choosing the right wood, building the perfect campfire and using the proper techniques are the keys to successful open fire cooking.

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To start, choose a location that is at least eight feet away from bushes and other flammable materials. Clear the area and form a perimeter with rocks or green logs—which means they’re still moist—to contain the flames. Start with a compact pile of tinder—dry grass, paper and twigs—then layer on kindling, then larger sticks before finishing with your logs. Try creating a teepee shape or a log cabin for your fire. Both of these types of campfires allow for air flow and are more efficient than a circle.

When cooking over the fire, it’s important to gauge how hot your coals are by looking at their color. White or red-orange flames indicate a high level of heat, while blue indicates a cooler temperature. It’s also a good idea to use a shovelful of ashes to help diminish the heat. This is especially helpful when cooking foods that need to be cooled to room temperature.