Cooking over an open fire is an entertaining and efficient way to cook outdoors while camping or sitting by the fire. If you’ve never tried campfire cooking before, keep reading for the top five tips you need to know for cooking over an open fire. Mastering bonfire cooking can be difficult, but this method can bring out unique flavors and textures in your favorite foods. Utilize these tips and try this meal prep method for yourself.
What You’ll Need for Bonfire Cooking
Bonfire cooking can be a bit tricky thanks to the fire pit’s varying temperatures, the smoke and soot, and the outdoor conditions. This is where bonfire cooking equipment can come in handy. Invest in sturdy, open-fire cookware that will stand up to the heat of the flames and coals. Cast-iron cooking equipment like pans, pots, and Dutch ovens are crucial for outdoor cooking. You can also utilize equipment like grill grates and cooking stands to maintain control and be at a safe distance from the heat. Grill grates and other outdoor cooking surfaces will help you better control the cooking temperatures and times. Even something as simple as aluminum foil can be extremely helpful for cooking corn on the cob and other vegetables over a fire.
Once you have all the equipment and utensils you need for cooking over the open bonfire, you’re ready to get started.
Tips for Cooking Over a Bonfire
Now that you know everything you need to start cooking, here are some tips that can help your next bonfire cooking session produce delicious results. We’ve outlined the key dos and don’ts for cooking over a bonfire that both newcomer and experienced outdoor chefs should know.
Don’t Cook Directly Over Flames
One of the first tips you need to know about campfire cooking is to never put your food over the fire until the flames have burned down. If you’ve ever cooked marshmallows over a fire, you know how easy it is for them to catch fire when you stick them directly over the roaring flames. The same thing can happen to anything else you cook over the fire. It can be tempting to start roasting your ingredients as soon as you see flames, but this is a surefire way to burn anything you try to cook. This is why you should wait to build up a bed of hot coals first, which will provide plenty of heat without charring your ingredients.
Prepare Your Meals Early
If you know you’re going to use a bonfire for cooking, it’s always a smart idea to prepare early. Letting the fire burn down to hot coals can take a decent amount of time, and no one wants to put off dinner just because you’re waiting on the fire. Prepare the bonfire early to ensure it reaches the desired temperature and state by the time you’re ready to start cooking. While you’re waiting, you can prepare your ingredients, utensils, and everything else you need for the cooking process.
Don’t Cook Food for Too Long
It can be difficult to get the timing just right when cooking food on a bonfire. When cooking large items or dishes, carryover cooking can occur even after you’ve taken the meal away from the heat source. This is especially true for dishes prepared in a pan, Dutch oven, foil wrapping, and other heat-conducting containers. Carryover cooking can occur up to 20 minutes after finishing the active cooking process. Instead of letting your ingredients roast over the flames for those last few minutes, consider taking them out of the fire pit early for carryover cooking to do its job. Just remember to test the internal temperature of your ingredients with a food thermometer to ensure you’ve cooked them thoroughly.
Choose the Right Ingredients
Some foods are more suitable for cooking over a fire than others. For example, cooking foods that produce grease and fat drippings over a fire can be dangerous. This byproduct can cause your fire to flare up due to the sudden drips of fuel. If you wish to cook bacon, steak, and other greasy foods, always use a deep pan or Dutch oven to prevent splatters and potential burns. Additionally, avoid oiling and frying foods over the fire, as this can pose a serious fire hazard. If you’re cooking in the forest, flare-ups can become blazes in mere moments. Always use caution while cooking over the open fire, and choose your ingredients carefully.
Practice Fire Safety
Cooking over a bonfire is a fun activity for the whole family, but you should always stay alert and aware when around fire. Teach your family, especially the little ones, about fire safety and how to play responsibly around the fire pit. Maintain a safe distance and wear the proper protective gear when handling hot utensils in or near the fire pit. Dutch ovens, roasting sticks, and other heat-conductive materials will be burning-hot to the touch after coming out of the fire pit; handle these materials with care and tell children not to touch them.
Where To Find Fire Pits and Accessories
Now that you have all the experienced tips you need for a successful cookout, you might be wondering where to get your hands on these cooking accessories or even the bonfire itself. Fortunately, we offer smokeless bonfires at Cast Master Elite that are perfect for cooking at home or all your favorite campsites. Smokeless bonfires give you all the fun of cooking without the heavy, irritating smoke that comes with it. We also offer fire starters, cooking equipment, and other fire pit accessories to get you started.
Cooking over a bonfire is a fun and unique way to prepare food. You can try bonfire cooking almost anywhere, from your campsite to your backyard fire pit. Bonfires provide a smokey flavor that other cooking methods can’t deliver. If you’re ready to put these five tips for cooking over a bonfire to practice, start up a bonfire outdoors! If you don’t have a fire pit at home already, you can browse our selection of premium smokeless fire pits here at Cast Master Elite.